Question: Can I camp at Wal-Marts in Alaska?
Answer: Yes & No!
What started out as a simple blog post has led me down the road of something similar to investigative reporting.
In Anchorage, there’s a lot of confusion on this subject. I called the Big Box Stores and their answers were very inconsistant. One popular answer was “No, it’s against the Municipality of Anchorage’s ordinance, no overnight camping”.
We’ve heard this line before, I decide to call the Municipality of Anchorage for verification. I spoke with the Anchorage Police Department’s Traffic Division, they said “Yes, there is an ordinance against overnight camping but that doesn’t apply to private property”. Unless the Municipality owns their land, these major retailers are lying to us!
I called major retailers around the state and make a handy list of their responses.
*Use this information at your own discretion. I’m not telling you to do one thing or another. If you get arrested and your RV gets impounded don’t come crying to me. I’m just a blogger, save it for the judge you’re going to need it.
Wal-Mart, Old Seward Highway: I’ve seen them here so it must be okay. Well, that not a very professional response.
Wal-Mart, A St.: Management doesn’t allow overnight parking.
Wal-Mart, Debarr: I tried calling this store several times and nobody answered. Don’t you love it when this happens?
Wal-Mart, Eagle River (Yes, Eagle River is part of Anchorage): There’s a city ordinance against it but people do it anyways.
Fred Meyers: All locations had the same response, “No, it’s not allowed within the Municipality of Anchorage”.
Target, South: The manager stated, Target doesn’t allow it on their property. But, the far back part of their lot isn’t Target property and people overnight there. This is an interesting answer because it pushes you onto someone else’s property. (Just go to Cabela’s.)
Bass Pro Shops: Their landlord doesn’t allow overnight parking. That’s okay, their lot is hardly big enough to park a 1/2 ton truck, let alone any respectable RV.
Cabelas: Yes, and we have dedicated RV parking spots on the north side of the building. Way to go Cabela’s!
Wal-Mart: Yes, for 24 hours. That’s the answer we like to hear!
Fred Meyers: Yes, on the outer edges of the lot.
Target: Not allowed.
Fred Meyers Marketplace: You must come inside the store and get permission from the Director. The Director works Monday – Friday during regular business hours. This isn’t very convenient and you might not even get to stay there. If you’re in Palmer looking for a place to park for the night head to the Knik Public Use Area where the Old Glenn crosses the Knik River.
Kenai / Soldotna
Wal-Mart, Kenai: Yes, overnight parking is allowed and they say it with a smile. During the Kenai dipnetting season (last 2 weeks of July) expect this parking lot to be crowded.
Fred Meyers, Soldotna: Yes, overnight parking is allowed for up to three nights. There’s even potable water, a dump station, and gas. This is one of our long time favorites!
Wal-mart: Yes, for 24 hours.
Fred Meyers, East: Not at this location.
Fred Meyers, West: The new store Director was not sure on the overnight parking policy and referred me to their east store’s policy.
- It’s not illegal to overnight in Anchorage, with permission on private property.
- Cabela’s is the best bet in Anchorage.
- Fred Meyers in Soldotna takes the cake with all their services.
- Wal-Mart in Wasilla is the best due to the size of their lot.
- Wal-Mart in Fairbanks is the place to go.
- Target is not RV friendly in Alaska.
Please thank these businesses by spending some money in their stores when you’re there. Also, pick up after yourself and your pets so you don’t ruin it for the next person.
There you have it, a thorough list of where you can and can’t overnight in urban Alaska.
Do you have any places to add to the list?