Should I Park My RV In Trucker Spots At A Truck Stop?

PublishedFebruary 26, 2019

Semis parked in open lot

Unless you're new to RVing, you know there's debate about if it's OK to park your RV in a semi spot at a 'truck stop'.

There are other places for RVs to park, and there are a FEW other places for truckers/professional drivers to park, too.

But are you upsetting those working drivers for taking up a space they depend on while working?

Can I Park My RV in a Truck Spot?

Well, at most travel centers, the owner of the company doesn't state that RVs cannot use these spaces.

The truck stops are not owned by professional drivers.

They are independently owned companies that cater to travelers.

This means that they want money from ALL of us.

Many of them have even changed the names from 'truck stop' to 'travel center', as they are made for anyone, not just for truck drivers.

Keep in mind that some 'truck stops' have spots dedicated to RVs.

You can see exactly which Pilot and Flying J do in this guide (PDF),  as far as where they do and do not have dedicated RV spots.

If they have them, USE these spots, not the truck spots.

Well, Yes or No??

The short answer is that yes, it is technically OK to park in a large truck spot.

But, be aware that you might tick off some professional drivers. 

If you do so, park there at your own risk.

Angry truck drivers might be justified in their anger. 

How so?

Keep reading.

The Trucker Life

They may be angry because THEY ARE WORKING.

A professional truck driver has strict hours that he/she must abide by when it comes to drive time and rest time.

If they come into a truck stop at the end of their shift and can't find a place to park because Joe Shmo parked his 32' class A motorhome in a spot that they needed, they are in trouble.

Now they have to put their careers and licenses on the line, and potentially even their life (sleepy) to go another 10+ miles up the road to the next truck stop to HOPEFULLY find a spot to park.

If they don't park by the time the golden hour hits, they:

  • will incur hefty fines
  • the infraction goes on their record for up to FIVE YEARS

This puts their job in jeopardy and could even make them un-hirable.

For them, not having an available spot to park puts their job in jeopardy.  

It seems unfair to them.

We talked to one of our previous full-time RVing friends who is now a professional driver about RV parking at truck stops.

We appreciate Ash's thoughts, as an insider, seeing as he has been a full-time RVer and now he's driving for a living.

Below are his insights.

Ash Chestnut testimonial

Ash Chesnut

Professional Driver

"The subject of RVers parking in truck spots is discussed A TON among truckers and the responses are always negative and often threatening violence or property damage.


This seems aimed more at the RVs that park at truck stops than at rest areas.


Folks need to know they're being talked about and are disliked for taking truck spots.

Truckers are regulated VERY stringently.


We have more Federal and state regulations than even doctors.


We cannot cheat or fib, as they're all based on computers and GPS trackers required in each truck.


These regulations tell us when we must park.


And you better be parked before that timer hits zero!


Otherwise major fines and possibly losing your job, also make you almost unhirable. 


All infractions are recorded and logged for 5 years.


The wonderful thing about being a full-time RVer is you have control.


I would never tell an RVer to go pay for an RV park site instead of parking at a truck stop. 


That's idiotic, but it's what I hear most truckers say.


However, I do encourage RVers to stick to Walmarts, rest areas and the auto side of truck stops whenever possible."


Semi-truck drivers are regulated by the DOT. 

They cannot park in the same alternative spots that RVs can such as some Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, and such.

If you can fit your RV into a regular car spot (or two) at a truck stop, why not be considerate and do so, so you don't take up the limited giant spots?

Sure, many travel centers clearly state that RVs are welcome there.

However, we have to share the road with truck drivers who are trying to make a living.

We both may be driving long hours. (Truckers DEFINITELY are.)

We both need to pull over to sleep.

We have campgrounds, Walmarts, boondocking sites and more, but truckers do not.

Professional drivers have a very tight schedule to keep, and rules to abide by.

We usually have more flexibility than they do.

Can you park elsewhere?

Likely, yes, you can find a place.

Just Be Considerate

Remember, a working truck driver has a limited, REGULATED amount of time to drive,  a limited amount of time to sleep, do laundry, shower and to eat.

Semi driving thru desert

If they pull into a truck stop and it's busy with RVers or worse, there are no spots available for them, they are now in a pinch.

You, on the other hand, are probably on vacation and have some wiggle room.

It would just be nice if we would be more considerate of the limited parking spaces that truck drivers have.

They move the goods that we all buy every day to places all across the United States.

We hope that the RVing and professional driver communities can mutually respect one another's needs and will work together to allow everyone to be happy.

So if you don't already know of other places to park, we will now share with you some alternative RV parking options to taking a giant semi spot.

