Per Walmart’s corporate policy, they do allow overnight RV parking at their stores if allowed by the store manager, there’s available parking space, and local laws permit it.
I know that many of us RV’ers have taken advantage of this generous and free accommodation. It’s so common, in fact, that it has its own slang term – wallydocking!
Unfortunately, when something is free, it tends to get abused. And while the RV community as a whole is very respectable, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin it for everyone.
So, here are 10 must-follow rules for overnight parking at Walmart (or any stores that allow overnighting) to help keep these free resources available for as long as possible.
1. Verify Overnight Parking Availability
Before parking your motorhome or travel trailer at a Walmart, verify that the location allows overnight parking. As mentioned earlier, Walmart’s corporate policy leaves the final decision to individual store managers and is subject to local laws. Therefore, always call ahead and speak to the store management to confirm that overnight RV parking is permitted at that location.
2. Choose a Safe Parking Spot That’s Out of the Way
Once you’ve confirmed that a Walmart location allows overnight parking, the next step is to choose a parking spot.
- Choose a location that is out of the way but still within sight of the store for safety reasons.
- Avoid parking in spots that block traffic flow
- Don’t park too close to the store’s main entrance.
- Park in a well-lit area
Important: Criminals tend to flock to Walmart, so it’s important to prioritize safety over everything else by parking in view of the store’s security camera system and under overhead lights. Always keep your doors locked overnight, and be ready to leave in a hurry if needed.
3. Minimize Space Consumption
Once you’ve located a safe area to park that’s out of the way, it’s important to minimize the amount of space your RV consumes. Try to park so you don’t take up more space than necessary, and never sprawl out with slides or awnings, as this can be disruptive and disrespectful to other patrons.
4. Avoid Setting Up a Campsite
Walmart parking lots are not campgrounds. Setting up chairs, grills, or other camping gear outside your RV is generally frowned upon. The idea is to be as unobtrusive as possible, treating the parking lot as a place to rest for the night, not as a destination for outdoor activities.
5. Limit Your Stay to One Night
Walmart’s generosity in allowing overnight parking is intended for short-term stays. As a general rule, limit your stay to a single night. Longer stays can be disruptive and may lead to Walmart revoking its overnight parking privileges. Don’t be that person.
6. Shop at the Store
While not a strict requirement, it’s a good practice to patronize the Walmart store where you’re parking. Whether buying groceries, supplies, or fuel, making a purchase is a way to show appreciation for the free overnight parking. This is the main reason that Walmart still allows overnighters.
7. Timing Matters – Arrive Late and Depart Early
Being considerate about your arrival and departure times is another way to show respect for Walmart’s hospitality. Aim to arrive later in the evening when the store is less busy and plan to depart early in the morning. This minimizes the impact of your stay on the store’s regular operations and customer traffic.
8. Respect Other RVers and Give Space
If there are other RVers in the parking lot, be respectful and maintain a reasonable distance between vehicles. This ensures privacy and makes it easier for everyone to maneuver their RVs.
9. Do Not Run Your Generator Throughout the Night
Running a generator all night can be noisy and disruptive, affecting both other RVers and Walmart patrons. If you need to use a generator, limit its usage to essential needs and try to use it during daytime hours when it’s less likely to disturb others.
10. Do Not Dispose of Waste on Walmart Property
Walmart parking lots are not equipped with waste disposal facilities for RVs. Never dump any waste, including gray or black water, on Walmart property. Always use designated dump stations for waste disposal.
How to Find Walmart Stores that Allow Overnight Parking
Finding a Walmart store that allows overnight RV parking is simple if you know where to look.
Utilizing Walmart’s Official Website
While Walmart’s official website doesn’t provide a dedicated list of stores that allow overnight RV parking, it does offer a store locator feature. You can use this tool to find Walmart stores along your route. Once you have a list of potential locations, the next step is to call each store and speak with the management to confirm their overnight RV parking policy. This is the most direct and reliable way to ensure you follow corporate policy and local laws.
AllStays App & Website
I prefer the AllStays app, which lists Walmart locations that users have reported as allowing overnight stays. Allstays Pro is their complete browser-based program that helps you find overnight locations, including Walmarts (and a whole lot more).
However, verifying this information by calling the store directly is always a good idea, as policies can change.
The Decline of Walmart Stores Allowing Overnight Parking
Walmart has long been a go-to option for RV travelers looking for a free and convenient place to park overnight. However, there has been a decline in the number of Walmart stores that allow overnight RV parking.
Why are Walmart stores increasingly no longer allowing overnight parking? Local ordinances banning overnight parking, issues with long-term campers, and littering are among the reasons for this decline.
This is why it’s more important than ever to be respectful and follow the rules of staying at Walmarts and other overnight locations.