Rolling up to a Cabela’s is a familiar sight, and as a road-weary traveler, you might wonder if you can park your RV here for the night. It sure would be convenient, and you could even do some shopping in the morning. Does Cabela’s allow RVs to camp overnight?
Most Cabela’s stores did offer free overnight RV parking, but that policy seems to have changed in recent years. The parking spots and dump stations that had been available for RVers to use are disappearing. If you’re curious whether you’re allowed to stay, call the Cabela’s closest to you.
In today’s guide, we’ll explore where Cabela’s stands on RV camping these days. We’ll also recommend some other spots you can park your RV overnight that might be a little more welcoming, so make sure you keep reading!
Is Overnight RV Camping Allowed at Cabela’s?
The answer to the question of whether you can camp at Cabela’s used to be fairly cut and dried.
Cabela’s, which has 170 retail stores as of this writing, offered trailer parking at many of those locations. The trailer parking included long parking spots in which travel trailer rigs and large RVs could easily fit.
The best part was that the parking was free. That’s hard for an RVer to pass up, especially considering–as we mentioned before–you can then pop into the store in the morning and get some shopping done.
On top of that, many Cabela’s had dump stations as well where you could empty your graywater and blackwater tanks.
The dump stations weren’t free, unlike the overnight parking, but were still a very useful resource for RVers.
However, in 2017, Cabela’s merged with Bass Pro Shops. Shortly after that, the changes to the camping policy seem to have begun to shift.
These changes were first reported by users of the AllStays app. If you’re not familiar, the AllStays app lists available amenities in any area, from hotels to campgrounds and other lodging options.
On the app’s Facebook page, one user reported that Cabela’s had shut down its trailer parking and dump stations, some of which had card readers that were very recently installed.
Here’s what the user wrote in full. “Parking started getting denied, the welcome signs came down, the no parking signs went up, people started getting kicked out, more dumps removed and paved over as time went on.”
Thus, while Cabela’s was once a safe haven for RVers seeking some refuge from the long, arduous hours on the road in the middle of the night, that seems to largely no longer be the case.
All hope is not lost though. The Facebook poster from the AllStays app did say the following: “With my data right now, we have about a dozen locations that might still have an operating dump or welcome RVers parking.”
So why the switch, you ask? Was it the merger with Bass Pro Shops that caused Cabela’s to change its tune?
Not exactly. The AllStays Facebook poster thinks it has to do more with the messes that RVers would leave in their wake. Whether that was improperly dumped sewage or other garbage from overnight stays, it appears that local law enforcement began to clamp down on Cabela’s.
Thus, the store has since begun turning away RVers who want to camp out for a while.
How Do I Know Whether I Can Camp My RV Overnight at a Cabela’s?
You saw a Cabela’s on your route, and you were kind of hoping you could camp there overnight and catch some Zzzs from the safety of the store’s parking lot.
After reading the information in the last section though, you’re starting to feel some pause. You don’t want to drive to a Cabela’s only to be turned away.
How can you be sure that you’re allowed there?
While it would be really handy if Cabela’s and/or Bass Pro Shops had a policy on either of their respective websites about what their policy was for RVers staying overnight and/or using the dumping stations, that’s not the case.
If you have the AllStays app, you can always stay abreast of the news there. Really though, your best option if you’re curious whether overnight stays are allowed at a Cabela’s is to call the store and ask!
Yes, that’s all there is to it.
As we mentioned in the last section, the AllStays users seem sure that at least a few Cabela’s still welcome RVers. Yours might be one of them!
My Cabela’s Said I Can’t Stay – Do Other Stores Allow Overnight Stays?
If you get turned down for an overnight stay when you call a Cabela’s, then thank them for their time. Be courteous even if you’re frustrated or feeling inconvenienced.
After all, Cabela’s was offering overnight stays for free. The store didn’t have to do it, but for a long time, it did. It’s not even necessarily Cabela’s fault for rescinding the service. Local laws might have forced the store’s figurative hand.
