Back in the good old days RVers, could park just about anywhere, without getting told to leave. Unfortunately, too many RVers have overstayed their welcome, leaving trash, and even dumping their sewer water on the ground. As a result, city ordinances against overnight RV parking are enacted every day, leaving less areas for us to park. Don’t contribute to jeopardizing free camping privileges. Be respectful! If you can mind your Walmart boondocking manners, you can help avoid having another free overnight parking place get closed down, and denied to the RVing community. Here’s how you can help keep these free camping spots open for us.
Whether you’re pulling into a Walmart, or parking in a vacant lot behind a truck stop, do your research before you get there, to know the legalities of overnight parking in that location. The Walmart locator website has a No Overnight Parking Walmart list. The Truck Stop Guide website can help you to locate RV friendly truck stops, some with dump stations and propane.
According to the site, 23% of Walmarts across the nation do not allow overnight parking. It’s good to check with an employee to find out if it’s OK. Also look for parking regulation signs; if you see any “No Overnight Parking” signs, chances are, the business means it. Even if you see other RVs parked there, don’t risk it and move on.
Businesses like Walmart and Cracker Barrel are usually OK with RVers staying overnight in the parking lot, because they know most RVers will usually come inside and stock up, while parking overnight. Remember, money speaks, so whether it’s just need a cup of coffee, grocery shopping, or RV supplies, spending money where you’re parked shows your appreciation and gratitude, for the privilege of allowing you to spend the night there.
Remember, It’s Not a Campground!
There should be no need to say that a big box parking lot isn’t a long term campground, but many RVers don’t seem to get it. Many times you will see RVers a little too comfortable in parking lots; extending their awnings, putting down leveling jacks and even unhitching trailers. But even worse, there are a few RVers out there, who will overstay their welcome, sometimes staying in a Walmart parking lot for weeks at a time. Overnight means over one night. If you’ve been RVing for a while, you’ve probably seen this behavior, and wondered, what’s wrong with some people? It shows very poor manners to homestead in your RV, in retail parking lot. Most store managers are happy to accommodate overnight RVers, but may need to close the privilege down, if the parking lot becomes a homeless encampment. Once you obtain permission to park overnight with your RV in that parking lot, move on within 24 hours, unless you have permission to stay longer.