When you're traveling the country in your RV, are you one of those people who plans every overnight stay months and charts every propane fillup and wastewater dump? Or do you prefer to wing it, parking and provisioning as the need arises? If you're the spontaneous type, you'll need to always be on the lookout for someplace to empty your grey and black water tanks. You may be wondering whether truck stops have RV dump stations. We've done the research, and we have the answer for you!
Many truck stops have RV dump stations. Love's network of Travel Stops has more than 500 dump stations across the continental United States. Other truck stop chains, including Pilot/Flying J and TA/Petro, also provide RV dumping facilities at many of their locations. In addition, you can find dump stations at other chains, and individually-owned truck stops throughout North America.
In the remainder of this article, we'll identify the major truck stop chains that offer RV dump stations. We'll also discuss whether you can park your RV overnight at truck stops and Wal-Mart stores. We'll identify several apps that help you locate dumping stations, and we'll let you know how often you should empty your grey and black water tanks. Keep reading to learn more!
Do Truck Stops Have RV Dump Stations?
A few large truck stop chains welcome RVs and offer various amenities, including dumping stations. Some locally-owned truck stops also offer RV dump stations.
Due to the expenses and labor involved in operating and maintaining dump stations, many of them have been shut down over the past two decades. On the other hand, chains like Love's and Pilot/Flying J add RV dump stations and make them easier to locate via website search features and phone apps.
Love's network of Travel Stops offers more than 500 locations with RV dump stations, spanning the entire continental United States except for the Northeast. This is the most RV-friendly line of truck stops in the country; its Travel Stops offer such amenities as private showers, laundry, RV parking and hookups, Wi-Fi, propane refills, potable water, restaurants, and even dog parks.
You can locate a Love's Travel Stop on the company's website, which allows you to filter for the amenities you're looking for.
Pilot/Flying J offers services to RVers across the continental United States and Canada, including nearly 200 RV dump stations. They also have RV-dedicated fueling lanes, propane refills, potable water, showers, laundry, and restaurants. Unlike other truck stop chains that are paving over their RV dumping stations, Pilot/Flying J is actively adding RV amenities at its truck stops across North America.
Although there are TA/Petro Travel Centers throughout the continental United States, only about 50 offer dumping stations. However, most RV amenities include showers, laundry, propane refills, potable water, and restaurants.
Many Chevron truck stops offer dumping stations. However, unlike the three chains listed above, Chevron does not have an online clearinghouse that allows you to search for specific franchise locations that provide dump stations or other RV amenities. You can find Chevron facilities that have RV dump stations by searching on sanidumps.com or rvdumps.com.
Other Truck Stop Chains
Other major truck stop chains that offer RV dumping at some locations include Shell, 76, Tesoro, Citgo, BP, Marathon, and Gulf. However, each of these chains has just a few dump stations scattered across the country. And none of them emphasize RV amenities on their websites, so, likely, these stations do not cater to RVers the way Love's, Pilot/Flying J, and TA/Petro do. Still, if you need to dump your tanks and you're not near one of the major RV-serving truck stops, one of these dumpsites may be just what you need!
RVdumps.com lets you search by state and city to find a dump station anywhere in the United States.
How Much Does It Cost To Dump An RV At Flying J?
Currently, it costs $10 to dump your wastewater tanks at a Flying J truck stop. If you're an RV-Plus cardholder, your dumping cost is $5. The RV-Plus card also offers discounts on gas and propane. Love's has a similar policy, with a $10 standard charge, reduced to $5 for Love's membership club members.
These prices are on the low end of RV dumping costs. Most RV campgrounds charge $25 per dump, and some full-service dumping stations charge even more.
Can RVs Stay At Truck Stops Overnight?
Many truck stops -- especially Love's, Flying J, Pilot, and TA -- welcome RVs to park overnight. When you do this, make sure you follow these basic rules of truck stop etiquette:
Don't take a trucker's spot
Truckers must take rest breaks at strict intervals, so truck parking spaces are at a premium. Most truck stops have RV-designated parking spots. Use one of those, if available, or tuck into a back corner of the parking lot that's not accessible to trucks.
Park so as to avoid using multiple parking spaces, and back into your parking space in case you need to leave quickly.
Don't put out your slide
Space is at a premium at truck stops, so don't take up more than you have to.
Use the facilities
Most truck stops offer propane refills, showers, laundry, food, and other amenities. Show your appreciation for the free parking by giving the truck stop your business.
Ask inside the store
If you're not sure whether parking overnight is okay or not sure where to park, ask inside the store.
Be a good neighbor
Don't dump your trash or your wastewater tanks (unless there's a designated dump station). Don't grill, play loud music, or put down jacks.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you'll be welcomed at any truck stop that accommodates RVs.
Can RVs Stay At Wal-Mart Overnight?
Wal-Mart actively encourages RVers to stay overnight at most of its stores. In fact, some Wal-Marts even have RV parking spots marked at the farthest reaches of their parking lots. It's a good idea to talk with the store manager before you settle in, to make sure that it's all right for you to stay overnight.
If there are no designated RV parking spaces, make sure to park far away from the main doors and at the fringes of the lot. Of course, Wal-Mart hopes you'll demonstrate your gratitude for the free parking by shopping in their store!
Is There An App For RV Dump Stations?
Allstays.com has an app for identifying dump stations across the continental United States. You can download the RVDumps app, which lets you search for dump stations at campgrounds, rest areas, truck stops, gas stations, RV dealers, casinos, and water treatment plants. You can also download the Allstays' Camp and RV app, which covers a wider variety of amenities for RVers and provides a filter for dump stations.
The major drawback to the Allstays apps is that they are compatible only with iPhone and iOS tablets.
How Often Do You Have To Dump RV Tanks?
Generally, the best practice is to wait until your tanks are more than half full before emptying them. This is especially true for the black water tank: if you dump it when it is less than half full, there may not be enough water in it to flush out all the solid waste. This can lead to clogging and the accumulation of solid waste at the bottom of the tank.
Of course, how often you empty the tanks depends on how many people use the toileting and bathing facilities. If you're traveling alone, you might dump your wastewater once every week or two. But if you have a whole camper of travelers, you may need to empty your tanks every 2-3 days.
When you're on the road and looking for a place where you can meet all your RVing needs -- dump station, shower, laundry, doggie run, fresh water, a hot meal, and overnight parking --an RV-friendly truck stop is a great place to go. Fortunately, nearly anywhere you're traveling in North America, you can find one of the big three: Love's, Pilot/Flying J, or TA/Petro. You can count on them to satisfy all your needs in one easy stop!
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