Every RVer NEEDS TO KNOW these rules and proper etiquette for parking overnight at truck stops. Otherwise, angry truckers will tell you (or show you!)…
- 1 Every RVer NEEDS TO KNOW these rules and proper etiquette for parking overnight at truck stops. Otherwise, angry truckers will tell you (or show you!)…
- 2 Parking Overnight at Truck Stops (What You NEED to Know)
- 3 Easily Accessible Spots to RV Overnight
- 4 Need the Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites?
- 5 Camping can be expensive.
- 6 Mike and Jennifer’s Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!
FAQ’s about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers
- 7.1 What is the weather like along Florida’s Gulf Coast?
- 7.2 Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?
- 7.3 Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?
- 7.4 Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?
- 7.5 But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?
- 8 Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?
There are often heated debates between truckers and RVers on whether it’s okay to park RVs overnight at truck stops. Technically, yes, it is okay, but only if you follow these unwritten rules.
Because let me tell you, these rules may be unwritten but an angry truck driver will be more than willing to shout them at you. Or worse, show you.
I’ve heard how truckers have taken out RV slides or parked scarily close to RVs to prove their point. I’ve also heard about plenty of angry threats, too.
So, as a longtime boondocker who has stayed overnight at truck stops, I will share my advice with you. The key is respect!
Parking Overnight at Truck Stops (What You NEED to Know)
First and foremost, you must remember that truckers are working! They are trying to earn a living for their families and they need truck stops to do so.
It’s understandable when they get upset if your RV is interfering with their livelihood. After hours on the road, they want and need somewhere to park, rest, shower, and eat.
So, the all-encompassing rule to remember as you read the following rules is: TRUCKERS GET PRIORITY.
Rule #1: Don’t Leave Your RV When Filling Up
Do not pull up to the gas pump, start pumping, and then go inside for a snack. Wait for your pump to finish filling your tank, then pull through to a parking spot. Only then should you leave your RV to go into the store or restroom.
Breaking this rule is a sure way to tick off a trucker. After all, they’re on the clock! They shouldn’t have to wait on you to get back out on the road.
Rule #2: Don’t Park in Truck Spots
Never park in a truck parking spot at truck stops, even if there are lots available. Truckers come in and out at all hours and they may need that spot.
Only park in designated RV spots. You’ll thank me for two reasons for this advice.
For one, trucks are loud, even when they’re idling or running off generators at night. You won’t get a good night’s sleep even if truckers leave you be.
For two, you won’t have to deal with a tired, irritated trucker. Put yourself in his or her shoes and imagine what it’d be like to pull in for a much needed rest only to find a vacationer in your spot. I’m sure you’d be disgruntled, too.
Rule #3: Don’t Park Too Close to Trucks
This is clearly a pet peeve of truckers. After all, they are navigating BIG trucks into small spaces.
So, even if your designated RV spot is next to a truck spot, give them as much space as possible! More so, park in a spot as far away as possible.
It’s highly recommended that you keep your slides pulled in, as they can accidentally (or, unfortunately, intentionally) get swiped.
Remember that overnight parking at a truck stop is only meant as a pit stop to rest or sleep at most. You certainly should not set up camp for the night by putting out chairs and slides!
Rule #4: Don’t Be a Shower Hog
As an RVer or boondocker, you can and should use showers at truck stops. It’s a great way to refresh in a clean shower for a small fee.
However, don’t be a shower hog! If there are several showers available and no crowd in sight, feel free to enjoy a good long shower.
But, if there’s a line (especially consisting of truckers), don’t dawdle! Remember, you should always behave as if truckers have priority.
So, shower quickly if truckers are waiting or, better yet, shower later if that’s a convenient-enough option for you.
Rule #5: Beware of Hustlers
There was a discussion in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group on this very thing. The RVer who posted the warning explained it quite well:
“If ANYONE tries to involve you in anything regarding money at a truck stop, meaning if money is the conversation except maybe just asking for a dollar or so I would stay clear of.
If anyone tries to chat you up about something you know nothing of, just say sorry I gotta get doing stuff and move on.
People work in weird ways. Thieves will approach and chat you up while they eyeball your stuff or see if you’re an easy mark. By deflecting, you show them preemptive position.”
