Friday, June 2, 2023


RVers desperate for more places to stay

A week ago today, in our readers’ poll, we asked: “Would you pay $20 to stay overnight in a Cabela’s parking lot if there was an electrical hookup?”

It’s not that Cabela’s has ever even hinted it was planning to offer such a service. We just wondered what would happen if it did. A few weeks earlier we wrote about Love’s new RV parks at its travel centers. They offer a clean, level, dedicated pad where RVers can spend a night or sometimes longer with a full hookup for about $36 on average. The response to that article was through the roof: It attracted almost 200,000 views from readers! That’s many times more than our typical popular story.

What we gathered by reading between the lines was that our readers are increasingly desperate about finding places to stay.

But back to the poll about a $20 a night stay at Cabela’s. As of yesterday afternoon, about a week after the poll was posted, more than 11,500 of you voted, with a whopping 93 percent saying “yes,” you would stay. Our typical poll draws about 1,500 to 2,500 responses. In other words, that poll was a grand slam!

Every Saturday, Nanci Dixon’s column about campground crowding is among our most popular weekly features. In it, readers discuss their troubles finding places to stay with their RVs. And, judging from the volume of the email she receives, the concern is growing. Read today’s column here.

RV manufacturers will continue to produce and sell as many RVs as they can. It’s what they do. What buyers do after the sale is not important to them. Oh, they give lip service to caring, but, no, it’s sales that matter.

With our ever-growing audience, we’ll continue to put pressure on RV makers to use their money and power to facilitate more campgrounds, RV parks and other places to stay. It must happen.


Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


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28 days ago

Ditch the RV and it becomes incredibly easy to find a place to stay…

30 days ago

If zoning laws allow it. If they gave it for free and a $10 gift card whatever store it was would make a ton of money. The free Walmart stay makes Walmart over $100 per day per stay. All they have to due is open up a specific area in the back of the store with rv camping stuff and bang profits would go through the roof. But people in marketing care more about the 10% (bud light) then they have smarts.

1 month ago

20 bucks a night is too cheap cabelas can’t make any money charge more like 60 bucks a night

1 month ago

I agree with Warren’s commemt below about who is and isnt responsible. Yes, lets also make car manufacturers responsible for the condition of the roads while were at it!

I feel like there are some odd conclusions made in this article. I don’t know how you attribute number of views to people being desperate to find places to stay. Or maybe I read that bit wrong.

Also agree with Sam. We like nice places so we’re willing to pay for that. And agree with Curt. We have a full self contained set up with just 2 Lithiums but those serve us very well.

We’ve been full time for 2.5 years and have not had any problem finding places to stay. And we’ve got a big setup! We also do campground reviews to give a “Big Rig Friendly’ rating from our perspective. We’ve even made a few fairly last minute pivots and have not had any issues.

Appreciate knowing about what may be possible at Cabellas!

David Dewitt
1 month ago

I recently read an article about how the big cities and various places are busting their butts to make gender neutral restrooms available to the public. They are looking for public input. You know and I know this is all so much crap. But it would be good if we all demanded that cities would have a couple of shower stalls available for “our gender”. Just a thought.

warren trout
1 month ago

I don’t see why it’s the manufacturers job to make RV parks. We don’t hold car manufacturers responsible for making parking lots.

Sounds like a job for people who want to make money! Problem is the government will fight you every step of the way

1 month ago

I don’t know about really low cost pads, I tend to pick places with higher rates just eliminate certain crowds. I know that sounds rough…but

Curt Gibson
1 month ago

RV’s now have solar, batteries, inverters, wifi antenna, lots of water tanks, and just need a safe place to park. I do not need hookups. I’d be very happy to pay.

Last edited 1 month ago by Curt Gibson
1 month ago

I imagine there will not be too many low cost overnight spots for RV travel because of zoning laws. It is not as simple as equipping parking lots with 12,000-watt power outlets any more than installing EV chargers. However, as needs arise, there will be enraptures to fill them.

Henry Dorn
1 month ago

Members of Boondocker’s Welcome, can sign up to become “hosts” and offer their property for free overnight camping. That’s one alternative for “facilitating other places to stay” as your article passionately calls for.

Travelers need to be self-contained, but sometimes can get electricity and water from their hosts.

To me, making space on one’s property for free camping is a revolutionary concept in our modern age-where everything seems to be monetized.

Sharing your property with fellow travelers isn’t normally done, but it engenders goodwill and gratitude among fellow travelers.

As a host myself near Tacoma, Wa, I’ve noticed that all our guests have been 5-star rated and I have rated each of them 5-stars myself.

But, novel as the concept of a property owner offering free camping is, I cannot help but notice there remains a need for far more hosts all across America.

