A van parked in the wilderness at dusk with dim light illuminating a mountain in the distant.

Where Can Nomads Safely Park Overnight?

The nomadic lifestyle typically requires embracing sleeping in unique places. It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling in a massive fifth wheel or a truck camper; finding a safe place to park for the night is essential.

So, where can nomads safely park overnight? We’ve compiled a list of tried and true spots to park during your adventures. Let’s get started!

A van parked in the wilderness at dusk with dim light illuminating a mountain in the distant.

What Is a Nomad?

A nomad is a person who embraces a traveling lifestyle. This usually means traveling based on the weather and even for employment. People who adopt the lifestyle often don’t have a home base and may spend their time wandering.

The nomadic lifestyle has gained popularity in the past few years as remote learning and working have become more widely adopted. Many people pack up their things, sell their homes, and hit the road to travel full-time. Those who are working from the road call themselves digital nomads.

A man driving a van looks out the window as the sun goes down.
As remote work becomes for widely adopted, the nomadic lifestyle has gained popularity.

Where Can You Camp for Free in the US?

A typical budget-friendly campsite will cost you $20 to $30 per night, but it’s not hard to find some $100+ per night. Camping can be expensive, but luckily there are plenty of options for camping for free in the US. However, you may need to camp outside of an established campground.

Some places where you can camp for free in the United States are parking lots, public lands, or with someone you know. These spots can be a great way to break up a long travel day or save a few bucks. You’ll likely need to sacrifice some amenities, but most nomads find the benefits far outweigh any negative aspects of the lifestyle.

Ten places to park an RV overnight for FREE.

Where Can Nomads Safely Park Overnight?

When nomads are looking for a place to stay, they often consider several areas. However, while they may be able to make do with a noisy spot or location with many bright lights, most aren’t willing to sacrifice their safety.

Let’s look at a few safer options to consider for parking overnight. Let’s go!

Business Parking Lots

Some of the most common places nomads look are business parking lots. Some of the most popular areas are Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and even well-known outdoor shops like Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. These places often have large parking lots that sit empty for most of the night.

It would be best to remember that not all businesses with large parking lots allow overnight parking. Some city or local ordinances will prohibit overnight parking.

It’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure a business allows overnight guests in their parking lots. Even if you get permission in advance, it’s also a great idea to check in with the company when you arrive and make a purchase to support them.

Always check with management before parking in a business’ lot.

Here’s how some people are ruining overnight parking at Walmart ⭐️

Rest Stops

Rest stops are often conveniently located off an interstate or other highway. This makes it very easy to pull off and park when you need to rest or break. However, not all rest stops allow overnight parking or have a certain amount of time that you’re able to stay.

Make sure you look for signs indicating the maximum time you can stay. When there are restrictions, it may be somewhere between 8 and 12 hours. However, these restrictions vary by location, and you must know the unique rules and regulations where you’re looking to stay.

Road tripping through Texas? Catch some Zzzs at these Texas highway rest stops 🤠

Truck Stops

Much like rest stops, truck stops are also often readily available off interstates and other major roads. They can handle massive semis and other large trucks, so you should have no trouble navigating these spots no matter what size rig you’re using for your nomadic adventures.

These are great options because you can fill up on fuel, grab some snacks, and even use amenities like showers. Don’t forget that these truck stops are often specifically for truck drivers. Avoid getting in the way and causing issues for the men and women driving big rigs for a living.

Side of the Road

Depending on the location, you may be able to pull off to the side of the road and park for the night. This depends on the rig you’re traveling in and how much space you might require to park it safely. However, no matter what type of rig you’re using, you’ll want to check with the local laws.

While you may pose no threat to the city or cause any harm, that’s not the case for everyone. Many towns and local governing agencies create laws that limit overnight parking.

This often is their way of prohibiting nomadic camps from popping up and devaluing and destroying the land. So make sure you check any specific local regulations before getting too comfortable in a spot.

Always check local laws before overnight parking in unmarked areas.

Family and Friends’ Driveway

It can be a great option if you have family or friends with a driveway or the space to accommodate you. You can save some cash by not paying for an expensive campsite, but you also get to see your family or friends.

Many choose this option when it’s available because you’re also more likely to get some other amenities. Your hosts may let you shower, do laundry, or offer other helpful amenities that you might miss while on the road. Just make sure you don’t overstay your welcome or cause stress for your hosts.

BLM Land

There are thousands of campsites that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages. These are on public-use lands and are in the country’s western portion.

Some sites may require you to get a use or camping permit. These are very budget-friendly options and may even allow you to stay for more than an overnight trip.

These are a popular option for nomads because they’re often readily available in locations where established campgrounds are very expensive. You can find excellent options for parking on BLM lands near national parks like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and many other national parks.

Learn more about how to free camp on public lands.

How Do You Find Boondocking Locations?

Most nomads use smartphone apps like Campendium and iOverlander to find boondocking locations. Both of these apps have massive databases of information that are helpful to the nomadic community.

You can find many free camping sites and other resources like dump stations, potable water, and so much more. They’re two powerful resources that can save you a generous amount of money while living like a nomad.

Is Boondocking Safe?

Boondocking is generally no less safe than any other type of camping style. Are there unsafe places where you could boondock? Absolutely. However, the great thing about boondocking is that you can move on your way and find a different spot if you ever feel unsafe. By taking a few precautions and trusting your gut, you can safely park overnight all across the country.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve parked overnight while embracing the nomadic life?

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