The 5 Worst Wawa Parking Lots in the Philly Area

We love your hoagies. We love your coffee. Your parking lots? Not so much.

3-headhouseOh my dear Wawa. I love your coffee. I love your hoagies. I love that I can leave my house and be at two of you within 10 minutes.

But you’re far from perfect. I hate that you closed down some of your shore locations because they couldn’t sell gas. I hate that you took so long to repair those shore Wawas after Sandy.

But most of all, I hate Wawa parking lots.


I'm not talking about the super Wawas with gas pumps.

I mean the old, original Wawas. Great stores, but we'd like to know what genius designed their attached parking lots. Because right now, they're an awful lot like navigating the ninth circle of hell.

Here are the five worst:

5. Audubon, New Jersey

5-audubon-nj

If I'd written this story six months ago, the Audubon Wawa wouldn't have made the list because back then it was located next to a Wachovia bank. Spill-over from the Wawa's tiny lot — which has two rows of spaces — simply parked in the bank's lot. The bank lot also had a calming effect because drivers could see that there was another way in and out of the lot by driving around the back of the bank to another street.

But now? That building is becoming an urgent care facility. It's not even open yet, but construction trucks taking up the overflow spaces have already created a clusterfuck. This Wawa's location on the White Horse Pike — close to, but not quite at, the light — doesn't help. If I'm on the White Horse Pike in that area, I usually skip this Wawa and drive one town west to Oaklyn. It's not a super Wawa, but it does have a big, supplemental parking lot.

4. South Philly at Columbus Boulevard

4-columbus-blvd

It's not that the parking lot here is small. It's just that it's used for a lot of other things, including a car wash — both automatic and self serve. And cars try to turn off Tasker and Water streets to cut through the car wash parking lot to get to the Wawa, adding another layer of chaos.

Possibly the biggest reason this Wawa is lot is such a mess: It's more or less right on top of the on-ramp to I-95. The lane to exit Columbus and get onto I-95 crosses right in front of the Wawa's entrance/exit, so traffic in and out of the lot mixes with cars gunning to get onto the highway. For extra fun, that traffic also contends with cars trying to park in the back lot of Club Risqué and/or take a shortcut to Target. Talk about a mixed crowd. But, hey, everyone needs their Wawa coffee.

3. Headhouse Square

3-headhouse
If you're going to this Wawa, please please please don't drive. I don't know why you would. I live in New Jersey and never drive to or in Center City (yes, really! A suburbanite who doesn't really drive! Hooray PATCO!)

There's not really a parking lot here. This Wawa is on the list because people drive here then try to park/stand on the Headhouse while they get their coffee and smokes and get back before the PPA attacks; that adds congestion and confusion to an area already riddled with both. Especially on Sundays: I can tolerate cramped lanes at the farmers market and will squeeze around those who've decided it's not a massive breach of etiquette to push a stroller or a dog through. Because, produce.

But cars that then try to bust through those crowds and other cars, on streets lined with cobblestones and trolley tracks, because they can't be bothered to walk to get their coffee? Forget it. Stop.

If you're on your way to another place and want coffee for the road, get it on the road. This Wawa is meant for walking.

2. Sea Isle, New Jersey

2.sea-isle

If you went to this Wawa right now, ducky! It's quiet, serene even. I love stopping here in the off season. But in the summer? In the morning where everyone wakes up hung over from the OD or the Carousel or the Springfield? Forget it. Walk. Bike. Even if you're coming in from Strathmere.

Putting the Wawa here seems to make sense: It's on Landis Avenue, the main road in town, and a quick walk to the beach. But it creates its own traffic hazard, with cars trying to get in and out of the lot on an already busy road. (And just look at that tractor trailer wedged in there in the overhead shot!) It's especially bad when the lot is jammed with people trying to get into town for their week's vacation, or go home before traffic backs up on the Garden State Parkway — which is right around the time that all those hungover people are swarming to the Wawa like the walking dead.

Think you're going to park on the street? Good luck. This Wawa is near where the meters end, but that doesn't help. In the full flush of summer, all of those free spots are taken up by renters and Shoobies. My tip: In season, go to McGowan's, which is only open in the summer, and not far from the Wawa. It's worth it just to see the T-shirt collection on the walls.

