Whether you’re moving across the country and looking for a night’s worth of parking or searching for free parking overnight to save some extra money, free parking can be rare – especially for RV/Campervan owners. Although the U.S. has plenty of RV parks that have cheap fees, most charge at least $10 per night and may not have as many facilities as other luxury parks. And in a more urban location, it might be hard to find anywhere that has a spot large enough for an RV, bus, or extended van.
Good news! Walmart often offers campers and RVs a place to stay for the night. A lot of Walmart locations across the country allow RV parking overnight free of charge. It’s a good way to shop for supplies, use the restroom, get some sleep and go on your way. However, not all Walmart locations are this generous. In some states, it could be illegal to park overnight in parking lots regardless of the fact that Walmart allows you to do so.
Which Walmarts allow overnight parking?
To search for Walmart locations near you, make use of the state-by-state directory of those locations that allow overnight parking or use an app like Walmart Overnight Parking Locator on iOS to make your search easy. You can also rule out locations where it is prohibited to park overnight through this No Park Walmarts locator. When you pull into the lot, you will most likely be greeted by other RVs, and should give you an idea of where in the lot to park (try to stay toward the edges). If you feel more comfortable, ask around to see the if there’s a specific designated overflow parking for RVs as they might not be the same spaces allocated for normal vehicle parking due to size.
What makes camping out in Walmart different from normal RV parks is that although there is no extra cost, this is ‘dry camping’, a term often used to describe camping without a water supply, electricity or dumping stations. It’s not going to be easy if you’re staying longer than a day- there’s not much to do besides shop or spend time inside your RV. Sometimes, however, you may meet people with the same situation and end up with one more friend to add to your circle. We spent a night in the Bakersfield Walmart, and ended up trading some camping stove fuel for some engine oil!
Respect your surroundings
Despite having no extra parking fees, Walmart overnight parking is allowed under the assumption that you actually buy something. As a reliable location to camp out for RV owners, it’s best to keep your parking spot clean and free of dirt to avoid Walmart changing this policy that allows nighttime parking. Placing your lawn chairs out in the open can be troublesome and would not be recommended, in order to maintain a good image of RV owners and motorists across the country. Although a convenient way to get some sleep without worries of getting a ticket or being towed, parking out for more than two days can cause unwanted attention and Walmart employees asking you to leave.
With the increasing number of Walmarts across the country, as long as you are respectful and do a quick bit of research before pulling in, you’ll always have a reliable, safe place to spend the night in your van or RV!