Anyone that has been driving around in RVs and travel trailers for years has found themselves in difficult situations at night. You may have overestimated how far you could get in a day, and as a result, you found yourself in an unfamiliar setting as the Sun sets.
I know that I have certainly found myself in some random towns over the years without a place to stay. When those days come, you want to be informed as possible as to where you can park your RV overnight so that you can get a good night’s sleep.
Walmart parking lots are large, and as a result, they are tempting to park in, but can you sleep in a Walmart parking lot?
Can you park in a Walmart parking lot overnight?
Fortunately, the vast majority of Walmart stores do not have any problems with people parking in their lots overnight. After all, their parking lots are huge, and not as many people are using them at night.
So, they do not have a problem with RVs and trucks parking in their lots at night. That being said, they prefer that you park towards the back of the lot so that you do not take up spots for people looking to go into the store.
It is also good form to go into the Walmart to purchase some supplies for yourself. That being said, there are some locations that do not allow RVers to park in their lots overnight.
Why do some locations prohibit overnight parking?
While most locations have no problem with RVers and truckers parking in their lots overnight, there are some that prohibit it.
However, it is not usually the managers at the local Walmart that are making these rules. Instead, there are usually outside rules that are keeping RVers from an easy place to park.
The most obvious reason that parking would be prohibited at a local Walmart overnight is that local laws prevent overnight parking. Most medium to large cities have laws against sleeping in vehicles. Additionally, they have laws against camping within city limits.
Now, while you might think that this is a law that goes unenforced, that is not the case. Many cities will actually have patrol cars that keep an eye on large parking lots and shopping centers for the purposes of kicking people out.
Another thing that could stop you from parking in a Walmart parking lot is if it is part of a large shopping center. If a Walmart is part of a shopping center, it shares its parking lot with all of the other stores in the area.
As a result, the company that owns the shopping center makes the rules for parking in its lots, and they hire security to enforce those rules.
Finally, parking RVs is not permitted in high traffic Walmarts. Usually, Walmarts in suburbs and high traffic areas do not permit RV parking. Large RVs can create problems with other vehicles when they are parked in these lots.
Which locations allow overnight parking?
The rules listed above can be confusing, and it is certainly not easy to keep track of them when you are on the road. So, I want to help you by providing you with some basic notes on which Walmart parking lots have a high probability of allowing overnight parking.
If you find a free standing Walmart that does not share the land with any other store, it has a high probability of allowing overnight parking. That is also true of Walmarts that are located in small towns or close to a major highway.
If the Walmart is located in a small town, inside a larger shopping center, and close to a major highway, there is a slightly lower, but still very high chance that it allows overnight parking.
There is then a lower but still good chance that overnight parking is permitted at Walmarts in small towns, regardless of its proximity to a major highway.
There are then some locations that have a 50/50 chance of allowing overnight parkers. For example, if you find yourself at a free standing Walmart that is located on the outskirts of a medium to large city and is close to a major highway, it has a 50/50 shot of allowing overnight parkers.
The same is true for Walmarts that are located in large shopping centers in cities of the same size, on the outskirts, and near a highway.
Finally, there are some locations that have little to no chance of permitting RVers to park in them at night. You have a very low chance of being allowed to park in a Walmart that is located in the middle of a medium or large city, even if it is close to a highway.
However, you will definitely get kicked out if you try to park at a location that is located in the suburbs of a medium to large city.
Apps you can use to find Walmart parking
All of these things are difficult to remember when you are driving at the end of the day in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, there are a few apps that you can download that will help you find Walmart parking lots to park in.
FreeRoam is a great option for RVers. It can be downloaded to any Apple or Android device, and it is free to use. It has every Walmart in the United States listed, along with reviews from other users.
Another app you can download to your Apple or Android device is AllStays. This has the most reviews from other users, but it does charge a small fee to use their app.
Driving around and experiencing the countryside in an RV can be a ton of fun. You open yourself up to a world of possibilities by purchasing or renting an RV.
That being said, there are some problems that you can run into while on the road. Notably, it can be difficult for some people to figure out where to park at night.
Fortunately, the majority of Walmarts are willing to accommodate RVers. You just need to know which Walmarts are accepting of RVers, and which ones you should avoid.