7 best rv parking spots

7 Best RV Parking Spots To Park Your RV Overnight Other than Walmart

7 Best RV Parking Spots To Park Your RV Overnight Other than Walmart

Most people know that Walmart nationwide allows free overnight parking for campers and RVs.  Walmart’s are a great spot—right off the highway and a convenient place to stock up on groceries and other household items during your journey.

But if Walmart’s not your jam or you’re looking for a place with a warm meal close by (hello dinner and/or flapjacks at Cracker Barrell!) or shower facilities, we’ve got some other options for you to consider.

7 Best Places for RV Parking Other Than Walmart:

1. Bass Pro / Cabela’s

sports mecca

Mecca for sportsmen, hikers, and campers, Bass Pro and Cabela’s usually have oversized lots to allow for boat trailers, RVs, and campers. Confirming with the store manager before parking overnight is important, but both are good bets for an overnight stay.

2. Cracker Barrel

cracker barrel

Located in forty-five states across the US (Wyoming, Vermont, DC, Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska are missing out) but with more locations in the east and southeast, Cracker Barrel welcomes overnight parking and is happy to serve you a delicious turkey dinner or pancakes any time of day.  Grab a good meal and a good rest.

3. Truck Stops – Pilot Flying J / Love’s / TA 

Certain truck stops provide designated RV parking spaces, often with amenities like showers, dump stations and propane refilling.  But these can be busy locations with overhead lights and constant traffic coming in and out.

4. Gyms – Anytime Fitness / 24 Hour Fitness / Planet Fitness

Because they are open 24 hours a day, gyms are a smart option, and they have shower facilities.  A Planet Fitness black card membership offers access to all PF gyms across the country for a reasonable fee. They’re a convenient stop for a workout, a shower, and an overnight.  It’s recommended that you be a member, but most locations will only check if you come inside to use their facilities.

5. Rest Areas

rest area

Many state-operated rest areas along highways allow overnight RV parking as long as you park in the designated section and don’t exceed the maximum time limit. Check with the State Police or each state’s Department of Transportation for specific rules and availability.

6. Big Box Stores – Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, Sam’s Club

sam' club

DIY stores and wholesale clubs typically welcome overnight RV guests, and most offer propane, tires, and other supplies.  All appreciate your purchases; being a member at Costco or Sam’s certainly helps. It’s advisable to park away from entrances and exits and choose lower traffic areas.

7. Casinos

Nearly every casino in the West with a large outdoor parking lot offers complimentary overnight parking as a way to attract visitors. Be sure to check if there are any restrictions or requirements. Casino parking is attractive because of its 24/7 professional security. Remember to try your luck at the slots and check out the buffet!

Things To Note:

It is important to note that policies and availability may change at individual locations, so call ahead to check current regulations and confirm whether overnight RV parking is allowed. Try an overnight parking app such as RV Parky to determine which plazas and truck stops allow overnight parking.

Remember to practice proper etiquette and cleanliness when staying overnight at these locations. Ensure you’re not obstructing traffic or violating any local laws or ordinances. Additionally, regulations might differ between store locations or regions.  Stay informed and be respectful of the rules wherever you park.

This summer, the demand for soft starts has sky rocketed. If you intend to use air conditioning when traveling to hot, humid places, you should consider installing a soft starter on your AC unit.

A soft starter is a small electrical device that reduces the required start-up current. It can be used to start your AC unit or other appliances. While an AC unit has a running current of 10-15 amps depending on its number of BTUs, it can take 70+ amps to get a unit started, putting a considerable strain on the compressor.

A soft starter allows the AC unit to get started and then feeds additional current to the compressor gradually until it reaches full speed. Traveling in an RV gives you optimal access to some of the best hiking, national parks, and beautiful sites in the U.S provided you know all the dos and don’t important for RV.

