Monday, September 25, 2023


Free and cheap places to stay in an RV, Issue 971

Free and inexpensive places to stay with your RV in the U.S. and Canada!

Updated weekly

When it comes to free places to stay a night in an RV, Walmart is the best bet. We estimate that about 60 percent of all its stores in the USA allow stays in self-contained RVs.

Other businesses that allow free overnight stays include Flying J Travel Centers, Cabela’s, Cracker Barrel restaurants (official policy is overnight stays are NOT permitted although most stores allow the practice), Costco and Kmart. Many RVers routinely stay in shopping center or factory outlet parking lots. Many casinos allow or even encourage overnight stays in RVs.

Recent reports of free and inexpensive places to stay with an RV:


Geronimo Historical Marker Turnout, Fort Thomas, AZ
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. The state of AZ allows overnight RV parking in rest areas, turnouts, etc. Camping, however, is not allowed. Unpaved turnout is not separated from hwy.; fairly wide and about 1000 ft. long. Level, unlit, and should be safe and quiet at night. Park without obstructing access to the historical marker at NW end of the turnout. No amenities other than the marker. Click here for details

Fort Meade Rec Area, Alkali Creek Trailhead, Sturgis, SD
FREE! Overnight parking and camping are allowed. Horse Camp has 6 back-in RV sites on gravel. No hookups, vault toilets, central potable water fill station available May 15 – Sept. 30. Generators allowed 8 AM – 10 PM. Dry camping also allowed in the parking area for trailhead and picnic area; don’t obstruct movement by other vehicles or access to any facilities. Level, unlit, appears safe, with possible faint I-90 traffic noise. Open all year, but closed for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. No reservations. Maximum stay: 14 days, then must depart for at least 3 days. 2020 rate: $6/night ($3 with Federal Senior Pass) from May 15 – Sept. 30; free the rest of the year. Click here for details

Overnight RV Parking, with more than 14,000 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about

Two excellent guides to free campgrounds
Roundabout Publications has teamed up with the Ultimate Public Campground Project on these two new guides. Discover thousands of designated camping areas in the West and in America’s Heartland – real places – not big box store parking lots. Included are areas managed by various governmental agencies. Learn more about the West edition or Heartland edition.

And this guidebook should be an essential resource for RVers who boondock on public lands: Bureau of Land Management Camping.

From Facebook user Donna Evans on our Free Campgrounds Facebook group: “Rocky Springs Campground on the Natchez Trace is free. It’s between Vicksburg and Natchez. Go to and search Mississippi parks, Natchez Trace Parkway.”

From Facebook user Gary Pratt Jr. on our Outstanding but affordable RV parks Facebook group: “We have enjoyed Raccoon Valley Campground in Heiskell, TN. No frills but a good inexpensive park.”

Please join us in our Facebook groups, Outstanding but affordable RV parks, and Free Campgrounds.

See last week’s free (or almost free) locations here.

Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations
Overnight RV Parking: More than 14,000 location listings. Inexpensive membership required.
Harvest Hosts: Members can stay free overnight at farms & wineries.


Here’s Pilot Flying J’s directory of locations that allow free overnight RV parking, plus info on fuel discounts, propane and dump stations.

AFFILIATE OFFER: Save 10% on campground fees when you join the Good Sam Club!

Helpful videos
• Video: Where to camp for free in an RV.
• Video: How to camp in an RV at Walmart for free.
• Video: Best source of free and inexpensive RV camping.
• Video: Which “Big Box” stores allow free RV camping?
• Video: RV camping for less than $1 a day. Stay months.
• Video: Okay to stay overnight at truck stops?
• Video: Camping at Elk Lodges. An amazing bargain.

Walmart Free RV Parking

Walmart’s official policy about overnight stays in RVs.
The ABCs of “camping” at Walmart.

Good Reading
RV park owners say “Walmart campers are cheapskates.”
The appeal of boondocking in the desert.
Articles and information from about boondocking.
Six safety tips for overnight RV stays at casinos.
Free camping at wildlife refuges.
Why overnight RV parking at truck stops is a bad idea.
Try winter boondocking at LTVAs in AZ and CA deserts.

Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.



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