A bald eagle we spotted at Crescent Beach the other day.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Port Townsend, Washington.

Where are they going next? Somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where to park up!

A lot of people have asked us in our travels, where do you find somewhere free to park overnight and feel safe.  We don't seem to have much trouble with this, because we always find somewhere, it may not always be our ideal spot and sometimes it isn't for free.

Kevin always does research on the internet for the next location that we are heading to.  We try not to travel more than 200km (120 miles) a day, sometimes it is more, sometimes less.  He first checks to see if there are any couchsurfing hosts in the area (this is done a few days before), if we can't find someone, then he looks for any free camping or municipal/county campgrounds, we have found some that are free and some that are very cheap, of course there is always Wal*Mart to fall back on.  We usually drive on the secondary roads so often something will just catch our eye and we think it would be perfect.

We always try to find something well before dark, we don't like to travel after dark and in the light you can see the area you want to park up in, if there are signs that say no overnight parking we won't take the chance, although I think once or twice near a provincial park day use areas we have done, but this was well past their closing in the fall, so we didn't think we would be bothered.

Some on the places we have parked up at....a small municipal airport, out in the boonies in nothern Ontario, ski hill parking lot (did this several times), small fishing harbours out east, church parking lots, boat launch areas, ball field parking lots, on the street close to downtown Cancun, and Harrison Hot Springs in B.C., casino parking lots are great, some even have RV spots with electric for free!  As I said before there is always Wal*Mart (not our top choice, but it works), always go in and ask first at the customer service because not all Wal*Marts allow parking.  We have camped right on the beach in Mexico, even had a palapa!

Have a look at the pictures below and see if you can spot the Wal*Mart parking lot spot!

Sherman at the Casino in Sudbury, Ontario

Parking lot of the ski hill in Thunder Bay, Ontario

Sherman at the Vermillion Bay Airport. Vermillion Bay, Ontario

Sherman at Waterton Nat'l Park, Alberta

Sherman at a small lake (pond) outside of Beaverdell, B.C.

View of our campsite at Los Cocos beach in the Bahia Concepcion, Baja California, Mexico

Sherman at Juncalito beach, Juncalito, Baja California, Mexico

Sherman at Phillip and Patricia's near Ciudad Constitucion, Baja California, Mexico

Sherman parked up at Magnolia Beach near Port Lavaca, Texas

Sherman parked up at Hilton Head, South Carolina

Sherman parked up for the night at the harbour of Ingonish, Nova Scotia

Sherman parked up at the ten Brinkes house just outside of Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Sherman parked up for the night at the marina in New Glasgow, Ontario

Sherman while parked up at Hunnewell Conservation Area, Hunnewell, Missouri

Harry and Sherman parked up on a street in Brownsville, Texas

Sherman and Harry where we were parked up behind a Pemex station near Nuevo Progreso, on Hwy# 180, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Harry and Sherman parked up on the basketball court at the beach called Payucan just past Seybaplaya, Campeche, Mexico

Sherman and Harry parked up on a street in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  We have never had a lack of places to park up for the night or more and we have always felt safe.  All the places we stayed in these pictures were for free except for the one on the beach in Los Cocos, in the Baja and even then we paid less than $6 a night.

Did you notice which one was the Wal*Mart parking lot?  It was the one at Hilton Head, South Carolina.  It felt like we were in the woods there and very quiet.


  1. I hope you pick up after Sherman. Most would not feel safe parking in unprotected areas, like the ones you choose. Many local LEO's would not allow you to park overnight,and would knock on your door and demand you move. Walmart is private property with lighted areas and still you have to have the OK from Management to stay or they can ask you to leave. Unless you are sleeping days many places will not be safe. Truck stops are much better, as they have dumps and are open for overnight customers. Although some that run diesels all night can polute the air and wake you, as they come and go.

  2. Looks like your having fun with Sherman. If he's like our Friend. Miles=Smiles

    We do the same when traveling. Makes the trip much more fun.

  3. Hi Ruth. Very informative post, today...thanks. Our plan is to do much the same, especially when just looking for a place to stay overnight. In every one of your photos, you appear to be the perfect overnight guests. Everything seems to be kept clean, and you are as unobtrusive as possible. If everyone followed your example, we wouldn't have any problem finding overnight spots. In fact, I have on occassion gone out, and picked up garbage, or put shopping carts away, while waiting for Teresa. Hopefully, these small acts will ensure that RV'ers will always be welcomed !!

  4. Great photos and great places to boondock. Have you had any luck in the Todos Santos area? We found an arroyo about 8km north of town right on the beach, but I just didn't feel comfortable out there by my lonesome. Los Cerritos beach is kinda beat up and one of the local landowners has been chasing RVs out of the area, according to some folks we chatted with. Any suggestions would be most welcome at it appears the opportunities are drying up. Happy travels!


  5. Thank you for your comments. Yes we always pick up after ourselves and Whiskey! We use dumpsites at welcome centres, truck stops and rest areas or if we pay to camp somewhere. We ask permission when we think it is needed, we camp near others depending on the area. We have never felt unsafe at anytime, or we would not camp it that spot. We don't like truck stops, they are too noisy, smelly and crowded for us.

    I know the spot you mean at Los Cerritos, we stayed there and yes they were going to start building at the area where everyone was parked. We did stay at the Los Cerritos Beach Club just north of the free camping spot for a few nights. We stayed for free there, but had a beer at the bar and Kevin was able to get WiFi from the beach club with his Hawking Antena (see our blog on that in Dec. Free Wi-Fi Inernet Access)

    Yes we are having fun and can't wait to be back on the road in March.

  6. I bet the only time you felt somewhat unsafe was when Justin and I came to visit you in Florida in March 2007! We were parked at a Taco Bell and next door was a hotel. We asked the hotel management to park for the night and they had no problem with that. We did run into some people arguing late in the night that woke us all up. We thought they might get into a fist fight. But we just stayed calm in Sherman and they ended up leaving later on.
    Life's always a great adventure, that's for sure!

    p.s. I'm Ruth and Kevin's daughter :)


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