10 Remarkable RV Destinations for Celebrating July 4th

10 Remarkable RV Destinations for Celebrating 4th Of July

4th of July is a cherished American holiday celebrating our nation’s independence. It’s a time to celebrate the birth of the United States with family, friends, and fellow citizens. If you’re an RV enthusiast looking to combine the spirit of patriotism with a fantastic camping experience, we’ve compiled a list of ten remarkable RV destinations where you can pull up the RV and proudly display your red, white, and blue. From breathtaking natural landscapes to vibrant community celebrations, these RV campgrounds offer the perfect backdrop for a memorable holiday.

10 Best RV Destinations for 4th Of July

1. Mount Rushmore National Memorial – South Dakota:

Experience the patriotic spirit at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. Stay at one of the nearby campgrounds and witness an impressive fireworks display against the backdrop of the iconic presidential sculpture.  While there are no campgrounds directly on the grounds of Mount Rushmore, there are several campgrounds in the surrounding area:

  • Horsethief Lake Campground: Situated in the Black Hills National Forest, Horsethief Lake Campground is about 5 miles west of Mount Rushmore. It provides beautiful views and is close to hiking trails and the scenic Sylvan Lake.
  • KOA Mount Rushmore: The Mount Rushmore KOA is approximately 6 miles north of Mount Rushmore. It features RV sites, tent sites, and cabins, as well as amenities such as a swimming pool, hot tub, and mini-golf.
  • Palmer Gulch Resort: Situated near Hill City, Palmer Gulch Resort is around 12 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore. It offers various camping options, including tent sites, RV sites, and cabins. The resort has amenities like a swimming pool, waterslides, mini-golf, and horseback riding.

2. Branson, Missouri:

Branson calls itself one of America’s most patriotic cities, and anyone who’s visited over July 4th can verify this to be true. From multiple days of amazing firework displays to live shows like Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, an ABBA or Beach Boys Tribute band, Magic shows, dinner theatre shows, and other events, Branson is a spectacular Independence Day destination.

America’s Best Campground is only 3/4 mile north of the Mansion Theater, west of US-65 and northwest of downtown Branson, Missouri. It’s the closest RV park to the Branson RecPlex, and calls itself “City Close – Country Quiet!”  Don’t forget to pack your red, white, and blue swag.  ABC hosts an annual July 4th MOST PATRIOTIC RV Decorating contest and a free picnic.

3. Red Lodge, Montana:

Bring your lasso and cowboy hat to Cascade Campground. The Home of the Champions Rodeo is held here every year over July 4th weekend.  With bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, roping, and three days of traditional Independence Day parades, there’s enough excitement to keep every member of your family entertained.

4. Virginia Beach, Virginia:

What better place to camp than in one of the original 13 colonies. Virginia Beach is a hugely popular spot to be on July 4th. The Stars & Stripes Explosion event is held right on the beach, featuring live bands and fireworks – all of which are free!  Holiday Trav-l-Park offers access to four pools and the Chesapeake Bay with a seasonal trolley that runs to/from the beach.

5. Newport Beach, California:

If you’re looking for a dose of laidback luxury and “California Cool”, then Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina is for you.  Nestled along the shores of the Back Bay, Newport Dunes offers a beautiful beach, calm lagoon, and resort-style amenities.

Enjoy RV camping & cottages, steps from the water, along with an inflatable water park, movies on the beach water sports, whale watching, golf, and spa services. Newport hosts their Tunes at the Dunes on July 4th featuring food trucks, full bars, and live entertainment right on the calm waters of the Upper Newport Back Bay plus an unforgettable fireworks show.

6. Lake Tahoe, California:

Lights on the Lake in South Lake Tahoe advertises itself as the largest choreographed fireworks display west of the Mississippi, with three barges’ worth of pyrotechnics launched from the waters off Stateline. Tahoe is a great place to spend a Star Spangled Fourth with access to the lake, hiking trails, mountain biking, and a whole lotta natural beauty.

Park your RV at Tahoe Valley Campground in South Lake Tahoe. You’ll find resort-style accommodations for RV campers along with its breathtaking views, top-of-the-line amenities like a swimming pool, playground, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, volleyball, on-site fishing, and laundry facilities.

