Van Life

Overnight Parking vs Camping – A Simple Explanation

What’s the different between overnight parking and camping? Many people aren’t aware that there’s a difference, they’re confused about the differences or (sadly) they simply don’t care and feel entitled to park or camp where they choose. We live in a free country but it’s not a free-for-all.

Our ability to overnight park and camp is a privilege, not an entitlement.

Overnight Parking vs Camping

I use a few apps and websites when I’m looking for a place to overnight park or camp.

There are many other resources but I find that I use these 3 the most. The resources you use will depend on your needs and how you travel.

As for how I travel, I don’t worry about being stealthy because I usually don’t overnight park or camp where I know it isn’t allowed.

Overnight Parking – Explained

Parking should be pretty self explanatory.

You pull in, you put it in park, you sleep, you leave.

People may realize that you’re in your rig but, for all practical purposes, it should appear as though you’ve simply parked your vehicle.

Camping – Explained

Camping is very different from overnight parking.

Depending on your rig, when you camp you may:

  • Level your rig
  • Get out the grill 
  • Put out the slides 
  • Pull out the awnings 
  • Set up the lawn chairs 
  • Have a small get-together 
  • Make the place your temporary home 

Your camping activities extend outside of your rig.

The Difference Is Simple

When it comes to overnight parking vs camping, what you do inside your vehicle is up to you.

The difference is whether or not you take your activities outside your vehicle.

  • In an Overnight Parking area: Keep your activities inside your vehicle. 
  • In a Camping area: You can extend your activities to the outside world.    

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