Worried about where you’re going to shower on your next road trip? If you camper doesn’t have an onboard bathroom, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
This guide will show you the best ways to find places to shower on the road. We’ll give you tips and tricks for every situation, so you can stay clean and fresh no matter where your travels take you.
Showers are a necessary part of any road trip – but they don’t have to be a hassle. With this guide, you’ll have everything you need to find the perfect shower spot for your needs. So pack your bags and get ready to hit the open road for some fun in the sun!
Stay clean and refreshed on the go with these easy tips for finding cheap or free places to shower on your next road trip.
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#1 Shower For Free With Gym Membership
Showering at the gym is a great way to stay clean while on the road.
If you want to avoid paying out large sums of money on hostels, hotels, and motels while traveling around, then there’s no better way than checking into your local gym now and again.
You can find gyms in most cities and towns, and many of the most popular names have a presence in loads of locations right across the country.
And the best part is that some gyms are open twenty four hours a day – so if you’re planning a late night out or early morning, or have been traveling around in the searing heat all day and need to use the toilet facilities…well, why not take a shower too?
Some of the most popular gyms with travelers include:
- LA Fitness
- 24 Hour Fitness
- Planet Fitness
There are others too, so do your homework and check if there are any additional fees for using their facilities outside your home state. Some of the benefits of using a gym for showering while you’re on the road include:
- All gyms have shower facilities, so you don’t have to worry about having a long, hot shower at the end of the day.
- There are often toilet facilities too so you can take care of both requirements in one place.
- Many gyms have saunas and steam rooms, so you can get a mini spa at the same time – a perfect way to unwind after a day on the road.
- Many gyms are open 24 hours, so you can grab a shower when it suits you best.
- Gyms are also a great place to meet people and find travel buddies, too, especially if you’re traveling alone.
#2 Campground Showering Facilities
If you’re a van lifer and don’t have a shower in your camper van, then finding a place to shower can be a challenge. However, campground shower facilities can be a great option, especially if you’re traveling through rural areas, where gyms are few and far between.
Private campgrounds usually offer a clean and private place to shower. Some are even luxurious with heating and complimentary toiletries. Don’t count on that, though.
Do your research first. We usually check out recent reviews online before committing to traveling to a campground. iOverlander and FreeCamspites.net are good sources of reviews.
A good campground shower facility will be:
- Clean & reliable
- Open round the clock
- Have hot water and good water flow – the only thing worse than cold water is hot water trickling out of the showerhead.
Just remember that showers can be busy at popular campsites, so show up early or late to avoid waiting in line.
The downside of relying on campgrounds for your showering needs is that you need to pay for a night’s camping. With prices often upwards of $40 per night, that’s not a budget-friendly option, especially if you would typically be boondocking or stealth camping.
On the other hand, this is a great option if you prefer to stay in campgrounds. We’d even go as far as saying that if you plan to stay mostly on campgrounds and you’re converting a van into a camper, save space and don’t bother installing a bathroom in your van.
#3 Shower Facilities At State Parks
While shower facilities are not always guaranteed at state parks, they can be a lifesaver for campervan travelers and van lifers who don’t have a shower in their camper. Luckily, there are plenty of state parks with shower facilities available.
You can get a state map at most rest stops and visitors centers, showing the state parks and their facilities.
For those state parks that do have shower facilities, they’re usually coin-operated. How long a quarter lasts is variable (sometimes even in the same block), so make sure to bring a few quarters with you.
Make sure to bring your soap and shampoo too. Unfortunately, you won’t find any complimentary Molton Brown here.
#4 Showers & Bathrooms at National Parks
For anyone sleeping in their van, camping, or otherwise spending time outdoors, a shower is an essential part of maintaining your hygiene. National parks can be great places to find a shower, but it’s important to be aware of what to expect before you go.
Many national parks have shower facilities available for visitors. These showers are often located in the park’s visitor center or a nearby building. However, not all parks have shower facilities, and the ones that do may not always be open or accessible.
It’s a good idea to check ahead of time to make sure that the park you’re visiting has showers available and find out the hours of operation.
If the park you’re visiting doesn’t have showers available, you can also camp near warm springs or other bodies of water and bathe there. Warm springs often have areas along the shore where you can easily get in and out of the water to wash yourself off. The water may not be hot like a shower, but it’s still better than nothing!
A word of warning, please follow the local rules. If the park doesn’t allow bathing – then don’t. Also, please do not use any toiletries in a natural water source. Simply use water only to refresh yourself and not contaminate our environment.
If your park does offer showers, they may be free of charge (or at least included in your entrance fee), but at others, you can expect to pay a small fee for using them, often coin-operated.
If you’re not spending the night in your van or camping nearby, you might be able to find other places with public showers in the area around your park.
