Some Thoughts About Where to Park While Touring in a Tiny Home, Park Model or RV
Convincing someone in our current economic climate to reduce their environmental impact and financial constraints is no problem. Many people would live a minimalist lifestyle if they were given the opportunity. However, any tiny home builder or tiny house dweller will tell you that we get asked one question more than any other. “Where do you park your tiny?”
The issues have shifted from “Why would anyone want to live tiny?” to “I want to live tiny, but how?”
Please know that there are wonderful groups and individuals who dedicate their time to furthering legislation to make tiny living legal in all 50 states. However, we aren’t there yet.
This means research always is your best tool. First, it is important to know local zoning and coding restrictions and regulations.
However, to help the droves of people who are sold out for tiny life but feel held back by parking restrictions and state by state illegalities, here are six realistic parking possibilities for your tiny house.
Park Your Tiny, Tip No. 1: A Tiny House Community
Thanks to a few pioneers in the tiny house movement, tiny house communities are popping up all over the map. These are a diverse group of landowners who are leasing out spots –some full-hook-ups and some boondocking — to tiny house owners. Many are laid out like you’d imagine a campground set up. Though most are focused on sustainability, so they may have a shared garden space, a shared recreation room, and even garage storage for outdoor adventure gear. Others are more wooded and offer privacy and seclusion.
Park Your Tiny, Tip No. 2: A Friend’s Property
The rule always applies to do your research. However, in some big cities where land is scarce, such as Austin, Texas, people are moving their tinies into the backyards of friends who are already established. Since Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) were made legal there, and real estate is astronomically priced, this provides a passive income stream for the homeowner and a perfect place for you to park your tiny.
Park Your Tiny, Tip No. 3: Your Own Land
This can be shaky ground, so tread lightly. Perform your due diligence with research in your area. Tiny houses are only legal for full-time living in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Texas. That being said, even within some cities in Massachusetts, you may only park a tiny home in the backyard of a house where the permanent residence has been established for at least two years.
So the answer here is clear: Do Your Research. Start at the top within your municipality and ask questions. Otherwise, check out the other options for where to park your tiny. Remember that park model homes have less trouble parking, so those may be easier to park on your own land without any potential for municipal backlash.
Park Your Tiny, Tip No. 4: RV Campground
Not all tiny house communities are RV friendly. Much the same, not all RV parks are tiny house friendly. However, legally, if your tiny home has been built by a manufacturer who certifies them with an RV or RVIA certification, an RV campground cannot turn you away. However, there are other stipulations to research, such as your size. For instance, most national parks disallow any rig overnight if its length exceeds 42 feet.
Park Your Tiny, Tip No. 5: Agricultural Land
In many states that frown upon tiny houses, folks get around by parking on land that is zoned for agricultural purposes. Many farmers hire seasonal workers who pull an RV or set up small campsites or cabins, not much is said to disrupt these more long-term parkers.
Park Your Tiny, Tip No. 6: Boondocking
If you prefer a more off-grid lifestyle, boondocking may be your thing. It is easy to escape the city life, especially out west, by driving until you are perfectly secluded. In this case, you want to be certain you aren’t parking on private property. Also, ensure you have rations for water and propane, as well as a backup generator in case of inclement weather.
Anyone who lives tiny will tell you that parking is the biggest fear for potential buyers. However, they also attest to know very few folks who have been asked to move. As long as you do your research, and be mindful of your location, living tiny can be the dream you’ve always hoped it would be for you.