Walmart Overnight Parking May Be Ending for RVs

There’s a lot of talk amongst RV travelers regarding Walmart’s RV overnight parking policy lately. Is it fact or is it fiction? And, if it’s true, what led Walmart to roll up their welcome mat?

There seems to be a slew of rumors (and myths) of why Walmart has put the brakes on RV’s and other large vehicles parking overnight in their parking lots. One myth is RV owners are treating Walmart parking lots like a campground. There may be some truth there but I’m willing to bet there’s far extenuating circumstances than that.

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Walmart Overnight Parking May Be Ending for RVs

Look, RVers spend big wads of cash at Walmart; buying anything and everything under the sun from food and beer to RV and automotive supplies. But seriously, does making a purchase entitle an RV owner to park overnight in their parking lot for free?

While it would be nice to assume so, the answer is a big fat NO.

Walmart Overnight RV Parking Policy:

First, let’s look at Walmart’s website Frequently Asked Questions. If you click on Walmart Stores and then click on the third question down. Better yet, I’ll just post the screen shot right here to save you the trouble…

Walmart Parking Policy

Walmart Overnight Parking policy reads…

“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 parking lots as we are able. Permissions to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store tot ensure accommodations before parking your RV”. -Walmart 

So yes, while putting out your camp chairs and firing up the barby may not be the best of RV lotdocking etiquette, there may be far more pressing issues.

Municipal Ordinances

Local governments have put the hammer down on overnight parking on commercial or private property.

Whether it’s a business’ parking lot or a friend’s driveway, municipal governments have stepped in to say no room at the inn. And, there’s nothing you can do about it. Most likely, the ordinances stem from one, some or all of the reasons listed below.

Nearby Campground or RV Park

If there are campgrounds or RV parks in close proximity to a Walmart, you can bet your last dollar that those campgrounds and RV park owners approached their municipal government to complain that these types of free overnight camping is taking away from their business

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Small Parking Lots

Hey, face it, not every Walmart has a big enough parking lot to fit a mini rally of big rig motorhomes or fifth wheels. And, we’ve experienced that when we had our fifth wheel. Some have landscaped islands to navigate, shopping cart corrals and vehicles.

But also remember, during the Spring and Summer, several parking spaces may be taken up by seasonal lawn and garden supplies which make navigating or parking even more of a challenge.

Walmart - Parking Lot

Abuse of Privilege

We’ve all seen it and heard stories about campers setting up camp in Walmart parking lots as if they were at a campground. They make no qualms about extending their awnings, putting out their camp chairs and firing up the grill.

Needless to say, that’s the wrong way to boondock in parking lots. The shopping carts aren’t trash receptacles and even if they do have trash cans, they aren’t put there for large bags of household trash.

But worse, we’ve read accounts of people letting their black tanks loose on the way out or in a nearby sewer. And by doing any of those, dry camping in ANY parking lot is, if not already, going to be curtailed permanently. And, I can honestly appreciate why.

Criminal Activity

It’s no secret that a many Walmarts are in ‘less than desirable locations’. We’ve noticed an influx of people hanging out at Walmart parking lots panhandling and loitering. One doesn’t have to have a Criminology degree to know that they’re not for the good which leaves question why anyone would want to even park overnight at a Walmart anyway.

How to find Walmarts overnight parking for RVs?

Aside from actually visiting a Walmart and going in to ask the manager, there’s got to be an easier way.

It would be in your best interest to double check with the manager and firmly ask, “so there’s no local ordinance that will tell me otherwise, right?”

While Walmart may not mind but here we go back up to the first reason listed above why Walmart overnight RV parking may not be permitted. You certainly don’t want to get a knock on the door at 2:00 am being asked to leave.

So, there is an actual phone app that you can download called All-Stays Walmart Overnight Parking. The app is rated “Excellent” by Wired Magazine and seen in Harvard Business Review.

As stated on the All-Stays Walmart Overnight Parking app:

“The store founder was an RVer and the general policy remains that RVers can spend one night free in a store parking lot. You get some rest, maybe shop a bit and move on early in the morning.

How will this app help you? RVer or not, this app shows all Walmart locations in US and Canada. Use it to find shopping now and for RVing later.