1. Bala Cynwyd, Pa.



Oh, dear Lord. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. This parking lot is an abomination: a slip of a space with a handful of parking spots, but also just enough space for motorists to improvise, both on the lot and in paved spaces nearby owned by… who knows. The made-up spots are all bad: Cars and trucks park in unmarked spaces that make it almost impossible to back out of your legal space if you get one. Plus, there's a telephone pole that's greeted the trunks of many cars trying navigate out of the actual marked spaces.

A Wawa with a lot like this couldn't be in a worse spot: Right at the Belmont exit of 76 and the entryway in and out of Manayunk. One of my clients is located near this Wawa, and just gave up and decided to drink the office sludge. It's a small price to pay to avoid backing into a telephone pole, or running into someone's fist over parking rage.

We know there are more bad Wawa lots. Take our poll below. You can also add your own nominations to the Google map at the bottom of this post. Just log into Google, click on the map and you'll be allowed to search for and add other locations.

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  • ballrob

    Dear lord, Bala might be the worst overall parking lot in the world. It forces you to back up into moving traffic..

  • Guest

    Hey Jen, where do you live in NJ out of curiosity? I’m looking at Collingswood, NJ and wondering how possible a car-free lifestyle is out along the PATCO line.

    • NotJen

      I grew up in New Jersey….you need a car, there is no way around it.

    • Jen A. Miller

      Hey there! I live in Collingswood, and when my car dies, I’m not replacing it. I barely drive it. I can walk just about everywhere, including a grocery store that’s less than a mile away. In the times I do need a car, I’ll take one of the two Zipcars in town. You can absolutely go carless here.

      • DTurner

        That’s good to know, I’m hearing rumors that a market might be in the works for CW in the near future, which would make that even more doable.

  • imcharlie1

    My wife has boycotted the Wewe where our car was rear-ended by a hit-and-run truck. One of the Chichester Ave lots in PA near I-95 entrance. No gas on that squeezed lot.

  • gootman

    Prospect Park Wawa parking is terrible. There’s not enough spaces, it’s tough to get into the lot from Chester Pike, and it’s a on a hill. Luckily, there are about 21 other Wawas within 5 miles.

  • tbroadway

    You missed the Wawa at 20th and Hamilton St. By the Rodin Museum. It has 5 parking spaces and Paid street parking around it. Its horrible.

    • mommafrica

      Yes, this is the one. I couldn’t remember the street. I know its beside Callowhill St and around the corner from Whole Foods and besides the police station that refuse to help out with the disabled parking that they and Wawa Worst refuse to do anything about! Even the Dominoes workers park there and refuse to move!

      • Earl J

        Not only is this the worst parking but the traffic blocks both cross streets.

        • ObamaDinoKiller

          that is the worst wawa. i’m surprised it didn’t make the list.

    • Matt

      Did you really expect a Wawa in downtown Philly to have a nice big parking lot that can fit dozens of cars? You are lucky there are any spots to begin with and not only street parking….

  • mrhappybean

    It’s not the Wawa parking lots as much as it is some of their customers. They’ll park any where they damn well please including the valueable parking spaces of other businesses. Those customers put other businesses at risk of slip and fall injury lawsuits by parking in adjoining lots. Wawa doesn’t care about that as long as they sell them coffee.

  • Rphl

    Wawa in Center City on Walnut, between 9th and 10th. Barely even a loading zone, and usually occupied by cop cars getting hoagies. Also Wawa in New Hope at Bridge St and Sugan road at lunchtime or weekends, when it is swamped with locals, contractors, and tourists.

    • DTurner

      You drive to the Walnut Wawa? It’s pretty much a pedestrian-only location.

  • Matt

    The only redeeming quality about the Bala Cynwyd/ Belmont/ Manayunk Wawa is that there another one .7 miles away, right off Rock hill road. When I was living in Manayunk and I saw that parking lot looking like a Tornado had just ripped through, I would just drive on by to the next one.

  • RightsTough

    I though this was going to be a useless article but it is RIGHT ON THE MONEY!! I haven’t been to Audubon, Nj but the rest are BINGo! The Bala location off 76 is a joke!!! Tear it down. It smells inside and the parking lot is reckless.

  • Emcee Peepants

    The one at Bryn Mawr Ave and Haverford Road across from Bryn Mawr Hospital is also generally terrible. Also, the one in Avalon mid-summer is hell on earth.

    • http://sictransitphiladelphia.org/ Sic Transit PHL

      I was about to object to that description of Bryn Mawr Ave/County Line Rd, but then I realized I’ve never driven to it; I’ve always been on foot coming or going from the NHSL station across the street. And dodging cars on foot at that intersection and in that parking lot is terrifying.

