Parking Lot camping?

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by FARfetched, Dec 31, 2018.

Tags:
  1. FARfetched

    FARfetched Active Member

    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    166
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Sector 706, Planet Georgia
    I've seen it mentioned here on several occasions—people overnighting in a Walmart parking lot or truck stop. Is this common practice? Does anyone get huffy and call the cops?

    Or is there a whispered registry of vacant strip malls and the like, where nobody's going to look twice at a camper pulling in for an overnight?
     
  2. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,849
    Likes Received:
    1,753
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Location:
    Maplewood, MN
    Some Walmarts are moving away from overnighting. For the Walmarts that do still allow it, the way I understand it is, you need to ask the Managers permission. I don't know if that courtesy extends to a pup. Sometimes even extending a slide-out on a motorized RV is a no-no.

    When I used to travel in a Class A with the in-laws, we would use hotel parking lots and never had a problem.
     
  3. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

    Messages:
    4,642
    Likes Received:
    450
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Location:
    Morris County, NJ
    Here in NJ staying overnight in a Walmart you need to ask the store manager for permission. Some local towns no longer allow it. Staying in a pup and popping it up it not a good idea in my opinion. It's a parking lot! Basically your setting up a tent in the parking lot! Also, I would think it would be a bit noisy!!!
     
  4. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    Messages:
    7,261
    Likes Received:
    3,013
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Location:
    Dukes, Fl
    it is the local people that make the laws about camping in parking lots. Seems the local RV camp owners think they are losing money. I have never PL camped and would rather camp where it is safe and quiet also hook ups and a shower after a day of driving is more my style. Inclement weather would be a reason for me to stop, at least until the weather changes for the better. Good Luck and happy Camping
     
  5. MrsSquid

    MrsSquid Active Member

    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    110
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    I wouldn't overnight in a parking lot in a popup.

    The Escapees have a PDF of their Good Neighbor Policy regarding overnight camping.
    https://www.escapees.com/benefits/rv-parking/overnight-camping/

    We're looking at Harvest Hosts as an alternative for overnights en route. From my understanding, a popup doesn't qualify though.
     
  6. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,716
    Likes Received:
    830
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    As others have stated, it really depends on the locality. Some RVers do it regularly, but they have hard sides, and extending slides, putting out furniture and rugs, etc. is generally not done. There are some guides to free camping places, don't remember if they include parking lots.
    There are a few rest areas on interstates that actually have a site or two for people to overnight, while others prohibit it. Friends had to stop overnight in a pull-off once when the rented and RV - they said it was better than continuing on while tires, but very noisy.
    We've never done it, would rather time driving to stay in an actual campground, even the most noisy has got to be less busy than a parking lot. Plus, especially when I'm solo, I don't know the neighborhoods so would not try to just perch in a parking lot in most places. (I saw a review of overnighting in one of the Walmarts in ABQ, where the person complained about the street people, being woken up at 4 a.m. by someone trying to sell something. It's one of the Walmarts that I would only go to during the day, and only with good reason, since we have 3 or 4 others within my usual travel for errands in town.)
     
  7. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,647
    Likes Received:
    1,274
    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Location:
    California
    As mentioned, pups are rarely allowed to overnight at parking lots. Just by design, being able to sleep in one requires more setup and moving stuff around than an overnighter is expected to do.

    You could just sleep in your tow vehicle for a few hours to get some rest and leave the pup down.
     
  8. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,912
    Likes Received:
    1,305
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas City
    There's a Yahoo group with a database of Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, truck stops etc. that do and don't allow overnight camping in the parking lot.

    IMO it's only polite to ask permission before setting up on somebody else's property. I don't think there's any "rules" about setting up a Pup or extending slides, etc. I think they're more like guidelines. [:)C]
     
    FARfetched likes this.
  9. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    478
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Personally I don't raise the roof for less than two nights. If I need a couple to a few hour nap I'll recline the seat in the TV.
     
  10. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Messages:
    4,783
    Likes Received:
    1,663
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    My Walmart allowed hard side campers to stay overnight. No chairs outside, no slide outs out and had to remain hooked up. However thanks to people abusing it, and the number of working homeless in our area the Walmart changed their policy to NO RVs. There is one working homeless guy who has a truck camper on his truck that Has been getting away with it for the past year and half now. I never see the truck during the day but I do, late at night. Now I once reclined in my tow vehicle at a rest stop for a few hours, and will never do that again. I got the worst sleep ever and those rigs make a lot of racket. Not to mention I didn’t feel very comfortable safety wise.
     
  11. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

    Messages:
    3,150
    Likes Received:
    297
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Location:
    Thornville, OH
    in our 30+ years of camping we did a walmart once. Never again, too much light from the lights left on in the parking lots and cars and trucks keep coming in the parking lot all night.

    I have done the rest areas more often. But for the last 20+ years we started planning our trips for a CS every night. If traveling we feel we need a good night rest to be fully alert.