7.  Cape Hatteras National Seashore – North Carolina:

For a beachside celebration, head to Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This stunning stretch of coastline offers RV-friendly campgrounds where you can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy breathtaking fireworks show over the Atlantic Ocean.

Oregon Inlet Campground: Located near Oregon Inlet and Bodie Island, this campground offers both RV and tent camping sites. It provides easy access to the beach and soundside activities.

Cape Point Campground: Situated near Cape Point, this campground offers tent camping sites and is one of the great RV Destinations for 4th Of July if you want to explore the southern part of the seashore. It’s close to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and various hiking trails.

Frisco Campground: This campground is located in the village of Frisco and provides both RV and tent camping sites. It offers convenient access to the beach and various recreational opportunities.

8. Canyon, Texas:

Go big or go home!  Head to Texas for one of the biggest July 4th celebrations in the entire Lone Star State. Pull up at Fort Amarillo RV Resort and you’re less than 30 minutes from Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the US and some of the best mountain biking in the state.

Canyon’s July 4th celebration starts with a pancake breakfast, Firecracker Mile road race, parade, and ends with fireworks. Need a break?  Check out the RV resort’s stream-fed fishing pond, a swim in the pool, or settle in a comfy seat for one of Texas’s breathtaking sunsets.

9. Bar Harbor, Maine:

Experience a quintessential New England Fourth of July celebration in the charming town of Bar Harbor, Maine. Bar Harbor’s Fourth of July was voted the #1 Fourth of July celebration in America by the Today Show, and recognized by National Geographic as one of the top ten in the U.S.  Park your RV in one of the nearby campgrounds, explore Acadia National Park, and enjoy the town’s festive atmosphere with parades, concerts, and fireworks over Frenchman Bay.

Bar Harbor/Woodlands KOA is located just outside Acadia National Park, near the town of Bar Harbor. It offers a range of amenities, including full hookups for RVs, tent sites, and cabin rentals.

Hadley’s Point Campground offers various amenities, such as a swimming pool, playground, and camp store. While it’s not within the national park, it’s a convenient base for exploring Acadia.

10. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – Florida:

For a magical Fourth of July experience, visit Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort in Florida. This enchanting 750 acre campground offers RV sites with all the amenities you could need. Celebrate Independence Day with a special parade, live entertainment, and an unforgettable fireworks display in the Magic Kingdom. The “Celebrate America” fireworks show is one of the most popular Fourth of July events at Walt Disney World, and the park fills to capacity every year.

Key Takeaways:

Don’t get worked up over participating in all of the optional activities and adding on extras before you go. Spend some time thinking about what you want to accomplish in detail and compiling a list of the things you’ll need before you go so you don’t forget anything. Bring along some dry food, water bottles, sodas, spare clothes, jackets, indoor games, and any other goods you think you might need on your travel.

It is highly recommended that you put a soft starter on your air conditioning unit if you want to use it when traveling to hot and humid locations. The initial power consumption can be cut by up to 75% using the unique technology known as a Soft Starter, which also solves the concerns associated with the startup of an air conditioner.

If you or other members of your household are light sleepers, the thud of the air conditioner compressor starting up could soon wake you up, which would lead to a night of disturbed sleep. RV/AC Soft Starts gets rid of the thump and the wobbling in the trailer. The installation of the soft start kits does not require the assistance of a trained technician and may be finished in under an hour without their use.

By choosing one of these remarkable RV campgrounds, you can combine the joys of camping with the patriotic spirit of the holiday. Whether you prefer stunning national parks, coastal retreats, or vibrant community celebrations, these ten destinations offer an array of experiences to make your Fourth of July celebration unforgettable.

Pack up your RV, gather your loved ones, and embark on a memorable journey filled with fireworks, natural wonders, and cherished moments of togetherness.

RV destinations to visit this fathers day

6 RV Park Destinations for the Ultimate Father’s Day Adventure

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than embarking on an unforgettable adventure with your dad? If you’re both outdoor enthusiasts and love exploring nature, an RV trip is the perfect way to bond and create lasting memories.

