Thursday, November 30, 2023


Have you spent a free night in a parking lot with your RV in the last year?

How often do you spend a night in some place other than a traditional campground or RV park? Is it routine for you, or only on rare occasions when you can’t find an official campground or RV park to stay? Or maybe you don’t feel like tossing away $40 just to park and go to sleep for the night.

The most famous free “campground” is Walmart, where most stores will permit you to stay overnight in a self-contained RV in an out-of-the-way spot in their parking lot.

Let’s keep today’s poll simple and just ask you if you have spent a free night in the last year in a parking lot of one kind or another.

Remember, the poll can sometimes take a few moments to load, so stand by. It will be right along.

RV Travel
RV Travel
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Steve (@guest_211253)
1 year ago

We’ve used Cracker Barrel on many trips. We have also stopped at casinos. Always eat at Cracker Barrel and we always ask. Never been turned down.

Mary Masters (@guest_210719)
1 year ago

I recently drove from NJ to Florida and back and stayed at Cracker Barrel both ways. It’s great! I go in and order dinner, come out and get the dog and cat out of my truck and situated in the camper. Then I pick up my dinner and head back to the camper to eat and then sleep. I’m on the road early the next morning.

John (@guest_210713)
1 year ago

Costco & Walmart mostly. But we stayed at a rest area on I-40 in TX, that was great. It’s off the highway and not many people go there, so it was very quiet.

Chris P. Bacon (@guest_210705)
1 year ago

Many, many times. Especially Cracker Barrel. We pull in around dinner time, enjoy a nice meal, and in the morning the coffee’s already brewed!

Thomas (@guest_210665)
1 year ago

I-80 truckstop in Iowa. They have an area for RVs separate from the truck parking.

It has been our first overnight for several years on our way to visit by brother.

Carol (@guest_210647)
1 year ago

Most recent was at Cabelas. I’ve done mostly Cracker Barrel but also Walmart, rest areas, truck stops and even Lowes. I’m normally in late and out early and don’t see a reason to pay for a spot when I’m totally self-contained. I do patronize at least Cracker Barrel!!

Leslie Smith (@guest_210619)
1 year ago

More times than I can count. Also, I have found some very nice turnouts and dispersed camping spots.

Andrea (@guest_210610)
1 year ago

No, we have not stayed in a parking lot, and short of an absolute emergency, would not. We are not full-timers, we plan our trips, and know how far we travel in a day, so make reservations. It’s difficult enough to relax after a day of driving in a campground, let alone in a parking lot with traffic and security issues.
There isn’t a parking lot, Walmart, Cracker Barrel, or Cabela’s in our city that I’d stay at (not allowed by city regs here, but it happens anyway). I figure I don’t know the crime areas in other places.

Neal Davis (@guest_210604)
1 year ago

It was just outside a year ago that we over-nighted in a Cracker Barrel parking lot. That was the third time to take advantage of a store manager’s kindness and generosity. Walmarts are unappealing, given the volume of traffic they attract, but Cracker Barrels seem much quieter (unfortunately they also receive deliveries in the vicinity of 5 AM, so avoid parking near the delivery area). Some try to visit the 48 contiguous states, but we are shooting for over-nighting in a Cracket Barrel in each of the lower-48 states. 😉

M D-B (@guest_210597)
1 year ago

Wally World and Cabellas. Would like to try Harvest Hosts but don’t want to drive far from the interstate.

Greg (@guest_210586)
1 year ago

Twice at Wal Marts in Canada during a recent three month trip. In Port Hacksbury, New Brunswick after leaving Newfoundland to get ahead of Hurricane Fiona. Then, in Amherst, Nova Scotia (after Fiona.) It was late and raining in both locations and the store managers had no problem with us staying the night. We slept well and purchased groceries at both stores. Thank you Wal Mart!

Frank Niehius (@guest_210583)
1 year ago

Haven’t heard people say they have but we have stayed in parking lots of med facilities like dental, eye specialist so we would be able to make the early appt. The first was in Phx because we weren’t familiar with area and not sure where it was located we drove there in evening after hrs and found the place and used a back row so we were there in the morning. Have done it several times even at home. A appt was an hr away and were getting ready to leave for a trip the next day so we parked for the night in their parking lot. They’re always empty at night.

DONALD BIANCONE (@guest_210578)
1 year ago

Yes, only at casinos, but don’t really consider them free, usually cost me money!

Matt Colie (@guest_210571)
1 year ago

We have been travelers for lots of year (long before buying this coach), now we have no reason at all to pay for a flat place to sleep. This coach even with its advanced age, was built to be self contained. Even before having 28 years of scrimping and saving for retirement confiscated by the then administration, I never saw any sense in paying for something I did not need or want.

Leonard Rempel (@guest_210569)
1 year ago

No parking lot, but plenty of overnight free spots! Campendium is fantastic for finding these spots. Walmart? Ugh.

Coach (@guest_210562)
1 year ago

90 percent of our travels we stay at CB, WM, BLM, rest areas, or other areas that have been vetted by other travelers (or Harvest Hosts). There are great apps which have info on places to stay. Why spend $40-100 a night for power and sewer we don’t need? We only need to stay at a campground maybe once a week when we can dump our tanks and do laundry. Our rig has a great power system that allows us to dry camp/boondock with ease.

Bonnie (@guest_210559)
1 year ago

Cracker Barrel is our preferred overnight. However we tend to spend at least as much as we would at a campground as we may eat dinner and breakfast lol

Skip (@guest_210550)
1 year ago

Nope never within the last year or any year. I just don’t do it.

TScott (@guest_210545)
1 year ago

I don’t know if this counts but, yes, at a camping world. We had an appointment to get a service done and got there a day early. Other than that, no.

Deena Jones (@guest_210537)
1 year ago

No, we have not, and will not stay in a parking lot or rest area. When we travel, I know we are going to travel approximately 400 miles a day, so I book a reservation ahead of time for one night in an RV park.

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