Getting a good parking spot during the day can be hard. Many cars are moving and parking, so you might not get a spot.
The situation gets harder at night when you want to park the car all night. Not all parking lots allow you to park overnight.
Illegally parking your car overnight could land you in a lot of trouble. The best places to try are public parking lots of stores and restaurants.
Some of these operate at night so you can use free parking. Let us look at some stores in the US with this service;
What Stores Allow Overnight Parking?
It is not safe to drive at night, especially on long commutes. The drive might take a toll at times, and you won’t be as attentive. The exhaustion could lead to an accident, so you need to avoid driving while tired.
The safer choice would be to get an overnight parking spot and stop for the night. There are several such spots across the US, and you should pick the right one to avoid issues with law enforcement. Here are some stores you could use;
This can be a great choice for most people depending on the store. Due to city guidelines, some stores don’t allow overnight parking anymore.
If you can locate a Walmart outside the city, it will be a good choice for overnight parking.
2. Cracker Barrel
Cracker Barrel can be a good choice for someone with a small car. Most of their parking spaces won’t fit RVs, but they can take a van or SUV. It comes with the added advantage of a warm breakfast in the morning before you leave.
3. Bass pro outlets
Most bass Pro store have large parking spaces which you could use at night. Some have free RV dry camping in their parking lots.
They can offer a great place to park your car overnight. Not all stores have this, so it is best to call ahead and check.
This is common, but it doesn’t happen in all stores. It will depend on the location and how stringent the city rules are.
Most home improvement stores have large parking lots, and they might allow you to park overnight. Make sure to check with the management before parking.
There is free overnight parking in many Menards locations in the US. You will have an easier time getting such a store in more remote locations.
City regulations could prevent the store from offering overnight parking. Check the location and ask management before going in.
Most Cabela’s stores offer free overnight parking for RVs and regular vehicles. This can be a good place to rest or camp out for a few nights. Some Cabela’s locations have a free dump station for RVs.
In most cases, you will get the dump codes after shopping in the store. If you don’t have the codes, you can pay to dump your waste separately.
7. Home Depot
Like Menard’s and other major home improvement stores, Home Depot has large parking spaces.
You could come in with your Van or RV and park in a remote spot. They won’t bother you most often if you don’t disrupt customer movement within the lot.
Costco allows RV camping in most stores; thus, you can use them for overnight parking.
You don’t need a Costco membership to park in their spaces. It would be convenient if you were a member since you will be close to everything you need.
9. Sam’s club
Depending on city regulations, you can use Sam’s Club parking lot overnight.
Stores in large cities will not allow it since there are laws against sleeping in cars. However, you can get away with it in city outskirts or remote locations.
Other Places You Can Park Overnight
Several major stores across the US allow overnight parking. The problem is, you might not always be close to one of these stores. Additionally, some city regulations prevent stores from offering overnight parking.
In such a situation, you need another place to park for the night. Some places are illegal, and you will get a ticket for parking there. Here are some spots you could try;
Most camping worlds offer free nighttime parking. However, most locations have started to prohibit it recently.
In the past, some locations had free water and electricity for campers. This has become rare, and only a few locations have these services.
If they don’t allow parking, you can park along the street. Check that there aren’t any “No Parking” signs.
24-Hour Fitness Centers
Many fitness centers are open through the night, including Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, and 24 Hour Fitness.
You can use the parking lot for overnight parking if you pass as a gym user. Security won’t get you out since you could as easily be a customer.
Some truck stops will have space for RVs, usually somewhere away from the trucks. Such places are free to park overnight, and you won’t have issues with the police.
You can park the RV in a truck lane if you have the fee. Other truck stops have large dirt lots where trucks park. You can go in with your RV and park for the night without paying.
It is legal for you to sleep in your car if you park it in a rest area. All states allow it, but the time limit differs. Some states allow only 2 hours while others go up to an hour.
Most states don’t focus on overnight parking; rather, they enforce time limits. However, the rest areas are open 24/7. You can come in at night and rest since it is a matter of highway safety.
You can park on the street if it doesn’t have signs against it. Such include No parking or other lines along the curb especially red and yellow.
This is not to mean it is legal for you to sleep. It is illegal in most large and mid-sized cities. You can go into a zone that allows it if one is in your city.
If not, you can ensure your presence in the car is unnoticeable and sleep there. Industrial areas would be the best overnight parking spots since they often have trucks.
You can overnight park in any national forest in the US. The Forest Service takes this as camping, so it isn’t a problem.
They will allow it in places that don’t mess with the park’s operations. Stay away from trails, picnic areas, viewing areas, or other places that visitors need.
How To Do Overnight Parking
Finding a good spot to park at night is the first step. The second step is parking your car correctly to protect yourself and other road users. You can’t control the car whether you want to sleep in the car or leave it.
You need the correct parking tips to prevent accidents. Here are some important aspects you should keep in mind;
1. Make your car visible to other drivers
This is important when you park on the street or next to a turn.
You need to park the car, so other drivers can see it from a distance to prevent collisions. Do this without blocking the road since that might also cause an accident. You can put hazard warnings if the car is not visible enough.
2. Don’t park on a footpath
You must not block pedestrians when you park. If they can’t pass, they would have to go around your car, into the road.
This position increases the likelihood of accidents and will get you in trouble with the police.
3. Don’t leave your headlights on high beams
If you park the car for a short while, leave only the main beam.
The best choice will be the sidelights to show drivers your car. Bright lights will affect visibility for oncoming drivers, causing accidents.
Please turn off all lights inside the car before you leave it. These lights will drain your battery, and you might not be able to start the car.
4. Park facing away from traffic
There are reflectors at the back of your car. These increase visibility when headlights hit them.
Other drivers will have an easier time seeing the reflectors, avoiding your car. There aren’t any reflectors in front of most cars.
Parking the car facing traffic will not help with visibility. Instead, let it face away, so motorists see the reflectors.
5. Keep your safety in mind
You must know that most public places aren’t safe at night. You, therefore, need to take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
Lock all the car doors and turn on the alarm before leaving the car. If you choose to sleep in the car, do so in a relatively safe place. Roll up the windows and lock the doors.
You now know what stores allow overnight parking across the US. The specific locations might differ in policy depending on the city guidelines. It is better to call ahead and ask before parking and leaving your car in a store parking lot.
Always keep your safety and that of other people in mind. Park safely and lock your car doors before leaving. If you choose to sleep in the car, do so in a relatively safe place. Roll up the windows and lock the doors.