RV’ing is very much an exercise in exploration. It’s by far the most freeing way to travel the country, giving those who do it the opportunity to stop at whatever destination they would like along their way, in stark contrast to the “point A to B” travel style of flying. However, because of how adventurous RV’ing can be, it’s not hard to get a bit off schedule and off route, which can lead to RV’ers needing a place to park overnight in a pinch. Luckily, there are options to park free overnight, and one of them is Walmart!
Can I park an RV at Walmart? Yes, many Walmart locations allow overnight parking for free for RV’s. However, some stores do not allow this, so you need to check with the specific site and ask for permission before you park there overnight. You may also need to park in dedicated RV parking spaces.
Believe it or not, most Walmart locations do allow free overnight parking for RVs. Being able to park free overnight at Walmart is a fantastic thing for those RV’ers that need it, of which there are many, but there are some additional things that need to be discussed before you set up shop.
How to Know Which Walmarts Allow Overnight Parking
The allowance of free overnight parking is not a corporate Walmart policy, unfortunately. Rather, whether a store allows overnight parking is up to that specific location, so you’ll need to check with the manager before you park there.
The easiest way to do this will be to simply call up the store and ask. This is also a good thing to do, even if you already know that they allow overnight parking from word of mouth, for example, to give their security team a heads up. This will prevent the overnight security guard from being suspicious of you and your travel buddies.
In addition to just phoning the store, though, All Stays has actually put together a site where you can search for Walmart stores that allow overnight parking. Simply go to that site, and click on the state that you’re in. This will bring you to a list of all Walmart locations in that state, so scroll until you find one near you to see if they offer overnight parking. You still need to call the store to let them know of your plans to stay, though.
In addition to just telling you whether or not overnight parking is allowed, All Stays is fantastic because they actually give you real feedback from other RV’ers who have parked their RV overnight at that specific Walmart. In effect, All Stays will provide you with “customer” reviews of staying overnight at different locations, which can be a great way to find out how safe the area is, as well as how RV’er friendly the staff at that specific store is.
Things to Know About Overnight Parking at Walmart
So you’ve found a Walmart local to you that allows overnight RV parking, and have spoken with the staff to get the all-clear. Great! There are just a few things that you should know before you actually go and set up shop for the night, as parking overnight at a Walmart is naturally going to be a slightly different experience than parking overnight at a campground or RV park.
Everything you NEED TO KNOW about overnight RV CAMPING at WALMART >> Check out the video below
Use the Truck Entrance
This will be obvious for seasoned RV’ers who are used to accommodating the size of their RV when traveling, but for those that are more accustomed to driving passenger cars, this might not be as much of a no-brainer.
Either way, when you arrive at the Walmart, do not use the main entrance. Many times, this will be difficult or even impossible to navigate in a full-size motorhome. Luckily though, every single Walmart nationwide has a truck entrance designed to accommodate 18-wheelers delivering inventory. It is best to use this entrance to make sure that you’re able to get into the parking lot in your RV.
Don’t Just Park Anywhere
Many of the Walmart locations that allow overnight RV parking will have designated spots for RVs. When you call the store, ask them exactly where they would like you to park and park there only. This will prevent you from getting in any trouble with the store, and will also likely put your RV in a spot that is out of the way of the people that are actually at Walmart to shop.
Remember Walmart Isn’t a Campsite
Obviously, Walmart is not designed for overnight RV parking, so what exactly should be done differently when parking overnight at a Walmart versus parking overnight at a campsite?
- Find a dump station: There will be no dump stations at Walmart. For this reason, it would be wise to find a dump station to visit before setting up for the night at Walmart. This can be done very easily by visiting RV Dumps, a database that lists dump stations by area.
- Consider water: Walmart will, of course, not have a place to fill up your water tank either, so you need to make sure that you either have enough water to last the night, or go and find a place to fill up before you park your RV for the night.
- Consider electricity: Again, Walmart will also not have any power hookups available. For this reason, you need to be prepared to use your own generator or have no power for the night.
Respect the Area, Even If It’s Not a Campsite
This should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway! Even though Walmart is not an actual campsite, it needs to be treated like one. This means picking up after yourself and being aware of your surroundings to avoid disturbing the people around you.
Walmart is extremely generous in offering free overnight RV parking, and it would be a shame if they stopped doing so because RV’ers couldn’t behave. So, don’t be the one that ruins it for everyone else, and make sure that you treat the Walmart parking lot with the same respect that you would any other campsite.
Other Places to Park Your RV Overnight for Free
Where can I park RV free overnight? Perhaps you’ve checked the All Stays website that was mentioned above and found that there are actually no Walmart locations near you. Or, you’ve found a Walmart location, but they, unfortunately, do not allow overnight RV parking.
But, all hope is not lost, as there are other options for folks that are looking to park their RV. Below are some of the best options for free overnight RV parking; chances are that one of these options will be at least semi-near your location.
Where to camp free in an RV >> Check out the video below
One of the most popular options for free overnight RV parking, outside of Walmart, is casinos. Most casinos do allow overnight RV parking, so this is an excellent option if Walmart doesn’t pan out the way that you were hoping it would.
In addition to many casinos passively allowing overnight parking of RVs, many actually encourage it by providing full-hookup accommodations like an actual campsite. This is a considerable benefit over Walmart’s dry-camping setup, as it will allow RV’ers to stay the night more comfortably without worrying about getting hooked up to electricity and water.
