For those who want to live full time in their RVs, you will surely ask yourself the question: Where can I park my recreational vehicle to live and travel full-time?
Many people today love to leave the comfort of their homes and try to live in nature. But you need to figure out what is the most affordable way to park your RV. In addition, you are looking for a place where it is possible to park your RV for a long time before you set off on a new journey, but certainly not forever. No one wants to live in an RV that is always parked in the same place.
In the USA you can find a lot of places where you can park your RV to live. There are numerous rest stops, camping areas, public areas, and discount clubs that allow you to rent or lease space for your RV at an affordable price.
To gain a good insight into what you can expect when you live in an RV full time, you need to be familiar with the different regulations that apply to RV parking in different parts of the USA and the amount of money you need to set aside for parking. In this article, we’ll talk about the different ways how you can park your RV to live in, how to choose the ideal place to park, and what are the costs of this way of parking a recreational vehicle. Let’s start!
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13 Best Places to Park Your RV to Live
There are several locations where you can park your RV for a long time, which is why more and more people are opting for an RV lifestyle. We bring you an overview of 13 different options where you can park your RV for free or nearly free.
If you are going to live in your RV for a longer period of time, be sure to read 11 Best RV Outdoor Rugs For Camping.
Workamping is a place where you can easily secure a location to live in an RV. It is a concept in which you offer to work in an area where you want to camp, such as a national park, campground, ranch, county fairground, resort, some event venue, or factory ground. These are locations where the owners employ seasonal workers.
As a seasonal worker, you get a free parking space to live in your RV, together with covered utilities. In addition, you’ll also be paid for the work you do. Many places in the USA offer RV owners the Workkamping option. You can easily find out which locations are in question using the keywords “Opportunities for Workkamping near (place)”.
2. Amazon Camperforce
Today, it’s hard to find a person who hasn’t ordered something from Amazon at least once. You are probably aware that orders from Amazon do not appear at the door by magic but that it results from the large network of delivery trucks, postal services, and people. Lately, we can hear that packages from Amazon are delivered even by drones.
Why do we mention this? When you are looking for a location where you can park your RV for a small fee and at the same time earn extra money, Amazon Camperforce could be a great solution for you.
It is a program that allows RV owners to park their vehicles for free in certain locations and, at the same time, work at the Amazon warehouses or help deliver packages. That way, you can park your RV without having to pay anything for it, and you also have the opportunity to earn money. When you want to check if this option is available in the location you are interested in, start searching using the keywords “Amazon Camperforce opportunities”.
3. National/State Park Host
Living in a state or national park is often the dream job for many RV owners. If you manage to get a job as a park host, you can make such a dream come true. Many would say there is no better way to get free RV parking than a location in the uninhabited areas of Yellowstone or nooks in the interior of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Being a host in a state or national park is an important role. Their job is to check the camping areas and see if the camper’s behavior is in accordance with the rules. This way, you can secure a free place to live in your RV in exchange for taking care of guests at the camping site, maintaining the campsite area, and generally taking care of everything.
This is a highly competitive job, therefore, you need to be aware that only a few people will get this spot. But don’t let that discourage you, give it a try! If you desire to live in your RV in a state or national park, explore their website, you will usually find useful information in the “hosting opportunities” segment.
4. County Parks
Campers have at their disposal a large number of county parks located in beautiful natural environments, where RV parking is very convenient. And in such cases, there is a possibility to achieve a good deal as a host which will allow you to park the RV for a long time for free.
5. Bureau of Land Management Lands
There are millions of acres of federal land in the U.S., and many are open to free camping if this type of federal property is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Most of these areas are in the western USA.
How to find available locations for long-term RV parking under this option? You simply start exploring using the keywords “BLM near (place)“.
Keep in mind that this option has its downsides. In locations that are available for free parking, there is usually no infrastructure to maintain RV up and running. Therefore, you need to plan in advance where to empty your waste tanks and how to get water and electricity. The biggest problem is the lack of a dumping station. As the dumping of waste into nature is unacceptable, you must arrange for the emptying of tanks in the nearest populated area.
6. Park Your RV at approved businesses
Stores like Bass Pro Shop or Wal-Mart will allow you to park your RV overnight in their parking lots when you are between destinations. However, not all stores have this practice, so before you bring your RV for the night, be sure to call the store and ask for permission. With permission, you can park your RV for free this way and take a break from the long journey between the two destinations.
