AUSTIN (KXAN) — Zilker Park is a popular place to visit in Austin, but it has also become a place that some people are using to camp.
You will not find tents set up, but instead you will see RVs, buses or people living in their cars in the lot on Stratford Drive.
“I really think the architecture in the city is beautiful,” said Chrisopher Moogalian, who just pulled into Austin a few days ago.
Moogalian, who is traveling with his dog Bo, said he drove from Virginia. Currently, he is living out of a camper he pulls behind his car.
“It’s got a queen size bed, a restroom a shower, a sink,” said Moogalian.
Moogalian is part of a growing number of people who live a nomadic lifestyle, and he’s not the only one who has set up in the lot next to Zilker.
“There are a couple of people around who are doing it,” said Moogalian. “Once you have seen one city for a year, maybe move to the next.”
The City of Austin said during the pandemic, someone made a post about the lot, encouraging people to use it as an RV camping area.
“It is not a publicized thing but a known thing that if you are coming to Austin, and you are a traveler that this is a good area,” said a woman who was living in her car in the lot.
In 2021, there were as many as 20 vehicles using the lot as a camping area.
Park rangers made an effort to inform people camping in the lot and to let them know camping there was illegal.
The city told KXAN it is illegal to park an RV or to camp overnight on any parkland other than City Park and that is if you have a reservation.
Signs have been posted around the lot explaining there is no parking after 10 p.m., and anyone in the park could receive a curfew violation. However, the people KXAN spoke to said they didn’t see the signs.
“If there was a sign I would read a sign, if it says ‘don’t camp here overnight’ then I will try not to camp here,” said Moogalian. “There are a lot of parking lots that say that.”
Campers KXAN spoke to said they do not feel like they are causing an issue and hope to see the city make some changes to the rules.
“I could understand if there was a lot of trash or people drinking,” said a camper who wished to remain anonymous.
Moogalian said no one has approached him about camping in the lot, but he plans on finding somewhere else to go soon.