Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Video and article: The don’ts of “camping” at Walmart

Every evening across North America, thousands of RVers pull into a Walmart parking lot, and not just to stock up on groceries. For many, it’s where they’ll spend the night, free of charge, courtesy of the store and endorsed by the Walmart corporation on its website.

That all sounds good, but there’s more to the story: Increasingly Walmart stores are erecting “No overnight parking” signs. It could be because of a new local ordinance promoted by owners of local RV parks, who want those RVers as paying customers.

Or it could be because one too many RVers dumped their holding tanks into a storm drain.

In some instances it’s because too many RVers don’t understand that a stay of one night is perfectly fine, but staying day after day, even week after week, is not what Walmart has in mind. In some parts of the country, where many almost-homeless people live in old and decrepit RVs, it’s come to where a store has no choice but to say “No more!”

Here, from the folks at the popular YouTube channel Drivin’ & Vibin’, are seven things you should never do if you plan to stay in a Walmart parking lot. Follow this advice and you should not only be welcomed, but enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep, and save some money in the process.

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Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodburyhttps://rvtravel.com
I'm the founder and publisher of RVtravel.com. I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


  1. I too think that it would courteous and good practise if you are going to stay at Walmart, or any other commercial organisation that allows you to stay free on their premises overnight, to ‘visibly’ purchase something from their store to show that you are grateful for their kindness.

  2. We have used Walmart parking lots frequently when a quick rest stop over was needed. Usually, we park in a distant corner of their lot, and sometimes adjacent to the truckers that also use their lots for a quick overnight stop. A little walking is a good thing after a day’s travel. The orange cones to help avoid problems are a great idea, too. Our planning ALWAYS included a phone call to the store to confirm our parking lot stop overs.

  3. We’ve stayed at over 100 Walmarts in our 12 years & counting of fulltime travel. I ask at many of them if it’s ok to open slides, & have always been told it’s ok. Many rvs cannot be slept in without opening one or more slides.

  4. One thing I would say is don’t forget to shop for something at any Wal Mart that allows you to stay. It doesn’t have to be any thing big or major, maybe a soft drink or a snack. We have found that it’s a good way to say thanks. Unfortunately, we have to use a small generator because of a major health need, but we ALWAYS let the Wal Mart or whoever know that we have to run it and why. Almost every one of the managers asks if there’s any thing else we may need and often give us directions to the nearest emergency room, just in case we have the need.

    • There are a handful of Walmarts that don’t allow generator use in the parking lot overnight. In each case it’s because there are residences adjacent to the lot — either houses or a trailer park, or in some cases a hotel or motel. But in 15 years of researching this topic, I’ve found fewer than 10 of these cases.

      • given the distance between a typical walmart parking lot and a structure where people work/live I seriously doubt they could hear any inverter generator running. I can barely hear mine in the camper. Maybe a conehead with a large construction gen but that`s all.

  5. Our local Walmart use to allow overnight parking but too many people left so much trash behind when they left that they stopped it. In my travels I have seen the same thing at other Walmarts around the country, piles of trash in the outlying areas. It is the few that ruin things for the many, even in state parks I have seen people throw out bags of trash along the roadway as they leave. At one park we stayed at several people threw trash bags at a dumpster as they drove by, the dumpster was empty.


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