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 fewer areas for us to park. Don’t contribute to jeopardizing free camping privileges. Be respectful! If you can mind your manners boondocking at Walmart, you can help avoid closing another free overnight. 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; 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; they know most RVers will come inside and stock up, while parking overnight. Remember, money speaks, so whether it just needs a cup of coffee, grocery shopping, or RV supplies, spending money where you’re parked shows your appreciation and gratitude. Parking overnight is a privilege.
Remember, It’s Not a Campground!
There’s no need to say that a big box parking lot isn’t a long term campground. However, many RVers don’t seem to get it. Many times you’ll see RVers a little too comfortable in parking lots; extending their awnings, putting up dog pens and even unhitching trailers. But even worse, there are a few RVers 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 the 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.