Walmart RV parking may be for you if you’re on the road and need a convenient and free place to park and get some sleep. It’s certainly not scenic, and you won’t have any of the amenities you’re used to at RV parks or campgrounds. But in a pinch, it can be an excellent option for a quick overnight stay that won’t cost you a dime.
Let’s take a look at some key dos and don’ts that will make your first Walmart RV parking experience run smoothly.
Walmart RV Parking: Free Overnight Parking at Walmart
As the largest grocery retailer in the US, Walmart has a lot of stores. They’re pretty much everywhere you go across America. Their parking lots are the kind RVers love because there’s a lot of space, and they’re generally easily accessible.
Walmart knows this and knows that RVers can often be big shoppers as they head out for a camping trip or vacation. That’s why Walmart’s corporate policy allows RVers to park overnight in their lots when possible. However, local store managers have the final say on overnight parking at a specific store based on local laws and parking availability.
Also, keep in mind that Walmart RV parking is dry camping. There will be no electric, water, or sewer hookups available, so you’ll be using your onboard water and power system while you’re there.
Is It Legal to Sleep in Your Car, Campervan, or RV at Walmart?
Legally, the answer depends on where the store is located. Local laws vary widely in terms of what is and isn’t allowed regarding overnight parking and sleeping in a vehicle.
If you’re unfamiliar with an area, the local Walmart management will be able to answer questions about legally parking and sleeping there.
➔ RVers aren’t the only ones who use Walmart parking lots for overnight stays. Car campers use these facilities as well. Curious to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about Living in a Car.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Walmart RV Parking
To avoid uncomfortable situations, take note of what you should and shouldn’t do ahead of time. Here are some general guidelines to follow for parking overnight at Walmart.
Do Check That It’s Allowed
As we mentioned, Walmart RV parking isn’t available at every location. Before planning your route (and certainly before showing up), call the store and ask management if overnight parking is permitted. They have the final say, so listen and respect what they tell you.
Do Park in an Out-of-the-Way Spot
Don’t pull your rig into the spot closest to the front door. Leave the close spots for regular customers, as a courtesy to the store for letting you stay there. This is especially important if you have a large RV.
Part of your goal here is also to be discreet. Not everyone understands RV life, and you want to leave people with a good impression of RVers. Therefore, you should aim to come and go quietly without most people knowing you’re there.
Do Give Other RVers Space (If Possible)
If you’re not the only RVer taking advantage of overnight Walmart RV parking, try to give the other campers some space. We all appreciate a little privacy, even if we need to spend a night in a parking lot!
However, don’t give them so much space that you’re creating a nuisance for customers—remember, stay out of the way when you can.
Pro Tip: Whether you’re parked at Walmart or a designated campsite at an RV park, make sure you follow these 20 Golden Camping Rules Every Camper Should Know.
Do Arrive Late and Leave Early
Walmart RV parking is designed for quick overnight layovers while traveling, not extended stays. Remember that you’re taking up a parking space (or several) that other customers could be using, so try to minimize the time you’re there.
Showing up late and leaving early means, the majority of the time you’re in the parking lot, the store will either be closed or dealing with lower customer traffic.
Do Patronize the Store
Walmarts don’t have to allow overnight RV parking. They’re doing you a favor by giving you a free place to sleep, but they do this knowing that many RVers may need to pick up supplies.
Chances are you need to restock something, so give the store some business and take one item off your to-do list. Here’s to killing two birds with one stone!
Don’t Stay If It’s Not Allowed
What else is there to say? If you call ahead and they say you can’t park overnight, don’t ignore the manager and do it anyway. You’re asking for trouble, which no one needs while on the road.
Don’t Set Up Camp
A Walmart parking lot isn’t a campground, so don’t treat it like one. Don’t extend your awnings or put out chairs, and certainly don’t start grilling in the next space over or set up a fire pit. If possible, leave your slides in to minimize the amount of space your RV takes up in the lot.
Don’t Stay More than One Night
This rule goes hand in hand with arriving late and leaving early. Don’t overstay your welcome; spend only one night in the lot. How long do you really want to stay in a parking lot, anyway?
Look into RV parks, campgrounds, or other boondocking opportunities for extended stays if you have a tight budget.
Don’t Run Your Generator All Night
If you’ve ever used an RV generator, we don’t have to tell you how noisy they can be. And depending on the Walmart’s location (and any fellow overnighters in the parking lot), it can be pretty annoying to hear someone else’s generator all night when you’re trying to get some rest.
Don’t forget the fumes you’re creating, either. Run your generator as sparingly as possible during your stay, and use your best judgment about when it’s time to shut it down for the night.
Pro Tip: Looking for a quiet generator? We revealed Which Generator Is the Best (Quietest) for Camping.
Don’t Dump Anything on the Ground
Dumping ANYTHING is a big no-no while parking your RV at a Walmart. This is not just a Walmart rule; this is likely a law wherever you are. That goes for trash, gray water, and especially black water.
Again, Walmart RV parking is a courtesy—don’t create conditions that will make store managers take that courtesy away from you and others. Ideally, there should be no signs you were there once you pull away in the morning.
How to Find Participating Walmarts for Free RV Parking
To start, you can consult Walmart’s official directory of stores. Select the state and city you’re hoping to stop in, and you’ll find the store’s address, phone number, and other details. You’ll also see a list of nearby stores—if any—just in case your first choice doesn’t allow overnight parking. If you’re on the go and need to find a place to stay, the Walmart app can also help you find nearby locations.
Alternatively, there are helpful services and websites that track Walmart RV parking rules. Remember to double-check anything you find on these third-party sites with local Walmart management.
Walmart RV Parking Can Be a Lifesaver
Walmart RV parking can be a lifesaver if you’re on the road and need a quick and free place to get some rest. While many stores offer this perk, always check before arriving. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll have added a fantastic new option for your next road trip.
Some RVers park on city streets as a last resort for overnight parking, but is it legal? Find out here: Is Stealth Camping Illegal?
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Donna M Sims
Sunday 29th of May 2022
I've pretty much stopped planning WalMart as our overnight stop in our Class A, 45' motorhome with a tow. 1. Since the pandemic, most WalMarts are always crowded. 2. Several newer WalMarts have curbing or planters in and around the parking lots that are obstructions to be avoided. There are a few WalMarts that are fantastic, open, and easy to navigate, Sulphur Springs, Texas for example. Always use the satellite views when planning a stop.
Wednesday 5th of January 2022
Walmarts camping locations map
Monday 1st of March 2021
Thank you for the great tips on Walmart, my wife and I have stayed in the Santa Maria, California Walmart, they allow Overnight Rv parking
Mortons on the Move
Monday 1st of March 2021
You're welcome! And thanks for the tip about the Santa Maria, CA Walmart. :)