Sunday, March 24, 2013


no overnight
You have probably seen this sign along your journey. We have seen it too – in some Walmart parking lots. They prohibit us RVers from staying overnight. Is this decision based on Walmart’s policy?  IT IS NOT!
The reason why we might stumble across signs like this is that city council has been lobbied by local campground owners (mafia?) to prohibit such stays thus forcing RVers into their overpriced RV-parks. They establish a by-law which then can be enforced by local police. Besides of that it must be a disgusting job for any constable to roust an RVer in the dead of the night. I fail to understand that ANY city council can enforce a by-law on ANY PRIVATE PROPERTY. I always thought that the USA is “the Land of the Free”. 

What some city councils do not understand is the fact that RVers who want a free stay are not going into any RV-Park, plus that the city is loosing these RVers to the next town/city/county down the road. We will never stay in any jurisdiction where city council has slithered into a Walmart parking lot.

Whenever we stay at Walmart we go shopping there. We rather spend 30 bucks on items we want and need, than paying 30 bucks for a service we really don’t need. (And some RV-Parks are already charging 40-60bucks/night) RVs have every basic amenity that I can find in a campground. Why pay for something you already have? And those RVers who feel that they must be in an RV-Park won’t stay at Walmart anyhow. With other words: By-laws who restrict overnight stays are counter productive for the local economy.


  1. Exactly the way we feel too. We will spend our money shopping at a Walmart if they allow us to park for the night. We now phone ahead to make sure before we plan an overnight in one. Other options we do are Flying J's (usually noisier) or Camping World.

  2. Atta boy Peter give em hell!! Totally agree with your line of thinking. Unless it's a weather emergency or one needs to dump tanks or take on water why pay the high fees to an RV Park for an overnight stop lasting less than 24 hours. We much prefer the wide open space at the edge of a Wally World any day. We have overnighted at Cracker Barrel, Home Depot & Loews as well. Small town County Parks are usually another quiet stop along the way. State Line Visitor centers are good & some Rest Areas are secure. We only ever stayed at a Flying J once & it was way too noisy for us with all the big trucks coming & going.

  3. Peter, City Councils all across North America establish Bylaws that are enforced for PRIVATE PROPERTY every day - it's what municipalities are all about. Council bylaws state what size and kinds of signs owners can have on their buildings, how many seats a pub can have, how many parking spots an apartment building must have, what kinds of safety measures must be installed etc. etc. etc. There's no real debate about this as it is one of the primary focuses of a municipal government - establishing zoning laws to tell a company they cannot put a commercial building next to your property. What the City Council is doing in banning overnight parking in Walmarts is a totally appropriate use of their powers.

    Just like Canada, the U.S.A. is the land of the free and it's responsible laws for ALL of us that keep it that way and that includes reasonable Bylaws supported by the citizens of each community - the ones who pay the taxes in each community.

    You've got no complaints here as far as I'm concerned.

    1. And it is totally appropriate use of my power as an RVer to ban such communities from my shopping.
      I wonder what the reason for such overnight ban might be other than to "protect" their own RV-Parks.
      I don't think anybody would take any harm of having RVs parked on Walmart's private property.

    2. Of course it's your right to not stay in communities who ban RV's from overnight parking in lots such as Walmarts. You're free to drive right through any city like that and no one is going to care.

      But, local governments do have the absolute power to enact by-laws banning RV's not only from private property owned by Walmart's but also from local streets and parks. Many cities in both the U.S. and Canada do this including my home city of Victoria, B.C.

    3. Parking on streets and plazas are not involving private property as such spots are public. And I do understand that by-laws are necessary to protect public interests. However, there is no such public interest whatsoever in banning overnight parking in a parking lot located on private property if the owner has agreed to such use. It is solely based on the (misunderstood)interest of local RV-Park owners and represents a stark abuse of local admin powers.

  4. We so TOTALLY agree with you Peter. Wal-marts are great places to stop and we usually spend more there stocking up than any RV park!!

  5. I like a free night as much as anyone else, but the cost of an RV never guaranteed anyone the right to live free on property (public or private) that other people are paying to maintain. Rick Doyle's comment about the municipal's right to make rules governing their community is to the point.

    It may be shortsighted on a community's part to think that by outlawing overnight parking on private property that they are helping the businesses of RV park owners who might feel that Walmart is stealing their business. In fact those who prefer boondocking at Walmart never were going to patronize the local RV park anyway.

    But I'm sure over the years there have been enough inconsiderate RV'ers who have dumped their tanks on public property, who have extended their jacks onto soft asphalt and all sorts of other things which no one with any sense of common decency would do - but which have been done anyway.

    Perhaps more to the point would be encouraging all RV'ers to be considerate of the places we are allowed to park free so that even more locations aren't taken off the overnight parking permission list.

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    1. Thanks for your valued comment, Peter. Like I pointed out in my last reply to Rick I do understand that public property and the common interests of the public needs to be protected and thereby governed by city by-laws.
      However, I am sure that Walmart would not allow overnight stays in their parking lots if they thought that RVers are abusing their generosity. And I do not think that RVers have a birth right to camp anywhere. But when a corporation does allow parking on their property, no public interest is harmed and consequently no city council should exercise it's powers on prohibiting overnight stays on such properties. And Walmart does own their properties. They are not public!


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