White camper van on the coast setting up camp for the night, following camper van regulations

Camper Van Regulations & Rules

Planning a road trip is an exciting adventure, but navigating camper van rules and regulations can be overwhelming. From parking to road safety, there are important guidelines you need to know to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. With a little help from us, you can venture into the wild well equipped with the knowledge to navigate camper van rules. With that in mind, let’s jump in. Keep reading to uncover the must-know camper van regulations, so you can focus on having the best road trip ever.

Why Are Camper Van Rules/Regulations Necessary?

Camper van regulations serve an essential purpose: to keep both you and others safe while on the road. By following these rules, you can also avoid potential fines and legal troubles. Additionally, complying with regulations helps maintain the beauty and integrity of the places you visit, ensuring that future travelers can enjoy them too.

Let’s take a look at some areas where the government regulates camper van activities:

  • Overnight Stay/Parking Regulations: Different locations have different rules regarding overnight stays and camper van parking. It’s crucial to understand these regulations to avoid unnecessary inconvenience during your trip.
  • Road Safety Rules for Camper Vans: Ensuring your safety and that of others on the road is of utmost importance. Familiarize yourself with road safety guidelines specific to camper vans and RVs.
  • Individual State Regulations: Keep in mind that there are different camper van regulations by state. This can include laws regarding living in a van and van camping rules. It’s essential to be aware of these state-specific rules to stay in compliance.

Now, let’s delve into some of the specific camper van rules and regulations you need to know.

Can You Park a Camper Van Anywhere in the US?

Campers cooking dinner outside their campervan in a national park

One common question among camper van enthusiasts is whether they can park their vehicles anywhere in the US. The answer is, unfortunately, not a simple “yes” or “no.” Camper van parking can vary depending on camper van regulations by state, as mentioned above. Let’s explore this further.

Parking Lots

When it comes to finding suitable overnight parking for your camper van, parking lots can be a convenient option. However, it’s important to note that policies regarding overnight stays can vary between different stores, restaurants, and states. Let’s look at some key aspects of camper van parking in lots and how you can ensure a successful experience.

In the US, several stores and restaurants are known to accommodate overnight parking for RVs and camper vans. Popular options include Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, and some truck stops like Pilot Flying J. However, it’s crucial to remember that each establishment has its own policies, and not all locations may permit overnight stays. It’s always recommended to contact the specific store or restaurant in advance or check online resources dedicated to listing RV-friendly parking options.

Camper van regulations by state also play a role in determining where overnight parking is allowed for camper vans. Some states have more relaxed regulations, allowing overnight stays in certain parking lots, while others may have advanced restrictions or local ordinances prohibiting it altogether. Make sure to research the specific regulations of the state you plan to visit to ensure compliance and avoid any legal issues.


National Parks

A woman about to get on the road in her GoCamp camper van

While national parks offer incredible natural wonders and scenic landscapes, not all of them allow overnight camper van parking. Each national park has its own regulations and designated camping areas where you can stay overnight. It’s crucial to check the specific park’s website or contact their visitor center in advance to learn about their policies.

The cost of camping in national parks can vary. Some parks offer developed campgrounds with facilities such as restrooms, showers, and hookups, which often require a fee. The costs can range from around $20 to $40 per night, depending on the park and the amenities provided. Additionally, there are often limitations on the maximum number of nights you can stay in a specific campground.

When it comes to popular national parks among GoCamp camper van rental customers or owners, several gems stand out. Parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, and Joshua Tree National Parks, are highly sought-after destinations due to their stunning landscapes, iconic landmarks, and extensive recreational opportunities. These parks offer memorable experiences and a chance to immerse yourself in nature’s wonders.

While enjoying the national parks, it’s crucial to adhere to the principles of leave no trace and respect the environment. One of the fundamental rules to keep in mind is GoCamp’s no off-roading policy. Off-roading can cause damage to fragile ecosystems, disturb wildlife habitats, and compromise the preservation efforts of these remarkable national parks. It’s essential to stay on designated roads and trails, respecting the environment and the park’s guidelines.


