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Where Should You Park Your Car Overnight?

Last modified: Sep 29, 2022

We often try to save money on things, and parking is one of them. Parking at night can be expensive, especially if you are living in busy areas where it`s hard to find a parking spot. Leaving your car for 10 or 12 hours can easily drain your wallet. 

So, if you are wondering, “Where should you park your car overnight?” we did some research for you. Proceed to read the article and save some cash for things you really like.

Where Should You Park Your Car Overnight?

Parking at night can be risky and sometimes not legal. Whenever you decide to park your car, especially if you are not in it overnight, you should be concerned about many factors, such as the legality of the parking place. In addition, pay attention to the security of your car

If you plan to sleep in your vehicle, you must also consider the facility access, traffic, and Wi-Fi. Also, check if that parking space is free or you need to pay. We’ll discuss all these details further in this article.

We’ll also present you with ideas on where you should park your car overnight and introduce you to every aspect of the mentioned parking places

Read more: What to Do if You Lose Your Car Keys.

Overnight Parking at Walmart

Can you use the Walmart lot for overnight parking? The short answer is yes; in most Walmart stores, you can park your car or RV and sleep there. But there are some Walmart stores where none of this is allowed due to many factors, which we’ll discuss further. 

Walmart overnight parking is allowed in the vast majority of their stores. They seem to love the idea of letting RVs and trucks park in their lots since it’s a win-win situation. Travelers get free space, and Walmart gets extra customers.

  • How to know which Walmart lot is not prohibiting the parking?

It’s not always up to Walmart to let or prohibit the parking. There are many rules that need to be followed. If you are new to town, try researching the local laws for overnight parking since many medium to large-sized cities prohibit sleeping in vehicles and camping within city limits. 

Another aspect to consider is Walmart’s location. If they are located inside a larger shopping center, the parking rules may be set by the company that owns the shopping center. These parking lots are usually guarded by security and aren’t free. Another location that will not allow you to park is a Walmart lot located in the suburbs.

For the best parking options, try researching “overnight parking near me” on apps like Freeroam or AllStays.

Overnight Parking in Welcome or Information Centers

Many welcome centers will allow you to park overnight, but many won’t. Again, this is due to many factors, such as location, time, how big the city you are going to is, etc.

You can easily find information about every state and welcome or information center on the internet.

Overnight Parking at Bureau of Land Management-BLM Land

BLM-managed lands usually offer numerous places where you can park overnight. Some of them allow a reservation that can be made online. 

Many locations include a variety of facilities, such as restrooms, potable water, or electrical hookups. Most of their lands require a fee for usage, which varies in price and is used to maintain their facilities. BLM lands are also used for camping, with a limit of 14 days per location.

Now you must be concerned about the security of these places and if you can reach some of these spots by car. The advice is not to leave the property unattended for more than 72 hours. Also, some campgrounds are only seasonally available due to adverse weather. 

Overnight Parking in Large Shopping Centers and Parking Lots

Based on our research and what stores allow overnight parking, we conclude that it’s not a good idea to leave your car in the parking lot of the large shopping centers and malls since most of them have large security patrols, and you might end up paying a ticket for your car. 

Many stores that belong to the shopping centers might allow you to park (for example, Walmart), but not if they are located in a large shopping center. Cities also put a lot of pressure on mall management to look clean and orderly.

Generally, parking lots, especially open ones, are never a good idea. Even though some are free of charge, the best option is to consult the property owner or look up the local rules to see if overnight parking is permitted.

In addition, if your vehicle is involved in a car accident overnight at a parking lot, it will be a high risk since not many insurance companies will actually cover the damage.

Safe Parking Program

One of the safest places to park your vehicle overnight for free is the safe parking program in the USA, which provides homeless people who are living in their vehicles with a safe place to park and reside in their vehicle overnight to facilitate a steady transition to more safe housing. This might be the safest overnight parking, providing legal camping, portable restrooms, and free garbage disposal.

To get your application approved, you must meet some eligibility criteria. For example, you must experience homelessness or actively flee domestic violence, live in your vehicle, and have an operable vehicle.

Overnight Parking at Casinos

When it comes to feeling safe, casinos are another wonderful spot to spend the night. They are open 24 hours a day, so you can be confident that security guards patrol the parking lots all night. We're not sure if they dislike people parking their cars overnight and sleeping in them, but we've never had a problem staying the night at a casino, particularly in Las Vegas. 

