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RV Parking Laws in California

The life of an RVer is pretty easygoing. You can go to a National Park or a small beach town in Maine whenever you want, with whomever you want. It’s just you, your imagination, and the open road. But as carefree as that life may seem, there are some responsibilities that come with owning and operating an RV. For example, you’ll need to be aware of the RV parking laws such as the restrictions of overnight RV parking and camper parking. RV parking laws vary from state to state, so the whole issue of parking requires quite a bit of strategic planning.

Many RVers solve this problem by scheduling certain camper parking spots months in advance. However, for people living out of their RV or who are constantly on the road, finding free RV parking or overnight RV parking can be complicated. Let’s take a look at the RV parking laws in California.

Overnight RV Parking

As much as there are definitely complicated RV parking restrictions, there are also many surprising places to camp out for the night. For example, truck stops, casinos, and Walmarts are often available for overnight RV parking, so long as you comply with the individual location’s rules.

In California, overnight rest areas allow up RVs to park for up to 8 hours within a 24 hour period. Also, the smaller the RV, the more likely you will be granted that permission to stay at RV parks and campsites. Some websites, such as OvernightRVParking, provide full lists of these parking sites nearby for a small annual fee. For people on the road a lot, this can be a very useful tool. As a rule of thumb for all overnight RV parking, be respectful. Refrain from any loud noises or disturbances and be mindful of others around you.

Free RV Parking

Even if an area typically allows free RV parking, it’s still important to respect signage. If for whatever reason, it clearly states that camper parking is not allowed, find somewhere else to park. No one wants a hefty fine or a towed RV.

The majority of free RV parking sites are on properties such as roadside parks, highway rest areas, movie theatres, churches, fairgrounds, and hotel parking lots. However, for places such as churches and hotel parking lots, we recommend calling ahead and confirming that it’s okay to camp there.

Free RV Camping With Hookups

All over California, you can find free RV camping with hookups. There are also some locations that require a small donation but provide many amenities. Water fill and dump stations, electricity, and even snack bars can be found at these campsites. A great benefit of staying at those campsites is that many of them also provide security. It’s a huge step up from camping out on the side of the road.

In general, RV parking is prohibited on any public street, square, or alley between 10 at night and 6 in the morning. Just remember that the RV parking laws are all put in place for safety reasons and to act in consideration of others. As long as you are respectful of camper parking laws, you’ll be able to enjoy a free, relaxing vacation.

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