What Stores Allow Overnight Parking? (11 Options)
As the popularity of van life, RVing, and road trips continue to surge, finding safe and convenient overnight parking spots has become a crucial aspect of the modern-day nomadic lifestyle.
This article delves into a variety of locations that offer campers and travelers a free place to park and stay overnight, offering a welcoming space for a good night’s rest while on the road.
From well-known chain stores to lesser-known local gems and apps to help you find the closest option, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of overnight parking options, ensuring that your journey remains comfortable, hassle-free, and full of adventure.
Read on to discover your next favorite stopover destination, and hit the road with confidence.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Policies can vary by location and change over time. It’s always a good idea to check with the specific store or local laws before staying overnight. That being said, here’s a list of the most popular chains that road trippers & travelers across the USA use for overnight parking:
11 Places that Allow Overnight Parking:
Most Walmart locations permit overnight parking. (Note: Some locations may have local ordinances prohibiting it, or the store may have opted out. Always check with the specific store or look for posted signs)
Budget-conscious travelers who need a quick and convenient place to rest overnight.
Many Walmart locations are open 24 hours, providing access to restrooms and groceries. They typically have large parking lots, making it easier to find a spot to park your camper or RV. Walmart parking lots are usually well-lit and have security cameras, offering some level of safety.
Not all Walmart locations allow overnight parking, and local ordinances may prohibit it. Parking lots can be noisy, and there might be no dedicated RV spaces.
2. Cracker Barrel:
Cracker Barrel restaurants often allow overnight parking for RVs and campers. It’s a good idea to call ahead and confirm with the specific location, as well as to ask where they’d like you to park.
RVers looking for a quieter alternative to Walmart parking lots and who appreciate the convenience of a restaurant on-site.
Cracker Barrel locations often have designated RV parking spaces and are usually located near major highways. You can enjoy a meal at the restaurant and use their restrooms during operating hours.
Limited parking spaces, and not all locations allow overnight parking. No access to restrooms or other facilities when the restaurant is closed.
Cabela’s locations often provide designated RV and camper parking areas, making them a popular choice for overnight stays. It’s still a good idea to call ahead and confirm with the specific location.
Outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for a more relaxed overnight parking option with potential access to amenities.
Cabela’s often provide designated RV and camper parking areas, sometimes even with dump stations and water access. They are usually quieter than Walmart parking lots and may have a more scenic setting.
Limited number of locations compared to Walmart or Cracker Barrel, and not all locations allow overnight parking.
4. Bass Pro Shops:
Similar to Cabela’s, some Bass Pro Shops locations allow overnight parking for RVs and campers. Call ahead to check with the specific store.
Outdoor enthusiasts seeking a quieter alternative to Walmart parking lots.
Similar to Cabela’s, some Bass Pro Shops locations allow overnight parking for RVs and campers. They can offer a quieter and more scenic parking option than Walmart.
Limited number of locations, and not all allow overnight parking.
5. 24-Hour Gyms (Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness)
24-hour gyms, such as Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, and 24 Hour Fitness, provide a unique and convenient option for free overnight parking. These facilities are designed to cater to fitness enthusiasts around the clock, resulting in well-lit and secure parking lots. Since they operate throughout the night, the gym’s active presence can deter potential security concerns, offering peace of mind to travelers. In addition to a safe place to park, overnight guests can also enjoy the added benefits of gym facilities, such as showers and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable stay.
Fitness enthusiasts and travelers who prioritize access to gym facilities and hygiene during their journey.
- Access to gym facilities, including showers, restrooms, and workout equipment
- Generally safe and well-lit areas
- Membership often provides access to multiple locations, making it convenient for frequent travelers
- Not all locations may allow overnight parking; it’s essential to check with each specific gym
- May not be as quiet as other options due to gym activities occurring at various times
- Parking spaces may be limited, particularly in urban areas
6. Wholesale Clubs (Sam’s Club, Costco)
Costco and Sam’s Club are well-known warehouse clubs that offer a wide range of products in bulk at competitive prices. With expansive parking lots and a reputation for being safe and well-lit, these clubs present an appealing option for free overnight parking. Many travelers appreciate the convenience of staying close to a shopping center, which allows for easy access to groceries and essential supplies. While policies may vary by location, Costco and Sam’s Club have become popular choices among RVers and road trippers seeking a secure and comfortable place to rest for the night.
Travelers and campers who appreciate convenient access to groceries and supplies while staying in a secure, well-lit environment.
- Large parking lots with ample space for RVs and campers
- Generally safe and well-lit areas
- Convenient access to shopping for supplies and groceries
- Overnight parking policies may vary by location; always check with the store management
- Membership required for shopping, though not always for parking
- May be noisy or crowded during store operating hours
7. Camping World:
As an RV retailer, Camping World often provides overnight parking for RVs and campers. Check with the specific location to confirm availability.
RVers who want to combine overnight parking with RV shopping or services.
