TODAY I'M OUTSIDE

July 13, 2020

Can You Camp at Walmart?

Written by

Daniel Wade

Can You Camp at Walmart? | Today I'm Outside

Can You Camp at Walmart?

We've all been in situations where we've underestimated our trips and had to pull over for a rest in an unknown location. Life on the road can be tricky, and you never know when plans are going to go awry. In situations like these, many people wonder if it is legal to camp in an RV at Walmart.

Camping in a typically spacious and open Walmart parking lot seems like the perfect option when stranded out on the road. So, is it legal to camp at Walmart? The answer is yes, but with some caveats.

There are many Walmart stores throughout America that do allow you to park your RV overnight. These stores do so under their own volition, although certain jurisdictions override them. If you are near a Walmart that allows you to park your RV overnight, the option to do so may prove a miracle on chaotic road trips.

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Can I Camp at Walmart?

There are more Walmarts that allow overnight RV parking than there are Walmarts that do not. It was a vision of Walmart's founder, Sam Walton, that RV campers who benefitted so greatly from Walmart shopping would also find a place to park overnight in their lots. Most Walmarts choose to uphold this tradition, so long as their area's laws allow it and their parking lots are spacious enough.

As of 2020, there are over 3500 Walmart Supercenters in America1. These Supercenters are the Walmart locations that are most likely to have spacious parking lots perfect for overnight RV parkers. These locations are scattered throughout the country in incredibly convenient locations and will typically provide 24/7 shopping, as well.

In the days before smartphones, RV campers would often have to go from Walmart to Walmart to find a location that allow overnight RV parking. Thankfully, it is much easier to figure out which locations are RV-friendly nowadays. There are numerous options, and all of them can be performed using your smartphone.

Which Walmarts Allow Overnight Camping?

One of the most popular options for finding out which Walmart locations allow for overnight RV parking is allstays.com. On their website, you can find a comprehensive list of what Walmarts do and do not allow overnight RV parking. They also offer a downloadable app that can be used on your smartphone, and a downloadable PDF that contains all the same information.

Besides allstays.com, there are many other internet resources available to see which Walmarts allow for camping. Walmartatlas.com is a site dedicated specifically to showing which Walmart locations are the best ones for camping out in your RV overnight. It features a comprehensive map of the United States and uses color coding to show which Walmart locations allow overnight parking.

If you would prefer a more direct method, you can always get a hold of the Walmart location and verify first-hand. Simply find a location that is conveniently suited to yours and call up the store and ask. This is also a good idea because it gives stores some awareness of who's camping out in their parking lots, going to further demonstrate the positive possibilities of overnight Walmart camping.

How Long Can You Camp at Walmart?

Typically and ideally, Walmart prefers that you only stay in one location for a night. However, there are situations in which a slight extension might not be too big of an issue. Really, it's up to the individual location. If you are worried, try and speak with store management directly and plead your case.

The reason that longer stays become an issue is that homeless populations will often take advantage when longer stays are allowed. Even when stays are limited to single nights, transient populations will try to push the boundaries, making honest campers look bad. This is generally the reason you will see overnight RV parking outright banned at Walmarts in certain jurisdictions.

It's always best to try and plan out your trip so you are not staying at a single Walmart location for more than a single night. Given that there tend to be numerous Walmart locations in close vicinity to one another, this shouldn't prove to be much of an issue for even the most desperate campers. In order to keep the tradition of Walmart overnight RV parking alive, remember not to push what certain Walmart locations do and do not approve of when it comes to camping.

Can I Camp at Walmart in My Car?

Officially, car camping isn't approved of in the same way that overnight RV parking is. However. the management at most stores will usually not pay much mind to overnight car parkers who follow the same rules as RV parkers. Just lay low, don't blast any music out of your speakers, and don't overstay your welcome.

As with overnight RV parking, weary travellers may simply wish to be forthright and ask the store's management if parking their car overnight is allowed. Walmart's parking lots generally have plenty of vacant space even at peak hours. Because of this, store management typically won't get after polite overnight car parkers who simply need a place to camp out for the night.

Does Walmart Offer Any Amenities for Campers?

Why, yes... they have a whole store full! But, seriously, Walmart locations that allow overnight parking are not known to have RV amenities. You are not going to get water and electricity hook-ups, or a place to dump your sewage. This is barebones camping, and it is simply meant as a last resort or easy escape for campers in the midst of travel.

As well, you are most likely not going to want to try and start a bonfire out in front of your RV, or any other such typical camping activity. You might see a few RV owners with portable barbecues and lawn chairs, but this is not going to be a typical camping experience. With that said, any RV camper in need should definitely remember that, should the need arise, Walmart overnight parking is generally always an option.

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Can You Camp at Walmart?

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