8 Tips for Urban Camping in Your RV

What do you think of when you think of RVing? Campfires and stunning views of wide-open spaces, mountains, oceans, or forests? Have you ever considered that RVing could be for more than that? What if you want to get away from home and enjoy all that the city has to offer? RV urban camping allows you to have the comforts and convenience of your RV while enjoying the excitement of city life. But before you pack up the RV and head out to start your city camping adventure check out these tips to make the most out of your trip.

What is RV urban camping?

RV urban camping allows you to avoid paying the high price that comes with staying at a hotel while you tour the city. It’s combining the convenience of your RV with all the benefits of traveling to a city. There are a few “campground” options that you can consider:

  • City campgrounds – Some cities actually have campgrounds within city limits or very close to them. This allows you the convenience of a campground to use as a home base while still having easy access to everything that the city has to offer. These campgrounds provide you with hookups for your RV. Examples include Mission Bay RV Resort near San Diego and Candlestick RV Park which is located in the heart of San Francisco and provides shuttles for park guests.
  • Parking lots – In a city, this is likely to look different than simply boondocking in a Walmart parking lot. You’ll want to do your research in advance to find lots or garages that will allow you to stay overnight. Be aware that not every parking lot will allow you to do this and not every single option is set up well for RVs.
  • Casinos – There are casinos that will provide RV parking and even provide you with coupons and vouchers to use during your stay. You won’t have the convenience of hookups or a dump station, but you’ll have a place to park that’s generally easy to get into and out of. Casino Arizona is an example of a casino that provides RV parking overnight for just $25/night.
  • Visitor Centers – There are some city visitor centers that will allow RVs to park overnight. You’ll want to call in advance to find out the details of their parking options, price, and rules. The Visitor Center in Savannah Georgia allows RVs to park overnight for up to two consecutive nights for a fee.
  • Stores – You’ve probably heard of boondocking in the Walmart parking lot, but there are other retailers that generally allow RVers to stay in the parking lot for the night. These typically include Cabelllas, Cracker Barrel, Lowes, Home Depot, Sam’s Club and Costco. If you have a camper van you may also be able to easily blend in at places that have cars parked in the lot around the clock.
  • Street parking – This is easier for smaller RVs, but you may be able to find a good place to street park for the night in neighborhoods or around industrial areas.

Tips for urban RV camping

Once you have your location selected, the following tips can help you out with RVing in the city:

1. Use blackout curtains

There are a few reasons why you’ll want blackout curtains when camping in the city. The first is that there could be more lights where you’re camping and if you want it dark to sleep, blackout curtains can help. The second is the can help you be less noticeable if you’re camping in a place that you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. The curtains will help to keep your lights in so others won’t notice you.

2. Bring earplugs

If you like to sleep with the windows open when you’re camping, you might want to bring along some earplugs. This will help cancel out the noise from the city or the other RVs or semi truck’s that could be all around you.

3. Arrive late and leave early

If you are stealth camping, which is pretty much staying overnight in a place that’s not necessarily designed for overnighters, keep this tip in mind. Arrive at the parking spot later in the day, after dark if possible. Have everything that you’re going to need for the night ready to go. The goal is to pull in, make as little noise as possible, show no light, sleep, and then pull out early in the morning to avoid drawing attention to the fact that you stayed the night there.

4. Don’t use your slides

If you aren’t in a place that is really designed to be set up with RVs, don’t use your slides. Practice before you leave home to make sure that you will be able to set your RV up for the night and still have everything you need without having to use your slides.

5. Pay attention to your surroundings

You want to make sure that you are going to be in a safe area when you stay overnight and if you’re towing a vehicle and leaving the RV in place for the day. The last thing you want is to worry about being the victim of a crime while trying to enjoy a nice trip to the city.

6. Don’t set up camp

With the exception of staying at an actual campground that’s located within city limits, this isn’t the time to pull our your outdoor rug, camp chairs, and grill outdoors. You want to take up as little space as possible and the less noticeable you are the better.

7. Choose the right RV

If you want to go unnoticed when urban camping then your best bet is to choose a Class B RV, which is also known as a camper van. To unsuspecting passerby’s, you just look like a parked van. But inside, you have access to kitchen basics, a bathroom, a bed, and you just might be watching television with your blackout curtains pulled.

The Midwest Automotive Designs Weekender is a great option. It has a full kitchen including a cooktop, popup dinette, and a couch that pulls down into the bed. Another great option is the Winnebago Minnie Winnie. It’s a class C RV meaning it’s smaller and slightly easier to maneuver than full-size class A RVs, yet it still provides plenty of space for the family. Some models even include bunks for additional sleeping space.

8. Plan your route

When you’re driving an RV through the city, you aren’t going to want to just hit the road and wing-it. While those trips can be fun, when you’re staying in the city, it’s going to be helpful to look at your routes ahead of time. You don’t want to get stuck driving down a road that feels too narrow for you to make the turn that you need to make. Plan both the places that you’re going to stay and your route carefully so you don’t have any unwanted surprises.

If you’re ready to give urban camping a try, contact Sky River RV to get set up with the perfect RV that checks off all your boxes.


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