Why Walmart is banning RV overnight stays at more stores

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We ran a survey last week, asking readers if they believed Walmart would still allow overnight stays in its store parking lots in five years. More than 5,100 of our readers responded. Fifty-seven percent said, “No,” it would not be allowed.

More than 80 readers left comments. Among them was one by Jim O’Briant, the owner of the website Overnight RV Parking, the most comprehensive source of information about where to stay with an RV for free or less than $20. He also regularly updates his members on Walmarts who stop offering free stays. He wrote:

Ten to 12 years ago about 80% of the Walmarts in the USA and Canada allowed overnight RV parking. Today, it’s about 65%. There are several reasons for this. One significant cause is the behavior of RVers themselves. In literally hundreds of conversations with Walmart managers over the past 12 years, they’ve told me again and again that their issues with RVers are (in no particular order):

(1) Parking overnight without permission.
(2) Parking in the wrong part of the parking lot.
(3) Staying more than one night (in some cases for weeks).
(4) Setting up camping equipment (lawn chairs, BBQ grilles, even inflatable swimming pools) outside their RV.
(5) Leaving trash in the parking lot.
(6) Dumping gray water in the lot or in storm drains (illegal in many places).
(7) Dumping BLACK WATER in storm drains (highly illegal everywhere).

When it comes to preserving the overnight RV parking privilege at retail locations, we are our own worst enemy.

Your comments are invited.

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Manuel bonilla

I have been living in my 33 foot RV for well over two years now, neighbors allow me to stay, I in return, keep clean the entire street and sidewalk, I don’t leave trash, drink or have friends over, as opposed to rvers a few blocks away who live like pigs, blocking the sidewalk and storing trash under their rvs. They had an entire two blocks, of free parking, but end up messing their stay, LAPD MOVED IN , kicked them out and the city of los angeles posted no overnight parking, only a few tents remain. But the biggest trash makers are gone, sometimes they park in the same area as I do, but I make sure is for a couple of hours, as my neighboors dont like trash in the area, which is unfortunate, but these RVers scream for it. Sad.

Bob

Yes, rvers abusing things are ruining it for all of us! I’ve witnessed this so many times over decades of travel when all the Walmart locations welcomed you. Not anymore!
Same thing for dispersed camping areas in national forest. People leaving trash everywhere. Using the areas just yards away as toilets and toilet paper all over. Driving not only past signs saying “no motor vehicles past this point”, but often running over the signs. Trying to actually live there. So areas get closed off, and these slobs are probably clueless as to why.

Leslie Kelly

When we stay at a Walmart we do not extend our slides, lower our jacks or unhook our toad. We ask where they would prefer we park and usually shop in the store.
Pull in/Pull out.

Ken Tennis

Never have stayed overnight at a Walmart. Once in a gas station after i asked and once in a closed Lowe’s (for a hurricane) under their portico after I called the local Sheriff and asked if it would be OK since we had evacuated our home. I asked at a Meijer’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan if I could park for a couple hours while I visited with a cousin that lived a few blocks away and I couldn’t get there because of trees. Was told NO, in no uncertain way. I’ve heard that is corporate policy for overnight but a couple hours? There were trucks parked there and some vans that had been there quite a while.

Staci McMahon

It’s always one bad apple to ruin for everyone. How nasty to leave your trash, when you have garbage inside. Also, there’s plenty garbage cans there.

Rick

I used to say “some” but now it’s becoming very very common to see this type of behavior from the “me and I” generations who just frogging don’t care about anyone else but themselves. Most recently in a 4 star resort idiot owner had so many exterior light strung it looked like a carnival turning nighttime into daytime. When folks asked him to turn them off his response was KMA. That night someone cut his 200 feet of LEDs into 12” sections. They left the next morning really upset.

Ann English

Rver’s bring it on themselves. Your not supposed to throw your trash on the ground or dump your tanks.
Unfortunately some people have no respect for being allowed to stop overnight. It’s really a shame for full time RV travelers. We respect all rules, this is our home and we treat all places and things with respect. So RV travelers blame yourselves for this – it’s your actions that make it hard for people who are respectful of the places we stop overnight or stop for a long period of time.