#5 Nearby Free Public Showers
Public showers can be an excellent resource for van lifers and travelers looking to save money on camping and lodging costs. They are also a great way to stay clean and fresh while on the road. In most cases, public showers are free to use, making them a cost-effective option for those on a budget.
But where can you find free public showers? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Free Public Beach Showers
Public beaches are a great place to find free public showers. Not only are they a great place to take a swim and relax in the sun, but they also offer a convenient and cost-effective way to shower while on the road.
Most public beaches offer free showers, which is an excellent option for saving money. Showering at a public beach can also be a great way to meet new people and make friends. People are often happy to chat and socialize while they’re waiting for their turn in the shower.
So if you’re looking for a fun and social way to shower, then head on down to your nearest public beach! Don’t expect warm water, though.
Recreation Centers & Public Swimming Pools
Public swimming baths and recreational centers can be great places to take a shower while on the road. They’re often cheap or even free to use, and they offer a place to clean up without having to worry.
They can also be a great place to meet other travelers and get some information about what’s going on in the area.
Public Shower Directory
The Public Shower Directory website provides information on where to find public showers in cities and towns all over the United States. The website is updated regularly, and it includes information on the location, hours of operation, and amenities of each shower facility.
Google “Free Public Showers Near Me”
Some free public showers are located near popular travel destinations, so do a little research before your trip to find the best options for you. If you’re caught short, simply google “Free Public Showers Near Me” and something, and you’re likely to find something nearby.
#6 Portable Showers For Campers
Portable showers for campers are a must-have for anyone who wants to live the van life but doesn’t have an onboard bathroom.
Van lifers need to be conscious of their water usage, as it can be limited depending on the size of the rig and how far you are from civilization. A portable shower is a great way to conserve water while still staying clean on the road.
The downside, of course, is they’re not so private – not ideal when you’re in a town or city.
There are several different portable shower systems on the market, so be sure to do your research before purchasing. Some of the more popular options include portable hot water systems and solar-powered showers. Whatever system you choose, make sure that it is easy to set up and use and fits your needs and budget.
#7 Truck Stops & Gas Station Showers
Truck stops and gas stations are great places to take a shower while traveling. Because they’re used mainly by truckers (the clue’s in the name), they are typically located near highways and other major roads, making them easy to find. They also offer clean, private showers with hot water, a significant plus.
The downside – and it’s a big one in our opinion – is the price. Gas stations like Pilot are charging anything from $7 to $15 for a shower. One shower! Crazy money.
Ok, so they’re clean and even provide toiletries but really? We’d need to be completely desperate to pay that kind of money for a shower.
Tips For Showering On The Road
If you’re going to travel in your RV but not use an onboard shower, you’ll need to know how to shower in truck stops and campgrounds. Here are a few a tips to make it a bit easier and more comfortable:
Bring a small towel that can easily be dried and stored
Anyone who has ever used a fluffy towel from home when camping knows they’re not idea. They’re bulky so take up a lot of storage space. Plus, they take ages to dry so unless you have the time to hang them up every day, you’ll be left with a wet towel. Bring a small, lightweight and quick-drying towel instead that can easily be packed away.
Microfiber towels are made of extremely thin, highly absorbent fibers. They can absorb many times their weight in water, making them ideal for use in campground showers. In addition, microfiber towels dry very quickly, so you won’t have to worry about them getting mildewy or musty. And because they’re so compact, they’re easy to pack and carry with you on your travels.
Pack shower sandals or shoes
When you are sharing a shower with other people, there is a risk of coming into contact with bacteria and fungi that can cause infections.
Wearing shower sandals or shoes helps to create a barrier between your feet and the floor, preventing the transfer of germs.
In addition, shower sandals or shoes can help to keep your feet clean and dry, reducing the likelihood of developing athlete’s foot or other fungal infections.
By taking a few simple precautions, you can help to keep yourself and others healthy while enjoying public shower facilities on the road.
Bring a full size shampoo and conditioner bottle
Travel sized bottles are often expensive and may not contain enough product for people with longer hair,, or those on long trips. In addition, many places don’t provide shampoo and conditioner in their showers, so bringing your own full sized bottle is the only way to ensure that you will have enough product to last your entire trip.
If you’re concerned about the weight of your toiletry bag, consider purchasing travel size bottles to refill from your full size bottle. This will help to reduce the amount of waste created by single use travel sized bottles
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it – a few different places to shower when living in your van. Of course, portable showers are always an option, but if you want something more reliable (and don’t mind spending a bit more money), truck stops can be a great choice.
Alternatively, gyms offer an excellent way to get clean without having to spend any extra cash. And finally, public showers provide the ultimate budget-friendly solution – just make sure you’re aware of their location and hours of operation!
Where do you usually take your showers when on the road? Let us know in the comments.