Stores That Allow (Free) Overnight Parking in 2023
These stores allow overnight camping, but it’s usually up to each store’s local manager to make the final call. You should always call ahead to double-check with all locations.
Maybe you’re urban van dwelling for a night or two and need to know, “what stores allow overnight parking near me?”
The absolute best way to answer this question is to call the store in advance and simply ask. But if you’re like me, you hate using the phone and calling strangers…ha!
Read my tips on how to stealth overnight park in hotel parking lots
So here’s a safe-bet list of stores that I’ve either camped in myself or know that their policies allow overnight parking for RVs, campervans or overlanding rigs. And all of these camp spots are free!
Cracker Barrel restaurants have prided themselves on being overnight parking friendly for many years. Technically, it’s still up to each location’s manager on whether or not they offer overnight parking, but the general rule is yes, they do. I have yet to find a Cracker Barrel that doesn’t allow it.
There are Cracker Barrels located in all but five US states (none in Wyoming, Vermont, District of Columbia, Washington, Hawaii or Alaska).
There are a lot more Cracker Barrel restaurants on the East and Southeast coasts, compared to the Midwest and West coast. Check Cracker Barrel’s website for a location near you.
Even their parking lots are shaped in a way that offers some privacy from other overnight campers. The restaurant is positioned in the middle of the parking lot, where the parking lot wraps around the building, forming a “U” shape around it. So you have “corners” to choose from for ultimate peace and privacy. They also provide trash cans throughout the parking lot, which can really come in handy.
I’ve always had a good experience at Cracker Barrels. I’ve even bought dinner to-go a few times. If you’re into homestyle cooking, I recommend the country fried chicken.
Walmart used to be the go-to overnight camp spot. But after COVID, I’ve seen more and more Walmarts with “no overnight parking” signs plastered throughout their lots. BUT–many Walmarts are still overnight parking friendly!
Like Cracker Barrel, Walmart’s general rule is to allow overnight parking, but the on-site manager has the final say to change that.
I’ve spent my fair share of nights in Walmart parking lots and, give or take some sketchy late night visitors, never had issues.
But if you find yourself Googling “overnight parking near me” and have the choice between Walmart or Cracker Barrel, I’d choose Cracker Barrel.
While Walmart camping isn’t known for its coziness, cleanliness or relative safety, Walmart is great because it’s simply everywhere. Walmarts are available in every US state– check Walmart locations here.
Map of Walmart Locations
Cabela’s / Bass Pro Shops
The hunting and sporting goods store, Cabela’s, is a top-notch overnight camping option if you’re near one. They don’t have an online policy stating they officially allow it, but it has become a well-known fact in the RVing and van life community.
As of 2017, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s merged together and allow overnight parking. They actually have long, wide parking spots especially designated for big RVs.
Map of Cabela’s / Bass Pro Shop Locations
I really like staying in Cabela’s lots because they tend to be less crowded than Walmart lots, thus making them feel a bit safer and less noisy. Their parking lots are big, almost the size of Walmart lots, and oftentimes share parking lots with other stores.
Cabela’s stores are a bit more popular in the Midwest and on the East Coast, but still have locations in all states. Check out a location near you.
Camping World puts their name and brand to full use by also allowing RVs and vans to overnight park at their locations. Historically, Camping World has always allowed overnighting, but after COVID spiked the amount of road travelers, some locations now prohibit overnighting.
Map of Camping World Locations
It’s worth giving the local manager a quick phone call to double check. These lots are usually spacious, clean, safe-feeling and uncrowded. Camping World has 189 locations across 42 states. Check all of their locations here.
Fitness Gyms Open 24/7
You can get away with overnight camping at fitness gyms including Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness because they are open 24 hours a day. So technically, you aren’t “breaking” any rules.
Check out my favorite nationwide gym memberships for van life
I have a Planet Fitness black card membership which gives me access to all PF gyms across the country for $24/month. Some days, it’s really convenient to run inside, maybe workout, take a shower, refill my water bottle, then simply stay the night in the parking lot!
I wouldn’t recommend spending more than 1-2 nights at a location, though. I know of one vanner who was kicked out of a Planet Fitness parking lot after staying there for over a week.
Anytime Fitness has the most locations of the three gym chains, boasting over 3,000 worldwide.