Campgrounds provide dedicated spaces for camping and often offer various amenities such as hookups, showers, and recreational facilities. While many campgrounds accommodate camper vans, it’s advisable to research and book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. It’s also helpful to be aware of any specific camper van regulations as related to the campgrounds. Remember that areas are unique, as are the van camping rules.

Rest Stops

Rest stops are convenient locations for short breaks during long drives. While some rest stops allow overnight stays, not all do. It’s crucial to prioritize safety when using rest stops for longer-term camper van parking or an overnight option. Check local regulations and confirm whether overnight stays are permitted. Additionally, be mindful of security measures and ensure you’re parking in safe, well-lit areas.

Road Safety Rules for Camper Vans

While enjoying the freedom of the open road in a camper van, it’s crucial to prioritize road safety. Even though you don’t need a special license to drive a camper van, it’s essential to have a valid driver’s license. Additionally, certain safety precautions must be followed to ensure a safe journey for everyone onboard. Let’s address a couple of commonly asked questions related to road safety:

Can Someone Sleep in a Camper Van While It’s Driving?

No, it’s not safe for anyone to sleep or move around in a camper van while it’s in motion. Just like any other vehicle, everyone inside the camper van should be securely seated with seat belts fastened while the vehicle is in motion. Encourage all passengers to follow these safety guidelines to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries.

Can You Walk Around a Camper Van While It’s Moving?

No, it’s highly discouraged to walk around or move within a camper van while it’s moving. It’s essential to remain seated and securely fastened until the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Abrupt movements or distractions can affect the driver’s concentration, leading to dangerous situations on the road. This is why camper van regulations are so important.

Remember, always prioritize road safety and adhere to traffic laws while driving your camper van.

GoCamp’s Rules and Regulations

As a trusted provider of camper van rentals, GoCamp has its own set of rules and regulations to ensure the best possible experience for renters and owners alike. Let’s take a look at some of the key considerations when traveling with GoCamp.

Where Can You Go?

While GoCamp encourages exploring and enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors, there are some limitations to keep in mind. Certain camper vans have specific restrictions on where they can travel or the distance they can cover. For example, some vehicles may not be suitable for rugged terrain or may have limitations on attending certain festivals like Burning Man. It’s important to respect these guidelines and prioritize safety.

Sewage Regulations

Camper van couple enjoys a beautiful view of the Grand Canyon from the top of their GoCamp camper van

Some camper vans come equipped with toilets and showers, allowing for greater convenience during your travels. However, it’s crucial to understand the renter’s responsibilities when it comes to emptying sewage and water tanks. Different vans may have varying capacities for water, and it’s important to manage resources responsibly.

Can you shower in a camper van?

If there is a shower, absolutely. But remember that you might have a limited amount of water and you will have to properly dispose of any gray or black water at the end of your journey. It is best to familiarize yourself with the specific features and guidelines of the camper van you rent from GoCamp, and ask any questions prior to your trip.


GoCamp understands that many travelers enjoy the company of their furry friends. Certain camper vans are pet-friendly, but it’s essential to adhere to GoCamp’s pet guidelines. These guidelines ensure that both your pet and the camper van remain in good condition throughout your trip. Also, consider van camping rules and camper van parking locations when you travel with pets, as there may be additional regulations to follow at specific campground locations.

Unique Circumstances

GoCamp recognizes that unique circumstances may arise during your travel plans. Whether you require a one-way rental or need to make changes to your reservations, GoCamp has policies in place to accommodate these situations. If you find yourself in need of assistance or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to GoCamp’s support team for guidance and information.

Travel The Country With GoCamp

At GoCamp, our mission is to make camping easy and enjoyable for everyone. By providing reliable camper van rentals and implementing rules and regulations, we aim to ensure that you have a safe and unforgettable road trip experience. So, buckle up and hit the road!


Book your trip in just a few minutes. Explore our wide range of camper van rentals and start your adventure with GoCamp!