Is Camping at Walmart Safe?

Walmart has become known for not only everyday low prices but also overnight camping. If you’ve pulled into your local Walmart parking lot early in the morning, chances are you’ve seen an RV or two parked in the back of the lot.

Many RVers take advantage of Walmart’s generous hospitality, massive parking lots, and overnight camping. While many are choosing to stay, is it safe? Let’s take a look!

Is Camping at Walmart Safe?

Walmart parking lots are only as safe as the area that surrounds them. While one Walmart parking lot could be incredibly safe, the next could be less than ideal. You don’t want to put yourself in an unsafe situation. 

It’s also important to note that Walmart is not responsible for damage or accidents in their parking lot. There have even been incidents in Walmart parking lots where RVers had to call the police.

Local ordinances often determine the legality of camping in a Walmart parking lot. It’s becoming increasingly common for local municipalities to craft laws restricting overnight parking. Restrictions are usually to avoid devaluing the community and to provide a safe environment for residents.

If you plan to camp in a Walmart parking lot, be sure to obtain permission from the store’s management. You don’t want a knock on your RV in the middle of the night forcing you to leave. If camping is illegal or prohibited by local ordinances, they’ll be sure to let you know.

How to Find Walmart Stores to Camp At

Finding Walmart stores to camp at doesn’t have to be hard. You can use the Walmart Locator website to locate Walmart stores across the country. The website provides user-submitted data regarding the status of camping overnight in a Walmart parking lot.

Another popular way to find Walmart stores for camping is by using the Allstays Camp & RV app. This app, much like the Walmart Locator, has a large database of Walmarts that are known for allowing overnight camping.

Tips for Picking a Safe Overnight Camping Spot

When picking your overnight camping spot, there are a few things to keep in mind. We’ve selected a handful of our best tips to ensure a smooth overnight stay. Let’s take a look!

Stay Out of High Traffic Areas

Park your RV out of the way. Parking out of the way will often mean a rear corner of the lot less likely to experience traffic from customers or delivery trucks. By parking in high traffic areas, you’re more susceptible to being involved in an accident. Keep your RV and yourself safe by staying away from high-traffic areas.

Camp in a Well-Lit Spot

Not only do you want to stay out of high traffic areas, but also in a well-lit spot. Bright lights improve security by helping to see who or what is moving in the dark. You don’t want to wake up and discover you had items removed from a storage compartment.

Look for Security Cameras

Security cameras can help keep your RV safe as well. If someone sees a security camera aimed at your RV, they’ll be less likely to bother you. Criminals avoid cameras at all costs. Knowing the cameras are watching will keep them away from your RV. The safest spots will provide you with multiple camera angles.

If It Feels Weird, Leave

Just because the store allows parking and permits you to stay doesn’t mean you have to stay. If there’s ever a point where you don’t feel comfortable, you can leave. A free night’s stay is not worth putting yourself and those camping with you in harm’s way.

If your gut instinct tells you it’s not a safe place to stay, don’t. Come up with another plan and take your time to ensure you’re prepared to drive away. Letting your adrenaline get the best of you is an easy way to miss important steps that could result in damaging you or your RV.

Other Free Overnight Parking Options

While Walmart is a great place to stay, it’s not the only free overnight parking option. Let’s look at a handful of other places that are great for overnight stops.


Whether it’s for an overnight stay or longer, boondocking is a great option. This style of camping uses public lands designated for camping. These spots often provide no hookups or amenities but are free and can often be away from crowds.

While boondocking is a great option, it still comes with a risk. Should an emergency arise, help could be many miles away. Make sure you have a plan to protect yourself and those camping with you if you plan to boondock regularly.

Stores That Welcome RVers

Walmart doesn’t have a monopoly when it comes to catering to RVers. Cracker Barrel, Cabelas, Camping World, Bass Pro Shop, and even Lowe’s Home Improvement stores are all popular places that often accommodate overnight stays.

If a business provides you with a free night’s stay, you should somehow support the establishment. Pop in to buy breakfast in the morning, groceries, or a new fishing rod. Not supporting the stores and being a burden on their resources will likely lead to camping restrictions in the future.

Sometimes a conveniently located Walmart parking lot can be just what you need to get to your next adventure. By taking a few proper precautions, you’ll help ensure a smooth and safe overnight stay. Staying overnight for free is an incredible convenience that many RVers appreciate and use regularly. Have you stayed in a Walmart parking lot overnight?

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