Last Updated on October 23, 2021 by Jessica
Are you looking for RV-friendly restaurants and other places to get food and park your rig? I’m here to make your life easier.
An issue that every RVer faces at one point or another is not making it to a campground before closing time and having to find a place to park for the night. This can happen by accident, but people also do it to save money when they need a place to park and lay their heads down on the way to their main destination.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that every single large parking lot is fair game, however. Only certain stores and restaurants allow overnight parking without pay. In this article, I’m going to take a look at a list of these places. Knowing each of these places is essential to planning ahead so that you don’t get stranded in the dark.
Not only do most Cracker Barrels offer good service and good food, but they’re also one of the only RV-friendly restaurants that offer overnight parking to RVs. Cracker Barrel restaurants usually have large parking lots that provide ample space for big rigs, essential for quickly getting in and out.
If you crave good food like fried chicken, great biscuits, comfort food, corned beef, and chicken fried steak, Cracker Barrel is the answer to your prayers. For a complete list of Cracker Barrel locations, visit their website.
Golden Corral makes the list as one of the only RV-friendly restaurants due to the unusually large parking lots that they have which aren’t typical for restaurants.
You may want to double-check with the Golden Corral you’re thinking about parking at, but they are an excellent option for RVs and big rigs. Once again, they offer down-home comfort food like fried chicken and chicken-fried steak to go along with a big parking lot.
Walmart is one of the most popular hot spots for overnight RV parking. They’re so free and easy with their policy that it’s not unusual for people to park their RV for several nights at a time. Wal-Mart’s are available from North Dakota to New Mexico and across the country.
One of the best places to seek overnight shelter in an RV is outdoor stores and Cabelas is no exception. They offer massive lots for parking and easy turn-around options for big rigs and RVs. Additionally, if you’re planning to park at a Cabelas in a cold climate like South Dakota, you will most likely be without electricity and heat for the evening. If this is the case, pop on into the store itself and grab an extra sleeping bag.
You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a parking lot bigger than that of a Costco. You need a membership to shop there, but you don’t need one to park your big rig there. Costco’s aren’t an overly popular store,, so one may not be available in your area, but take advantage of their parking lot if there is. They offer the closest thing to RV parking spaces that you’re going to find.
Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops are similar to Cabelas in that they are outdoor stores with huge parking lots that offer free and easy overnight parking for RVs. Grab your lawn chairs and hang out for the night at a Bass Pro Shop near you.
Parking for the night at a church parking lot isn’t something that’s advertised, but it’s almost always allowed to. Despite this, not all church parking lots are very accomodating to RVs in that smaller churches may not have a lot big enough to park and turn around in. Check your local ordinances to be sure before parking.
Churches and casinos don’t have much in common outside of the fact that they both allow overnight RV parking. If you happen to find yourself near a casino and need a place to stay for the night, they are an excellent choice. Once again, check your local ordinances to be safe.
Most hardware stores offer nighttime parking for RVs, and Home Depot is one of the best. While you’re there, it’s a great place to stock up on any camping or repair items that your camper or truck might need.
Just like Home Depot stores, Lowes also offers free parking to overnighters. With very exceptions across the U.S., Lowe’s is very accommodating and understanding to RV owners.
The fact that Target allows overnight parking for RVs was perhaps the most surprising to me. Target usually isn’t associated with camping or the great outdoors, but they passed the camping test on this one. Target is also a very popular store which gives you a ton of options all across the country.
Planet Fitness might actually be the most surprising business on this list. Not only do they offer 24/7 fitness and workout options, but they also won’t throw a fit if you park your RV in their parking lot overnight. Evenings and the middle of the night are not typically busy times for fitness, which makes Planet Fitness a solid option for parking your RV.
With a name like Camping World, it’s no surprise that they offer overnight parking for RVs. It really would be a shame if they didn’t. Allowing RVs to boondock for the night is also an excellent way for Camping World to bring customers to their stores in the morning. That’s smart marketing if you ask me.
If you like Mexican food and want the best Mexican food in the north with a big parking lot for RVs, the Hacienda is the way to go. These restaurants aren’t available everywhere, but you better utilize one if you get the chance. For a good meal and great menu items, give Hacienda a try.
Just like Lowes and the Home Depot, Menards follows in the footsteps of hardware and home improvement stores supporting RVers. Menards isn’t a store that is found everywhere in the U.S., but if you can find one, then happy parking.
Outside of Costco parking lots, Sam’s Club might offer the second biggest and best option for overnight parking. As a partner of Wal-Mart, they share in the welcome reception of overnight parking for RVs.
Malls across the country join the ranks of churches and casinos in the fact that they don’t advertise overnight parking for RVs, but they allow it. Mall parking lots are usually large and empty in the evening hours, making them ideal to easily park your large rig or RV.
This one is a little debatable and not universal across the country. Before parking your RV in a movie theater parking lot, check your local ordinances and ensure that your specific theater will allow it. It’s horrifying when you get a pounding on your camper door in the middle of the night with a security guard ordering you to leave.
Parking your RV in one of the above-mentioned parking lots is a great way to save money and time. Staying at an RV park every night can get expensive for full-time RVers and depending on where you are, one may not even be available.
Make sure that you take the proper precautions when spending the night in a parking lot, however. You will be without the safety and protection that a campground and the RV crowd provide. If you are in a bad part of town or have an uneasy feeling, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and you should plan accordingly.