Another Walmart Free Camping Spot Bites the Dust

When we first hit the road, the very idea of staying overnight in a Walmart free camping spot made me cringe. Eleven years later, we found ourselves spending the night at the Whitehorse Walmart camping spot in the middle of town. With a lovely view of the wetlands outside our door, the scenery wasn’t nearly as horrendous as some Wallyworlds we have chosen.

The End of the Yukon’s Whitehorse Walmart Free Camping Spot

Every RVer who travels the Alaska Highway will go through Whitehorse at some point. As the capitol of the Yukon, it’s the last place to stock up for at least 500 miles in every direction. The store itself really stinks compared to most Walmarts, but up here you get what you get. 

As a bonus, there is a free dump station, fuel and propane right next door.

walmart free overnight camping

The Whitehorse Walmart had everything RVers need.

But now, Whitehorse Walmart free camping is coming to an end. Last week the Canadian Broadcasting Corp announced that Walmart is banning overnight RV parking in Whitehorse. The store has caved in to pressure from locals, who say that RVers are trashing the parking lot, creating parking mayhem and forcing campgrounds to close.

Our Fountain of Youth friends who happened to be there at the same time we were, Jim and Patti Ballou, are quoted in this Yukon News article about the Whitehorse Walmart free camping ban.

Walmart to End Overnight Camping This Summer

A Better Deal than Many RV Parks

Most of what the media reports is true: RVers pack into that Walmart. And I’ll admit, it was a bit of a shock to see RVers pulling out barbecues and lawn chairs in the parking lot. It often had the festive feel of a tailgate party. And some rigs looked like they had been there far too long. We spotted this notice on a few rigs.

free walmart camping spot

Whitehorse Walmart eviction notice

But overall we saw much less trash and sketchy characters there than any other Walmart that allows RV camping.

Walmart is blaming the camping ban on RVers. But the real truth is probably that local parks have put pressure on the store. Old news stories say park owners are pissed because travelers are passing up their establishments in favor of this place.

Walmart free camping spot

Whitehorse Walmart RV parking is now over.

Honestly after seeing what’s available in Whitehorse, I can’t blame RVers for choosing an asphalt parking lot over the so-called “parks” in town. We paid for one night at a park and it was one of the most crowded places we’ve stayed outside of Las Vegas.

If local Whitehorse RV parks would do some upgrades so that guests weren’t crowded in like sardines, and have more full hookup campsites available, more of us would be willing to spend the $35 – $45 per night at their shoddy establishments. I know I would.

Walmart free camping spot

RVers shop at this Walmart, even though the selections stink.

In the Pioneer RV Park quoted in the article, the sites are so close together, that our stairs almost hit the neighbor’s slide out. Poor Wyatt bonked his head on their fender when he stepped outside. Our friends Jim and Patti tried to get into this particular park, and couldn’t get in. That’s the only reason they stayed at Wallyworld that night.

Walmart free camping spot

Where will all the RVers go?

We’re sad to hear that another Walmart RV camping spot has bitten the dust. We wonder how many more will follow? 

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11 Responses to “Another Walmart Free Camping Spot Bites the Dust”

  1. Eventually humans wreck everything.

  2. The restaurants benefited from our free Walmart parking. In the end we contriibuted generously to the Whitehorse economy.

    • Totally agree Patti. We ate out three times during our visits to Whitehorse to and from Alaska, and shopped way more than we would have if we had paid the going rate on rent for our stay.

  3. We passed though in late June this year while RV’ing to Alaska. We would never bookdock there. Very dirty and a lot of people just living there in the parking lot. Did not feel safe at all and we were hit up for money 3 times walking to and from the store. Maybe Walmart could do more to keep people limited to staying just 1 night and not all summer.

  4. I have to completely agree! If the RV parks would keep their rates reasonable and their sites spacious, then there wouldn’t be a need for RV’ers to stay in Walmarts lot. But as a full-time RVer as well, I can see the value of just a quick overnight when you are just passing through.

    I think the blame is on both sides here; 1) You have RV’ers not adhering to Walmart etiquette but pulling out BBQs and slides & 2) Like you mentioned, the campgrounds stink. And Walmart isn’t going to become a campground or campground management so their only option is to enforce a no overnight policy.

    Sad to see another one go.

    • Hey Ryan, we are totally with you on that. Sounds like you’ve traveled up here before so you know what we mean about the state of the campgrounds in the Yukon. Not worth the money. Thanks for reading.

  5. Hi, I’ve seen some pretty inappropriate behavior in Walmart parking lots. People forget they are not camping; they are parking. I always go in and ask permission and buy something to pay for the privilege to park. It’s a shame that a few ruin it for the majority.

    When I traveled I only used Walmart as a last resort. I remember one Friday evening panicking because I was so tired and every place I saw was full and I couldn’t see well at night to drive. There are so many more RVs on the road than there were years ago. I was never so glad to find any place in my life. Walmart saved me.

    I think you’re right about nearby parks and the pressure. I think that’s what happened in Durango, CO., too. I have also stayed in some pretty “questionable” “RV parks”.

    • Hi Nancy! I do agree, Walmarts and retail lots are not campgrounds. The situation at Whitehorse was probably the worst example we’d seen in our travels.

      Thanks for reading. I’m enjoying poking around on your blog, you’ve got a lot of adventures under your belt! I would love to interview you some time for an article.

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