With helpful apps and websites, finding rest stops with RV dumps is easier than ever. Here are the best resources for RVers and other useful tips.
I recently wrote a post about whether staying overnight in a rest stop is legal. Typically speaking, you may stay overnight in a self-contained camping vehicle like an RV. It is only illegal to pitch a tent, put up a different camping structure, or cook outdoors. If you simply sleep in your RV, then you are okay to stay overnight.
Rest areas also typically have rules about the number of hours you can stay parked at the site. Those change from state to state.
That post illustrated one important way that rest areas are useful for RVers. It got me thinking about other ways that rest stops benefit RVers, which led me to write this article.
So, here is a guide on how to find rest stops with RV dumps plus some helpful tips and information about dumping.
(We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Thank you for your support.)
Why Use a Dump Station?
A dump station is a location where raw, untreated sewage can be sent into the sanitary sewer system. Most people that utilize dumps stations are owners of RVs or other motor crafts like boats equipped with toilet facilities.
Using a dump station to dump raw waste is the safest and most responsible way to dispose of raw human waste.
Dumping waste tanks in the wild is illegal, and violators can receive a ticket for doing so. You certainly don't want a run-in with poop cops!
Where Can I Find a Dump Station?
Generally speaking, dump stations can be found anywhere there is a demand for one. Places frequented by travelers, like RV parks, gas stations, and truck stops, is the most common place to look. Of course, many public campgrounds and private campgrounds have dump station facilities.
Typically, dump stations can be found at:
- RV Park
- National Park
- State Park
- Rest Stop
- Travel Center
- Gas Station
- Truck Stop
Of course, when you're settled in a campground or a place frequented by RVers, it's easy to find a dump station. But what about when you're out on the open road? If you are on the Interstate your best shot is to find rest stops with RV dumps.
As you likely know, a rest stop is a public pull-off on the side of the road. They have restrooms, picnic areas, trash cans, pet relief areas, and maps for traveling motorists. Some even have welcome centers attached to the site.
Some states call rest stops by different names, such as Interstate Rest Areas.
Many rest stops have RV dump sites, for free or a nominal fee.
How Do I Find Rest Stops with RV Dumps Near Me?
Not all rest stops have RV dumps so you need to plan ahead as much as possible. You don't want to end up on a wild goose chase with a full blackwater tank.
Luckily, finding rest stops with RV dumps is easier than it's ever been thanks to helpful apps and websites. Here are a few great resources that will help you locate nearby and even free RV dump stations:
This site is specifically for RV dump stations in the U.S. I think it's easiest to use because you can search by state, city or map. The results are shown on a map view, so you can see where the stations are relative to your specific location or where you're headed.
SaniDumps is probably the most comprehensive site of dump stations online. It lists dumpsites all over the world, not just the United States. They list private, public, RV park, non-park, municipal, truck stop, campground, camping, resort, commercial, and, of course, rest stops with RV dumps. They also show pay, donation, and free dump station options.
You can use the map key to filter for just dumps on the interstate. Super handy while traveling or better yet, as you plan ahead for your next trip.
AllStays is an app that is only available on iPhone and iOS devices. The company makes multiple RV apps and resources, including a standalone RV Dumps Stations App. However, I recommend the “Camp and RV” app since you get other useful features along with a search filter for RV dump stations.
Many RVers are familiar with the AllStays app. It is awesome. But since Jennifer and I discovered AllStays Pro, the browser-based subscription site, we rely on it almost exclusively in our RV travels.
We use it for finding interesting places that really stand out, especially out of the way boondocking spots and free places to stay
Using this link and the discount code: rvpodcast you can save 10% off your All Stays Pro annual subscription.
As you may know, Campendium is a popular website for finding campgrounds. Using their search filters, you can find campgrounds that have RV dump stations near you.
RVShare is an RV rental company that allows you to search for RV dump stations by state.
And we just heard that one of our favorite travel apps also has this ability to find dump stations!
How Much Do Dump Stations Cost?
Not all dump stations cost the same amount to use. Some are free, while others can cost a small fee or request a donation. Others can be pricey, costing as much as $31 or more.
By the way, it is possible to Use a House Sewer for Dumping. That's another free option if you have the capability.
How Do I Dump My RV Waste?
Cleaning out your dump tanks can leave you lighter, and feeling good… your RV, I mean. The lighter your rig, the more fuel-efficient it will run. Plus, regular dumping will help prevent odors from building too much.
An important thing to remember is that rest stops with RV dumps are a shared space, for both travelers and hard-working truckers. That means we need to treat them with respect and care, leaving it cleaner than you found it. It's also a common courtesy to give truckers priority since they are usually on the clock.
Dumping your RV's waste is not a pretty job. But it is relatively simple.
To clean out your RV septic system, you will need the following items:
- Black or Gray Tank Flush Hose
- Sewage Hose
- Tank Treatment
You can use reusable or disposable gloves. They help you stay clean and protect yourself from harmful bacteria.
Use these to clean valves, handles, connection ports, and the water spigot.
Black or Gay Tank Flush Hose
Many RVs do not come with an extra hose to be used to flush out tanks once they are drained. While some dump sites have them on hand, you can purchase your own hose for about $15.
Most RVs come complete with a sewage hose. It can usually be found stored in the rear bumper or in the outside RV storage compartment.
There are simple to use tank deodorizers. You can simply drop thee in your toilet, let it dissolve, and let it help keep your tank odor-free.
Jennifer and I (and much of the RV community) highly recommend the Happy Campers Tank Treatment. It's not only affordable but much more effective than any other treatment we've tried. Here's an article that compares it to using the other popular Geo Method.
Easy Steps to Dumping RV Waste
The following are simple steps to dumping your RV waste.
1. Empty Your Tanks
First, you want to empty your black tank, then your gray tank. It is essential to first empty the black tank because it contains solid waste. The grey water tank does not.
Emptying your black tank first allows solids to go through the hose. If anything gets stuck, the grey tank water can help flush it out.
The gray water is also connected to the RV sinks, so it oftentimes has soapy water in it. That can also help clean the black tank residue leftover in the sewage hose.
To empty the tanks, you will want to attach the sewer hose to the RV hose outlet. Some RVs have one outlet, while others have two different ones.
Open the slide valve to drain the black tank completely. Then close the valve and open the gray tank.
2. Keep the Hose Secure
Use a brick or paver to hold the sewer line secure while dumping. That is because when the solid waste exits the holding tank, there will be a lot of force with it. The brick or paver will keep the hose secure.
3. Set Up Your Flush Hose
While your black water and gray water tanks are being emptied, set up your flush hose by attaching it to the dump station's fresh water spigot.
4. Disconnect Your Sewer Hose
Once you have duped both tanks, make sure the valve is fully closed. Disconnect the hose, and immediately raise it up. That will ensure any contents left inside the hose run down into the clean out.
Keep the sewer hose raised above the draining end of the hose. Then use a flush hose to run rinse water through the sewer hose.
Choosing the Best RV Toilet Paper
Since we're on the stinky subject, I want to point out that selecting the right RV toilet paper is critical for enjoying the RV lifestyle. I've written a whole article on it, which you can read: The Stinky Truth About RV Toilet Paper and Black Tank Sensors.