Want to know where every Walmart is located and which ones have been reported to allow and don’t allow overnight parking?

Filter map to see if has fuel, pharmacy, garden center, a restaurant and much more.

This app plots every Walmart store in the USA and Canada on the map view. It uses location services to find your location and as you move.”

By using this app, it will ask you to update any information to help others who may want to park there.

There are information tips on where to park, if anyone’s been towed or told to leave, etc. According to the app, it uses location services; meaning iPhone or internet connection on iPads. GPS functions only work on iPhones and iPad xG/Cellular models.

Other overnight parking options

We’ve found that really, there are far better options than parking overnight at Walmart. We absolutely love our Harvest Hosts membership.

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The annual membership permits us to park for an overnight but with so much nicer ambiance and quiet on farms, wineries, breweries, some museums, and other cool venues.

For more details, check out our Harvest Hosts: Free RV Parking at wineries and more!

We’ve also grown to love another membership and crowd sourced free overnight parking option called Boondockers Welcome. Property owners all across the country have open their gates to receive guests to stay.

But there are plenty of other options that allow RVers to park for an overnight. Just make certain you don’t just plop your RV down thinking that you can.

That said, if you are permitted to park in Walmart (or other businesses’) parking lot, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with overnight parking lot etiquette.

Escapees Good Neighbor Policy:

According to Escapees’ Good Neighbor Policy, putting out your camp chairs is probably last on the list of reasons why RVers are told ‘no overnight camping’ by Walmart officials.

Let’s refresh our memories with Escapees’ industry-sanctioned Code of Conduct:

1. Stay one night only!
2. Obtain permission from a qualified individual.
3. Obey posted regulations.
4. No awnings, chairs or barbecue grills.
5. Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).
6. Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.
7. Purchase gas, food or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.
8. Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel to unsafe.

Walmart Parking 1

In closing, if you’re on the road and need to pull over to catch some zzzz’s, always be respectful and leave no trace.

There are places you can park overnight. But do appreciate those business’ that do extend overnight parking privileges as they may be revoked at any time. Ordinances can change, business ownerships may change as well as other extenuating circumstances. The point is, never assume you can park on private property.

Related Articles

HARVEST HOSTS: Free RV Parking at Wineries and more!

5 Free or Cheap Overnight RV Parking Options

10 Year Rule: Why Old RVs May Not Be Welcome at RV Parks

RVer’s Guide to Personal Safety on the Road

 

 

Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with, sponsored by or in any way compensated by Allstays LLC, the provider of this App or Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. owns all of the rights in its trade name and trademark “Walmart” which is used herein and in the name of this App with permission. 

 

8 Replies to “Walmart Overnight Parking May Be Ending for RVs”

    1. Hey Chuck, Dan loves the RV Parky app too! I’m more of a Campendium and Harvest Hosts app RV traveler. We all have our favorites, don’t we? Safe travels!

    1. Hi Joyce, you’re so right! So many Monday Morning Quarterbacks from so many who really don’t know or guess. We try to put out good information. Thank you for reading. Safe travels to you guys out there!

  1. Wal*mart as a whole (no matter how big or how small) needs to “drop the hammer” to these cities and have them ( cities) to abide by any Wal*mart Rules and Regulations if the city can’t abide by this then there will not be a Wal*mart in that city
    The Truck Stops have become so small that you can’t even park anywhere you’d be lucky to find a truck stop that has 100 available stalls to park in and with the amount of trucks on the road the industry needs to have 200+ stalls and not charge 1 thin dime to park

    1. Hi Richard, we so get what you’re suggesting. Unfortunately, a lot of times, Walmart may not own the lot that their store(s) are located on. So, this is the way municipalities get away with their overzealous enforcement. Also, local campgrounds most likely went to the town or city government complaining that they aren’t getting business because Walmart or other businesses allow such parking practice. Its a no win situation all around. And yes, truck stops (we avoid them) are congested. We try to encourage RVers not to park there as professional haulers need their rest to continue their haul safely. Thanks for reading. Safe travels!

  2. Allstays is not available on android, only apple. We only use android. I would go without a phone before I would spend a dime for apple.

    1. We totally understand, Danny. I have an iPhone and Dan has an Android. We get the best of both worlds. Safe travels out there!

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