Is Daytime Parking OK?

We asked Ash about day parking in a semi spot for an hour or so  just to eat and do whatever.

He says this IS ok to do.

Nighttime 'rush' doesn't start until around 4:00, and he said it's "totally fine" if you have a large rig to use a semi spot. 

We thought this was really good additional input and food for thought.

Alternatives to RV Parking at Truck Stops

Oftentimes you can make your own RV spot at a travel center.

Truck stops are usually spacious enough to allow maneuvering for semi-trucks.

If you can find a spot off to the side where you will not be blocking any traffic flow, this can be a workable compromise to taking up a full truck spot.

After all, when making a quick stop, RVers will often park wherever an area is available while they go inside and get what they need.

View out Kellys window at Flying J

Parked in a Flying J car park area, NOT in a giant truck spot

At some stops, there are even empty lots next to the truck stop where some trucks and other travelers will park.

If others are doing it, it's likely a 'known' place to stay that's allowed, whether it's official or not.

Some travel centers have spots dedicated to RVs.

If where you are has it, USE it. 

Don't use the truck spots, it may not be permitted.

If the car park spots will fit you, use one of those before taking up a full semi spot.

Who cares if your ends don't perfectly fit into the space.

Again, typically there is PLENTY of room to maneuver.

Other Places To Park Your RV Overnight

There are many places that RVers can use to park overnight.

A trucker doesn't have so many options.

If you are smaller, and you CAN find a spot that isn't taking up a giant truck spot, why not do it?

It's simply about being aware of others' needs.

Not just your own.

Really, it is.

Can't we all just get along?

It can be a beautiful thing.

Interstate Rest Areas

Yep, it's true.

A good old rest stop can be the perfect place to overnight in a pinch.

They are designed for RVs and Semi trucks to come through and park so there's plenty of maneuvering area to feel safe to pull in.

This is ALSO not the place to take up a giant semi spot if you don't have to.

Especially if it's very full.

You pretty much are never permitted to 'camp' at a rest area overnight.

Duh, it's not a campground.

Also, many states have laws disallowing 'overnight' stays in rest areas.

But the reality is, have you ever seen someone taking note of the time each vehicle pulls in and pulls out?

Nope and nope.

Semis parked at rest area

So what's the rule?

Of course, it's not that easy.

Different states have different rules about overnight stops.

Individual rest stops have their own rules as well.

Watch for and read the signs.

Decide then what looks feasible to do according to what is going on at that rest stop.

For simplicity's sake, just keep in mind that it's hard to pinpoint what constitutes 'overnight'.

A full eight hours?

Nine hours?

Three?

It's a pretty grey area.

It's better to pull over and get some shut-eye (as truck drivers will do) then try to keep driving when you are exhausted.

No one wants to die on the road just because you were afraid to use a rest stop to get some sleep.

So what we are saying is that it's probably OK to stay at one in a pinch, so that you aren't dangerous on the road, or just for a quick overnight stay, much like what you would do at a truck stop.

It's what the truckers do, and what your fellow non-RVing drivers do.

Likely no one is going to bother you.

Rest Stop Unwritten Rules

Just like at a Walmart or other business, the same rules apply.

DO NOT put out your slides or chairs.

(Slides out only if you can't access your space with them in)

If you HAVE to put out a slide to even be able to access the bed, the least you can do is to try to park somewhere along an 'edge' or an island, putting your slide over grass.

Try not to take up more than one space.

Don't disconnect from your tow vehicle.

It's OK if you want to relieve your tow vehicle of its load by dropping your jack, just don't disconnect.

Rest Stop Safety

Are you safe?

Most states no longer have a security guard at their rest stops.

So it's simply up to you to use your head and your intuition.

If you don't feel comfortable, DON'T STAY THERE.

Listen to that voice!

Nine times out of ten, you will be perfectly safe.

Semi trucks parked at truck stop

If it's a busy rest stop, you are almost guaranteed to be safe.

If there's hardly anyone there, then it's a little bit more possible that someone is there who is up to no good.

Rest Stop Function

Remember, Interstate rest areas exist to keep the Interstate highways safe.

Each one has different rules depending on the needs of that corridor and the budget of the local area ruling it.

You may use them within reason.

Just don't abuse it and you should be fine sleeping at rest stops here and there on your way to your destination!

Boondockers Welcome

Boondockers Welcome logo

Some people love to stay overnight at the places that this membership provides.

It's all about whether it fits into your travel style or not.

Read more about how Boondockers Welcome works.