As an RV retailer, Camping World often provides overnight parking for RVs and campers. They may offer access to some RV-related services and products on-site.
Limited number of locations, and overnight parking may not be available at all Camping World stores
8. Love’s Travel Stops:
Loves Travel Stops cater to truckers, RVers, and campers, and often provide designated overnight parking areas. However, space may be limited, so it’s a good idea to call ahead.
Travelers who prioritize access to fuel, restrooms, and other amenities while on the road.
Loves Travel Stops cater to truckers, RVers, and campers, providing designated overnight parking areas, fuel, and convenience stores. Restrooms and shower facilities are available 24/7.
Can be noisy due to truck traffic and might have limited RV parking spaces.
9. Pilot Flying J:
Many Pilot Flying J travel centers offer overnight parking for RVs and campers, though space may be limited. They also have an RV Plus Card program and a mobile app, which can help you find RV-friendly locations.
RVers who value access to fuel, restrooms, and other amenities and don’t mind the noise from truck traffic.
Many Pilot Flying J travel centers offer overnight parking for RVs and campers. They have fuel, convenience stores, and 24/7 restrooms and shower facilities. The RV Plus Card program and mobile app can help you find RV-friendly locations.
Can be noisy due to truck traffic and might have limited RV parking spaces.
10. Rest Areas:
Some rest areas along highways permit overnight parking, but this varies by state. Check local regulations before planning to stay overnight at a rest area.
Travelers who need a quick and convenient place to rest while on the road and don’t require additional amenities.
Rest areas along highways offer convenient locations for a quick overnight stop. They typically have restrooms, picnic areas, and sometimes even dump stations.
Overnight parking policies vary by state, and rest areas can be noisy due to highway traffic. They usually don’t have hookups or other amenities.
Some casinos allow overnight parking for RVs and campers, especially if you’re a patron. Always check with the specific casino for their policy.
Travelers who enjoy casino entertainment or dining and are looking for a different overnight parking option that might offer more security than rest areas or truck stops.
Some casinos allow overnight parking for RVs and campers, particularly if you’re a patron. They may offer a more relaxed and secure parking environment compared to rest areas or truck stops. Casinos often have restaurants, entertainment, and restrooms available during operating hours.
Not all casinos allow overnight parking, and some may require you to be a customer. Noise levels and available amenities can vary by location. Casino parking lots may not be as quiet as other options.
When choosing an overnight parking option, consider factors such as safety, noise levels, access to amenities, and local regulations. It’s essential to call ahead or check with the specific location to confirm overnight parking policies and availability. By evaluating each option’s pros and cons, you can select the most suitable overnight parking location for your needs and preferences.
Please note that even if a store or location typically allows overnight parking, it’s crucial to be courteous, respectful, and follow any posted rules or guidelines. Remember to ask for permission, park in designated areas, and leave the area clean when you depart.
Where to Look to Find Locations With Overnight Parking Near You:
1. Check Official Websites:
Visit the official website of each chain (e.g., Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Camping World, Loves Travel Stops, Pilot Flying J) and use their store locator feature to find nearby locations.
2. Mobile apps:
Many of these chains have mobile apps that can help you locate their stores and services. For example, Pilot Flying J has a mobile app called “myPilot” that helps you find their travel centers.
3. Google Maps:
You can use Google Maps to search for specific stores or locations by entering the store name (e.g., “Walmart” or “Cracker Barrel”) and your current location.
AllStays is a website and app that provides information on various camping options, including overnight parking locations for campers and travelers. Visit their website at https://www.allstays.com/ or download the AllStays Camp & RV app.
iOverlander is another website and app that can help you find overnight parking spots, campgrounds, and other services for campers and travelers. Visit their website at http://ioverlander.com/ or download the iOverlander app.
FreeCampsites.net is a website that provides information on free and low-cost campsites, including some locations that allow overnight parking. Visit their website at https://freecampsites.net/.
Campendium is a website and app that offers campground and RV park reviews, photos, and information, including some overnight parking options. Visit their website at https://www.campendium.com/ or download the Campendium app.
Please note that while these resources can help you find locations, it’s always a good idea to call the specific store or check local laws to confirm overnight parking availability and rules.
What to consider when choosing an overnight parking location:
When choosing a parking lot to stay overnight at, consider the following factors to ensure a safe and comfortable experience:
- Permission: Always make sure overnight parking is allowed at the specific location you’re considering. You may need to ask for permission from the store or property management.
- Safety: Look for well-lit parking lots with security cameras or security personnel. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts when it comes to choosing a safe location.
- Noise: Consider the noise levels in the area. Parking lots near busy roads, highways, or commercial areas might be noisier than those in quieter locations. Some parking lots, such as those at truck stops, may have more noise from idling engines or other vehicles.
- Proximity to amenities: Choose a parking lot with easy access to restrooms, food, and other necessities. This could be particularly important if you’re staying overnight at a location where facilities are only available during specific hours.
