Can you live in an RV in NYC?

In this article, we will explain: Can you live in an RV in NYC? We will tell you how and where to park your RV in NYC and share with you a few secrets on how to live full-time in an RV park.

Can you live in an RV in NYC?

While there is no law prohibiting full-time living in an RV in NYC, you will find it quite difficult to find a parking spot large enough for your RV, as parking in NYC can be a nightmare sometimes! Besides, there are other rules you must comply with.

For  example, the following RVs are not allowed on any New York State Parkways:

  • RVs over 5,500 pounds;
  • RVs that use combined plates;
  • Carrying rooftop cargo;
  • Moving vans or trailers. 

Moreover, NYC law doesn’t allow RVs to park in a city space for more than 24 hours, and you are not allowed to lay down cables and plug in your RV to an external electric source. 

Your best shot would be parking long term at an RV park. Even so, campsites do not allow someone to live there for more than 11 months. See below the costs for living in an NYC campground:

NYC CampsitePrice/night
Liberty Harbor RV Park$55
Sun Air Campground$20
Camp Nyoda$230
Fla-Net Park$50
Pine Haven Campground Resort$109
Pine Cone Resort$46

How and where to park your RV in New York

Parking and spending the night with an RV  in New York may seem unthinkable, but following our advice, it will surely be easier for you.

The first option is to go to a motorhome campsite or RV Park. The closest is Liberty Harbor, in New Jersey, but the price seems exorbitant to us. If you don’t have a liquidity problem, this is your place, but if you prefer to save a little money there are much cheaper options.

The closest affordable RV Park near New York is the Floyd Bennett Campground, located just outside of Brooklyn. It is relatively well connected by bus + metro 24h and the prices are affordable.

Now, if what you want is not to spend money —and not pay fines — and be in the middle of the city, we also know how to do it.

The first thing you have to know is that it is forbidden to park in front of a fire station. You will most likely wake up with a ticket on your windshield.

Another thing to keep in mind is that in most of the streets where you can park there are signs indicating which days of the week cleaning services will be carried out and therefore the street must be free of cars. 

For example, it can be indicated that it is not possible to park on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 am to 12 pm. If you park your vehicle and want to leave it for a long time, sooner or later you will have to move it or you will be fined. 

How to live in an RV park all year round

As we mentioned above, most RV parks only allow living 11 months/year. However, there is a way to live in an NYC  RV park all year round. The simplest and most used method is changing the name on the contracts. 

Many people live the whole year in the same campsite changing the name of the rental contract of the plot every six months (or the maximum that the law allows), as long as they are registered in a house, which of course is only possible outside from the campsite.

The second option is to live on a private campsite.

Another option is offered by private campsites, where members can enjoy the facilities for the payment of an annual fee that includes taxes and general expenses. At the same time, electricity and gas are charged according to meter consumption by distributors.

The third option is to live in various campsites throughout the year.

Another option valued by those who have vehicles that allow them to move with all their possessions or who live permanently in a habitable recreational vehicle (home vehicle) or camper vehicle.

Fourth option: Buy your piece of land. On it, you could install a caravan, but I warn you that it is not so easy because, for example, each terrain has its specific use.

If your plot is not buildable, you cannot put a house whatever the modality is: conventional, wooden, prefabricated, mobile, with wheels, without wheels. 

The building or using some type of house on non-buildable land permanently can lead to coercive fines with high amounts and, even, in the most extreme cases, jail sentences. 

The Rustic Land Law determines that except in the areas expressly enabled to do so (prior license) by the general planning instrument, the management of rural land “will prohibit the provision on the lands thus classified of caravans or other mobile elements that may be habitable”.

If it is out of necessity, we have the last alternative. It proves that you live permanently in a motorhome, which can be any of the recreational vehicles; camper, RV, caravan or a van. However, for this to happen, this vehicle cannot be your primary means of transportation.

Thus, the sixth option is to live a nomadic life.

Living a nomadic life means living without settling in a particular place. In these cases, the chances of having a problem with the authorities are reduced. You can live moving around your province or the country. 

The authorities will treat you like any other traveller, and you will not have coexistence problems. You can even order food “at home”.

Tips: change overnight areas every three or four days or be discreet and find a secluded place where you are not annoying to anyone. Remember that you must always have a “home address”, usually the home of your parents, relatives or friends.

The bottom line

In New York, it is better not to drive around town with your RV. Either way, you won’t find RV parking so easy. The best is to spend the night in one of these two RV Parks (camping) located near the city and offering a shuttle service:

  1. Liberty Harbor: Located not far from the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Harbor RV Park is the closest to downtown. It also offers a beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty.

However, you should not expect a 5-star campsite. It looks more like a parking lot but it is the most convenient for visiting the city. Shuttle service to the city centre is offered from the campsite.

  1. Cheesequake State Park: More natural and more beautiful than Liberty Harbor but further away (1-hour drive), the Cheesequake State Park campground is not far from train and bus services to downtown New York.

Please let us know if you have long-term recommendations for RV parking in NY, or if you have any questions for us!

FAQ on Can you live in an RV in NYC?

Can you live in an RV for 12 months?

Legally you cannot live in an RV for 12 months, as most RV parks only allow between six and 11 months, intended for holiday use only. 

Can I live in a caravan on my land?

You can live in a caravan on your land, but there are a few rules to follow. Caravans and motorhomes can remain on the grounds of a primary residence, but only between uses. They must in no case lose their mobile nature. Otherwise, they will be considered as a fixed installation by the municipality.

Can I put an RV in my garden?

You can install your RV in your garden without authorisation if you are not using it as a home or as an annexe to your home. The RV must permanently retain its means of mobility (wheels, drawbar, etc.) to leave its location at any time.


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