In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is it legal to sleep in a Walmart parking lot? We will explain how to legally sleep in a Walmart parking lot, give you a few tips to survive the night, and discuss some alternatives for legal RV parking in the US.
Is it legal to sleep in a Walmart parking lot?
The quick answer is: Yes, it is legal to sleep in a Walmart parking lot. The less quick answer is that it can be done as long as you ask for permission and adhere to the regulations and you are not camping there.
Read more about the parking policy at Walmart:
- Many Walmart parking lots have “No Night Parking” signs. According to some, these signs are for tractor-trailers, according to others, they are put for the end of insurance or to avoid great traffic of motorized vehicles.
In order to have peace of mind, all you have to do is walk into the store and get informed by wearing your best smile. If you are allowed to stay overnight, staff will direct you to the appropriate location.
- If you don’t want to come to the store to request overnight parking clearance, it’s best to call.
- To find store locations and get a feel for sleepiness in advance, use these two mobile apps: Allstays Truck and Travel and RV Parky. If these two apps tell you that overnight parking is allowed at the location you are targeting, then you have a plan. Otherwise, read the comments of other users and get an idea. In addition, the Allstays app tells us how many kilometres to drive to the chosen Walmart.
- If you have a choice of two or three stores a few miles apart, choose the furthest from the highway. The possibilities for it to be open 24 hours a day decrease and by the same token, the chances of peace and quiet increase.
- On-site, keep your extension closed. Try to be as discreet as possible.
Can you sleep in the Walmart parking lot in an RV?
Yes, some Walmart stores do allow RV travellers to use their parking lot for overnight stays. Obviously, compared to a campground, this is far from the ideal location. However, some globetrotters seek to save money by finding free areas to park overnight, especially if they are just passing through and not planning on staying.
Since most RVs are already equipped for convenience, it is easier to sleep all over the place if compared to tent camping, for example. Plus, if you ever need to shop for groceries before you leave, you’ve come to the right place to do it.
Yes, we encourage multinationals by buying from them, but we also gain in return since we were able to spend the night with peace of mind, without having to pay additional costs, and in a legal manner.
However, you have to be careful! While there are apps where riders share their experiences of overnight parking at a Walmart, the safest way is to call them directly beforehand.
Indeed, not all establishments allow RVs to use their parking space for free.
Your best bet is to ask to speak to the manager to confirm if this is indeed the case. You can also ask if there are any special rules to follow, such as the appropriate location, arrival time, etc.
If you ever have a choice of several Walmart within a few miles of each other, choose the one that is furthest from the highway. This reduces the possibilities that it is open 24 hours and by the same token, it may be quieter.
Several tips for sleeping in a Walmart parking lot
Not all Walmarts accept overnight stays. Usually, this will be displayed at the store entrance: No overnight parking. If you see this sign, or if you are unsure, you can always politely go and ask employees about it.
Park at the end of the car park so as not to be disturbed by the lights and especially for a little peace. And yes even at night, Americans continue to do their shopping.
Use the Walmart app. It shows you all the Walmart on the map and gives you the opening hours directly.
Be careful, however, cars or RVs may be tolerated, but this is not mandatory and is always at the discretion of the manager. Always check if there are other RVs or Camping Cars on the premises. And here’s an unofficial site that lists Walmart’s that don’t accept overnight stays: http://www.walmartlocator.com/no-park-walmarts/
Some tips for personal hygiene: If you sleep in a Walmart parking lot, you can go to the bathroom to brush your teeth and wash your face. Plus, with Walmart’s open 24 hours a day, you can use the restroom anytime. For showers, you will usually find paid showers in the centre in the large parks, near the information points.
For laundry, you have a laundromat everywhere. For a quarter change, you have machines inside that give you change. Distributors are also available to buy small boxes of laundry.
Where to legally park your RV in the US
Below we will give you a few tips for parking an RV so that you don’t upset the HOA or risk having your vehicle towed. Let’s start with the most traditional option: paid campsites for motorhomes or RVs.
Not all paid motorhome campsites are the same, which is why we believe that a distinction must be made between 4 different types:
- “Primitive” campsites – These are the ones that do not have services (water, electricity, toilets/showers) included. That is, you simply pay for the place to sleep. They are usually those found in remote places and some national or state parks.
- Campsites with basic amenities – This type of camping for motorhome usually has the basic services included, that is to say: electricity, water (at least within the nearby area) and bathrooms (generally with a shower, although not always with hot water).
They are those that are mainly found in almost all of America (for example, municipal campsites in towns); in the US and Canada they are called “partial hookup.”
- Campsites with full service – They are the “top of the range” of camping sites for motorhomes, and are those that are mainly found in Canada, the USA (and some areas of Mexico), where they are called “full-hookup”.
They have electricity and water (direct and exclusive connections for your vehicle at the place where you park), bathrooms (with hot showers) and direct drains (for black and grey water tanks).
In addition, they can have extra services such as wi-fi, telephone and even satellite TV (yes, TV in a campsite!).
- Informal campsites – Here we include other “camping” sites but which are not formally so, but rather are spaces that individuals rent temporarily so that you can sleep in your motorhome.
This is often seen a lot in Latin America (where there are not too many camping sites for motorhomes) and can be placed in restaurants, hotels and hostels and even private homes. Amenities vary by site but typically include at least water, toilets, and electricity.
The bottom line
There is no instruction manual for sleeping at Walmart. Every store is free to choose and I would say that every manager has the final say. Do you have Walmart overnight experiences or know of a Walmart that has a great location? Share them with us in the comments!
FAQ on Is it legal to sleep in a Walmart parking lot?
Where can I park an RV?
An RV is perfectly entitled to park in the parking spaces along the roadway. However, its size must allow it, it must not interfere with road traffic or pedestrians. However, due to its size, the motorhome cannot park everywhere.
Where to stop with a motorhome?
A motorhome can stop in town in a parking space and spend the night there. It does not matter whether the motorhome operators are on board or not, as long as they comply with the regulations.
How to live year-round in a caravan?
To live year-round in a caravan and benefit from an address, registering with your local office is an idea. However, you must have a link with the municipality where you are making the request such as a place of stay on the date of the request, professional activity in the municipality, family ties.