To help you plan a memorable Father’s Day adventure, we’ve compiled a list of six incredible RV parks that offer stunning landscapes, exciting activities, and a chance to connect with nature. Get ready to hit the road and make this Father’s Day truly special!

Top 6 RV Destinations To Visit This Father’s Day

1.  For the Nature Lover:  Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, RV Park

Known for its breathtaking granite cliffs, majestic waterfalls, and ancient sequoias, Yosemite National Park is a nature lover’s paradise. RV camping in one of the park’s many campgrounds allows you and your father to wake up to the sights and sounds of this incredible environment, making it the top RV destination for Father’s Day on our list. Take hikes to iconic landmarks like Half Dome and El Capitan, and capture the beauty of Yosemite Valley through your lens.

Where to Stay:

Lower Pines Campground (There are only 60 campsites in Lower Pines Campground, so make your reservations early. For the best views, try to get a campsite along the Merced River. Note that there are no campgrounds in Yosemite with electrical or water/sewer hookups for your RV and generator use is only permitted at certain times during the day.  But it’s worth it to view Half Dome while drinking your morning coffee.

2.  For the Rock Climber: Nelson Rocks, West Virginia

Nelson Rocks, West Virginia

Nelson Rocks, RV Park

With over 3,000 routes state-wide, West Virginia is a rock climber’s paradise…even for beginners. Novices can start with Via Ferrata in the Nelson Rocks Preserve, which scales hundreds of feet with ladders and cables, giving new climbers a chance to practice their ascent.  If you’re ready for a bigger challenging, there are tougher climbs nearby at Seneca Rocks.

Where to Stay:

Sandy Springs Campground (1309 Sand Springs Road Morgantown, WV 26508)

3.  For the Fly Fisherman: Bend, OR



The Deschutes River, East Lake, Sparks, Hosmer and Davis lakes cater to fly-fishing enthusiasts of all abilities, whether your dad ties his own flies or wants to try-out a new hobby.  There are several local outfitters who can teach you the ropes.

Where to Stay:

Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort (67667 Hwy 20, Bend, OR 97703)

4.  For the Star-Gazer:  Glacier National Park, Montana:

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, RV Park

For an awe-inspiring adventure, head to Glacier National Park. With over 700 miles of trails, you and your dad can explore stunning alpine meadows, pristine lakes, and rugged mountains. Drive the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road, spot wildlife, or try your hand at fishing. Don’t forget to spend an evening stargazing at one of the park’s designated dark-sky areas.

Where to Stay:

Apgar Campground (715 Apgar Loop Road, Apgar, MT  59936)

Apgar Campground is located near the park’s west entrance at Apgar Village. Nearby you’ll find Lake McDonald, a glacier-fed, crystal clear lake. You can hike several different trails, take a peaceful kayak ride, or dine at a local restaurant. The campground has a total of 194 sites, 25 of which can accommodate a 40-foot RV, van, or trailer.

Also Check Out: RVing in rain? Check RV Essentials For Boondocking

5.  For the Water Enthusiast:  Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, RV Park

Our country’s first national seashore is the ideal place to catch waves, surf, boogie board, windsurf, or kayak. Enjoy rougher ocean waves or the calmer waters of Pamlico Sound for paddleboarding, crabbing, and fishing.

Where to Stay:

Hatteras Sands Campground (57316 Eagle Pass Rd, Hatteras, NC 27943)

Just 5 minutes from the beach, Hatteras Sands is Hatteras Island’s only campground, set among beautiful canals and grassy fields featuring over 60 paved RV sites.

6.  For the New Englander at Heart:  Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, RV Park

Acadia National Park is the last one on our list of RV destinations for Father’s Day.. If you’re looking for an RV adventure on the East Coast, Acadia National Park is the ideal destination. With its rocky coastline, pristine lakes, and dense forests, the park offers a diverse range of activities. Take a scenic drive along Park Loop Road, hike to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, or bike through picturesque carriage roads. End your day with a mesmerizing sunset from atop one of the park’s granite peaks.

