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Old 02-27-2014, 01:56 PM   #1
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Question Stop over near Savannah GA? Have you stayed in a Walmart Parking lot before?

In a couple of weeks I will be traveling from OH to the FL Keys with my family and parents. We want to offset travel costs by parking in a parking lot overnight to catch some zzz's before continuing on the journey.

I have no experience with this - is it called boondocking? I have read that 24 hour Walmart's will let you stay in their parking lot as long as we buy something from them. Have you ever done this? Is it awkward? Should we tell the store manager what we're doing?

If the Walmart doesn't work - is there anyplace you would recommend we stop around Savannah GA? I don't want to stay in an RV/camping place because we'll only be there a few hours overnight - but at the same time don't want to get woken up by the police.

Thank you!
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:02 PM   #2
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The definition of "boondocking" is hotly contested. Some say that "boondocking" is when you camp without services out in the "boon docks" (aka, middle of nowhere). Some say that "boondocking" is camping without hookups in a campground. Either way, at the end of the day- what you're doing is parking at Walmart overnight.

Some Walmarts allow it, some don't (either the Walmart doesn't because the privilege has been abused or the municipality that Walmart is in doesn't allow it).

There are simple rules of etiquette for parking at Walmart:
  1. Always ask - even if there are other RVs already parked; go inside and ask (or call ahead of time from the road)
  2. Maintain the appearance of parking as much as possible - no awning, no grills, no lawnchairs, etc. Some even advocate that if you can go without slides, do so. (Personally, I think slides over a grassy median are fine).
  3. Don't leave a message - that includes watching your landing gear/stabilizers on hot asphalt. On hot asphalt, you can easily punch a hole in the ground and leave damage.
  4. Be safe - if an area gives you the willies, move on.

There is a great Yahoo group resource that includes a list of verified Walmarts that do/do not allow overnight parking:
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/walmartrving
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:33 PM   #3
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We stayed in the Hardeeville Walmart on our way to the keys this past December. No issues. Not real close to Savannah, but not unreasonable either.

From memory there were a number of Walmarts right along the Interstate through that area.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:34 PM   #4
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We've stopped at truck stops a couple times. Flying J's and Loves let you stay. I'm sure others do, but those are the two we've used.

We've never stayed at Walmart...yet
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:17 PM   #5
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If you are talking a couple of hours, you can just use a rest stop as truckers do. It is aganist the law in most states to park over night and it is posted. But the State tropper would rather have you take a couple hour break then to cause an accident falling a sleep behind the wheel, The key word here by the law is NO OVER NIGHT PARKING. That's why they have rest stops use them. I have never had a problem.
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:52 PM   #6
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If you happen to make it past Savannah...less than 2hrs further south is a Flying J/Dennys plaza at the Brunswick, GA exit on the west side of I95...great area to park and rest overnight with no issues
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:53 PM   #7
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We've stayed twice at the Cracker Barrel(CB) in savannah. It's right off the interstate (exit 94). The nice thing about CB is they close around 11 pm and are open at 6am. So it's relatively quiet and you can grab breakfast before hitting the road. I've stayed at several CBs and usually called the mgr to confirm it was alright. They have RV pots too.
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:13 PM   #8
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There is an app you can download for your iPhone called Allstays ONP Walmart that will tell you state by state which Walmarts allow overnight "parking". We have found it to be very helpful. Saying that, we have always double checked with management.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:33 PM   #9
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Rest stops in Fla are spaced about 50 miles on the Interstates and most have signs posted saying there is 24 hour security - seems that they would let you overnight at them. Also, they are the nicest I have seen in the country.

There is a website that list most Walmarts and if they allow overnight stays:

Wal mart Locations Store Details & Parking | Walmart Store Locator

We stayed in one in a small town near Waco, TX. It was noisy and the parking lot lights were a pain. No problems but not worth saving $25 or so to stay in a RV Park overnight and sleep better.

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Old 02-28-2014, 08:02 AM   #10
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We have stayed a couple times at the same Walmart, just south of Atlanta (fprgrt thr exit); & at a few others. Other than 1 exception, I don't find them any more noisy than some parks near the interstate. You will have other campers coming in later than you or leaving earlier than you, so I find this no different than traffic at the Walmart, etc. If we're just stopping to rest, the only thing we use is the elec at a camp ground; so unless we need AC (no generator), the campground is no big gain. We never travel more than 2 consecutive days without stopping in 1 spot for at least 2 nights, so it works for us.
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