People who gamble spend a lot of time inside casinos, frequently until the small hours, so the fact that your car has been parked for over eight hours at a casino will not look strange. As long as they think you're inside, they'll assume you're spending money.

Apart from protection, other benefits of staying at casino parking lots include access to restrooms and the availability of food, tea, and coffee at all hours. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu items at most casinos are typically moderately priced. And, we suppose, if you enjoy gambling, there is that as well. 

But be careful while getting in and out of your car as you please because you will draw too much attention. Also, you should be careful since gambling and sleeping in your car is illegal in some states, so try to be out of it.

Overnight Parking at Rest Stops

Rest stops are a perfect spot to spend the night in your car if you're on the way to your destination but are getting weary. Driving on highways and interstate roadways in the United States, you will almost certainly pass several rest stations. It’s one of the parks open 24 hours, and you can usually stay for one night or two since it’s legal. 

Also, while traveling, places like these are a good stop for resting since most have 24-hour bathroom facilities and picnic tables. You might even get served coffee or tea by volunteers who can sometimes be found there.

Overnight Parking at a 24 Hours Open Gym Facility

Gyms that work 24 hours, like casinos, are also a good option for overnight parking. Many do not allow camping, RVs, or campers with cars on their lots. But again, if you are not gonna sleep in your car and need a parking spot only, it’s a smart option

If, however, you need to sleep in your car, we advise you to ask the gym manager for permission. Even if you don’t get it, you can still use the gym to work out and shower.

Overnight Parking at Industrial Parks

Industrial parks are ghost towns after 5 pm on a weekday and throughout the weekend. But you should search for ones that aren’t close to banks or businesses because they have security patrols, and you’ll be moved on quickly. You should also look for a well-lit spot that’s quiet on the weekend.

If you plan your overnight parking at such a park, you should know that most of them are free and have low traffic frequency. But the tricky part is to actually find one and also to make sure of their security levels. Also, note that you won’t have access to any facilities and could even be locked down until morning. 

Overnight Street Parking

If you travel on a budget, street parking may be a great cheap option in expensive cities or towns. Depending on which city you visit, this will be your safe place to sleep. And the good news is that the late-night parking is usually free in many cities. But we must remind you again that sleeping in a vehicle is illegal, so you must be cautious while choosing a place to sleep

If you choose a dark street, you might not be so safe, so try to find a place with good lighting. Also, some of the street park disadvantages include no nearby restroom facilities, which could be tough, especially for females. Others are loud traffic, pedestrians, and a noisy environment.

Is It Illegal to Sleep in Your Car?

Now that we’ve discussed many safe and free overnight parking options, is it actually illegal to sleep in your car? Under federal law, it’s not illegal to sleep in your car unless you are trespassing, intoxicated (including your engine off), or falling asleep while driving. 

Some states also prohibit overnight stays at rest stops to control loitering. That being said, your best practice would be to check the local laws whenever you plan to sleep in your vehicle.

Read more: Car Insurance Coverage Types


You must feel very confident now since we’ve answered the question, “Where should you park your car overnight?”

Please take into consideration your safety first. We know that saving money is important but not as much as our valued life. Try to park your car in a safe location, especially if you are sleeping in it. Also, have some facilities near you and, in the end, save some money.

Read more: How Many Americans Own Cars?

Read more: How Much Do Americans Drive?


Where Is the Best Place to Park Overnight?

Still wondering, “Where should you park your car overnight?”

There are many great spots for parking overnight, but the best one is near the casinos. You will have a toilet, food, and drinks near you at any time. Also, if you want to gamble, that will be a plus. Other good places include movie theatres, Walmart, Costco, churches, etc. 

Where Is the Safest Place to Sleep in Your Car?

The safest places to sleep in your car are places that have good lighting, cameras, security, and facilities that you need. Some of them are: 

But before doing this, please read the laws since many cities have their own regulations about sleeping in the car.

Where Can I Sleep in My Car Legally Near Me?

Whatever your situation is, there are three places where you could sleep legally in your car. 

The first one is “Safe parking program” lots where you could sleep legally for many days. The other is BLM Land and national forests, where you could sleep in your car and enjoy the outdoors and nature. If you are not a nature lover, you could always use the Walmart parking lots available nationwide.

Can You Sleep in a Walmart Parking Lot?

Yes, you can sleep in many nationwide Walmart parking lots, but if the store is located in a bigger shopping center, some rules might stop you from doing so. The best practice is to choose a store which is located in a smaller city, or which is standing alone. But again, try to find information about their regulations before you park your car. 

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