Where to Stay:

Bar Harbor/Woodlands KOA (136 County Road, Bar Harbor, ME 04609)

This privately-owned campground is located just outside Acadia National Park, near the town of Bar Harbor. It offers a range of amenities, including full hookups for RVs, tent sites, and cabin rentals.  Don’t forget to reward dad with a freshly-steamed Maine “lobstah” or lobster roll. Head to Thurston’s Lobster Pound on Mt. Desert Island or Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound (right before the bridge that takes you to MDI). They do not disappoint.

Things To Note:

Don’t stress about including all of the extraneous activities and add-ons before you go.  Take the time to plan out exactly what you want to do and prepare a list of everything you’ll need before you forget. Carry some dry food, water bottles, sodas, spare clothes, jackets, indoor games, and other items you may require for your journey.

If you intend to use air conditioning when traveling to hot, humid places, you should consider installing a soft starter on your AC unit. A Soft Starter is an innovative technology that reduces initial power usage by up to 75% and addresses the A/C startup problems.  If you or your family members are light sleepers, the thud of the A/C compressor starting up may quickly wake you up, resulting in a restless night’s sleep. Soft Start RV/AC eliminates the thump and trailer wobble. The soft start kits are simple to install and may be completed in less than an hour without the assistance of a professional.

This Father’s Day, break away from the ordinary and embark on an epic RV adventure with your dad. These six RV parks promise unforgettable experiences and cherished moments. So, provision your RV, plan your route, and get ready for a Father’s Day adventure that will strengthen your bond and create memories to last a lifetime. Happy Father’s Day from your friends from RVAC Solutions!

Planning to run rv ac on solar

Planning to run RV AC on Solar? Here are some things to keep in mind…

With summer quickly approaching, now is the time to start making plans for your next RV camping trip. Thinking of installing solar panels on RV? Are solar panels expensive? Planning to run RV AC on solar? There is a lot to think about when shopping for solar panels for your RV, including RV solar systems, inverters, and knowing which solar system is best for your RV.

Advantages of using Solar Power for RV

Energy independence is the primary motivation for installing solar panels on RVs. Owners of recreational vehicles are restricted from boondocking in any location they please due to their dependence on shore power and full-service RV parks.

However, with RV solar panels installed, either permanently or with a portable solar kit, campers can boondock or stay in the desert for as long as they like.

Oftentimes, campsites on public lands, state-owned land, and National Parks do not have hookups, so becoming energy independent has obvious aesthetic benefits.

Moreover, RV solar panels are much smaller than those used for homes; this means they produce less power, but they are also much cheaper. There is a wide range of possible costs due to the fact that installing panels often necessitates upgrading or installing additional components.

Installing solar panels on an RV is a more cost-effective long-term investment where systems can cost between $25,000 and $40,000. This is especially true if you plan to spend significant time away from home.

In the long run, you will save money on camping fees once you have paid off the initial cost of your solar power system. That means less fuel use and savings from not having to run the generator as often.

The environmental sustainability of RV solar panels is one of the more obvious benefits. Solar energy doesn’t produce pollution or global warming because it doesn’t burn fossil fuels.

Using solar power is also an excellent way to reduce pollution and save money in the long run. All that RV travel can be balanced out by doing this.

Some campgrounds prohibit the use of generators after a certain time due to the noise they produce. You can have less noise and more peace and quiet at the campsite by installing a solar power system.

Running RV AC on Solar Power

When estimating your budget for RV solar panel kit, it’s important to think about things like how you’ll get backup power, what your energy needs are, and whether you want a kit or permanent panels.

An inverter, batteries, and solar panels are all that’s needed to run RV AC on solar. Because solar panels produce DC (direct current power), while air conditioners use AC (alternating current power), an inverter is required to convert the energy from the solar panels to the type of power used by the air conditioner.

Thereafter, you can choose between installing an on-grid or off-grid solar power system to run your air conditioner. Alternatively, you may put in a solar-powered AC unit.

