I'm seriously considering taking a RV from Vancouver to Toronto/Montreal in March/April. However, having never driven one before, I was wondering - where are you allowed to park/stay, and what do you need for say, electricity, or clearing the toilets/getting fresh water? Are there places in towns, or do you have to rely on campsites? Can you park anywhere if you wanted to?

  • If you want to ping me via email again, I can also give a lot of personal advice on "boondocking" and that's the term you want. Quick answer: Park at Walmarts overnight, dump your waste in public dump sites, and love the Rv. The Rv is your friend. – Affable Geek Dec 17 '12 at 1:34

I intended to write a comment, but don't see the link to make one so I'm writing this as an answer instead.

This question actually seems like an umbrella topic concerning RV parking facilities in different provinces of Canada. I've been doing a little research on the same topic since I've similar plans. Me and my friends are occupied with the financial aspects of it though.

This http://www.rvparksincanada.com/index.php and this http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ might be of help to you.

  • This is great, definitely worth an answer rather than a comment. Many thanks! You may need a higher reputation to add comments, but if you can do it, there's an "add comment" link just below the question, in future. – Mark Mayo Dec 16 '12 at 0:31
  • another comment, wouldn't it be a better idea to start from some place close to Toronto ? Southern Ontario will be pretty hot around May/June. Weather in the Canadian rockies and west coast is expected to be somewhat moderate during that time. Perfect for ending your long travel across Canada. – Raiyan Dec 16 '12 at 0:34
  • Well I live in Vancouver, and work and visa-wise that time is the best for me. And there's really good deals on west->east RV travel, and then from Toronto/Montreal I'll head down into the US. It's not perfect, but it'll work, I think :) – Mark Mayo Dec 16 '12 at 0:38
  • Cheap west->east deals, eh ? Do you mind sharing ? I might change my plans if they are cheap enough. Instead of driving all the way to Vancouver then ViaRail back to Toronto, I could do the other way round ;) – Raiyan Dec 16 '12 at 2:24
  • hop into the Travel Chat and ask me there, we can keep the discussion off the comments :) I've not finalised plans yet, but sharing the driving could be a possibility! – Mark Mayo Dec 16 '12 at 7:56

Based on my experience doing 2 RV trips of 2/3 weeks length in Australia and Canada:

Where you're allowed to stay varies from place to place - in national/provincial parks you're definitely only allowed to stay at designated campsites (and there is a difference between "day" campsites and sites where you can stay overnight). The same is true inside towns. In the true "outback" (i.e. thinly populated areas where few tourists go) nobody cares even when there may be official rules. But note that RV rental companies typically only allow you to drive on paved roads.

What you need depends on the capabilities of the RV - the larger ones can be fully self-sufficient for a few days. In ours, the limiting factor was the "gray water" tank from the sink and shower. In smaller RVs, the limiting factors are lack of toilet and shower, and possibly the fridge (if it runs on a battery rather than propane).

As for where to get water, electricity and emptying tanks - campsites, definitely. Many will let you use their dump site for a small fee without having to stay there.

Honestly, I'd plan on staying at a camp site most or all nights. It's just nicer to have a a real toilet and shower rather than the cramped facilities of an RV. And if you're traveling alone or with only 1 or 2 other people, that allows you to take a small RV (van conversion) without such facilities and save a lot on rental fees and gas - more than the campsites cost.


As well as the regular RV parks, a number of box stores in Canada will allow you to park for free. Walmart is well-known for this, but their official policy is that it is at the discretion of the individual stores. Some municipalities have been cracking down on this by forcing the stores to have permits.

  • I have to disagree: Walmart car parks are possibly the worst places to stay overnight. link – iHaveacomputer Dec 16 '12 at 22:08
  • The question didn't ask for nice places to stay. – DJClayworth Dec 17 '12 at 2:53
  • I'm sorry. Getting robbed at walmart is surely a more economic and interesting experience to recommend than staying at nice place... ಠ_ಠ – iHaveacomputer Dec 17 '12 at 3:54

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