Boondocking Sites

Out West, more than in the East or the Midwest, there are tons of places on public land to stay overnight for free.

There are places on BLM land, National Forests, nature preserves, and more.

Kellys rig at roadside pulloff

Kelly parked in Quartzsite on free BLM land

However, these aren't good places to stay if you plan to arrive after dark.

It's VERY difficult to navigate and scout these areas with just headlights.

If you plan to go this route, we suggest doing so in the daytime.

You will almost definitely enjoy a much more peaceful night than you would at any truck stop.

To find spots, check out Campendium.com. 

If you fear boondocking, check out our boondocking guide on losing your fear.

Walmart RV Overnight Parking

Many, many Walmarts across the country will allow overnight RV parking.

This is SUCH an easy place to stay for the night.

And bonus- you can get a lot of what you need right there- in Walmart.

It's a known courtesy to buy something there as a 'thanks' for the free stay.

But it's not like if you don't, anyone's going to notice.

As in, we wouldn't say NOT to stay if you just don't need anything.

Some Walmarts cannot allow overnighters due to city ordinances.

Trust us, these cities will enforce their rules.

In some cities, you may experience cops coming through and forcing you to leave, even if it's 3 am. 

Some have security they hire to keep people from staying the night.

Fort Walton Beach Walmart parking lot

A good way to find Walmart overnight parking is allowed at a particular Walmart is to get the AllStays Camp and RV app.

They have filters to choose Walmarts where 'ask to park' is OK.

People will review and let you know what kind of experience they had.

You can read the reviews and find out, and/or as a last resort, call ahead and ask if they allow overnight parking.

Some people hate staying at Walmart, as the noise levels are too much for them.

For example, Camp Addict Marshall hates overnighting at Walmarts.

Camp Addict Kelly LOVES to overnight there on the way to the next boondocking spot.

You will have to decide for yourself if this is your kind of overnight stop or not.

Walmart RV Parking Rules

These rules apply to all business that allows parking overnight for RVs. 

Other sometimes RV friendly places are Cracker Barrel, some large outdoor stores, gas stations that aren't truck stops, some casinos, etc.

You can always call and ask if it's OK to stay.

Kellys rig at Lowes

Kelly parked overnight in this Lowe's parking lot her first night

We're just gonna start with this:

You should already know by now, if you are old enough to drive, that you SHOULD NOT LITTER in ANY parking lot.

However, there are VERY GOOD reasons (litter being one of them) that certain cities have disallowed overnight stays anywhere within a certain area.

It's because some people have ruined it for the rest of us by leaving trash outside their space, basically setting up camp, and grilling and partying outside, among other things.

Some 'wonderful' RVers have even gone as far as to dump their human waste into parking lots such as in THIS case.

So it's no wonder that there have to be rules sometimes.

That said, let's review some of the rules:

*Unwritten* Overnight Parking Rules:

  • Don't put out your slide, unless you can put it over an island
  • Don't put out your chairs, rugs, etc. In other words, don't set up camp
  • Don't take up more spots than you have to
  • Don't leave trash
  • Don't dump your tanks
  • Don't play loud music
  • DO NOT unhitch
  • Use your head, you should do fine
  • Don't stay more than one night

Abide by these and act like a decent human being.

This way we can all enjoy staying overnight in our RVs at a Walmart or other businesses in the very distant future!

RV Street Parking

Kelly rig street parking

Some cities allow RV street parking in certain spots. Some cities are harder than others to find this information and some have more than others.

Believe it or not, even in Los Angeles, you can find legal street parking.

(Though many of these spots are NOT going to be very desirable to stay in because of the homeless population/the areas not being very safe places to stay.)

Also, due to the length of your RV, if you have a fifth wheel, Class A motorhome, or a travel trailer, finding a spot long enough may be a challenge. 

Still, it can be done.

Other Parking Alternatives

There are many strange places that RVers have found to stay that may not technically be 'legal'.

We don't necessarily condone doing this, but many RVers and nomadic people do it.

However, if you get good at this, it can work.

Empty lots.

Schools.

Church parking lots.

Busy hotel parking lots.

Mall parking lots.

RV dealerships.

RV dealerships with service centers.

You name it, it's likely been overnighted before.

Know that these places are probably chanced, and you may be asked to move.

Still, sometimes it's worth a try and you might just find the perfect spot for one overnight.

Just be smart about it.

Don't play loud music.

Keep your lights off or to a minimum.

Don't park anywhere that you are blocking traffic.

Just stay as stealthy as you can and there are lots of places that you can probably find to overnight successfully.