  • A

    You forgot Ardmore. There are near accidents with pedestrians and drivers every day.

  • akeem

    The Fairmount location should receive honorable mention for not having a parking lot yet being next to a police station

    • Earl J

      I think this location is winning.

  • Richard Pace

    Jenkintown. Pure hell

    • zepfloyd

      While a different topic, that Starbucks across the street is even worse.

      • matthew brandley

        Why would anyone go Starbucks and get ripped off for that over priced skunk water is beyond me

  • John Cooper

    The Wawa across from the Mall in Willow Grove on Moreland Rd has 15 parking spaces and is brutal to exit in either direction. Luckily they are building a new Super Wawa less than a mile away on the former Ballys Fitness property. But that creates new traffic congestion problems at the intersection of 611 and 263.

  • PhillyChitChat.com

    Definitely the Wawa at 20th and Hamilton. Plus it’s next to the 4 stop sign intersection, and traffic is always backed up.

    • Earl J

      Hughie, you nailed it!

  • Strongbow

    The old Wawa in King of Prussia on Henderson Road has a tiny, hard-to-get-in-and-out of parking lot with maybe 10 spaces.

    • http://gdarb.com Brad Graham

      YES! Especially painful during rush-hour, because of the 202&76 access, and anytime the KOP Mall has high-traffic (weekends). I think they just added that second lane but this WAWA used to also back up south-bound traffic with people trying to make that left-turn (probably illegal) into the store. Don’t even bother with the spaces on the left, go for the doubled-up spots to the right then use the back exit.

      http://goo.gl/maps/g9jxj

      • Strongbow

        That’s the “good” one. The other one on Henderson is horrific.

  • Kris

    The Audubon Wawa’s saving grace is that you can park on the side street – I NEVER park in the lot, it’s so much easier to get in and out on the street. All the other listed Wawa parking lots (or lack thereof) are the devil though.

    • Kris

      P.S. The Urgent Care is open now, but that isn’t really helping the parking situation.

  • Enuf already

    How about the one at Bustleton and the Boulevard. People have forgotten the simplest of courtesy including SEPTA — DO NOT block the intersection or driveways.

  • Mufasa Thedog

    The WAWA down the street from the Orlando airport is a joke. In order to get back out to Semoran, you have to travel the other direction for about a quarter of a mile.

    • Patti Burnes Cole

      Huh? Here’s a fact that Floridians should know about Wawa: getting in and out of their parking lots is like winning beating the entire candy crush saga. We’re talking about the worst of the worst! LOL

  • billc124

    There is another WaWa right up the street from the Bala WaWa on Rock Hill Road. Not sure why anyone would go to the Bala one when that one has a real parking lot. It’s still not great, but a million times better.

    • RJ

      I don’t believe that the one on Rock Hill Road is open 24 hours.

      • Harold Goldner

        It’s not open 24 hours. You are correct.

  • Lovetron

    Clever article. Hilarious, Well done!

  • sherwooa

    The Wawa at Bryn Mawr Ave and Haverford Rd is an awful parking lot. Impossible to get in and out of, holds up traffic in the intersection, causes accidents, etc.

  • KoPB@ll3r

    None of them hold a candle to the one in Conshohocken, off of route 23. Nightmare to get in and out of, and it only holds 10 cars.

    • mv1609

      Absolute NIGHTMARE, in W.Conshy!! How could they miss this one!!

    • Tom Mount

      I too was shocked to see this omission. I went there once – ONCE! – because it was on my way to Quakertown and I hadn’t had breakfast. Never again. That hill…that tiny lot…that confusing side street…those one-way drives…even on a sleepy Saturday morning it’s a nightmare.

  • SueBreen

    North Wales. It’s a triangular postage stamp. Small town location, sure. But it’s located on a major thoroughfare between Merck and the Montgomery Mall.

    https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF-8&q=wawa+north+wales&fb=1&gl=us&hq=wawa&hnear=0x89c6a30b95b22845:0xebe8ee38d5372141,North+Wales,+PA&ei=Tl6iUsuMBYu_sQTjiYD4AQ&ved=0CK0BELYD&iwloc=cids:3720176098952050373

  • rachel

    The West Conshy Wawa across from the Mariott on 23 could easily make this list as well.