Rule #6: Buy Something From the Truck Stop
Yes, truck stops are a great “free” place to park overnight. However, out of respect for the truck stop owners, it shouldn’t be completely free.
It’s proper etiquette to make a purchase, whether it’s a snack, shower, or fuel. This consideration encourages truck stop owners to cater to RVers as well as truckers.
Rule #7: Be Nice to Truckers!
By treating truckers with respect and kindness, you will likely get it in return. Remember this even if an irritated trucker approaches you!
I’ve seen truckers quickly calm down if they realize that the RVer will happily right any wrong they might be doing.
I’ve also seen truckers be incredibly grateful if you give them priority over showers, fuel, etc.
Just think of it this way: how would you want someone to behave if a visitor came into your home? Behave that way! Because truck stops are home away from home for truckers!
Easily Accessible Spots to RV Overnight
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We all know about overnight places to stop like Walmart and Cracker Barrel…or Harvest Hosts but there are lots of other places where RVers can stop… places right along the highway where pets are welcome and you can find just about anything you need for an overnight stay.
Need the Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites?
Camping can be expensive.
Especially if you are spending more travel time in outdoor spaces. Or, perhaps you’re living and working from your RV.
Traditional campgrounds can also be crowded and noisy. It can sometimes feel like the opposite experience you are seeking by getting away from civilization and into nature.
That may be why you are looking for cheap or free RV camping sites and that’s why I’m here to help. I’m going to introduce you to boondocking in off-the-beaten-path campsites and then teach you how to find them.
This ebook (not a print book – but you could print this one out on your own if you wish) is available right now.
Here’s your Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites
Mike and Jennifer’s Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!
We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.
Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter.
That’s why we’ve created three guides, covering Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys.
Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.
Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content!
FAQ’s about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers
What is the weather like along Florida’s Gulf Coast?
The weather along Florida’s Gulf Coast can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the area experiences hot, humid summers and mild, pleasant winters.
The Panhandle region can be quite cool in January. It is seldom below freezing, but daytime highs are typically in the 50s. It warms up about 10 degrees each month.
You can also generally add about 10 degrees for every 150 miles you travel south down the Florida peninsula.
By the time you hit Naples, daytime highs in January are in the comfortable 70s.
Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?
While it severely damaged almost two dozen RV parks and campgrounds, about 8-10 campgrounds in the Naples-Ft. Myers area were completely destroyed. Most of the damaged campgrounds have been repaired and reopened.
Check with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds if you have questions or concerns.
Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?
One of the best resources we can recommend is called Campnab. This service monitors parks for cancelations and sends you an alert when an opening matches your criteria. That said, it isn’t magic. The app doesn’t create availabilities.
The service works – but it is not free.
Campnab offers two ways to use the service. The first is individual pay-per-use scans. These watch for vacancies at a specific park for a specific date. These work well if you know exactly when and where you intend to camp. Pay-per-use scans cost $10 – $20, depending on how frequently you want them to check availability.
The second way to use the service is through a membership. These typically run monthly and are tailored to those who camp more frequently or are looking to maximize their chance of finding a site. Membership allows you to scan multiple parks and/or dates simultaneously. With memberships, you pay a monthly recurring fee ($10, $20, $30, or $50), depending on your needs.
Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?
Not many. And they are very pricey. If you want to sleep directly on the sand in an RV, you’ll have to stay at a developed commercial campground like Camp Gulf on the Emerald Coast or an RV resort like Big Pine Key Resort in the keys. Some state parks like the Gamble Rogers State Memorial Recreation Area in the Atlantic Coast or Bahia Honda State Park in the keys or Fort Desto State Park near St. Petersburg have beachside sites, too.
But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?
Sorry, none that I know of that would work for RVs.
There is unrestricted camping on wild beaches on a couple of islands, but you need a boat to get there, and it is for tent camping only. If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there is Anclote Key offshore Tarpon Springs, and Shell Key in Pinellas County. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island but that area remains pretty devasted from Hurricane Ian.
Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?
On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time. CLICK HERE to go to it directly.
