In this article, we will answer the following question: Can you park a campervan anywhere in the USA? We will explain where you can and where you cannot park a campervan in the USA.
Can you park a campervan anywhere in the USA?
No, you cannot park a campervan anywhere in the USA. You can park a campervan just like a car. By parking is meant to park your vehicle on its four tires, for one day or one night. And you have the right to stay inside the vehicle. But be careful not to show signs of camping!
The places where you can legally park a campervan in the USA are:
- Truck stops;
- National and State Parks;
- RV Parks;
- BLM lands;
- National Forests;
- City streets;
- Private property.
As with the rules of the road in the United States, there are also restrictions when parking your RV. Normally you will find places for the parking of motorhomes or large vehicles, but where you will find the most problems will be in the center of cities and in certain parking lots in shopping centers. Be careful, remember that in the United States it is forbidden to spend the night in caravans on public roads. You will always have to do it in the campsites enabled for it.
Before setting out on a motorhome itinerary in the United States, it’s good to know that you won’t always be able to park your vehicle wherever you want. Of course, you can drive there but sometimes it is not possible to park in the street.
It is also forbidden to park your motorhome in a commercial parking lot (except in Walmart). If you want to park your vehicle while you are visiting an attraction or destination, you may need to head to the large vehicle and bus parking lot.
Usually, you will find the directions at the entrance to the city you are visiting, or by stopping near the tourist information office. It may be smart to stop in a paid public parking lot to enjoy the day and explore on foot or by public transit.
When you visit the national parks, you will find specially equipped parking spaces for larger vehicles, such as your motorhome.
Book in advance your campervan parking space
When planning your road trip, one of the most important things to take into account is the reservation of campsites or campgrounds. In the United States, there is a great demand for parking for this type of vehicle, so it is essential, especially in the most touristy places such as the large National Parks, to block camping spaces months in advance.
A reservation on time can completely change your trip. Can you imagine not being able to visit Yosemite because there is no place to park the caravan? Or not being able to camp on the seafront in Malibu? Don’t gamble and book in advance. This is the best advice!
Where to fill water and gas tanks in the USA
As well as gasoline, you can also supply yourself with water and gas at the refuelling points, but our advice is that, if you want to save a little money, always try to do it in the campgrounds. Most of them have replacement points for both water and gas that are included in the price.
Of course, keep in mind that it is not only about filling the tanks but also about emptying them. In dumpling stations, you can do both.
Where to sleep in a campervan in the USA?
Before setting out on a motorhome itinerary in the United States, it’s good to know that you won’t always be able to sleep wherever you want.
Rest areas and shopping centres do not allow travellers to leave a vehicle there overnight. In general, you should stay overnight at a designated campsite as it is not possible to park anywhere.
In the United States, several Wal-Mart and Super Wal-Mart stores (open 24 hours) have parking spaces for recreational vehicles. However, some clearly state that they do not allow overnight parking. In order not to take a chance, come in to see the person in charge and ask if they allow you to rest in their parking lot.
As for the rest areas, they are located on the main roads. It is forbidden to sleep a full night in rest areas. The maximum parking time granted is four hours. If you risk more, it is very likely that you will be woken up in the middle of the night and that you will be forced to leave the place, with a fine to pay!
Remember that nothing beats a campsite, where you will find essential services and above all, the safety of the place.
Camping in the USA
A trip to the United States in a motorhome is preparing. You have to plan your itinerary, your budget and especially your camping area for the night, after a long day of driving and exploring.
The country is full of places to park your vehicle, for all prices and for all tastes, from “luxury” camping areas to free areas with minimum equipment.
But motorhomes are one of the most popular vehicles for tourism in the United States, so be well informed and book in advance for campsites in national parks.
There are over 16,000 campsites across the country. Not all areas are alike, some have connections, while others are designed for wild camping. Many are free, but the majority are extensively equipped to keep you comfortable during your motorhome trip. Remember that the more the camping area is equipped (spa, swimming pool, golf, internet etc …) the more expensive it will be.
Here are some useful vocabulary words to help you find your way around the description of a campsite in the United States:
- Blackwater = wastewater from the sanitary facilities.
- Gray water = wastewater from sinks and showers.
- Boondock = Camper without electricity or other connections.
- Dump Station also called “sanitary dump”, “disposal station” = it is a station where your motorhome can throw “grey” and “black water”.
- Hookups = connections allowing you to recharge your motorhome with electricity, water or to connect it to the sewer service.
- Full hookups = station with three connections for the motorhome.
- Partial hookups = stations benefiting only from 1 or 2 of the 3 existing connections.
We strongly recommend that you do not park in a rest area, supermarket parking lot or on the side of the road overnight. Choose real campsites which often offer a view of an extraordinary landscape.
Here are some useful places you can find national parks hosting campsites by state. Depending on the location, you may be able to book on-site and obtain equipment information.
- Arizona Dream
- Arizona Dream (national parks)
- Go Camping America
- Good Sam
- US Forest Service
- Wheelers Guide
- Jellystone Camp
- National Park Service
- Adventure Bound.
Other FAQs about Camper Vans that you may be interested in.
If it is not prohibited in any ordinance, you can spend the night with a motorhome or camper in any place on the public road for parking. Of course, without camping there for days. If you camp, you can be fined and kicked out if you are in regulated areas.
Never, never, never sleep in a motorhome in highway service areas! Go out to any town and park anywhere. Spending the night safely with a motorhome is also your decision. Don’t spend rainy nights near streams either. Finally, never sleep in a motorhome near trees or buildings in poor condition, much less out of the shelter.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content!
FAQ on Can you park a campervan anywhere in the USA?
Can you sleep in a campervan?
Yes, you can sleep in a campervan (except for some cases that we will mention later). It is even allowed to spend the night in your car. It does not have to be a vehicle specially classified as a home to be able to sleep in it. If you are wondering why, it is because a motorhome, campervan, van or car has the same rights and obligations when it comes to being parked for the night. Regardless of its legal status.
Where to stop with a motorhome?
A motorhome can stop in town in a parking space and spend the night there. It does not matter whether the motorhome operators are on board or not, as long as they comply with the regulations.
Where to park with a van?
You can park a van just like a car. By parking is meant to park your vehicle on its 4 tires, for one day or one night. And you have the right to stay inside the vehicle. But be careful not to show signs of camping!