Where Can I Park my RV for Free?

When you think of RV camping, you probably think of pulling into a campground or RV park and hooking up to water and electricity. This is a great way to go, but it costs money. If you’re looking for a quick overnight stay or you want to take a trip on a budget, you might be better served by the many free RV camping options out there. 

That’s right, there are actually plenty of places where you can park your RV overnight and enjoy a good night’s rest without spending a single dime. That said, you have to know where to look in order to find these free RV parking options. 

In today’s article, we’re going to help you save on your next RV getaway by clueing you in to where you can park your RV for free!

Free Parking Lot Camping

First on our list is parking lot camping. Despite the term we used, parking lot camping is not meant to be true camping. You won’t be breaking out the grill and setting up your camp chairs in the middle of the parking lot. Instead, parking lot camping is intended to be for quick overnight stays, and it is absolutely perfect for that. 

Before camping in a parking lot, you want to make sure you get the store manager’s permission to stay overnight. If you get the go-ahead, be sure to park out of the way. Only put slides out if you’re sure they won’t impede traffic. Never put out awnings or set up outdoor items such as grills and tents.

Additionally, it’s good practice to shop at the store or eat at the restaurant in order to support their business. Always be sure to clean up after yourself before you head out the next day. Avoid staying more than one night in a parking lot.

Some parking lots that will often allow RVs to stay overnight include: Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, Camping World, Casinos, and Some rest areas (laws vary by state.)

RV Parking Lot

There’s many different stores and businesses that will let you park there for free for a short period of time.

A new RV parking option: Moochdocking

If you’re looking for a longer stay but want to free RV parking, moochdocking might be a good solution. A combination of the words “mooch” and “boondocking,” the term “moochdocking”  means camping on a person’s private property (with permission, of course). This could be in a person’s driveway, in their yard, or on another piece of land that they own. 

Generally, moochdocking involves dry camping (i.e. camping without any hookups), but occasionally a host might offer a power outlet (be sure to carry a 20-amp adapter!) or a water hose for you to use. Be sure to be respectful and use them sparingly and offer payment in exchange for the resources.


Camping on a person’s private property with permission. This could be in a person’s driveway, in their yard, or on another piece of land that they own.


Your host may also offer things like dumpster use, Wi-Fi, and even dumping into their septic tank. In all cases, be sure to be respectful, and never, ever use these things without permission. 

There are some other unspoken rules to keep in mind when moochdocking. These include: keeping quiet late at night and early in the morning, respecting your host’s privacy, and making sure you don’t overstay your welcome by setting a length of time you’ll stay before you arrive and sticking to it. 

Usually, people find moochdocking opportunities by asking friends and family. That said, it is also possible to find moochdocking spots in RVing and camping groups on social media. Check out Free Campsites website, and memberships such as Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome

RV Park Camp

Traditional boondocking is a great parking choice.


Next on our list is the option of traditional boondocking. This is the best option for long camping trips and for getting the true camping experience. It’s also the better option for those who prefer privacy over company and therefore would like to avoid moochdocking. 

When boondocking, it is incredibly important that you respect the land, local wildlife, and any camping neighbors you may have. Generally, if you keep these things in mind, the unspoken rules are pretty easy to figure out. They include things like keeping quiet late at night and early in the morning (turn that generator off!), putting campfires all the way out and avoiding them entirely during burn bans, cleaning up your trash, and never dumping tanks on the ground.

Remember, we want to keep these boondocking spots open for future generations to enjoy!

As far as finding boondocking spots goes, we recommend using websites such as Campendium, Free Campsites, and RV Life Campgrounds to seek out suitable free camping spots on BLM Land, National Forest Service Land, and other government-owned lands. You might also find some free (or very low-cost) dry camping in certain city and state parks.

Free RV Campground Parking

Finally, we must mention the free campgrounds out there as a valid option when it comes to free RV parking. Though these are few and far between, they do exist. Free campgrounds can be excellent places to stop for a break from boondocking or to break up a long drive. 

Most free campgrounds are in city-run parks, and the vast majority of them are located in very small towns that are looking to attract visitors. All free campgrounds that we have come across have a stay limit (usually 1–7 nights), but some allow slightly longer stays for a fee. We have found free campgrounds with full hookups, but most offer partial hookups or dry camping with amenities such as trash cans, restrooms, and/or a dump station. 

Obviously, it is important to follow any posted rules when visiting a free campground. If no rules are posted, the rules of boondocking should apply at the very least. Additionally, it’s a good idea to leave some type of a donation if there is a place to do so. It’s also great to do some shopping or eating out while in town in order to support the local economy. 

Free campgrounds can be found on the websites mentioned above: Campendium, Free Campsites, and RV Life Campgrounds. We recommend checking all three in order to ensure you see all of your options when planning your next trip.

Want to Learn More about Boondocking?

About Chelsea Gonzales

Chelsea Gonzales has been living in an RV and traveling with her family for 7 years now. She road schools her two children, using various travel experiences as lessons in history, science, geography, and more. During their time on the road, the Gonzales family has had the pleasure of touring the 48 contiguous United States as well as parts of Canada. They have learned a lot along the way and Chelsea is happy to share some of that knowledge through her writing.