November 03, 2022at6:41 pm, Tex Hooper said:
My wife and I want to buy a motorhome. You mentioned some rules that we didn’t know about not parking in truck spots. I’ll have to consider getting something that is easy to maneuver. [Link deleted]
November 04, 2022at3:41 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for the feedback, Tex! And hope you get the perfect rig for you – happy trails! Team RV Lifestyle
November 03, 2022at1:36 am, Ronnie Nelson said:
First off your article is full of garbage. You are treating truckers like a bunch of outlaws!!!. Now key note google and ask truckers about companies like Swift that yes you should avoid because they are newbie drivers!!!! Older more experienced drivers for respectable companies will give you room because an accident of any sorts will cause them a heafty write up or job loss. And take time on showers, as long as you like. Many truckers take their spouses or lovers on the ride and take an hour or two in the shower!!!! And hitting anything with a big rig requires police and reports so no they are not intentionally hitting your RV!!!!! Delete this garbage scare tactic article!!!!!! Those spaces are for trucks, RVs or pick-ups with long trailers and most truckers are respectable people with manners. Even if you grabbed the last spot!!!!
November 04, 2022at3:40 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Sorry you feel that way, Ronnie – We actually were not trying to make truckers sound like outlaws – we were trying to make RVers aware of some ways they could be more considerate of things from the trucker’s point of view. Thank you for sharing your take on all this – Sincerely, Team RV Lifestyle
November 02, 2022at6:30 pm, Shane Colunga said:
As a paying customer, I’d use whatever facilities afforded to me by the business owner, as a human being, you treat others as you’d like to be treated. But, truckers don’t invest anything into truck stops except patronage, they don’t deserve special treatment, anymore than I do, a veteran that’s disabled, except their are laws giving me parking preference, special ♿ ramps and bathroom stalls. The best rule at any publicly accessable privately owned business, be polite and helpful where applicable. There’s only so much space for us all. Don’t try to make anyones life harder than it already is. My uncle brother and several friends are long haulers, so I have nothing against truckers, but I’m not going out of my way to give them warm fuzzies, UNLESS they do 😉. Another thought, what if I had to extend my slide to gain access to my shower and kitchen, so I didn’t have to take a shower stall or booth in the dining room, giving other truckers faster access to dine or shower? Because I just need to fuel up just like them and sleep just like them.
November 03, 2022at9:02 pm, Don Godwin said:
Calm down. You need to take a chill pill. 1 a lot of truckers wait to fuel up when they come off break. Most rigs have anywhere between 300 to 400 hundred gallons of fuel. I also had a 40 ft fifth wheel. With a diesel p/u/ , not quite 400 gallons. As a former teamster who drove doubles back an forth from Boston to Buffalo(4,000,000miles) , and a veteran you seem to have the wrong attitude to start with. Bye the way there are a lot of bad truck drivers out there , so if you want to throw out that slide to take a shower, good luck 😂😂😂
November 04, 2022at3:35 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shane – we certainly agree with your advice to “try not to make anyones life harder than it already is.” Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle
November 02, 2022at6:20 am, Ric Joans said:
As long as it’s during the day time, don’t worry about parking in the truck parking at a truck stop. As long as the truck stop isn’t full and there’s plenty of parkings the truckers aren’t going to mind however after about 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. you need to be out of there those are our spots. We are required by law to take 10-hour breaks and most places will not allow us to park there. Truck stops are our refuge. This is also true for highway rest areas. Some rest areas actually have dedicated RV parking those that don’t, once again those are for truck drivers you have to take breaks by law, I’m not pulling over to spend the night in a rest area because that’s my idea of fun I’m at work. There are plenty of campgrounds out there for you and is someone else said if you can’t afford to stay in a campground then you probably shouldn’t have an RV.
November 02, 2022at5:26 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for sharing this, Ric! Excellent point – Team RV Lifestyle
November 01, 2022at11:00 am, Bigg Trucker said:
Yea don’t park at rest areas or truck stops go to a campground. If you can’t afford that then you have no business owning a RV.
November 01, 2022at12:18 pm, Karen Isham said:
All I have to say to this comment is: I’m truly sorry you are having a hard day and feel the need to be angry.