Walmart Boondocking: Is Overnight RV Parking at Walmart Allowed?

Oftentimes, rumors circulate on RV forums and websites about Walmart’s camping policy. Can you really RV overnight at Walmart? Are you required to make a purchase at the store? Do you need to ask permission? FMCA is here to clear some of the confusion with this guide to RV parking at Walmart stores.

About Overnight RV Parking at Walmart

As many RVers know, Walmart parking lots can be a wonderful resource for free overnight parking. A Walmart store can make for a great stopover between campground reservations or if you need to load up on supplies before a big trip.

However, not all Walmarts allow overnight parking for RVs. There are more than 6,000 Walmart stores across the United States. Approximately 1,000 of those stores explicitly prohibit overnight parking.

Understanding Walmart’s RV Parking Policy

Walmart’s overall policy on overnight RV parking places the decision at the discretion of each store. Thus, each store’s official overnight RV parking policy is decided by the individual store managers at each location. Several factors determine a managers’ decision:

  1. Store managers have to make sure their store is abiding by local parking laws and regulations.
  2. Some Walmart stores are operating on lots owned by external landlords. In these cases, the manager is at the landlord’s discretion to allow overnight parking.
  3. Other Walmarts have banned overnight parking due to previous negative experiences.

Confirm First: How to Determine If It’s OK to Park

So what does all this mean? The bottom line is that policies do vary widely from location to location.

First, ask the store’s permission If you wish to stay overnight in a Walmart parking lot (or any store for that matter). Don’t be shy — call ahead or visit the customer service desk on arrival to inquire about the store’s individual policy.

To help RVers find which Walmarts allow overnight parking, some travelers have created forums to share store policies. (Keep in mind that these websites are not affiliated with Walmart, and you should always check with the individual store to confirm the policy.)

    This site offers a map of stores that do NOT allow overnight parking and allows travelers to submit “No Park” locations if discovered. 
  • Allstays
    This website and popular app offers a guide organized by state. Users update the guide monthly.
  • If you prefer a printed map or guide, FMCA includes Walmart locations in its RV-friendly road atlas

Etiquette for Overnight RV Parking at Walmart 

So you found a store that allows overnight parking for your rig…What next?

Here are a few etiquette rules for parking overnight at Walmart (or any private lot):

  • This type of parking is considered “dry camping” or “boondocking.” This means that there are no hookup accommodations for water, waste, or electricity. 
  • Stay for one night only. Longer overnight stays should be spent at a campground.
  • Treat the parking lot as you would any campsite and be respectful. Leave the space cleaner than you found it.
  • Promote a safe environment for yourself and others.
    -Lock your RV at night or if you visit the store.
    -Do not leave trash outside your RV.
    -Allow adequate space between your RV and other vehicles.
  • Respect the parking lot as a campsite, but remember it is NOT a campsite! Refrain from lounging outside your RV in lawn furniture. Grills and fires are prohibited.
  • It is also polite to make purchases at Walmart if staying overnight. While not required, it is a nice way to thank Walmart for allowing your stay.

Have you stayed overnight at a Walmart or another store? What was your experience? Boondocking can take many forms – store parking lots, government lands, backyard boondocking, etc. Do you have tips to share? Comment below.

20 Comments on Walmart Boondocking: Is Overnight RV Parking at Walmart Allowed?

  1. I leave my receipt for my Walmart or Cracker barrel purchase inside my windshield so security will know that I am a customer.

    • We have stayed at several Walmarts along east coat. We always go in shopping :). If we are not sure if allowed we called. The Walmarts in popular tourist towns in Fl do not allow…

    • About 15 year’s ago I got drawed for a state park deer hunt. It was in the winter time in Indiana no campgrounds were open so I stayed at Walmart in my camper. Back in them days all Walmart’s allowed camping. Was out hunting all day then at night go to into Walmart and get supper. Worked out rather good. Saved me a hour trip both ways.

  2. I have stayed a numerous different Walmart lots. I always make a point to go in and ask if is ok to stay overnight and if there is a particular location in the lot where I should park. I always try to stay away from others and always purchase something while at the store. I appreciate the business allowing us to stay in the lots. Would never stay without checking first.

  3. We stay at Walmart all the time. One thing that will mess it up is people leaving trash. We always ask and have been allowed to stay even when there are signs saying no overnight parking.

  4. We have stayed at many places including Walmart’s for free. Grocery stores or other large corporations providing retail sales allow overnight camping. Just call them and ask. One store we called had never been asked but the approved and were very pleasant!

  5. We’ve stayed at many Wal-Mart’s and have always cked with the store. We never leave a mess my hubby and I usually walk the lot and pick up trash and put carts back. We always buy a snack while there. In my opinion i think all Wal-Mart’s should allow parking overnight for RVERS. We truly appreciate the place to park that’s safe.

    • Most of the ones you can’t stay at is because of local ordinances, not a Walmart policy. If there are a lot of campgrounds around, they have more clout to get these types of ordinances passed.

  6. Always go inside and ask. Mgr or assistant. and get a name. I’ve had a security dude come to my rig and told me to move. I then dropped the managers name and asked him to follow up with her. He never came back. Good night. (Brunswick GA)

  7. We stayed at many Walmart’s for the one night. Before you leave always check your rig for safety reasons. I have found a shopping cart jammed between my truck and trailer into the tongue. Some shoppers don’t agree with your stay. So always check thing before leaving. Safety chains, lights plugged in and tires up.

  8. We have stayed at selected Walmart parking lots across the country. We always ask first and have been told no at times due to city laws prohibiting the stay. We stayed at a Walmart in Missoula, MT and it was a scary night. The locals decided to have a party around our rig and commenced to drink and fight most of the night. The completely surrounded us and we were unable to leave. It makes you more cautious about staying in any private parking lot.

    • I have a concern about the exact situation you describe. I am considering adding outside led lights to brightly light the entire perimeter of our RV, if we hear something outside. Has anyone done this?

  9. We have stayed at many Walmarts. Always ask permission to stay unless there are several units already parked. Am concerned about future of Wal-Mart continuing overnight parking. Have seen what appears to be homeless people sleeping in their cars in Walmarts. One even had bankets cover his windows. Plus lots carts full of garbage.

  10. We tend to cuddle up to a semi in the Walmart lot, even if it is posted no parking. We drove into a Walmart in Flagstaff about 9 pm.with the intent of buying lots of groceries, then call it a night. We were not even allowed to shop…it was an entirely empty lot. The signage did say, no Motor Home or Camper parking. We had not noticed that when we pulled in. The guy told us we could come back in the morning to shop. We said no thanks.

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