You have been on the road in your RV for the whole day. Unfortunately, there is no trailer park or campground nearby where you can park your RV for the night. It can be a real problem, especially seeing as RVs generally require electricity and running water.
After all, it’s nice to be able to plug in the TV, shower, and cook. Either way, what if you just need a place to park — can you park an RV at Walmart? It is a contrast to boondocking where RV’s are parked off-grid. To know more about boondocking, check out the guys over at CamperRules!
Whether you can park in Walmart parking lots, or other such parking lots, is debatable. It’s an issue that requires some further discussion.
Can You Park at Walmart During the Day?
First off, yes, during the day, you can park your RV at Walmart without question. There are no laws, rules, or regulations prohibiting you from parking your RV at a Walmart during the day. But Walmarts do not come with water and power hookups, or sewage disposal services for RVs, which can be a problem. However, purely theoretically, yes, you can park your RV in a Walmart parking lot.
Can You Park at Walmart during the Night?
This is a bit of a complicated question, as there is really no straightforward answer. At this time, there are well over 4,000 Walmart locations in the US; they all have big parking lots, but do they allow for the overnight parking of RVs? This all depends on the exact Walmart location in question.
There are more than 1,000 Walmart locations which expressly and outright ban overnight RV parking, period, without exception. This can be for a variety of reasons such as limited space, safety, or other reasons.
That said, there are roughly 3,000 Walmart locations in the US which technically allow for overnight RV parking. We do say “technically” here, because although these locations do not have laws expressly prohibiting overnight RV parking, realistically, this decision is left to the individual store manager.
Simply put, some Walmart store managers may allow you to park your RV overnight, and others may not. It all comes down to the discretion of the manager in question.
Can You Park at Walmart – You Need to Ask!
The bottom line in this regard is that you always need to ask for permission. One mistake which people often make is to assume that because there are other RVs parked in the Walmart parking lot, that it is therefore OK to do so. However, don’t forget that other people don’t always follow the rules, and they may not have asked. It’s always better to ask for permission when it comes to sensitive issues like this.
If you don’t ask for permission, and you park your RV at Walmart without being allowed to do so, you may receive expensive parking tickets, or in worst case scenarios, you may get towed. Getting an RV back from an impound lot is expensive, so this should be avoided at all costs.
Realistically, if you are told that you are not allowed to park at Walmart overnight, chances are that there is somewhere nearby which will allow for overnight parking.
Other Business Which Allow Overnight RV Parking
In case the Walmart in question where you wanted to park does not allow you to do so, there are other business which usually allow for it. Once again, you should always ask individual store managers for permission, but the following is a list of businesses which usually allow for overnight RV parking.
- Flying J Truck Stops
- Camping World
- Cracker Barrel
- Various shopping centers
- Highway rest areas
Why Park Overnight at a Walmart?
There are a few reasons as to why you might want to consider parking your RV at a Walmart overnight.
If you are tired and can no longer drive safely, it’s always better to call it a night and park somewhere like at a Walmart, than to risk an accident.
There is no doubting the fact that Walmarts are great places to shop. If you are on a long road trip, one of the best places to buy all of your supplies, even inverters for RVs, is at a Walmart.
During the night, if you are allowed to park overnight at Walmart, you won’t have any problems finding a parking space, as these lots tend to be fairly empty during the night. There is also the fact that parking overnight at Walmart won’t cost you anything.
Drawbacks of Parking at Walmart
Of course, there are some drawbacks to parking your RV at a Walmart overnight. Here are some of the issues which you might run into when attempting to do so.
Walmarts usually never have any freshwater connections. If you need to put more fresh water in your RVs water holding tank, you most likely will not be able to do so at a Walmart.
Just like with water connections, Walmart parking lots do not come equipped with electricity hookups. In other words, if you need to charge the batteries, you won’t be able to do so in a Walmart parking lot.
Nighttime may not be a big deal, but when it comes to daytime, you will most likely have a hard time maneuvering a large RV through a packed parking lot, and finding enough space to fit an RV during the day is no easy task either.
At the end of the day, when you are dead tired from driving, and you just want some shuteye, a Walmart parking lot is an option for hunkering down. However, not all Walmarts allow for overnight RV parking, so you will want to ask the individual store’s manager.