Why We Don’t Camp in Parking Lots
RVing through the US and Canada brought up a lot of questions from folks when we explained what we were doing. The number one most asked question was typically, “Does your truck actually pull that 32′ trailer?” We always answered politely and had a little snicker about it later. Mostly because every time this got asked was shortly after we pulled into a parking lot. Nah, we’re not really towing it.
The second most popular question had to do with Walmart. Everyone wanted to know if we’d camped in a Walmart parking lot. The retailers stance (in some areas) welcomes RVers. Many people see it as a good place to stop and stay a night. Add in the convenience with a large store with all the necessities and huge parking lots, I can understand why. We certainly took advantage of the one stop shop in several states.
Did we take advantage of the so-called camping? No.
Our reasoning why not is simple. Throughout Canada and the USA, there are so many different places to camp. We stayed at many different types of campgrounds from privately owned, city parks, KOAs, State Forests, Provincial Parks and National Forests. The price ranges were from donation to approx $32/night.
Each place held a new adventure. Trails, lakes, playgrounds and amenities abounded. Without our support of these places, they wouldn’t exist. These campgrounds are worth preserving for the next generation to explore and discover. The camping experience surrounded by nature where you can hear the crickets sing, the wolves howl and the owls call is pure. It’s the unfettered joy of camping in it’s true form.
In a parking lot, do you get the same experience? No.
One of our nights on the road, we tried to push it the next campground only to find that it didn’t exist anymore. We ended up stopping that night at a truck stop. All night long, we heard the trucks come in and out. One truck pulled in right next to us (literally about 2 ft from our trailer). It was a busy place, even in the dead of night. There were no owls, no crickets and no nature noises to soothe us to sleep, just air brakes.
I imagine a busy 24/7 store or one by a busy road would grant you a similar experience.
If you can afford life on the road, then I think you can throw a couple bucks at these operators to keep campgrounds alive and well. Who knows? You might be preserving camping for years to come through your small support. That’s something worth thinking about.