Conclusion

Truck stops are great for overnight stays if you can stand the noise.

However, we should be considerate of the needs of the truckers who use truck stops as more than just a place to park.

They also need to use the toilets, showers, and laundry at these places in addition to needing a place to park their trucks.

They can't just easily find a place to park at the local laundromat.

Should you park in one of the giant truck spots?

You can.

But we would kindly suggest doing so only if you have zero other options.

Which should be pretty much never.

Even if there are a ton of spots available, just remember that it could easily fill up overnight.

Just do your best to not be 'that guy' that parked his little travel trailer in a huge truck spot when it's obvious that big trucks are looking for a place to stay since the lot is full.

Kellys rig at truck stop nighttime

CA Kelly being 'that guy' when she first started RV life!

It's really just all about being considerate of one another on the road!

In the end, it's your decision as to whether you should take up a truck spot at a truck stop, based on your size, availability, and whether you have other options for a place to park.

Camp Addict Kelly

Kelly Beasley is co-founder of Camp Addict and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since May 2015, Kelly's playful writing style helps make learning about the sometimes dull subject of RV products a bit more interesting.

Other Articles You Should Read

  • The sound of the riggs running are better than a lullaby for me, puts me right to sleep.
    Something to consider when parking at a truck stop/plaza is:
    Does the truck stop/plaza allow one to sleep in parked RV? Trucker’s can park & sleep but due to the truck stop’s insurance liabilities an RV’r can park there but not allow one to sleep in parked RV. In the event of an event you’re a liability, their insurance doesn’t cover you.
    Don’t shoot me, I’m just sayin…

  • I am writing this sitting in a truck spot at a flying J in Fargo ND. The spots that were RV parking last time thru here are now reserved truck parking. 5yrs on the road for you? Hard to believe. I remember checking out your renters upkeeping of your house. How time flies. This has been a challenging trip as quite a few RV parks are still closed. Keep the sparkle in your writing.

    • Thanks, Greg… yeah, not surprised about the spots. Truckers really need more legal parking spots. I usually make my own spot at a truck stop. I just make sure I am not in any way blocking the big trucks.

      Yeah, the place looks very different now that I’ve sold it and they have built on a porch on the front, and aren’t really keeping the bushes trimmed. ????

      Hopefully we shall all be on the road again soon, and safely. This is painful. But necessary.

      Stay safe, Greg!

  • I also wanted to thank all of the truckers, both Ladies and Gentlemen for taking such great care of your Country, the United States of America! God’s Speed.

  • It’s a double edged sword. Truckers now park their entire semi in parking up front at most Flying J’s designated for RVs. But on the same hand, I’ve seen motorhomes parked in the semi parking lot.

    Why? It baffles me. They must love the smell of urine, the noise of trucks idling, etc….lol.. Ever since the Pilot bought out the Flying J, they just don’t care who parks where, and it shows.

    Call the Pilot Corp office in Knoxville and let them know the amount of business you once gave them. And the amount of money they are going to lose.

    • Hi David,

      LOL! Yep, some RVers just can’t get enough of the gnarly smells and noise! I prefer a gas station/Walmart/truck stop over any campground just to not have to pay, not be told where to park, not to have to have people WATCH me park, not to deal with noisy neighbors, not to have to check in/check out, etc etc etc.

      Full-time boondocker here.

      But I do NOT park my tiny 24′ travel trailer in giant spots meant for eighteen wheelers.

      Cheers!

      • Yes, Kelly, I am a full time boon docker in a expedite van…yes, I also agree to free as well, but in the extreme hot weather I will plug in at a campground, preferably state parks, just to give the generator a rest when the rooftop a/c unit is running, and when I want to cook out on the grill, and get away from the noise of the parking lots….no matter how far I park away from civilization in a Walmart or Flyingpilot car parking lot, I seem to always attract the trucker in a bobtail who just has to park next to me while that driver idles their truck alllll night long…lol.

        • Personally, I only boondock. The only reason I am at a Walmart or a gas station is because I am on my way somewhere and couldn’t make it in one day. I’m a hell no vote for one night in a campground!

          But that’s just me. ????

          I chase elevation to keep it cool, so no generator needed for air. I’ve had one or two pretty warm nights, regardless.

          When I DO stay overnight at x location, I too am really good at attracting the trucker who parks right next to me. Somehow, I am unusually good at not being too bothered by the engine noise.

          Lucky me!

  • One thing not mentioned about parking near the truckers is the noise level. Most semis park and run their engines.

