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What You Need To Know About Walmart Overnight Parking

Find Walmarts and more overnight parking with RV LIFE Trip Wizard and the RV LIFE App With GPS.

Walmart overnight parking is an excellent resource for RVers. Photo by Corey Taratuta (Flickr Creative Commons)

What You Need To Know About Walmart Overnight Parking

Finding a spot to park the RV on a road trip isn’t always easy. Maybe you didn’t make it as far as you thought one day and don’t know the area you’re in. Maybe all the campsites in your area are already reserved. What’s an RVer to do?

Head to Walmart! With a total of 4,756 stores throughout the U.S., Walmarts are ubiquitous on the open road. And luckily for those driving RVs on the road, most Walmarts allow overnight parking at their stores, a little-known secret that roadtrippers have taken advantage of for years.

Why does Walmart allow overnight parking?

Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, recognized that RVers are a large part of their crucial customer base and wanted those customers to have a place to stop for the night while on the road. There is even an official policy for Walmart overnight parking on the company’s website:

While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on the availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.

Which Walmarts allow overnight parking?

As stated in the Walmart company policy regarding RV overnight parking, it’s important to check with each branch manager to see whether parking is allowed. Not all Walmarts allow overnight parking, despite the intact policy.

Walmart overnight parking. Photo by Ben Schumin, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The easiest way to find a Walmart to stay at is by planning out your route on RV LIFE Trip Wizard. You can select Walmarts, Super Walmarts, as well as other points of interest to appear on your map. The trip planner can also display Cracker Barrels, casinos with campgrounds, rest areas, and other places that offer free or cheap overnight RV parking.

Whether you use the trip planner or not, it’s always a good idea to check with the store’s manager as they may know of local ordinances that might render the Walmart policy illegal.

Some Walmarts allow overnight parking while the city might not. This means you might want to check local city ordinances about overnight parking policy. Also, check for any signs in the Walmart parking lot that might suggest no overnight camping is allowed. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Walmart overnight parking

Even though most Walmarts allow overnight parking, it’s important to be good stewards of these areas so that the practice can continue. This is dry camping meaning there won’t be electricity, water, or dump stations. Make sure to park only in the spaces that have been designated and stay for one night only; this isn’t a campground.

If there are any signs posted, make sure to follow the rules and regulations. Always leave the area clean where you parked and don’t make yourself a nuisance by unloading grills and chairs or running a generator all night.

Walmart overnight parking
Rules for Walmart overnight parking. Photo by Mike Mozart, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

You want to be discrete and not overstay your welcome. Do not use your hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces and avoid using your slideouts if possible. As a form of thank you, try to purchase any food, gear, and other items you need at Walmart.

Never assume it’s ok to park in a Walmart parking lot just because you see another RV. Always check with the app or the store manager. Park in as few spots as possible and make sure not to take up unnecessary room.

Is this the end of Walmart overnight parking?

There have been rumors milling about for a while that Walmart will or already has rescinded its overnight parking policy. This is a fallacy, although, as stated before, some individual Walmarts don’t allow overnight parking.

Is this the end of Walmart overnight parking? Photo by Brave New Films, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

This is for a few reasons including city ordinances, small size of parking lots not allowing space for RVs, a campground or RV park nearby complaining to the city, crime, and abuse of privilege. Make sure to always be a good representative of the RV community when parking overnight at Walmart to keep this amazing resource available! 

Learn more about the essential rules of dry camping in a parking lot

 


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