  • http://sictransitphiladelphia.org/ Sic Transit PHL

    Wawa really messed up when it closed a bunch of its city locations; if there were Wawas in walking distance of more people, it would take away a lot of the rationale to drive to locations with no/terrible parking, like Columbus/Tasker, Headhouse Square, or 20th/Hamilton. Note how nobody comments on the complete lack of parking whatsoever at 17th/Arch and 11th/Arch.

  • jen

    king of prussia!!

    • engjin

      Oi I was going to say folcroft then you reminded. Yeah the KOP is the worst

  • JB

    Wow, he chose the “office sludge” over WaWa…that’s a big decision, a bold move…who cares?

  • K

    Philmont and Bustleton in the far, far Northeast…the intersection is not a 90-degree angle so the lot is shaped like a thin slice of pizza. So bad.

  • Burbs

    Yardley, PA. Five spots in front, little on street parking. More spots in back, but you have to navigate the narrow alley street behind. You take your life in your hands trying to make a turn either from or out to Main Street. The only saving grace is, if you get hit; it’s next to the police station.

  • Rome

    I grew up in Sea Isle and can personally vouch for how truly horrendous it is during the summer. It’s not just terrible in summer either. It’s often packed in the offseason as well. I guess we should just be happy there’s SOMETHING open at all.

  • ihatemesomewawa

    Store #252

    4371 Richmond St.

    Philadelphia, PA 19137 Plopped this store right in the middle of a residential neighborhood on a street that’s a secondary highway to I-95. Parking for about 30 cars, patrons park all over the sidewalks run over the cement parking blocks to avoid traffic at the entrance. At least 1 fender bender a week. Wawa is a cancer to a neighborhood.

  • Ken Shuttleworth

    Good catch re the Audubon store.

  • schllac

    Hey Gabadost, if you don a lika da apples, don a shaka da tree

  • Tom Mount

    There’s another nightmare up in the Northeast – Bustleton and Philmont. It’s dangerous turning in from Bustleton and with people coming in from both Bustleton and Philmont, trying to back out of your space is a real wake-up call. Want to hit the light from Philmont? Hope someone lets you in, else you’ll be sitting there for a while. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=14101+Bustleton+Ave+Philadelphia,+PA+19116&hl=en&ll=40.132046,-75.011599&spn=0.001299,0.002064&sll=41.117935,-77.604698&sspn=7.414306,16.907959&hnear=14101+Bustleton+Ave,+Philadelphia,+Pennsylvania+19116&t=h&z=20

  • Mike M

    That parking lot on Columbus Blvd. doesn’t look like it should be that bad… but the criss-crossed flow of traffic makes it literally one of the most terrifying places that I’ve ever been in in a car.

  • M.D.

    Wawa parking lots can provide hours of entertainment. Just back into a spot and wait for the magic to begin.

  • Ruth Weldon

    Collingswood NJ share their parking with 4 other stores
    Rite Aid Hair Cuttery and a Cleaners

  • ron s

    The one on Richmond st. In bridesburg is the worst

  • Enuf already

    would love to hear from Wawa on these….would be interesting to hear their comments to the comments

  • Guest

    The worst in central New Jersey are Hamilton Square (Mercer County) & Rocky Hill, NJ (Somerset County)

  • Dan Asnis

    The worst in central New Jersey are Hamilton Square (Mercer County) & Rocky Hill, NJ (Somerset County)

  • Denise

    Gloucester city Wawa which is an old original with no gas station. Its so hard getting in and out both parking, entering and exiting. Thing is there is land right behind it they could use? It gets so over crowed. Its a popular spot very busy but not enough room for cars. Its lot is also shared with another business next door making it more crowded as well.

  • Harold Goldner

    Completely agree with the assessment about the Belmont Avenue Wawa. BTW, the one up Rock Hill Road a little way, on Route 23, is no picnic either, but certainly not as treacherous (except when some chucklehead decides to fly through the lot to cut the corner and avoid the light). One other terrible lot is on Lansdowne Avenue just east of Route 1. Another real picnic to get in and out of, no doubt designed by the genius who designed Belmont Avenue.

  • jampa59

    West Chester – in the boro. Good luck there – I’ve seen many accidents in that lot. I’ve been there at 2am and couldnt find a parking spot.

  • kubz1966

    Collingswood, NJ should have been on this list…just remember the delivery trucks that have to also access these stores. Kudos to those tractor trailer drivers.