    • Hi Richard,

      Correct! I’m a very light sleeper and really get a horrible night’s sleep when I am around semis. Fortunately this doesn’t happen very often, but it did just the other day when I was relocating from Arizona to Washington and overnighted in an Oregon rest area. Of course there were plenty of semi’s there, and they did their best to keep me up all night.

    • I’ve had my CDL since 2009, and hope this explanation will bring a little understanding to all. Most big trucks have 4 batteries in a box under the drivers seat.These batteries are much larger than car batteries and help provide electricity for all the electronics in the cab. Many companies don’t have inverters in the cab so the driver has to idle the truck while parked or within four to six hours it will not start the batteries will be dead. Since a truck burns 1 gallon of diesel for every hour it sits we burn 10 gallons every day.If taken care of properly these trucks will log over a million miles in it’s lifetime, with many running continuously for months at a time. If the truck is shut down the APU ( auxiliary power unit) may be just as noisy if not more so, again it keeps the batteries charged and helps to prevent the diesel from gelling in the winter. Finally if you look a the nose of the trailer right behind the tractor you may see digital numbers on a box, this would mean it is a reefer (refrigerated) unit which makes a racket but must run continuously to keep the inside of the trailer at a pre set constant temperature.I guess the only good thing with all this noise is you can’t hear the driver snoring – sorry people 🙂

      • Thank you, Ernie!

        That was very informative. I have always wondered why they have to idle. Figured there was a good reason, but I didn’t know the real reason.

        The noise doesn’t usually bother me as long as it’s consistent.

        I also imagine that the engine covers driver farts as well.

        LOL! Look at me.

        ????

  • I drive drive away RV’S. the thing that worry me about is this. I have seen semis park in spaces that are marked for RVs. That mean the semis are 73 ft long which rv might be only 24 ft. The semis are sticking way past the lines
    If someome hits your trailer, Its on the truck because he’s parked in rvs space. No matter who is at fault.

  • Hello all, I’m a trucker who drives for a small company and been at it for 8 years. It does drive me nuts when I see RVs in spots where we have to park and there sometimes where they have to, but I also see that there is plenty of room where auto park too.

    My point is that sometimes we just need some common sense. Not all RV people do this just some of them but it makes the RV industry look bad. All in all, when you travel and park just use common sense before taking up a large spot! Other than that safe travels!!!

    • Exactly. We hope people will use their common sense, but it doesn’t always happen. Thanks for giving another insider positive view without hate or anger about this topic.

      We hope you have no more parking woes out there. One can dream, right? LOL!

      Anyhoo, safe driving!

  • I as both an RV’er and a Trucker REALLY appreciate that you tried to be both objective and understanding (kind of hard sometimes to be both at once!) in regards to this super important topic!
    I have been a Driver legally for over 25 years and doing RV living for about 20 years. And I myself have pretty much given out the same tips and advice to other RV’ers and Expediters (hauls Frieght in vans or shorter box trucks) over the years. And as Truckers are being even more hogtied by Over-Regulations, and adequacy in Safe, legal parking is declining, the relevance of your article will help others have better understanding and hopefully better interactions with the Trucking Community.
    Side note- as many of us Truckers spend upwards of 6 weeks at time in our trucks, we have also been using and implementing many RVing tips about living/life on the Road! Keep up what you are doing and let’s ALL enjoy seeing the Roadways and Stops together!

    • Wow! What an understanding and positive take from a longtime truck driver. Thank you, Shelle. We are sorry that this has to be a struggle at all for the industry. But we think that getting knowledge out there to those who may not know about the issues may help at least a little.

      So we are happy you and so many others found this article. We appreciate that you perceive the value in it. Thank you for helping get goods to where they need to go so they end up in consumers’ hands. And hello, fellow RVer! : )

  • I don’t think the average RV class A has any idea how much professional CDL drivers resent the lack of regulation on non commercial vehicles. Especially with the new rules requiring lighter “for hire” vehicles to be included in the ELD mandate. A class A motorhome weighs as much or more than an an unburdened tractor trailer, but they have zero accountability. Then that same RV pops in and takes up a parking spot too. Or that 30+ foot trailer being pulled by a car or light truck that we KNOW would not pass an axle weight if it had to run through a scale. It is a small percentage but RVs run unregulated. To an industry that is constantly being imposed upon with more regulations and oversight this “chaps”.

    • I have been in Tennessee alot and no where have I seen a sign stating RV’s are considered trucks but I have seen signs coming out of North Carolina saying no trucks but RV’S can park there. Our big rigs are limited on where we can LEGALLY park where you can park almost anywhere and have the essentials of home where we don’t.

