7 Things to Know Before RV Parking at Walmart
Do all Walmarts allow overnight RV parking? Most do. However, some DO NOT permit camping at Walmart. But how do you know if it's legal and safe to park your rig in Walmart store parking lots for the evening? We’ve got you covered.
If you’re worried about Walmart’s view on RVer’s using their parking lot, you shouldn't be. In fact, Walmart themselves says that, “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.” This comes as good news to RVers but Walmart also encourages
1. Make sure it’s legal where you are
For the most part, RVer’s can stay overnight in Walmart parking lots. But there are some Walmarts (mostly big-city and popular destinations), you cannot sleep in the parking lot overnight, not in a car, not in motorhome campers, and not in a travel trailer.
This is most often due to city ordinances. It's best to call the Walmart you plan on staying at or the city and find out if staying overnight is allowed before you drive hundreds of miles to get to that Walmart location. Otherwise, scan the lot for signs stating NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING or similar.
2. Only Stay One Night
This is a strict rule not to break. When people do, they usually break other rules, too, causing the city to ban overnight stays. Some stores make the decision themselves based on crime rates, nuisance, litter, or even the size of their parking lot. Don't overstay your welcome while boondocking at Walmart.
3. Bring your earplugs
This likely won't be a quiet and serene stay. Vehicles are coming and going. If you're a light sleeper, you may not do well. Bring your earplugs and try to park where the least amount of traffic is going.
Even so, you might wake up in the middle of the night with a semi-tractor (or motorhome) right next to you with an engine or generator running all night.
4. Be alert
If you're going to Walmart parking lot camping, use common sense and intuition. Most Walmarts that allow free camping are in reasonably safe areas. Still, there are unhonest people anywhere in the country. The more populated the area, the more likely crime happens.
Lock all doors, and make sure your lock has been upgraded. Trailer door manufacturers use a small selection of keys for an extremely large amount of trailer doors. This piece of information means someone out there could potentially unlock your rig with their key. Upgrading the lock on your RV is the easiest way to increase the security of your loved ones and valued items.
Use your common sense, and if you feel uneasy, leave. It's that simple.
5. Park with others
If you are unsure where to park within the lot, go in and ask the manager where you should park. If you notice other RVers in the lot already, park where all the other RVers are because more than likely they have already asked the questions you would have asked.
Walmart usually wants rigs as far from the store as possible. If there are many recreational vehicles there when you arrive, it's probably pretty safe to park within that crowd.
6. Things That Are Frowned Upon While Boondocking At Walmart
Here is a list of things you should avoid doing when you are Walmart car camping or RV camping at Walmart:
- Don't put slide-outs out if possible.
- Don't put levelers down- often puts divots in the pavement.
- No grilling/putting out chairs/hanging outside your camper.
- Don't leave your pet's poo. Pick it up.
- Don't run a generator all night.
- No dumping your waste tanks in the parking lot (I shouldn't have to list this one, but you'd be surprised).
7. Get your shopping done!
Walmart has groceries and almost everything you need for your camping trip. Buying something is a great way to say thank you. It's common courtesy. Walmart’s corporate website does mention RVers by saying, “Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers.” This is due to RVers using Walmart for their pit-stop for getting their campsite together which Walmart is grateful for.