Casinos are also a great option to park free overnight because of their security teams. Casinos always have advanced security systems and staff, undoubtedly better than Walmart’s, so parking overnight at a casino is a safer option as well.
Finally, there’s the obvious benefit of being able to have some fun in the casino! Most casinos will not require gaming to stay overnight in the parking lot, though some will. In any case, playing a few rounds of blackjack is a fun way to spend some time outside of the RV, and can make your overnight stay just a little bit more interesting (or expensive!).
If you want to learn a little bit more about “casino camping,” Casino Camper will have absolutely everything that you need to know and more.
Don’t be fooled by the name; truck stops are no longer just for trucks. Many truck stops accommodate overnight RV parking, and it is, of course, a free option. In addition to being free, truck stops are not difficult to find at all, so you should have no trouble finding one near you that will be accommodating of your need to stay overnight.
Truck stops are a great option RV’ers for a few reasons, but the most significant reason is that they are, of course, designed for large vehicles. Some Walmarts, casinos, or other places can be a pain to maneuver in an RV, but truck stops will not have this problem.
Another benefit of truck stops is that they are most often located along major routes and highways, so they will not require you to go too far off course to find them. This is great for the people that are trying to eat up as many miles per day and don’t want to have to go too far out of their way to find a free place to park for the night.
However, while there are some great benefits to parking overnight at truck stops, there are some downsides as well, none of which apply to the other options that we’ve discussed:
Unfortunately, the common conception that truck stops can be dangerous is actually kind of true. Truck stops can be a beacon for all different types of people, some of whom may be a bit less concerned with abiding by the law than others. Because of this, if you do decide to stay at a truck stop overnight, keep valuables out of sight, be vigilant, and lock your doors. The chances are quite high that you’ll have a trouble-free stay, and we don’t want to make it seem like truck stops are crime havens, because they’re not. They’re just a bit less safe and secure than other options, so it’s best to be careful.
Related reading: How to Prevent Travel Trailer Theft – 13 Steps that Work
The other downside of truck stops is that there are some meticulously followed rules about where to park, how to park, and how long to park for. Truckers will not appreciate if you don’t park straight or if you block them from going to where they need to go, so make sure that you follow all of the rules of the parking lot to avoid getting in anyone’s way. Additionally, it’s best to be gone by morning to avoid taking up space once the truck stop gets busier.
With all that being said, you may be wondering if certain truck stops are better than others for overnight parking. The answer is yes; some are better than others. Axle Addict recommends looking for either a Pilot or Flying J truck stop.
Related reading: Average RV Park Rates: Actual Campgrounds Prices per Night
Another great place to seek out free overnight parking is by taking a look at some of the state or county-owned public venues that are in your area. The chances are quite high that you’ll be able to find a site near you that will allow overnight parking, and many even have hookups to make your stay there a bit more comfortable.
Axle-Addict lists the following places as municipal areas that are likely to accommodate overnight RV parking:
- City Parks
- County Parks
Many of these locations are very nice, often scenic, and have huge parking lots that make getting around in your RV a breeze. Parking here overnight also comes with the added benefit of being able to explore the park. Whether it’s a full-blown recreation area with campsites and hookups or just a small county park, there will likely be some space to roam to, at the very least, stretch your legs a bit after a long day of driving.
In addition to being scenic and offering some things to do, parking at a park or fairground is a safer option than parking at a truck stop. You’ll likely be parked in a place that doesn’t attract much foot traffic overnight, so you won’t have to worry about anyone bothering you during your overnight stay at one of these locations.
Finally, a last-ditch option for those that can’t find anywhere to park overnight is to simply call around to local businesses and see if one of them will be kind enough to let you park overnight in their parking lot. While your average small business will probably not allow this, let alone have a big enough parking lot, you may have some luck with larger chains.
One excellent option to look around for is wholesale supermarkets, like BJ’s, Sam’s Club, or Costco. These stores often have huge parking lots, and they are not very difficult to come by. Looking for a store like these locally is a good idea to try to find a free place to park overnight.
Another good option to look for is hardware and home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot. These stores, like the wholesale supermarkets mentioned above, typically have large parking lots that won’t be overly burdened by an RV taking up just a little bit of space in a back corner. With both of the above options, though, it is, of course, essential to call ahead first to make sure that the store is okay with you staying there.
The businesses that you shouldn’t bother asking for overnight parking are those that are smaller, and don’t have parking lots to accommodate an RV. Instead, stick to these larger stores, and you may have some luck with finding a spot.
A Final Note on Safety
One of the most important things to consider for the folks that are looking to park their RV overnight for free is the safety of the place that you’re parking. It is very easy and thus very tempting to simply pull over on the side of a deserted road or to park in the back of some random industrial complex, but this is never a good idea.
- For one, you don’t have permission to park there, and are therefore subjecting yourself to legal trouble should anyone be unhappy with your decision to set up shop.
- Secondly, and most importantly, you’re parking in a completely secluded place, which makes you a prime target for criminal activity. If you’re parked on the side of the road, it will be quick and easy for a criminal to surprise you, take your things, and be off down the road.
For the above two reasons, it’s best to stick to the places listed above to avoid any problems with your free overnight parking.
FORGET WALMART FOR OVERNIGHT RV PARKING, PARK HERE INSTEAD >> Check out the video below
Somewhat surprisingly, it turns out that there are quite a few options for free overnight RV parking, with Walmart being the most popular and easy to find. Whether you’re just looking to save money on your trip or couldn’t get to your campsite in time, the above-listed options are all viable ways to park your RV overnight for free.
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