It’s happened to the best of us while driving – we get tired and just need a quick place to crash. Overnight parking at Walmart could be an excellent option for any van, bus, or RV lifer before heading to your final destination. In addition, not everywhere in the United States is going to be close to a campground, RV park, or BLM land, so what else do you do?!
Try Overnight Parking at Walmart
Once a best-kept secret among the camping, van, and RV community, Walmarts throughout the country offer free overnight camping in their parking lots.
We know very few people that haven’t stayed at a Walmart at least once during their travels, whether or not you’re a part or full-time traveler. It’s easy to get exhausted while driving long distances, especially in a rig with poor gas mileage and speed. In addition, you may just find yourself in a town or area that has no BLM, National Forest, campgrounds, or RV parks in the area.
Regardless of the situation that you’re in, overnight parking at Walmart is a fantastic option to get a quick sleep in, some food, and maybe a RedBox if you’re into that kinda thing.
But, Why Walmart?
Free RV Overnight Parking: First of all, Walmarts allow free overnight parking. They’ve always been a wonderful budget-friendly option when we’re in a pinch…or just looking for some ice cream.
Easy Parking & Secure: You’ve most likely seen a Walmart parking lot…for the most part, they’re huge! They’re also usually easily accessible. No matter if you have a small, medium, or large rig, you should be able to find a spot toward the back of a Walmart parking lot.
Most Walmarts also have 24/7 CCTV that monitors parking lot activities. We’ve also seen police patrol their well-lit lots. Personally, we’ve never had an issue with overnight parking at a Walmart parking lot. But, things happen and it’s always important to be cautious.
Amenities: I know it may seem like we’re making Walmart out to seem a bit “luxurious”, but when you live in a bus long enough, you start to appreciate the little things. Moving on, not every RV, van, or bus is equipped with a toilet.
If a normal working toilet isn’t alluring enough, most Walmarts offer Redbox. We love to treat ourselves and have a movie night with some popcorn and ice cream (Our personal bus “Charlotte” is not equipped with a freezer, sadly).
Of course, if you’re looking for any other groceries, cheap dinner, or vehicle maintenance supplies, Walmart is a great stop to get a lot of what’s on your list.
Found Throughout the Country: There are Walmarts all over the place in the United States. Chances are you will come across a Walmart somewhere along the way to your destination.
Which Locations Do and Do Not Provide RV Overnight Parking at Walmart?
Unfortunately, not every Walmart allows overnight parking. For the most part, most physical Walmarts allow overnight parking, but some cities don’t allow overnight parking in any lots. In other words, you could potentially get a warning or citation from a police officer.
There are a few great apps, websites, and options that you can use to determine whether or not a Walmart lot allows for legal overnight parking, including:
All Stays – This website allows you to search Walmarts by state. Based on user reports, this site is pretty up-to-date.
iOverlander – As our go-to in most situations, the iOverlander app is great for finding Walmarts based on your location. It also has a user review feature that offers insight into whether or not a location has legal overnight parking at Walmart.
Before Overnight Camping at Walmart: What You Should Know
As I’m sure most of you reading this are amazing citizens of the road, I probably don’t need to remind you of most of this stuff. It goes without saying that you should practice proper camping etiquette during your overnight stay at Walmart. While you’re pulling into a Walmart parking lot to camp, here are some things to remember:
~Dry Camping – This means there will be no electric or water hookups, nor will there be a spot to dump your grey / black water tanks. The use of generators is also usually frowned upon while dry camping in Walmart parking lots.
~Always Double Check with the Store – We always call ahead and ask the general manager for permission before overnight parking at Walmart. Make sure to follow all designated signs and directions. In some cases, note that cities/states won’t allow it.
~Pack it In, Pack it Out – While Walmart isn’t an actual campsite, it’s important to keep the place clean! Make sure you clean up after yourselves. We see more and more Walmarts disallowing overnight parking because people abuse the privilege. While some RVers respect the space, others completely abuse it. Do your best to clean up so that these parking privileges can be open for the next wave of nomads!
What You Should Expect During Your Stay
To be completely honest, overnight parking at Walmart has become a complete lifesaver while we traveled. Whether it is the United States or Canada, you’re not always going to be able to find the perfect boondocking spot. Our experiences at Walmarts have been secure, quiet, and safe. We get the occasional weird look and pictures from customers, but besides that, haven’t had any negative experiences to date.
Let’s hear from you: Have you or any of your friends had a poor experience at Walmart? Why or why would you not overnight park here?