Can I park my RV in my driveway in Calgary? (11 alternatives)

In this blog post, we will discuss: Can I park my RV in my driveway in Calgary? We will explain where you can legally park your RV in Calgary and offer you some alternatives for the driveway!

Can I park my RV in my driveway in Calgary?

Yes, you can park your RV in your driveway in Calgary, but only for a maximum of 24 hours. Also, you must comply with the Land Use Bylaw 1P2007, thus:

  • Your RV cannot block intersections, crosswalks, playgrounds or any road signs;
  • You must not obstruct the movement of other vehicles;
  • You cannot double park. 

Please note that in Calgary, the parking on the driveway of any vehicle other than a passenger vehicle, of a length of more than 16 feet and 6 inches or of a height of more than 7 feet, of any vehicle that is not a motor vehicle or any vehicle running or designed to run or able to run on more than 4 wheels or more than 4 tires, is prohibited.

On condition that these vehicles are parked in a side or rear yard, at a minimum of 6 feet set back from the facade of the main building and at a minimum distance of 4 feet from any boundary of the lot, are authorized:

  • trailers and motorhomes, designed to be used for recreational purposes, with a maximum length of 25 feet and a height of 10 feet maximum, unoccupied or inhabited
  • trailers with a maximum length of 10 feet and a height of 6 feet maximum
  • snowmobiles.

Vehicle dimensions include all equipment and property installed or loaded on or in the vehicle. For more information, contact the Planning Department.

Where can I park my RV in Calgary?

What alternative is there? Obviously, while it was easy to find these free overnight spots, everyone stayed there more or less temporarily. And this is where the shoe pinches: the more famous a place is, the more popular it becomes and frequented by Roadtrippers and the more likely it is to close, to avoid possible overflows. 

To be less noticeable, finding the darkest place in the darkest alley is a good strategy. Arrive late at night, if possible when night has fallen, and leave at the first light of day. To spend the night in peace, the best way is to remain silent by avoiding running the engine to recharge the battery or turn on the heating, for example.

While the legality remains unclear on this subject, here are some places tested and approved by our readers:

  1. Walmart – This large American distribution chain is well established. In addition to its gigantic surface area and its endless shelves, it is generally allowed to park your van or motorhome in its parking lot to sleep there. In exceptional cases, signs will indicate to the driver that overnight stays are not allowed. If in doubt, do not hesitate to go directly to the security guards for permission.

In Canada (and especially in Alberta and British Columbia), it is not uncommon to find dozens of motorhomes, trailers, campervans, trailers, trucks or other vans that park overnight at Walmart.

  1. Casino car parks – Finding a parking lot at a casino is also a good option. Usually free and allowing access to large camper vans, these can help out if you ever find yourself in need.

Be careful to check: some underground car parks may be chargeable and at a relatively expensive rate.

  1. Local airport car parks – Again, it is better to check once there. Some small local airports allow campers to sleep in their parking lots.
  1. The parking lots of small rural churches – Here is a golden idea, all too often underestimated: small churches and their parking in certain villages. Offering a quiet and discreet place, these places can be real pearls. These places also have the advantage of generally having a water point and tables.

While churches offering to park are relatively infrequent in Calgary, they are nevertheless very present all along with the St. Lawrence in Quebec and as far as the Gaspé. So if you plan a road trip, at least you know you have this option.

  1. Boondocking and wild spots – If the concept of boondocking doesn’t ring a bell, then here’s a word you’ll be glad to know in your search for natural and wild places. By the ocean, in the middle of the forest, in a plain or a desert: this is the perfect spot par excellence. Every traveller’s dream. The holy grail of lovers of the great outdoors and freedom. As they say: freedom is priceless!

If this kind of place, virgin of all traces of civilization and far from the road is a true rare pearl (which one generally finds by chance, at the bend of a path), certain places will however offer you a real feeling of freedom.

  1. Free campsites and other recreational sites – While the majority of camping spaces are paid for, others are not: free campsites. Also called recreational sites (a term that designates both free and paid places), these spaces generally have modest facilities for visitors. Picnic tables, bins and toilets can thus be available, while benefiting from an isolated location.

How to find them? Many resources indicating their location exist on the internet. While the most well-known platforms are undoubtedly Freecampsites.net and Ioverlander.com (sites in English), covering all of Canada, others focus only on certain provinces. This is for example the case with this page for British Columbia.

  1. The car parks at the start hiking trails –  There are many hiking trails in Canada, so it is relatively easy to find small parking lots where the hiking trails begin. A map of the region or a sufficiently precise GPS, allows you to locate these places. Look for those leading to a relatively isolated city road. Be careful not to be in a very busy national park, at the risk of being kindly released by the warden.

Note: It is forbidden to sleep in your vehicle in the National Parks of Canada. Their hiking parking lots are often visited by guards and this will earn you a simple warning with your registered license plate at best, and at worst a trial. 

  1. Abandoned roads – Old disused roads or small dirt roads, any road that no longer offers passage can occasionally accommodate your van. The same goes for roadsides with little traffic: their free admission is indisputable!
  1. Sunken paths and forest tracks – Certainly one of the easiest places to find. Before dark, exit the main road by turning right or left at the next intersection. Since the road is smaller and surrounded by trees, it should sooner or later lead to a forest entrance. Seize the opportunity by ensuring, of course, that the forest is not currently in use.
  1. On the coast – If the beach is located in a remote, unprotected place and has sufficiently firm sand, then why not give it a try? Be careful, however, of the tide and bogged down.

Another good idea: small car parks are generally located near lakes, rivers and the sea. To find them: google map is your friend (pay particular attention to streets called beach street, waterfront street, etc…).

  1. Picnic areas – And the rest areas? Please note that it is forbidden to spend more than 4 hours there. Unless opting for polyphasic sleep or requiring little sleep, it is better to avoid this kind of spot.

The bottom line

One last tip for parking your RV for free in Calgary: thanks to google street view, you will be able to see the spot without moving there. Convenient to check for the presence or absence of no overnight signs!

Do you have any tips or suggestions on travelling with an RV in Calgary? Let us know!

FAQ on Can I park my RV in my driveway Calgary?

Where can I park an RV?

An RV is perfectly entitled to park in the parking spaces along the roadway. However, its size must allow it, it must not interfere with road traffic or pedestrians. However, due to its size, the motorhome cannot park everywhere.

Where to stop with a motorhome?

A motorhome can stop in town in a parking space and spend the night there. It does not matter whether the motorhome operators are on board or not, as long as they comply with the regulations.

What license to drive an RV in Canada?

According to the Quebec Automobile Insurance Company (SAAQ), a simple passenger vehicle license (class 5) is required to drive an RV.

References