- Size and space: Look for parking lots with ample space for your vehicle, and park in designated areas if available. Make sure you’re not obstructing traffic or taking up multiple spots.
- Local regulations: Be aware of local ordinances and laws regarding overnight parking. Some cities or towns may have restrictions, even if the specific location typically allows overnight stays.
- Privacy: Consider the level of privacy you desire when choosing a parking lot. Some lots may offer more privacy than others, depending on factors like landscaping, the layout of the lot, and the number of other vehicles present.
- Time of arrival: Plan your arrival time to secure a good spot. Keep in mind that popular overnight parking locations may fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons.
- Length of stay: Overnight parking in parking lots is generally intended for short-term stays (one or two nights). For longer stays, consider staying at a campground or RV park instead.
- Etiquette: Be respectful of the businesses and other patrons at the location. Keep noise levels low, don’t leave trash behind, and avoid setting up outdoor furniture or grills.
Taking these factors into account when choosing an overnight parking location will help ensure a more pleasant and safe experience for you and your fellow travelers.
What amenities are offered at overnight parking locations?
Most overnight parking locations offer limited amenities, but some may provide basic facilities to make your stay more comfortable. These amenities can include:
- Restrooms: Many locations, such as Walmart, Cracker Barrel, or truck stops, have restrooms available during their operating hours. Rest areas typically have 24/7 restroom access.
- Food and beverages: Stores like Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and truck stops usually have food and beverages available for purchase during their operating hours.
- Designated parking spaces: Some locations, such as Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, and Bass Pro Shops, may have designated RV or camper parking spaces.
- Fuel: Travel centers and truck stops like Loves Travel Stops and Pilot Flying J offer fuel services.
- Dump stations and water access: Some overnight parking locations, like Cabela’s or Camping World, might offer dump stations and potable water access for RVs and campers.
- Security: Many overnight parking locations have security measures, such as security cameras or well-lit parking lots.
Important things to always have on hand when staying overnight in a parking lot:
Amenities can vary greatly between locations, and not all overnight parking lots offer these facilities. It’s essential to be prepared and carry some necessary items with you:
- Portable toilet: If restrooms are not available or closed during non-operating hours, having a portable toilet can be handy.
- Food and water: Keep enough food and water on hand for emergencies or in case nearby facilities are closed.
- First aid kit: Always carry a well-stocked first aid kit for any minor injuries or medical issues.
- Flashlights and extra batteries: In case you need to navigate around the parking area in the dark or during power outages.
- Warm clothing and blankets: For cold nights or if your heating system fails.
- Basic tools and spare parts: Carry essential tools and spare parts for your vehicle in case of breakdowns or minor repairs.
- Emergency phone numbers and contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts and phone numbers for local authorities, roadside assistance, and towing services.
- Waste disposal bags: Have waste disposal bags on hand to clean up any trash and leave the parking area in good condition.
- Personal safety items: Carry items like pepper spray, a whistle, or a personal alarm for added security.
Being prepared with these essential items can make your overnight parking experience safer and more comfortable, regardless of the available amenities at each location.
Q: Is overnight parking always free at these locations?
A: While many of the listed locations offer free overnight parking, it’s essential to check with the specific store or location, as some may charge a fee or require you to be a patron.
Q: Are there any rules or etiquette I should follow when using overnight parking?
A: Always ask for permission, park in designated areas, and be respectful of the business and other patrons. Keep noise levels low, don’t leave trash behind, and avoid setting up outdoor furniture or grills.
Q: Can I stay multiple nights in a row at these overnight parking locations?
A: Overnight parking is typically intended for short-term stays (one or two nights). If you plan to stay longer, it’s best to check with the specific location and consider staying at a campground or RV park instead.
Q: Are there any safety concerns with overnight parking at these locations?
A: While many locations have security measures in place (e.g., security cameras, well-lit parking lots), it’s important to be vigilant and take precautions. Lock your vehicle, keep valuables out of sight, and be aware of your surroundings.
Q: Can I run a generator while parked overnight at these locations?
A: Policies regarding generator use vary by location. It’s essential to check with the specific store or location and be respectful of any rules they have in place. Additionally, be considerate of other overnight guests by keeping noise levels low.
Q: Are there any resources to help me find overnight parking locations?
A: Websites and apps like AllStays, iOverlander, FreeCampsites.net, and Campendium can help you find overnight parking options, campgrounds, and RV parks. Official websites and mobile apps of specific chains (e.g., Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Pilot Flying J) can also be helpful.
Q: Do I need to worry about local ordinances or laws regarding overnight parking?
A: Local ordinances can sometimes prohibit overnight parking, even at locations that typically allow it. It’s essential to check local laws and confirm with the specific location before staying overnight.
Remember, it’s crucial to be courteous and respectful when using overnight parking locations. Always ask for permission, follow posted rules, and leave the area clean when you depart.