7. Membership Clubs
There are camping programs such as Coast to Coast and Thousand Trails where you can pay annual dues and on-time fees and in return, get a very affordable or completely free stay at their many locations across the USA. For example, Thousand Trails has as many as 193 such locations across the country divided into five zones. This network leaves you the option to subscribe to use all of their locations or some of them in just one zone.
When it comes to the Coast to Coast network, you should know that regardless of the generous amount of money you give for membership, you still have to pay $10 per night at their locations. These two camping networks are an example of many similar organizations that provide affordable camping.
If you like this way of securing a parking space for your RV, research the links from above and similar programs using the keywords “RV membership clubs”. Note, at first glance, paying a membership fee to such a network seems like an expensive option, but if you decide to live on wheels and do it by changing your location often, it pays off in the long run.
Related Article: 7 Best Small Class A RVs in 2023
8. Discount RV Clubs
RV owners have a large number of discount clubs that offer affordable or even free parking space for their RVs. One of the most popular clubs in the USA is the AAA club. If you are a member of this club, you will be entitled to discounts when paying for parking for RV at several locations. Another good club of this type is the Good Sam Club which annually offers great discounts for campers at a number of popular locations.
The Passport America Club also offers great parking discounts, but keep in mind that discounts are often limited and only apply during the weekday or sub-season in a particular area. Also, let’s not forget Escapees club which is a club that provides RVs owners with supply stations during the trip. But with this service, Escapees also boasts a large number of camping locations where they offer discounts where you can save significantly.
Of course, these are just some of the clubs that can provide you with generous discounts if you live in an RV full time. When you become a member of one of these clubs, you will proudly say that you are an RV professional.
9. Harvest Hosts Free Overnight RV Camping
Harvest Hosts is an option that allows you to park your RV for free overnight at over a thousand locations in exchange for a membership fee. These are locations like ranches and farms where you are also required to buy some of these homemade products during your stay.
10. Boondockers Welcome
Boondockers Welcome is another option of free RV parking for one night, within the network of venues, homes, and businesses that operates on the principle of membership fees.
11. Long-Term RV Spot Rental
Many RV campgrounds offer their guests the option of a long-term stay, usually at a drastically lower price. This is a great option if you want to live in your RV and still have a home in one location that you always come back to. That way, you can live comfortably in your RV at a good price and be surrounded by people who have the same lifestyle.
12. Buy an RV Spot
If you want to live in an RV, it is not a bad idea to consider buying your RV spot. Some campsites offer this option, but not all. When you buy a spot for RV in a campsite, you can call that place your home and live thereby paying only utilities. This is a great option if RV life is something you chose for the long run.
13. Friends and Family
It’s not a bad idea to ask your friends and family members who have a larger piece of land they don’t use to let you park your RV on it. Many RV owners often do this. But also, a good part of them use this option, but in return, they help their friends and family by covering the costs of living on their land. Across the USA, there are a large number of unexplored areas that are ideal for RV life.
For those who are traveling a lot, be sure to read 20 Amazing Camping Storage Ideas.
What Is The Cost Of Living In an RV?
The cost of full-time living in an RV depends on several things. The first of all is where you want to live, what that area offers in terms of infrastructure, and how enterprising you are when it comes to reducing the cost of living. Therefore, it is very important to plan your budget for RV life well.
You can live in an RV for as little as $200 a month. These are locations like parks and places that are a bit shabby. But this does not mean that these are bad or unsafe locations. They can often be a combination of comfortable and cheap.
If your choice is RV life in scenic USA parts, it is always an option. But an option that will cost you a lot more. To park your RV by the ocean, on land with beautiful mountain views, or in a national park, you will need to set aside a minimum of $800 per month. The more attractive the location, the higher the cost is, and it can reach several thousand dollars!
The most cost-effective way for a full-time RV life is to park your vehicle in one place for an extended period or simply travel constantly and park in free or cheap locations. If you study all the possibilities we have listed above, you can live a great life by traveling in your RV for an annual cost of less than $4,000.
If you want to learn more about traveling and living in your RV full time, be sure to watch this video.