      • Hi Melvin,

        Exactly. This is why we state in the article that RVs should not park in trucker spots at truck stops.

  • I agree with Ash on everything. Personally i think the truckers that really get offended are company owned drivers. I honestly dont care because i make sure i have time to check another truck stop for parking in case it is full. Only bob tail trucks get on my bad side when there is other places for them

  • If I have to park in a truck space I always park where my trailer can been seen when a trucker pulls into the be area so they won’t come all the way up thinking it is empty and have to leave or go arround

  • It would also be great if bobtail drivers would consider not parking in truck/trailer spots. Seek areas along drive or hard to get in spots.

  • All good notes. As an OTR truck driver, we don’t have time to look for a safe place to shut down. I go on the Trucker Path app to see what’s ahead. If there’s a Walmart, I’ll call and ask the manager if I can stop there. If so, I go in and thank the manager. If not, I keep rolling.

    • Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for adding your experienced voice to this conversation. You have pointed out another good reason RVs, for the most part, should stay out of truck spaces. Truckers don’t have the luxury of time to stop and find out what is available ahead like RVers do.

      Good point, thank you.

  • Different places are more lenient. some more strict in our particular place at Pilot Flying J California due to the amount of agricultural. if there is an RV is parked in the truck spots we will get them to move out and because it’s always full we will allow them to bobtail on the gas side if needed. the fact of the matter is that truck drivers regularly Fuel and spend anywhere from 300 to $800 in diesel and that’s just the way it is. Corporation likes to take care of its prime customers. Not unlike a regular person who leaves one job to go to another job who pays more sure that person stay at the job that pays $5 less no they will leave a company.

  • I’ve been living in an RV for 22 years. The best places to park or places that are a little off the beaten path. Close to civilization but not quite in their parking areas. You just have to be creative. The further you are from people the less problems you’ll have.

  • Whoa, I am a drive away driver for RVs, I HAVE TO follow the same rules and law as the semis. I hold class A. But pilots and flying j allow Bobtails to take up OUR space and you truckers dont say anything about it..here are some of the places that I cant park because they’re full of Bobtails: flying j at Tulsa, Sullivan, Mo. Flying j at Lemom, Co let’s semis park in their RV parking, Souix Fall, SD. East St Louis flying j.
    If anything is said to the management, they don’t care..I just go to someplace else that the manager has a set of balls. I believe several seasonal drivers are doing the same..take the PETRO at Oak Grove, Mo. Their RV.and Bus parking smells like pee.with big companies like Celadon going out of business, they might want to change their thinking

    • Interesting… hadn’t thought of that angle. I wonder- do they give you some kind of permit/notice to put in your windshield which would let others know this information?

      That would be helpful in cases where there are ‘parking wars’, for others not to get their feathers ruffled.

      Curious what truck drivers think about this, as we have no experience or education about what parking rules are for other class A drivers while working.

    • The reason most bobtails park on the RV/Auto side is to make room for the trucks with trailers. Some Flying J consider that side for bobtails too. As far as management goes, they make about 85% of their store earnings from truckers so they tend to take the trucker’s side. They don’t want to choose, so please don’t force them.

  • This was many years ago on a rest stop on I95, NC or SC, I stopped to sleep in my RV after driving all night, after approx 2 hrs, an officer knocked on the door and asked what I was doing as we did not move in several passes of his route, I told him getting some rest, and advised we could not “camp” at rest stop and had to move on

    • Hi Stephen,

      Yes, that is an unfortunate rule for most of us in some states. The truth is, you could have told the officer you were just resting and grabbing a bite/going to the bathroom. I mean, is there an hourly duration you are/aren’t allowed to stay?

      Not that we have seen. But yes, as we stated in the article, most rest stops do not allow overnight camping. You can try, but as you have already seen, you might get called out for it by law enforcement. Not that we are promoting breaking the law, just how long is too long?

      It’s sort of a grey area.

  • Great article and thanks for the tips! I’m currently rving around the country, approx 5000 miles so far and just never park in a dedicated truckers spot because I understand their plight having trucked for a few years myself. I typically stay a couple times a week at a rv park when I am moving around but boondock the rest of the time because I enjoy that plus the cost of rv parks is getting a little high. When I’m parked some where for a while I enjoy koa,s but your article has provided me with some helpful info for my boon docking stays, awesome!

    • Hi Scott,

      Sounds like you are having a great time of it RVing around the country! Yes, we agree that campgrounds are pretty expensive considering you can simply boondock for free much of the time, at least out west.

      Glad we have helped you out, that’s what we are here for!

      Safe travels, friend.

