In May of 2021, Love’s Travel Stops introduced Love’s RV Hookups. But what exactly does this mean and what are the pros and cons of using them?
In this post, I’ll sort through the details and give you the scoop from my perspective as well as those of other RVers.
Let’s jump right in!
Can RVers stay overnight at truck stops?
RV travelers have long been able to spend the night at many truck stops across the country. But that usually means parking among the tractor-trailers especially if you’ve got a big RV like ours.
Have we done it? No. On long road trips, we appreciate the ability to pull off the highway and catch some shut-eye before hitting the road again in the morning.
So why no? Why aren’t truck stops a preferred place to stop for the night?
For one thing, parking overnight at a truck stop is usually noisy. Many trucks (especially refrigerated ones) must keep their cooling units running all night to prevent food from spoiling.
More importantly, though, I don’t relish potentially taking a space from a professional trucker who needs the space. They’re working for a living and may be tired or legally required by Hours of Service Regulations to take a break.
So, yes… RVers can park overnight at most truck stops. But I don’t mind paying a few bucks to have a spot to park our rig overnight in an area that won’t interfere with truckers. In exchange for doing that, we’d probably also get a better night’s rest.
So, let’s see what Love’s RV Hookups are all about.
About Love’s RV Hookups
In 2021, Love’s Travel Stops began the process of expanding its offerings by adding dedicated RV hookups at some of its travel stops.
Love’s RV Hookups and RV Stops offer RVers an opportunity to do more than fuel up, stretch their legs, or grab a snack. Love’s Travel Stops now offer more dedicated RV parking spots nationwide than any other truckstop.
And, RVers can take advantage of many amenities at Love’s Travel Stops network of over 500 off-highway locations:
- Propane refill: Running low on propane? You can get a refill at Love’s en route to or from your next camping destination.
- Dump station: If you’ve just completed a boondocking stint or you’ve been on the road for awhile and your tanks are getting full, Love’s offers dump stations so you can empty those tanks and stop carrying all that crud down the highway.
- Private shower facilities: Love’s private shower facilities are great for RVers whose rigs either have wet baths, outside showers only… or no shower at all.
- Laundry facilities: Traveling with the family and spending the night at a Love’s? You can take the opportunity to do some loads of laundry while you’re there.
- Dog parks: New Love’s Travel Stops are being built with dog parks and Love’s is adding a dog park to some of their older locations as well. There are currently 350 Love’s dog parks nationwide.
- Food, beverages, and other conveniences: All Love’s Travel Stops offer snacks and a variety of food and beverages for sale. They also offer many convenience items as well as some electronics, apparel, and Love’s merchandise.
- RV hookups: And yes, some Love’s Travel Stops now offer RV hookups right there at the travel stop. In addition, Love’s has partnered with KOA to add full-sized RV parks at some locations. (Yes, we’re talking full-on RV parks right at the location of the travel stop.)
Do all Love’s Travel Stop locations offer RV hookups?
No. As of this writing, Love’s has 29 travel centers with sites specifically dedicated to RVs. Among those locations there are 357 hookup spots as Love’s terms them. But by the end of the year the big fuel stop company says they’ll add 30 locations to the list with an additional 1,000 RV-dedicated sites. That’s a 287 percent increase of available RV sites.
Typically these hookups are back-in sites. All of them provide a safe place to be off the road and 30/50-amp electrical service. Fortunately, most appear to be a fair distance from the truck parking areas so hearing the roar of a reefer truck is not likely to be an issue. Some locations include full hookups including water and sewer.
Other Love’s locations continue to offer lots of amenities and conveniences for all travelers. That includes some that are specifically for RVers even at the Love’s that don’t have hookups.