Last edited 1 month ago by Henry Dorn
Neal Davis
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Dorn

We began hosting a Boondockers Welcome site in March 2020 because many parks and campgrounds closed, leaving full-timers with few choices. We continue to host despite an acrimonious relationship with Harvest Hosts. We have had, with one slight exception, only excellent guests in these three years. We so enjoy meeting our guests and usually getting to know them a bit. We do offer power (30 amp) and water at a suggested donation of $5/night. Our site, Davis Farm, is near I-75 and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1 month ago

We regularly travel to Florida one year and the South West the other for the winter. We got tired of trying to find a nice park that is not far from the Atlantic or Gulf and close to bike trails. After inquiring at many RV parks that had extensive waiting lists we finally said enough. I never thought we do it however we ended up purchasing a lot in a neighboring state. Yes it will be a little cooler, yes there is a huge up front cost, POA, taxes, and insurance to pay. Now we are a mile from a dog friendly beach that I can ride my bike pulling a trailer with chairs and the dog behind, 50-60 miles of bike trails many with great restaurants along the way, and the biggest benefit less traffic and crowding in the winter.

1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Can you share location or just the state?

Rolling Coal
1 month ago

Generally, our need/desire for free overnight boondocking stops is when traveling to and from our winter destinations. After many hours of research, I’ve found about a half dozen locations along our routes; we’ve used a couple and keep a couple for back up. Normally, I’d gladly share any RV related information but with the ever increasing issues caused by those who abuse big box store and highway rest area parking, my overnight spots have become a closely guarded secret!

1 month ago

Regarding overnite stays, Walmart just announced they will be remodeling some of their parking lots to make way for electric car charging. If anything, this may make finding a spot there for RVs a little harder.

25 days ago
Reply to  Ray

I See Everyone talking about Walmart. Not in Northeast PA. They started Banning. Semi Trucks. And Rv.s. Glad to hear other states are still Ok.

Francie Mendes
1 month ago

My complaint is cost. We have kids who live in Billings Montana. In Billings there is only two RV parks. To stay at one costs $3,000 a monthly. Parking RV on grass, no nice patios, teeny tiny swimming pool, and an old playground. The other is beautiful with concrete sites, beautiful patios, miniature golf, nice size pool, and a really nice playground. However, the cost is $3,500 a month. These prices are outrageous. We’re at the point that we can only stay about two weeks because of the cost.

1 month ago

I answered “yes” to the Cabelas poll because there is a dire need for cheap OVERNIGHT parking accommodations. While I would gladly pay $20/night for a quiet, safe site with an electrical hookup, it would be solely for the purpose of getting from point A to point B.
I can’t imagine spending a week in a parking lot, no matter how inexpensive.
Ohio does this well, along their turnpike.

Steve H
1 month ago

My thought about these constant complaints of the lack of campsites is the same as Horace Greeley’s advice in the mid-19th century: “Go West, young man.” We have had no trouble finding campsites, even during the pandemic. But, then we live in Colorado and camp in the interior West, not in Florida, New York, or California. There are so many places to camp in our region, exclusive of private RV parks, that we never have problems finding a campsite. There are so many vacancies in USFS, BLM, state, county, and city park, and dispersed campsites that we never have to reserve a campsite until we are leaving on an extended RV trip. But we don’t want to pay for swimming pools, clubhouses, saunas, community fire pits, flush toilets, showers, or any other “amenities” except water and a dump. That’s why we have a self-contained RV!

The Stromboli
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve H

Hey Steve, u are correct, stay west of the Mississippi. No RVing for me though, I’m full time in a commercial looking 25ft self contained rig. These days I feel sorry for RVing folks and the anxiety of trying to navigate this campsite situation. I spend most of my time in small cities along the west coast. Being out in the middle of nowhere on BLM land is not for me. Haven’t spent a dime on campsites in the last 5 yrs. ✌️

JAY Dees
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve H

Problem with Colorado is there are 0 free dumping stations, like there are in other states. It’s the RV bums that leave a huge mess that ruin it for those who just need a place to park overnight due to being tired of driving, and have ruined parking at walMarts. Nobody will ever offer 20.00 overnight parking because it attracts the most unsavory of RV’ers who will destroy the opportunity. We need a national effort to provide overnight parking to those who must pay for leaving messes. Through a National registration system that enforces when an RV owner is negligent. AAA should be part of the requirement, and the states must provide a safe place to park overnight with police watching these places to keep the peace, and catch criminals who may use these places to move about and victimize others who play by the rules.

28 days ago
Reply to  JAY Dees

And who exactly is going to pay for this national registration system??

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