OK, so where do I camp out at night in this sweet, absolutely murdered-out lil car?

My go-to’s are:

Public Parking Lots

So, you want to pick a spot where you’re not going to get hassled for being there overnight.  This means you can’t exactly stealth park at an elementary school.  But, there are some places that are open 24/7 or expect to have overnight visitors that won’t get on your case.  These include:

Hotel Parking Lots – This is honestly my favorite of the list.  I try to find a non-sleazy place that doesn’t number their parking spots, and that isn’t too full or too empty — the real Goldilocks way.  Slide in on the edge of the lot next to someone’s minivan and pitch your figurative tent for the night.

Gyms – Many 24-hour gyms understand there will be cars parked there overnight, so it isn’t a big deal.  

Places that expect it like the Ol’ Walmart or Cracker Barrel – I believe both of these places have indicated that boondocking for short stays in their lots is alright.  I try to avoid places like this because the fluorescent lighting kills me and I prefer to be completely stealthy if possible.  It’s advised that you check with a place to ensure you are allowed to have an overnight stay there.

Rest Areas – These are hit or miss.  Check with state and local laws on this — some are cool with overnight parking, others limit visitors to just a few hours (which is ridiculous, but whatever).  I try to avoid these places because I don’t want anyone knowing a girl is sleeping in a car there.

Apartment Complexes – Another place that expects various overnight visitors, just be sure to be careful and choosy.  

Residential Streets

So if you find a sleepy suburb where there are plenty of folks street parking, go to town.  I have done this a bunch with varying degrees of success — try to choose a non-busy road if possible so you can sleep at night without having to deal with hearing cars rushing by at night or your own vehicle being jostled.  

BLM Land

Areas overseen by the Bureau of Land Management often allow overnight camping for free.  National forests and BLM land are a great place to catch some stars and some Z’s — follow forest access roads to find such spots.  Here’s some guidelines on dispersed camping from The Man himself.  

Some of these spots can be trick to find, especially since when you are nearby looking for them, there often isn’t cell service.  Luckily there are lots of apps and websites where you can research BLM land and dispersed free campsites.  Some of these are: US Public Lands, freecampsites.net, The Dyrt, FreeRoam, and HipCamp


Because folks may pack out and camp overnight on trails, it is totally common to see cars parked overnight at trailheads, so it’s likely you won’t rouse too much suspicion.  Best to check with locals to ensure you will not be ticketed for illegal camping, or just leave early in the am.  

So there you have it! Happy camping 🙂