The current average rate for a back-in site across all Love’s locations is $36.70 per night including electric. Dialing it down to specifics, you could stay at the Drayton, North Dakota Love’s hookup and back in for $32 a night. Go whole hog at Love’s Normal, Illinois, RV Stop and you can get full hookups at a back-in site for $37.50. Make that a pull-though site for $41.50. Compare this to the nearest KOA, in Casey, Illinois, a couple of hours away. For a full-hookup site you’ll pay $52.95 for a back-in site and $69.95 for a pull-though. True, you won’t have the amenities like a swimming pool at Love’s but for those who are looking for economy and not frills, it’s something to think about.
What about discounts at Love’s?
The rates I talk about here are nightly. There are discounts by the week and for 28-day stays. At the Normal, Illinois RV Stop that night in a pull-through I referenced above for $41.50 translates down to $37 per night for a week’s stay and just $22.64 per day if you stay a full 28 days. Some of Love’s sites can be occupied for more than 28 days; it varies by location.
What are the disadvantages of Love’s RV hookups?
I don’t really see any disadvantages to the hookups themselves. They’re a great addition for all the reasons I’ve noted above especially because they offer convenience for RVers without taking space from truckers.
However, I try to share both pros and cons of things. I’ve heard a few grumblings here and there on a couple of issues.
Some travelers seem to feel that what they’ve been using for free will now cost them. But until now, there’s been no option for hookups. My take is that we prefer to avoid staying overnight in areas meant for truckers particularly in busy travel stops if we’ve got other options.
This can be more than an annoyance to truckers. If several big rig spaces are taken by RVers and a long-haul trucker can’t park for the night that can be a safety problem for them and other drivers on the road.
And it may be a problem that Love’s is trying to solve by giving RVers their own spaces. I see that as a good thing. More options, please!
Some see it as a way for Love’s to make more money. But, really, RVers have to pay for hookups anywhere they go. If you’d rather boondock, then just don’t reserve a Love’s RV Hookup.
However, if you arrive at a Love’s on a hot summer night and you want to run your air conditioner so you can get a good night’s sleep, now you’ve got the option to hook up your rig and relax.
Number of Available Spaces
Some RVers appreciate the opportunity to hook up the rig at a Love’s Travel Stop but note that most only have five or so hookups available.
Love’s is starting a new program and I think they’re probably testing the waters and they’ll expand as their marketing data suggests they should.
However, some Love’s have many more RV hookups than others. For example, Love’s RV Hookup in Winona, Texas (I-20, Exit 575) has 25 full hook-up campsites. Two of those are ADA accessible.
I’ve read comments about Love’s RV hookups not being big rig friendly especially for those of us with a toad. Some RVers also note that the spaces are so close together that slideouts can’t be used. Others have said that the lots are too open to the sun, too brightly lit at night, and too noisy due to trucks and interstate traffic.
Staying at a Love’s RV Hookups location isn’t your traditional camping experience nor should we expect it to be.
For a more traditional camping experience near a Love’s location, their RV parks designed in conjunction with KOA might fit the bill depending on your travel route.
How do I reserve an RV Hookup at a Love’s Travel Stop?
While you don’t need to make a reservation, if you want to ensure a spot at Love’s, their reservation system is simple. You can make a reservation by internet at LovesRVStops.com where the entry for each site has a Reserve link. Or you can phone Love’s customer service line at 1-800-OKLOVES (1-800-655-6837). Option 5 will get you to a representative who can take a reservation. You can also use an app like Campendium.
Love’s RV offerings certainly can’t be classified as resort quality. But if you’re looking for a place to spend the night and run your air conditioning with 1,000 more RV sites coming online this year, you may find one in your corner of the RV universe that works.
While this may not be a perfect solution to the problem of too few campgrounds for too many RVers it is an important step in the right direction. I commend Love’s for taking the lead on this. The company has recognized a problem (too few places to stay a night along the road with an RV) and done something about it.
The average full-hookup site is about $36 which is fair in today’s world where it’s hard to find full-hookups for less than $50.
This is not the solution to campground crowding, but it’s a logical step to help alleviate the crowding in existing RV parks and campgrounds.
Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted on Love’s progress and whether any other big box stores get in on the action.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.
—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts