When you think of #vanlife, typically epic desert views and big scenic vistas out West come to mind. Many vanlifers like to free camp (or “boondock”) out on public BLM land or stay at beautiful campshares or Harvest Hosts. But what about vanlife in the Northeast? Is it even possible?
Here at Brooklyn Campervans, we are obviously partial to the city. We love to get out and camp in the wilderness, but we are big fans of experiencing New York in a van as well.
Is it Possible to Park a Van in NYC?
It is a bit of a different way of life, but it is entirely possible to live in a van in NYC. It can open
up an entirely new side of NYC and provide memorable experiences that others can only dream of. You just have to find the right places to park!
But don’t worry. We’ve already done the hard work for you and found the best places to park in Brooklyn. Here are some of our tried-and-true favorite spots:
McCarren Park is one of our favorite spots to park a van in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The park is surrounded by wide, one-way streets with parking all around. If you get lucky, you can find parking beside the bike lane, which provides an extra buffer between you and passing traffic.
The park features public restrooms, sports fields, and a dog park. It is conveniently located near tons of bars, restaurants, shops, cafes, and a couple gyms with showers. The park is busy and can be a little loud sometimes, but the trade-off is that you can feel safe knowing there are always people around. The park is well-lit at night, and we always feel safe parking here overnight.
Another personal favorite in Williamsburg is a little dead-end street endearingly nicknamed Van Alley (pictured above). Van Alley is located at the corner of North 11th Street and Kent Avenue. Tucked off the main streets and located in between multiple public parks and an abandoned warehouse, this spot is perfect for vanlife. With public restrooms, grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and waterfront views all within walking distance, this area has everything you need!
Van Alley has a growing reputation with vanlifers and has created its own mini community, so you can almost always find other vans around and meet like-minded people to socialize with.
It is a popular hangout spot with vanlifers and locals alike, so it can get a little loud sometimes when the weather is nice. However, since it is a dead end, there is almost no traffic noise, which we love!
Flatbush Avenue at Prospect Park
Prospect Park is another public park that provides a great parking option in Brooklyn. We recommend parking along Flatbush Avenue for the best spots. Flatbush is a wide avenue that runs through the middle of the park, so there are tons of spots and no businesses or driveways to worry about.
Again, you can typically feel safe in this area because there are always people around and lights at night. Prospect Park is much bigger than places like McCarren Park, so there are facilities like public restrooms and a dog park, but you may have to walk pretty far to access them. You can also enjoy a visit to the Prospect Park Zoo or the Brooklyn Botanical Garden nearby.
The neighborhood of Red Hook is a bit out of the way, but that is part of its appeal! Since Red Hook is a bit off the beaten path, it can be easy to find large open spots for bigger rigs to park in the city. It also tends to be a bit quieter for those who are looking for a more mellow place to rest.
Brooklyn Campervans at 89 Spencer Street
Vanlifers are always welcome to stop by and visit us in Brooklyn. We want to meet you!
While it can be hard to find street parking at our Warehouse, we can always make a temporary spot for you out front if you want to come by for a short visit.
We know it can be hard to find water in NYC, so we have a water hookup and are always happy to top off your water tanks. While you’re filling up, feel free to check out our Warehouse and chat (if we aren’t too busy building vans!).
Feel free to stop by any time Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m. but we appreciate it if you shoot us a DM on Instagram to give us a heads up that you’re coming by!
Don’t have a van yet? We also often host #vanlife gatherings, open houses, happy hours, and occasionally concerts at our Warehouse at 89 Spencer Street. Follow us on Instagram and join our email mailing list to make sure you never miss an event!