Map of Anytime Fitness Locations
Bulk Discount Stores
Bulk discount stores like Costco and Sam’s Club are great overnight parking options, with big clean parking lots and overhead lighting. Sam’s Club is owned by Walmart, so naturally they welcome overnighters. Costco is also very generous with their policies and unless otherwise stated in their parking lots, it’s safe to assume you can camp overnight there.
Costco has more locations worldwide but Sam’s Club has more locations in the US, with over 600 across 45 states!
Map of Sam’s Club Locations
Aim to park away from entrances and exits at these stores. Look for areas that get the least traffic and will go unnoticed during regular shopping hours.
Pilot Flying J & Love's
Gas station/truck stop hybrids such as Pilot Flying J and Love’s are always overnight parking friendly. They’re specifically designed for truckers traveling across state lines, so not only will you have a free parking spot, but showers, restrooms, gas and food are also available!
You don’t need to worry about calling ahead to double-check if overnight parking is permitted. Truckers overnight park at these locations 24/7, so rest easy knowing you’re in the clear. Each location has designated parking for semi trucks and regular-sized rigs.
Map of Love's Locations
You can mostly find Love’s and Pilot Flying J travel centers along main highways and freeways. I’ve spent a fair share of nights camping out in these truck stops and between the excellent overhead lights and constant traffic coming in and out, I’ve always felt safe.
Although there are few and far between these days, Kmart and Sears offer overnight parking! In fact, Kmart was the first store to happily offer overnight parking–even before Walmart! I’m sure you could get a quiet night’s sleep at any of these locations, given most people don’t know they are an option.
That being said, with a whopping eleven Kmart locations left across the whole US, you may not come across one anytime soon on your travels. Sears has 230 locations across the US, but it doesn’t always allow overnight parking, so you’ll want to call your location in advance.
Map of Kmart Locations
Kmart stores are located in New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, California and North Carolina. When it comes to Sears, Texas, California, Arkansas and Colorado boast the most locations, with up to twenty Sears locations per state.
Home Improvement Stores
Home improvement stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards are generally welcoming to those travelers looking for overnight parking. Most stores’ overnight parking allowance is determined by local store managers, though. Be sure to call ahead to make sure.
Between these three stores, there are lots of locations across the US in each state. Home Depot has the most US locations though, with 1,994 locations across the country.
Map of Home Depot Locations
Aim to park on the outskirts of the parking lot and get out of dodge by the time the store opens!
Check Home Depot locations here.
Tractor Supply Stores
Word on the street is that Tractor Supply stores across the country are welcoming to overnight campers.
I can’t vouch for this because I have never camped there myself, but it’s always worth giving your local store a call to find out!
Map of Tractor Supply Locations
As with the other stores, I suggest parking away from the main entrances or exits to these stores. You want to go unnoticed, so parking far away in a corner can make for a quieter night and a happier store manager.
4 Tips for Overnight Parking at Stores
- Call in advance to make sure overnight parking is allowed. Some stores may be located in towns or cities that have laws against overnight parking. In that case, stores can’t legally allow you to park and you may get a citation.
- Use overnight parking apps such as RV Parky and Allstays Truck Stops & Travel Plazas (only available on iphone) to check which plazas and truck stops allow overnight parking.
- Check city ordinances by visiting https://library.municode.com/ if you want to get really fancy (and avoid a phone call to a store). This might be a more confusing or tedious way to see if a city allows overnight parking, but it’s a good way to learn about the rules of the city you’ll be staying in.
- Be very respectful of the stores you overnight park at. They don’t have to offer this, and more and more stores aren’t offering it, because it’s being abused. With the spike in road travel over the last couple of years, travelers leave trash, overstay their welcome, even dump their sewage or gray water right in parking lots.
You no longer have to wonder what stores allow overnight parking–and if you want more free camping sites, check out my favorite boondocking apps to find them!
In Bradenton FL. Walmart (In town) does not allow free overnight parking.
As I continually say Sam Walton is turning over in his grave!!!
How can they be so cold and cruel to unfortunate houseless
people (Americans) in today economy.
What about tractor supply
Just got told at a pilot that they are no longer allowing overnight parking for anything other than commercial vehicles. When we arrived, cops were searching 2 vehicles and arrested somebody. We had made friends with one of the staff and she came up and told us it’s not allowed anymore and wanted to let us know before cops came Ober to us.
Oh wow, thank you for sharing this Cody – can you tell me which city/state this was in? I wonder if it’s nationwide or in specific regions. I will add a note in this article about that – thanks!