Sometimes travel days don’t go as planned, and you need to find a spot to park in a pinch. For years, Walmart parking lots have been the most convenient spots for a quick overnight stop for RV parking. However, some guests are ruining it for others by not behaving themselves.
We want to do what we can to help ensure these spots remain an option for RVers and anyone looking for a parking spot. So here are a few things to keep in mind so you don’t ruin Walmart overnight parking.
Let’s get started!
Can You RV Camp at Walmart?
Many Walmart locations across the country allow RVs to park in their parking lots. However, there are various reasons why Walmart locations might not appear to be as hospitable anymore. Sometimes local laws and regulations prohibit overnight parking, which doesn’t leave the choice up to Walmart.
Walmart can be a great option if you’re looking for a place to park your RV while on the road. It typically has a generous amount of space. You can stock up on supplies and hit the road first thing in the morning.
Find out if you can park your RV overnight at Costco.
Does Walmart Care if You Sleep in the Parking Lot?
Walmart locations that allow overnight parking in their parking lots typically don’t mind if you sleep in their parking lot. However, it’s essential to get permission to stay overnight at each location.
Failing to get permission could result in waking up to a knock at the door from law enforcement asking you to move on your way.
Is Sleeping at Walmart Safe?
Sleeping at Walmart can be extremely safe and is no less safe than camping in most other locations. Some Walmart locations have security or local law enforcement patrols to keep an eye on things throughout the night.
While this doesn’t necessarily guarantee your safety, there are a few things you can do to stay safe.
First of all, don’t stop if you feel unsafe when you arrive at the location. If there are any indications that the area might not be safe, keep going.
Even if you feel safe, it’s a good idea to use the parking lot’s security lights to your advantage. Security lights tend to ward off seedy behavior, so it’s a good idea to park in a well-lit section of the parking lot.
It’s also good to lock all storage compartments and your vehicle before hitting the sack. You don’t want to wake up and discover that someone raided your gear and supplies while you were sleeping.
How to Ruin Walmart Overnight Parking
There are a handful of things everyone who enjoys Walmart overnight parking shouldn’t do to avoid ruining it for others. We’ve seen a tremendous increase of cases recently where parking overnight at Walmart is no longer available due to local rules and regulations.
Here are some things you should avoid doing to not ruin overnight parking for others:
Stay Multiple Nights
You don’t want to overstay your welcome at a location. You should keep your stays to one night and get on your way first thing in the morning.
We’ve seen RVs at some places that look like they’re spending weeks or months at the same location. This type of behavior takes advantage of the store’s hospitality and risks ruining the ability of others to stay in the future.
Don’t Ask for Permission
It doesn’t matter what someone told you or what you read in an online community. You must get permission at each location.
Just because someone else had no troubles at a site doesn’t mean rules and regulations haven’t changed or the store has plans that would prohibit you from staying the night.
It’s a good idea to call the location to avoid wasting your time and fuel. Whether you call ahead or go into the store and ask when you arrive, you want to speak with a manager.
You want to ensure that the person permitting your stay can give permission. Not all employees have the authority to grant permission for overnight stays.
Ignore Posted Signs
Signs posted in and around parking lots aren’t just recommendations or suggestions. Local authorities and the stores post these signs to inform you of the rules and regulations.
If there are signs stating “no overnight parking,” you’ll want to find an alternate spot to park for the night. A free camping spot for the night can turn into a costly spot if you receive a ticket for violating local laws.
Set Up Camp, Take Out Slides
When staying overnight in a Walmart parking lot, you’re not camping. It’s simply a space for you to park your RV for the night and get some sleep. It’s not the place to extend your awnings, bust out the camping chairs, or enjoy a BBQ.
You also want to only open slides if they’re necessary. Delivery trucks might not notice your slides extending out of your RV and could clip them when driving past your rig. This can cause tremendous damage to your RV and leave you searching for a place to stay while your rig is in the shop.
Keep Your Jacks Down
While your jacks may provide stability to your RV, you want to avoid lowering them during overnight stops. RVs are heavy, and your jacks can put massive force on the parking lot.
This can cause damage to the asphalt, especially during the hot summer months. Products like RV SnapPads can protect your RV jacks and the ground by creating a permanent barrier between them.
It’s also a good idea to keep your jacks up if you need to make a quick exit. You never know when a situation could arise that you no longer feel safe or welcomed staying in the parking lot. Not having to raise your jacks means you can quickly jump into your vehicle and move on your way.
Leave a Mess
Most of us have heard the importance of cleaning up after ourselves since we were kids. However, no matter how many times you tell some people, they just don’t get it.
You should never leave trash or anything behind when you leave an overnight RV parking spot. Some communities have begun creating local rules and regulations to curb overnight parking because users are trashing those areas.
We’ve heard reports of stores finding not only trash but bottles of urine and even human feces in sections of the parking lot frequented by overnight guests. While we greatly appreciate the generosity of the locations for letting guests stay, we can understand their frustrations. You should aim to leave no signs you were there when you leave.
Is Walmart Overnight Parking Worth It?
There are many benefits to staying overnight at a Walmart parking lot. Stocking up on supplies, breaking up long travel days, and saving money on campsite fees are just a few reasons you might want to consider staying.
However, no matter why you’re staying, it’s important to be a good guest. Don’t take advantage of their hospitality, and do whatever you can to ensure the spot remains available for future guests. We’re all in this together, and we need to be looking out for each other if we want to continue to use Walmart overnight parking in the future.
Have you ever stayed overnight in a Walmart parking lot?
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