How To: Find Places to Sleep on the Road

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It's late, it can either be a smeared bug on the windshield or your eyes are really that blurry and you have to slap yourself in the face every mile to stay awake. Despite the fact that you were exclaiming  "I can drive all night" and pounding a Red Bull (or two) just an hour before, it's time to find a place to sleep for the night my friend. Lucky for you, Sleeping Beaut', we have a few options to pick from to rest your road weary head!


Walmart

Not only a place to pick up hot dog flavored potato chips and Mickey Mouse sweatshirts, you can also park your can overnight in many Walmart parking lots across the country. Those that do not want you taking up 20 spots of their precious lots are clearly marked with signs on every light post. According to the Walmart corporate site:

While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store parking lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.
— https://corporate.walmart.com/frequently-asked-questions

We spent a not so cozy night in a Flagstaff, AZ Walmart parking lot with strange knocks on our door in the middle of the night and one eye open at all hours for tow lights (it was not a RV friendly one..). But when finding a spot is a must, and the fact that they are, well, everywhere, then Walmart is a decent choice.

Resources for RV Friendly Walmart's: https://www.allstays.com/c/wal-mart-locations.htm

Sleep rating: 5/10

Pros: Big parking lots, usually other RVers for safety in numbers

Cons: It's hella bright and the 24 Hour Walmart's collect their carts all night long startling you awake screaming "Burglars!"


Truck Stops

There's something about seeing our little trailer sandwiched between two big rigs that just tickles me pink. Like that little kid that wants to play with the high schoolers or something. Truck stops like Flying J and Love's have been our go-to for everything from snacking to DEF fillers and, of course, pit stopping for the night. Be courteous of the big guys when parking, they leave at all hours and need to maneuver around those lots, and be aware that these spots fill up fast. You could end up in the overflow lot and even then on the part you aren't supposed to be in... (may have happened in Missouri...). Can't remember your last bath? You're in luck because you can also reserve a nice shower for when your next hookup (and by that I mean water hookup of course) is no where in sight!

Sleep rating: 6/10

Pros: 24 Hour store (for snacks), some have dump stations

Cons: Fills up fast, hard to find a decent spot


Boondocking on Public Land

Whether it's for convenience or to alarm good citizens with your trailer parked in front of their house all night, public land is a good option for free dry camping. This option varies widely from state to state, and sometimes even within the state and city itself, so make sure to do your homework beforehand or you just may wake up to a police officer at your door at 3AM. And if you aren't a fan of wearing PJ's to bed then this may not be the option for you! Check out the resource below for an interactive map on where you can park it for a night hassle free!

Resources for Public Land by State: https://www.rv-camping.org/

Sleep rating: 0 to 10, depending on location :)

Pros: There's a lot of nice parks and beautiful spots to have all to yourself.

Cons: Lots of prep work, angry neighbors if you are in a public place.


Other Noteworthy Squattin' Options

  • Cracker Barrel: Get yo' fried chicken and a nap!

  • Cabela's Sporting Goods

  • Costco

  • Sam's Club

  • BJ's

  • Petro Truck Stop

  • AM Best Truck Stop

  • Pilot Truck Stop


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amanda is a coffee addicted, frenchie obsessed, digital nomad. She travels the country in her renovated '88 Airstream with her husband, Dave, and dog, Ozzy. If you don't feed her every 4 hours she can't be responsible for her actions.