Kevin always does research on the internet for the next location that we are heading to. We try not to travel more than 200km (120 miles) a day, sometimes it is more, sometimes less. He first checks to see if there are any couchsurfing hosts in the area (this is done a few days before), if we can't find someone, then he looks for any free camping or municipal/county campgrounds, we have found some that are free and some that are very cheap, of course there is always Wal*Mart to fall back on. We usually drive on the secondary roads so often something will just catch our eye and we think it would be perfect.
We always try to find something well before dark, we don't like to travel after dark and in the light you can see the area you want to park up in, if there are signs that say no overnight parking we won't take the chance, although I think once or twice near a provincial park day use areas we have done, but this was well past their closing in the fall, so we didn't think we would be bothered.
Some on the places we have parked up at....a small municipal airport, out in the boonies in nothern Ontario, ski hill parking lot (did this several times), small fishing harbours out east, church parking lots, boat launch areas, ball field parking lots, on the street close to downtown Cancun, and Harrison Hot Springs in B.C., casino parking lots are great, some even have RV spots with electric for free! As I said before there is always Wal*Mart (not our top choice, but it works), always go in and ask first at the customer service because not all Wal*Marts allow parking. We have camped right on the beach in Mexico, even had a palapa!
Have a look at the pictures below and see if you can spot the Wal*Mart parking lot spot!
Sherman at the Casino in Sudbury, Ontario
Parking lot of the ski hill in Thunder Bay, Ontario
Sherman at the Vermillion Bay Airport. Vermillion Bay, Ontario
Sherman at Waterton Nat'l Park, Alberta
Sherman at a small lake (pond) outside of Beaverdell, B.C.
View of our campsite at Los Cocos beach in the Bahia Concepcion, Baja California, Mexico
Sherman at Juncalito beach, Juncalito, Baja California, Mexico
Sherman at Phillip and Patricia's near Ciudad Constitucion, Baja California, Mexico
Sherman parked up at Magnolia Beach near Port Lavaca, Texas
Sherman parked up at Hilton Head, South Carolina
Sherman parked up for the night at the harbour of Ingonish, Nova Scotia
Sherman parked up at the ten Brinkes house just outside of Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Sherman parked up for the night at the marina in New Glasgow, Ontario
Sherman while parked up at Hunnewell Conservation Area, Hunnewell, Missouri
Harry and Sherman parked up on a street in Brownsville, Texas
Sherman and Harry where we were parked up behind a Pemex station near Nuevo Progreso, on Hwy# 180, Tamaulipas, Mexico
Harry and Sherman parked up on the basketball court at the beach called Payucan just past Seybaplaya, Campeche, Mexico
Sherman and Harry parked up on a street in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. We have never had a lack of places to park up for the night or more and we have always felt safe. All the places we stayed in these pictures were for free except for the one on the beach in Los Cocos, in the Baja and even then we paid less than $6 a night.
Did you notice which one was the Wal*Mart parking lot? It was the one at Hilton Head, South Carolina. It felt like we were in the woods there and very quiet.