    • Hi Walter,

      Rest stop? I am assuming you mean a truck stop? If there is no place to park your RV as far as RV parking goes at a truck stop, yes, you can park in the auto park area. There is often plenty of space. I do it often! I have even stayed overnight. I usually try to find a spot out of the way, or on the side of the property where I am not in the middle of a traffic area. Just be considerate and you should be fine.

    • I’m a 20 year driver, it totally depends upon the rest area and state. Some rest areas have a large number of car spaces that never get used. Usually law enforcement is more lenient with RVers than trucks.

  • Never have stayed in trucker spots or Walmarts, when we traveled always use rv parks. That was part of the budget. Guests in rv parks also need to learn Dont cross other peoples spots go around them. That spot you didnt pay for. And turn down those bright lights you put up. If your that afraid you dont belong to the camping people who also need to sleep and not have bright lites shining in their spaces. At 85 have done and gone many places and regret it is coming to an end. Jo

    • I am 75, thought we had given up the travel/camping deal but missed it SO much. Just bought a 22 foot r-pod and we will be “ On The Road” again soon! Yippee! I’d love to hear your story!

  • I’m a retired trucker after 42 years b hind the wheel i now a rv er i lov seeing the places i could never c because i was in at nite unload an gone by morning lite so i these young truck drivers understand about y some rv ers park in a truck stop stop truckers spot.so don’t take offense its a habit an mayb strike ua conversation with a rver they would b surprised who we r. Thank u

    • Great advice, Tommy!

      It’s amazing what happens you stop to talk to a person. Treat them kindly. As a human. Be nice and civil. Most likely you’ll find a very interesting person to talk to for a bit.

      Happy RVing!

  • Beautiful, and well written. You did not go negative, and it is easy to do.
    One thing that is another simple thing is diesel island have rules unwritten also. Always pull up after fueling to allow another to take your place. Courtesy to pull up. Maybe that is obvious.
    Thank you for a well written article.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Bob!

      Yes, for sure, pull forward once you are done fueling. Don’t fuel and then go inside to shop, use the bathroom, whatever and continue to block a fuel pump. That’s a great way to piss off people, not just truckers.

  • As a recently retired heavy haul trucker and with 35 years in the industry, I’ve never had a problem with a rv parked in a truck space. What is upsetting is when they decide to camp in the parking lot, steps down, slides out, awning out. Then they’re being ridiculous.
    As a rv owner and traveler is really upsets me that the trucks feel the need to use the rv spaces in the rv lot in front of the truck stop.

    • Hi Frank,

      There definitely is room (a lot?) for improvement when it comes to educating RVers as to what is good etiquette when camping overnight in a parking lot – whether it be a truck stop or a Walmart (or other store that is nice enough to allow RV overnight parking).

      The Escapees have published a Good Neighbor Policy (PDF) that has been adopted by the industry, and shows what is considered to be proper etiquette. Problem is, the vast majority of RVers don’t have a clue that this policy exists. Or that it applies to them.

      And yes, it is frustrating to see truckers parking in RV spaces, or cars for that matter. This is also a huge problem (cars parking in RV spaces) in the over crowded National Parks.

      Fortunately the joys of hitting the open road in your RV greatly outweigh these minor annoyances. Though at the time you are facing them, they can be quite frustrating.

      Thank you for your comment and congrats on your retirement! I hope you enjoy RVing as much as Kelly and I do!

    • Frank I 100 percent agree. My rig with my car hauler is 66 ft long. Parking at the truck stops have never so far been a negative for me and actually have met some really good people and never had any inclination that I made anyone mad. I am normally rolling in after 1 or 2 am so most of the truckers are already settled in so not worried about taking up their space. I am way to big to go looking for a space at Walmart, street parking etc. I completely respect the truckers and their needs way before mine but also keep in mind they do have alternatives that the rv ers do not. Maybe not in every state, but most of the ones I have traveled is the weigh stations normally have 50 to 100 spaces that they can spend the night., also on the side of the on ramps to the interstate. Tried that and parked between a couple of trucks, well off the road and got ran off from a state trooper but he did not bother the truckers. I will never park at a truck stop if there is only a couple of spots but usually have no issues at late, late hours at night. These guys are just like we are and just want everyone to be safe. They recognize that if I fall asleep at the wheel they can be in danger. Just respect them and have yet to run into them disrespecting me. Excellent input from all. Be considerate and usually you will get it back

  • Nice work, Kelly!

