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You’ve been driving your RV for hours, and your eyes feel heavy and your vision bleary. You know you need to take a rest soon, but you’ve just pulled into Florida and don’t know the rules here. Can you park your motorhome anywhere?
You can’t park an RV anywhere in Florida, as many municipalities have rules outlawing overnight street parking. Some let you park on the street but only for a few hours at a time.
Before spending a night in your motorhome in Florida, make sure you read the information I have for you in this post. It just might save you an encounter with law enforcement!
Does Florida Have Laws Regulating RV Parking on the Streets?
The great southern state of Florida includes 67 counties. The laws on what constitutes legal vs. illegal RV parking in each county vary.
For instance, counties such as Miami-Dade, Seminole, Palm Beach, Orange, Polk, Lee, Marion, Collier, DeSoto, Charlotte, Citrus, and Brevard counties all permit overnight motorhome stays.
The following parts of Florida permit overnight parking only in specific areas.
|City/Town||Daytime Parking Options||Overnight Parking Options|
|Tampa||Designated bus parking lot||Designated overnight lot|
|Miami/Dade||Designated bus parking lot||Designated overnight lot|
|Orlando||Designated bus parking lot||Designated overnight lot|
|St. Augustine||Designated bus parking lot||Designated overnight lot|
Where in Florida Can You Park Overnight?
Fortunately, besides camping out in your RV on the street or in a bus parking lot, you have many options for where you can park your vehicle overnight in Florida. Let’s go over them now.
Campgrounds and Campsites
The camping options in Florida are strong and a big part of what attracts people to this southern state. With more than 80 campgrounds to choose from, you can surely find one to stay at overnight or for several days or even weeks.
(By the way, if you’re interested in living in a stationary RV, I wrote a great post on the costs of that very topic!)
You won’t park for free at most campsites and campgrounds. You’re usually charged an entrance fee unless you’re part of an RV club or association, and then you can receive either a discount or free access.
Keep in mind that you might also have to pay to use the amenities, including water and electricity, showers, and a dumping station.
National and State Parks
Another surefire bet if you’re looking for a place to park a motorhome in Florida is one of its national or state parks.
I’d recommend visiting the national parks anyway, as they’re some of the most esteemed on the planet. For instance, you can finally experience Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Biscayne National Park.
If you’re more into state parks, you can also choose from plenty of those, such as Alafia River State Park, Fort Clinch State Park, Oscar Scherer State Park, Caladesi Island State Park, Hillsborough River State Park, and the list goes on.
National and state parks are full of magnificence and wonder. You can get lost for days in the wooded areas, coastal shorelines, and cavernous dwellings of Florida.
Since these spots are on many travelers’ bucket lists and Florida is such a tourist-heavy destination as it is, you have to expect that availabilities in a national or state park will go very quickly.
You might not be able to make a spur-of-the-moment decision and roll into a popular enough park, as there might not be any room for your vehicle that late into the day.
State and national parks, like campgrounds, might have size restrictions in place that will make traveling with a large RV difficult.
I want to reiterate as well that you might have to pay for your amenities, so be prepared.
It always pays to watch for a Walmart (or several) on your travels. Why is that?
It’s not only because you can stock up on supplies at Walmart and that some stores are open 24/7. It’s also because Walmart frequently offers free parking to RVers.
Now, I must clarify that the motorhome parking policy varies by Walmart. That’s why you should always call the store and ask before you assume you can park your RV in the lot.
Walmart has 386 stores in Florida alone, so even if one Walmart turns you down, you can rest assured that another will likely allow you to park.
Alternatively, you can always look into the fishing, boating, shooting, hunting, and camping store at Cabela’s.
They have far fewer locations than Walmart, with 160 stores across the entire United States. The lion’s share is centralized in Florida, which bodes well for you.
Once again, just because Cabela’s, in general, offers free RV parking doesn’t mean each store will. Please get in touch with the Cabela’s beforehand to confirm if you can lodge here for the night.
Are you feeling hungry? I ask because Cracker Barrel is yet a third retail option you can take advantage of if you’re looking for a place to stay in your RV overnight in Florida.
Cracker Barrel has 60 restaurants in Florida. You can fuel up your belly with delicious food and then take a nightcap in the RV parking lot.
As I’ve said the entire time, the availability of motorhome parking varies. Ask the staff at the Cracker Barrel while you’re eating if you can park your RV until morning.
If all else fails, you can always rely on a Florida truck stop to get some shuteye. You’ll have access to a bathroom (likely just with toilet stalls, although some could have showers), a gas station, a dumping station, and perhaps a convenience store for picking up some snacks.
What Are the Consequences of Parking Illegally in Florida?
Illegally parking in Florida can sometimes hog up spaces the handicapped need, create dangerous road conditions, and pose an eyesore.
That’s why, if you’re caught doing it, you can expect your vehicle to be towed. You’ll have to find out where the towing company took your RV and pay to get it back in your possession.
Driving and maintaining a motorhome is expensive enough as it is. Don’t waste money needlessly by getting towed!
Is It Safe to Park in Your RV in Florida Overnight?
Another question you might have ahead of parking your RV in Florida is how safe the whole thing is. That depends on where you choose to park.
If you stay in a Cabela’s or a Walmart parking lot, you’re in safe enough conditions.
Those lots aren’t exactly enclosed at night, so anyone could get in if they wanted to. Maybe they want to go shopping in the case of Walmart, but if you see a vehicle pulling onto a parking lot late at night after a store or restaurant (in the case of Cracker Barrel) has shut down for the night, you’re right to feel weary.
You don’t have to call the police immediately, but if you feel like your safety is being threatened, you shouldn’t hesitate.
It’s not a much different story at a truck stop, except that you should expect vehicles to come and go at all hours. However, if you notice any suspicious activity, contact the authorities.
You’re safer staying at a park or campground since these sites might limit access.
You can’t park an RV anywhere in Florida. The city has enough congestion from residents and tourists as it is, so a hulking RV parked on the street doesn’t make matters easier.
Certain counties, cities, and towns throughout Florida permit street parking, and others still allow you to park in designated bus lots.
You can also check campgrounds and campsites, national parks, state parks, truck stops, and retail brand parking lots like Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, and Walmart.
With so many great places to stay in Florida, there’s no reason to keep driving when you’re exhausted. Do the right thing and take a break until morning!