Dave J

At one walmart here the manager simply got tired of having a paving company come in every month or so to repair the holes punched through his parking lots by motorhomes’ hydraulic jacks.

Frank Billington

We have also found that city ordinances sometimes forbid this practice. In some instances, Walmart is part of a mall, and the parking lot is not theirs. The mall authority controls it.

Edward

I would pay the $10.00 and Walmart issue dated window sticker that states its for one night only and they assume no responsibility for you and your rig , just as it is now. Some other common sense rules as well and violators will be asked to leave by law enforcement.
It has to be law enforcement because the people that break these rules are not going to listen to the person who rounds up grocery carts ! Perhaps monies generated by this fee be donated to the Salvation Army in December when the Salvation Army has their ringers out.

Mel Daley

I have noticed a lot of RV Parks have some open space areas without any hookups, more of a storage area. If I’m traveling from Point A to Point B all I want is a SPACE to park overnight! I’d like to see some of these RV Parks to allow parking in their open space areas for one night for a small fee, such as $10. I just want to come in after 6-7pm and I’ll be gone by 8 am!

Brian

Walmart has no interest in expanding its business into campgrounds. Ever read the various laws regulating campgrounds? Considered the expense of adding required utilities, etc.? Charging a fee makes Walmart or the shopping center owner liable to those laws and regulations. Cruising security around to police casual overnighters creates other liability and legal issues. Our suburban county banned overnight parking in commercial lots. Not much debate as there was more than ample evidence of all the problems outlined in this thread and more. Sadly, a courtesy has been abused.

Marc Cazessus

As always it unfortunately takes only a few inconsiderate and ignorant individuals to ruin a situation for the rest of the public or in this case the RV Travelers.

DDelione

Thanks to our culture’s increasing apathy and tolerance, you cant blame Walmart for ending it. Too many people will take advantage of it and turn their parking lots into trashy dumps and the “homeless” will move in and establish little cities. People will be living out of their cars and in tents made of tarps. Yeah, that’s where I want to park. And shop, too. Just look under the bridges of any fair sized city and you’ll find a tent/tarp city covered with trash. Bigger cities have had to live with people camping on the side walks, relieving themselves wherever and doing drugs in plain site. It might sound good for Walmart allow RV over-nighters for a token fee, but that would require them to hire hosts to regulate it. If they had any interest in that they would have done it by now. I’m still willing to pay for a real RV park with real facilities, which isnt much when you consider what a decent RV costs.

John C Jackson

When I was younger I listened to Paul Harvey’s “Rest of the News” . He was often sponsored by Walmart. That was before they were located in the West. He had a great show and always mentioned when traveling to stop by your local Walmart and stay the night at no charge. “You’re always welcomed”. Well, we’re not welcomed so much anymore because of the slobs who think they can do what they want anywhere they want.

It’s not Walmart’s responsibility to police the lot and start charging or issuing permits for overnight stays. They would like to simply welcome you to stay overnight and shop if you like. If people can’t respect their property and be civil they’ll just have to not allow overnight parking.

sandy

Walmart needs to give each person that goes in and asks to stay the night a paper pass. We can fill out a small questionair so they have our name and info. Anyone who doesn’t have a pass is towed. If we leave a mess they can charge us. Many would even pay a little to stay

Bluebird Bob

I wonder why the store manager can’t send their security out at various times to check the parking lot and send the undesirables down the road?

Wayne

In one in Oregon we were told no because of the mobile meth labs in rv’s.

A day of reckoning will come to those traveling with dogs too. And it could affect us all. The landscaped islands at the Casino near south west Tucson was covered with dog poo a year ago.

Silas Longshot

Yep, another ‘good thing’ ruined by slobs.

Ray Leissner

Seems like the logical thing for Walmart to do is start charging a fee for overnight stays. It could be enough to keep out the riff-raft or pay for those impounded.