    If we are on the road and just spending the night to head out early. Many of times we never disconnected from the TV, or hook up to hookups. Just minimum setup. We have found some Federal/State/ County/City land and/or parks that allow camping for free, which we have use. But most of the time we are paying for the short night stay.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  12. Strawhouse

    Strawhouse Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,306
    Likes Received:
    408
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Location:
    Muskoka, Ontario
    I found the following app to be essential when searching out new campgrounds or overnight sites. I think it was a free app when I downloaded it.
    02DFF543-6092-43F6-AD24-3ECAB35DBE40.jpeg
    You select by province/state and scroll down to select the type of campground or overnight (Walmart, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Flying J, etc). The Walmart’s are labeled as ‘no overnights’ or ‘ask to park’. It also includes selections for clearances and road grade.
    44717D31-48F2-40ED-987F-FD595BCEDF17.jpeg You may also choose advance search for prices, amenities, etc.
    Each location specifies the street address/GPS coordinates and—usually—reviews/personal experiences shared by other campers
     
    HappyTraveler, MyName and FARfetched like this.
  13. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

    Messages:
    3,150
    Likes Received:
    297
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Location:
    Thornville, OH
    We have been using that app for several years. Just in September we were on the Blueridge MP and hit dense FOG, which was going to be for the next 100+ miles. Headed off the parkway and out of the clouds and DW found a none planned CG for the night. But the big issue for us using the app, when on the road has been network availability. It not reliable for us.
     
  14. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,436
    Likes Received:
    242
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2014
    It is best to go straight to the source for accurate information. This is from Walmart's website FAQ:

    https://corporate.walmart.com/frequently-asked-questions

    Can I park my RV at a Walmart store?

    While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store parking lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.
     
    HappyTraveler likes this.
  15. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,647
    Likes Received:
    1,274
    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Location:
    California
    Well, there are multiple parts to this question:

    Can a person overnight in a parking lot?

    This is answered by city/county ordinance or individual store management.

    Can a person extend slides or pop up their RV for full use during the overnight?

    This is answered by individual store management. One store may have no problem with it. Another may say "no" - often because it's becoming a problem and they are getting complaints.
     
  16. Dan from Troup

    Dan from Troup Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    808
    Likes Received:
    485
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2018
    Location:
    Troup, Texas
    Perhaps it’s nice to know that we probably could stay in a Walmart Parking Lot in a last resort/emergency. Sometimes we get sleepy while traveling and don’t trust ourselves to go any further. While I doubt I would ever choose to stay overnight at Walmart, perhaps the time may come if I have to.

    You ought to see the number of squatters in Portland, Oregon where broken down RV’s and motor homes are parked along city streets and parks. It’s a big problem there. Saw last summer while visiting daughter.
     
  17. Strawhouse

    Strawhouse Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,306
    Likes Received:
    408
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Location:
    Muskoka, Ontario
    I agree, network availability is a huge issue! Fortunately, I generally use the ALLSTAYS app when looking for an option for a one-night layover to a rally. I have only stayed in a parking lot on two occassions:
    1. I initially planned to stay at the Flying J in Carlisle (Harrisburg) PA but found it a little daunting once I got there. My alternate plan was the nearby Walmart, which turned out to be great. There were already a few RV’s and vans there. I had a good sleep and took the opportunity to shop at the 24-hour Walmart before 6:30am.
    2. at the Cracker Barrel in East Greenbush (Albany) NY. I had dinner there, and the staff was great. The downside—it appeared to be a recycling and/or garbage collection area. The was a great deal of noise throughout the night. In addition, it appeared that some of the cleaning/prep(?) staff were smokers, because I could readily hear their conversations when they came out for a break about every hour.
     
  18. Strawhouse

    Strawhouse Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,306
    Likes Received:
    408
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Location:
    Muskoka, Ontario
    I made a stop at the Walmart in the town south of me on my way to a rally last summer. It is not unusually to see 1 or 2 RV’s in the parking lot. On this occasion, there was an old motorhome—the type with the crank-out glass louvred Windows. It struck me as odd that they were parked close to the centre of the lot rather than at the side where RV’s are usually parked.
    On my way back to my vehicle, I looked to see where the campers were from. There were no plates, and the tongue of the motorhome was supported by concrete blocks. It was in a sad state of disrepair. I suspect that someone had abandoned it there rather than paying for its disposal.
     
  19. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,166
    Likes Received:
    753
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    Location:
    King George, Virginia
    I stayed at a BASS PRO SHOP parking lot one time and it was great. Went inside and asked permission. They had several parking spots that had tall bushes separating them. A couple of them had 120VAC 15A service too haha... This was in Prattville, ALA north of Montgomery on the I65 Interstate.

    Of course the next morning we went inside and looked around for an hour or so before leaving... Picked up a few things we needed...

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
  20. PaThacker

    PaThacker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    146
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Location:
    Poconos
    Walmart super center near me has about 500 homeless in the woods directly to behind. Small woodlot with large creek and bordered by interstate 80. You sleep in a pup there chances are high an incident will occur. Noise from route 80 would keep you up all night. Design also impacts hybrid tt with bunk ends opened. Travel trailer, van, class c. Truck camper ect no big deal.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.