    I would like to add that 2 things most non-truckers are not aware of are:

    1 – When a driver comes to the end of herhis 14 hour on-duty day, that driver is FORCED to shut down and not move the truck for 10 hours. With the advent of electronic logs, and the ambiguities in the hours of service (HOS) regulations, any attempt to skirt the regs is professionally dangerous.

    2 – While you see many trucks pulled over at on and off ramps to take their breaks, the state and local governments are increasingly outlawing this practice. Wal-mart and many other big-box stores welcome RVers (and
    I’m 1 of you), they don’t like the damage an 80,000 pound truck can do to their lots and so are hesitant to let them park.

    All that being said, if you are worn out, sore and sleepy, find the nearest SAFE spot to park and lock down.

    Be courteous, be safe and have fun!

    • Hi Dave!

      Awe, thank you for the kudos, Dave! Also- that’s great additional information you provided. Others surely can learn from this. That’s what is so great about this site… our readers! We love that our readers engage and help teach one another what we may not know or add to an article. This is great. Thank you for your comment and Camp On!

  • Nicely written, Kelly. We have been full time for almost 4 years and have made a couple of Truck Stop overnights out of necessity but we always try to avoid for the very reasons you mention. This article did a great job of explaining things from the truckers perspective without the emotional language you get during online “chats” about the subject. We all have to share the road and it is good to stop and appreciate where we would all be without all of those big trucks moving across the nation.

    • Hi Frank,

      Thank you for your kind compliment- I totally tried to be as ‘both sided’ as possible. Well, maybe I leaned a little in the truckers favor. But for good reason. It’s about all of us having to share the road, and knowing what our options are compared to other’s options, and trying to be decent humans to others. They work hard to bring us the goods we use every day! I appreciate them, even if they are not perfect. Neither are we. Happy upcoming 4-year Nomadiversary, and thanks for reading and appreciating this blog post!

  • After driving an 18 wheeler for 40 years and finally retired My wife and I decided it was time to buy the power unit and the 5th wheel and hit the road. So we did. I can totally understand how the truckers feel about RVs in a truck stop. I thought the article was very well written. The way I see it if it wasn’t for the trucking industry we would not have our MH 5th wheel or TT. So please be considerate to the truckers and their way of life on the road and you will find out they will help you when everyone else will pass you by

    • Hi Wayman,

      Thank you for your input as a previous truck driver. It goes a long way hearing it from someone who has been in the industry. I also agree with the fact that you wouldn’t have pretty much ANY of the stuff you do if it weren’t for these drivers. Basically, every single thing you own has been on a semi truck at one point in time. We hope others read this and understand the quandary truck drivers are put in when there is no place to park and sleep for the night at a truck stop. Sure, it’s easy for an RV to park there, and yes, it’s ok to park there during the day, but I myself don’t want to put someone’s job in jeopardy just because I felt like it was my right to park in a giant spot when other places were available to me. It’s all about humans being educated and making considerate choices for others. Hope you get to camp a lot these days and thanks for the comment, Wayman!

    • 90% of all fender benders between trucks happens in a truck stop. Backing in a spot with a 53 foot trailer and and the possibility of not seeing a slide out on a camper could be fatal to the person sleeping! Don’t do that type of camping in a truck stop. That’s like taking up two parking places.

  • If you take the time and effort to LOOK, you often will find smaller out of the way places that sell diesel where a lot (often unpaved) is located. I have done this often and have always found parking. The big “travel centers” are always PACKED. You won’t have all the “bells and whistles” of the big truck stops but MUCH less noise.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Very true. Some gas stations don’t care if you want to stay overnight. I have asked before and stayed at a gas station that wasn’t a truck stop. Just buy some gas from them and maybe breakfast. It’s all good. There are many other places to park overnight than just truck stops!

  • How is it every time I pull in to a Flying J/Pilot station all the dedicated RV spots have bobtails?
    It goes both ways my friends.

    • Hi Kimberly,

      We didn’t say that all truck drivers are perfect. We don’t know why you see this. This article is about YOUR awareness/knowledge of truck stop situations and behaving in a way that you see appropriate for the other humans around you. We cannot control what others do. All we can do is lead by example.

    • But you all can park wherever trucks don’t have that luxury and i personally think it is bs when rvs come into a trucks parking lot because 1 they are to cheap or to lazy to find an rv park you don’t have regulation like truckers do

      • Hi Annie,

        Yes, as stated in the article, we discourage RVers from parking in truck lots. This article is intended to inform those RVers who are unaware.

    • Usually they do that because they also don’t want to take up a full space that another trucker can use and somevstops consider that area for bobtails too. That’s why you may sometimes see quite a few bobtails parked out near the road in front of the store

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