RVs symbolize adventure for most people. Traveling off to new destinations can be exciting, but a little bit of planning does go a long way to ensure that your adventures are both safe and affordable.
For several years, RV owners have found Walmart parking lots to be a hospitable option for parking overnight. Walmart parking is free, safe, and a great way to spend a night in between destinations.
If you have never used this option in your RV travels, this is your guide to Walmart RV parking.
Is Walmart RV Parking Legal?
The short answer to this question is yes, most of the time. Many Walmart stores across the nation allow RV owners to park their vehicle for the night.
However, because not all Walmart stores allow this, you will need to check with the specific store you are considering to make sure.
Here is Walmart’s official statement concerning overnight parking:
“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.”
Traditionally Walmart has welcomed RV parkers because they are often loyal customers of the store. Most parkers will come in and purchase merchandise at least once during their stay, and RV parkers are not usually trouble makers.
Problems arise in areas where homeless people have taken advantage of the privilege. When this happens, and people begin to congregate, problems arise.
In most cases these groups of people will cause disturbances, litter, panhandle and cause other problems. If you come across a Walmart which will not allow you to park, it is most likely because they have experienced these problems.
It is important to check with both the Walmart store as well as with the city the store is located in. Sometimes there can be a breakdown in communication between store management and city officials.
If there is a city ordinance against overnight parking, then you will not be allowed to park at Walmart.
Some Walmart stores may not have the space available for overnight parking and therefore they may have restrictions.
How to Find Overnight RV Parking at Walmart
Since all Walmart stores do not allow overnight parking, it will be your responsibility to do some research to find the ones that do allow this.
The best way is to simply call the store manager at the Walmart in the area you are visiting. A quick phone call should answer your questions.
You may need to call a few Walmart stores in order to plan out which ones you will visit. Remember, even if you get the okay from a store manager, double check the city ordinances as well.
You can also get a little more high tech with your research and use an Allstays App. This app will help you identify Walmart stores which allow overnight parking.
If the app confirms Walmart allows overnight parking, also check with the manager and the city.
Another good indicator is if you visibly see other RVs parked in the Walmart parking lot. You can pretty safely assume this is allowed. Better to check ahead of time though to be sure.
Once you have obtained permission to use the parking lot, you will want to speak with a manager on site to find out where in the parking lot is the best place to stay for the night.
If the Walmart does allow parking, there will be a preferred area of the lot.
Why Choose a Walmart for Overnight RV Parking?
There are plenty of great reasons to spend a night at Walmart. This most obvious would be that this is often a free option.
If you are simply passing through to another destination, this is a great way to save money, and get some rest before continuing on your journey.
Walmart also offers a lot of perks, including 24 store access (in most locations) and even RV maintenance service if your RV is having a problem. Many Walmart stores have full auto service centers available on site.
How to Stay Safe Parking Overnight In A Store Lot
In general, parking at Walmart overnight is considered safe. However, as with all activities, dangers are a reality.
There are steps you can take, though, to make your overnight parking experience at Walmart a safer one. If you feel unsafe leave.
This is a very important common sense rule for overnight parking, and really for anything in life. If you feel unsafe there could be a reason for that.
Stay in a very well-lit part of the parking lot. Good lighting often discourages criminals.
Make sure you have well-functioning locks on your RV and that all of your things are locked up.
Remember, you are not necessarily there to make friends. Park for the night, keep to yourself, and move on.
Rules for Walmart Overnight Parking
As with most places, there are rules you should follow when using a Walmart parking lot for your RV overnight.
These rules are not necessarily Walmart policy rules, but rather they are good common sense rules to go by.
- Limit your stay to one night.
- Get permission to stay ahead of time and double check that staying is not in violation of city ordinances.
- Follow all posted, known rules and regulations.
- Do not set up your RV as if you are camping. This means don’t break out the grill, or set up your awning or chairs. You are just here to sleep and move on.
- No hydraulic jacks.
- No littering.
- Make at least one purchase inside of the Walmart you are staying at.
- Don’t take up too many parking spaces. This is just rude.
- Keep pets in doors and on a leash when out of doors.
Alternative Overnight Parking Options
If a Walmart is not going to work out, there are alternative parking options for your RV for a quick overnight stay.
- Truck stops such as Flying J and Pilot also offer overnight RV parking.
- Cabelas (ask first)
- Cracker Barrel (ask first)
- Other large shopping centers (always ask first)
Walmart stores offer a great option for RV parking overnight. Be sure to check with the individual Walmart to find out their policies and regulations before heading out.
And if you discover that the Walmart on your way doesn’t allow for overnight RV parking, try one of the alternative options listed above. Hopefully, you’ll find a parking lot that meets your needs and is legal for overnight parking.