Either way, there go your lodging plans for the night. It’s a little too late to try to get onto a campground or park now since it’s well after dark. Will any other store allow you to use their parking lot for the night?
Yes! The following stores are known for welcoming RVers. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee. Please call before you visit.
24 Hour Fitness
24 Hour Fitness is a fitness chain based in California and the second-largest of its type in the country. As of this writing, 24 Hour Fitness has more than 285 locations in 11 states in the US.
The fitness club is open 24 hours a day, so RVers could be turned away if the parking lot is full enough when you visit.
Another fitness franchise that might allow for overnight RV parking is Anytime Fitness. Founded in 2002, the franchise has more than 4,000 locations, although these are scattered across 50 countries.
You shouldn’t have a hard time finding an Anytime Fitness. Keep in mind though that like 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness is open 24/7 (except for some holidays), and so a full parking lot can once again prohibit you from staying.
A great place to grab a bite to eat, Cracker Barrel is a southern-themed restaurant with 664 locations as of 2021. All the restaurants are located in the US.
As of at least 2021, it appears that Cracker Barrel still allows RVs to stay overnight after the restaurant closes.
Why shop at Cabela’s when you can go to Camping World and park your RV for a night of rest? Camping World has 227 locations as of 2018.
After a great night of sleep, you can pop into the store to stock up on RV accessories and parts as well as camping gear and equipment.
That’s right, the home improvement store Home Depot usually welcomes RVs, but it depends on the location. The Georgia-based company has 2,300 stores as of this writing, but that’s between Mexico, Canada, and the US.
If you’re looking for a well-lit, safe place to call it a night, Costco’s parking lots are usually quite accommodating to RVs. The retail store, which specializes in groceries, has 558 locations in the US as of 2021.
Not to be outdone by the competition, Sam’s Club allows RVs to stay too. They have a statement about it on their website that reads as follows: “Parking policies may vary from club to club due to local zoning restrictions.
You should verify with the Club Manager if it is permissible to use the parking lot for any overnight vehicle stays. Failure to notify club management in advance could result in unauthorized vehicles being towed at the expense of the vehicle owner.”
Of all the stores that are known to permit RV parking, the best known is undoubtedly Walmart.
Walmart has a statement about its RV parking policy on its website.
Here’s the statement in full: “While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among the best customers.
Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.”
The Walmart statement brings up a good point. Even if you could stay at Cabela’s or you’re parking your RV elsewhere per the list above, you would have no choice but to dry camp without electric, water, and other hookups.
Where Else Has Free Overnight RV Parking?
You triple-checked your route, but none of the stores we listed are anywhere close to you. It’s still too late to check in at a campsite, so what should you do?
Not to fear. You have plenty of other safe, free overnight parking options at your disposal.
We can’t stress enough that this is entirely at the discretion of the church, but some churches will allow you to take a rest in their parking lot until sunrise.
Truck stops aren’t just for truckers! You’ll be right at home at a truck stop, which is where other large vehicles like your RV congregate.
Depending on the truck stop, you might be able to grab a bite to eat if there’s a restaurant close by. You could also enjoy other amenities such as Wi-Fi, gas, paid showers, and a truck-washing station.
When my wife and I traveled across country with our RV, we stayed at a few truck stops, and they were very convenient. Many locations offer sewer and potable water for a small fee as well.
For more information at staying at truck stops check out our other article “Can RV’s Stay at Truck Stops?”
The bright lights of casinos lure in more than gamblers, but RVers as well. Since casinos want to accommodate a large audience, they usually have the setup for RVs to park. You will probably be expected to go in and partake in some of the fun if you do stay overnight.
In 2017, camping supply store Cabela’s merged with Bass Pro Shops. Ever since then, Cabela’s has been gradually reeling back its overnight RV allowance as well as its paid dump stations.
Some Cabela’s do still offer both services, but these days, those stores are very few and far between.
If you can’t boondock at a Cabela’s, you can always try other big-box stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, and even fitness centers and restaurants like Cracker Barrel. Don’t forget to check your churches, casinos, and truck stops too!