Van Camping Parking Strategies
The ideal spot to overnight is not a stealth camping spot! It is on the property of a friendly person who allows you to park there, where you can visit and socialize with others. However, when you are on the road and traveling, and need a place to stop for a night, stealth camping is the way to go.
The goal in choosing a place to sleep in a van is not to hide in a remote area. The goal is to find a place where it is normal to park a vehicle overnight.
Safety in numbers
The ideal overnight parking lot has other vehicles parked in it, but not a lot of night time traffic.
A few suggestions for places to park where there are other cars parked overnight:
- Grocery Stores
- Shared parking areas, strip malls, shopping malls
- Park and ride commuter parking lots
- Streets in neighborhoods where there is on street parking being used
- Downtown parking lots, especially where people live above businesses
- Apartment or condo lots
- Metered parking spots which are free from 6:00pm to 8:00am
- Back alley parking areas
- Nursing homes
- Popular fishing areas, boat launches
- Businesses which have employees working the night shift.
- City parking lots where the locals leave cars at night
- Near car lots and car repair shops
- Rest areas and truck stops
- VFW Halls, Moose Lodges, and similar organizations
- Libraries, Post Offices, if others use the lots at night
Where not to park:
- Avoid scenic overlooks where couples like to park at night, and police like to roust them.
- Avoid lonely areas where a single parked vehicle attracts attention from theives and police.
- Avoid parking lots with gates.
- Avoid bar parking areas, unless you don't mind being woken up by drunks.
- Try not to be the only vehicle in the lot.
- Avoid street parking in neighborhoods where all the residents park in their driveways.
- Areas where you cannot park the van in a level position
- Under a street light.
- Where there is some traffic, but not too much.
- Near a property line, so it is unclear which property owner you might be visiting.
Good Stealth Parking Strategies