Also Read: Best Boondocking Sites & Tips to Keep in Mind

5 Best RV Solar Panels

The increasing popularity of solar camping has resulted in a greater variety of solar-powered accessories for recreational vehicles. The best solar equipment can collect a charge even on cloudy days, so you practically never have to worry about running out of power when using the sun as your charging device. Have a look at the items below if you plan on going completely off the grid on your next camping trip but don’t want to be in the dark.

  1. Renogy 200 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline RV Solar Panel Kit
  2. Newpowa 220W Monocrystalline 10BB Cell Solar Panel
  3. ACOPOWER 200 Watts 12/24 Volts Monocrystalline Panel Solar RV Kits with 30A MPPT LCD Charge Controller/Mounting Brackets/Y Connectors/Solar Cables/Cable Entry housing (2x100W Kit)
  4. SUNPOWER Portable Solar Panels, Flexible Panel / Monocrystalline Cells / Lightweight/ MC4 Connectors Camping, boats, RV + more (100W)
  5. Nature Power 50215 215 Watt 12 Volt Cables and Mounting Brackets Solar Panel, Black

How many Solar Panels do I need to run my RV?

The first step is to evaluate the energy demands of your RV. If you want to power your RV’s appliances (like the AC unit, fridge, microwave, phones, TV, etc.) with solar energy, you’ll need to calculate the total wattage (or watt hours) of those appliances. Basically, you’ll need to figure out how many watts each appliance in your RV consumes.

Read more: Estimating Appliance and Electronic Energy Use

Factors to consider for Solar Panels For Camper:

A safe and reliable solar RV installation requires six different components. You should probably go with the higher wattage panels since you have limited space, and your air conditioners need a lot. The wattage of these panels ranges from 100-600 watts. They are available in flat panels that can be mounted on the roof of your RV or placed on stands on the ground. The roof can be covered with flexible panels that simply stick there.

  1. Solar Charge Controller: Here is where the magic of your solar power charger takes place. It controls how much energy is transferred from your solar panels to your storage batteries. After a battery has been fully charged, the voltage should be lowered to a trickle charge to prevent the battery from being overcharged. When it comes to using solar energy to run an air conditioner, MPPT solar panels are your best bet due to their high charging efficiency.
  2. Battery Bank: The power generated by the solar panel is stored in batteries so that your RV may still
    be used even when there is no sunlight. The most viable alternative is lithium-ion batteries.
  3. 4,000-Watt Inverter: Simply put, an inverter works in the opposite direction of a converter. It inverts the direct current (DC) power from your batteries into alternating current (AC). Since your air conditioners and other appliances will be using a lot of power all at once, a 4,000-watt unit would be ideal.
  4. Solar Power Meter: Having this sort of equipment in place will allow you to check the efficiency of your panels at all times. The voltage, wattage, and amperage values you observe can be utilized to predict future problems.
  5. Battery Meter/Multi Meter: It is vital that you check the input and output of your batteries. Batteries can lose their charge capacity, leak, or have other problems after many years of use. It’s a great preventative maintenance practice to check them on a regular basis.
  6. A/C Soft Starter: With the help of soft starts, air conditioners can start up using much less energy. When using RV solar power, turning on the air conditioner can be a challenge, but a soft starter makes it easier to run RV AC on solar. A soft starter can provide the initial power surge needed to turn on the RV air conditioner. It reduces the power demand by up to 75%. The air conditioner in your RV can usually be powered by the RV’s solar system. It has no luck getting it going. RV Air Conditioning Soft Starters serve this purpose. Having a lot more success keeping cool while boondocking or on limited power is possible by installing a soft starter for each air conditioner in your RV. You can use solar power or a campground hookup to power your air conditioner with the help of these simple-to-install, small RV AC Soft Start Kits.

Final Suggestion

Installing solar system is a must whether you plan on living full-time in your RV or going off the grid.

A variety of factors, including your energy needs, your geographic location, and the efficiency of the panels themselves, will decide the precise quantity of panels that will be necessary.

A solar system for an RV needs to be compact, lightweight, and robust, so you should give some thought to your energy needs and the available space before making a final decision.