With the influx of van dwellers and the rise of #vanlife there are more and more people out on the roads searching for that perfect parking spot, looking for a quiet view over a fjord, a stones throw from the beach or a hidden forest path to pull up to and enjoy living in the van with your doors wide open. Finding these spots might seem like a bit of a mystery when all you have found so far is the parking lot of a supermarket or the lay-by on a busy road but really there are so many options out there and ways to find parking you should be camped next to a mountain in no time!
Here’s ways in which we find our parking spots:
By far our most used app for van living is Park4Night. It is a crowd sourced and fully curated list of parking spots throughout the world. The listings can vary from day parking and information about charges to out of the way free parking spots you wouldn’t have known were there. Many of the listings have photos of the parking spot so you can see what you’re going to be aiming for as well as GPS co-ordinates, facilities nearby and a little review of the spot.
This app was a god send for us and whenever we weren’t sure of where we might park we would just fire up this app and head for one of the thousands of parking spots it has listed. It’s great to know you always have that option in your back pocket at all times. Park4Night offers a free version which only lacks the ability to view it offline so works just great for free!
There are mixed views on sharing of parking spots with people in vans, many fellow travellers like to share information however are wary of putting it on the internet for everyone to see because they worry that people will come on mass to the site and it will be destroyed by waste being left behind or by the loss of solitude. I fully understand this view point and often I will only share sites with people I have met or privately rather than on our website or our instagram for these reasons.
That being said, many other people are happy to share camping spots and maps full of them with the rest of the world. In the UK I use Wild Camping UK for a comprehensive map of great camping spots however there are countless other examples of forums and blogs dedicated to sharing camp spots with you.
It amazes me that others don’t use this method for find great wild camping parking spots more often. Local people are a font of information, they will have seen where other vans go to park, they will know of quiet out of the way places, where the best views are and usually they are happy to tell you, after all they simply want to point you to a place out of the way where you won’t bother them!
Not only this but asking other van dwellers is a great way to not only find beautiful spots but also to meet fellow like minded people. Early on in our van living days our Instagram messages would be countless questions about where a certain park up was or could people recommend somewhere for us to go. Like I said before, people don’t want to broadcast places but are more than happy to help one person privately.
Head to areas of green or blue
The type of van living and travelling we enjoy is the life out in nature and so for us one of the easiest ways to find amazing wild camping spots was to simply look on Google Maps for an area of green (forests or mountains) or an area of blue (the sea, lakes) and head to those. Most forests have access roads or small parking spots for hikers and dog walkers, lakes have places to pull in to launch boats or again for walkers and the seaside is a plethora of places to park quietly close to the sand and so they are the perfect place to take your van and park in the heart of nature.
These are just the most common ways in which we find our wild camping parking spots I am sure there are countless more methods. The one thing to remember is that you always leave every spot the same (if not better) than you arrived. Take litter with you, don’t dump waste etc. Don’t ruin these spots for us all!