Overnight Parking At Wal-Mart — Part II

April 15, 2008 by Jim O'Briant · 13 Comments  
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Last week’s blog article covered some general information about Overnight RV Parking at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. We also discussed this problem of finding out which stores do or don’t allow Overnight RV Parking, and how you can find current and accurate information. Here’s more about Overnight RV Parking at Wal-mart and Sam’s Club.

We can’t automatically assume that every Wal-mart Store, Wal-Mart SuperCenter or Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market Store will allow RVs to park overnight. Similarly, we can’t assume that every Sam’s Club will allow it either. The reason may be a local Anti-RV “No Overnight Parking” law. Some Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club parking lots aren’t owned by Wal-mart, and the owner doesn’t allow overnight parking. Some Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club parking lots, especially at older stores, aren’t large enough to accommodate RVs without interfering with customer parking. Some store managers have set a policy that prohibits Overnight RV Parking because of past abuses by RVers who set up camp and/or stayed much longer than the normal one night.

There are also instances where a Wal-Mart and a Sam’s Club are next door to each other, sharing one large parking lot, yet one store allows Overnight RV Parking in its part of the lot while the other store prohibits it.

A small percentage of the “No Overnight RV Parking” Wal-Marts and Sam’s Clubs are places where there is a local ordinance against Overnight RV Parking in a business parking lot, but the ordinance is seldom if ever enforced. At some of these places, local police only get involved if the store asks them to. At others, a complaint from a citizen can cause the police to ticket or evict an RVer. And at some places, the store has told RVers that the police might ticket RVs if there’s nothing else keeping them busy that night.

There are a few Wal-Marts that don’t allow RVs in their parking lots at all, day or night, even to park while shopping. The Wal-Mart SuperCenter at 8288 Cincinnati-Dayton Rd. in West Chester, OH, is one of these. And the policy is seasonal at the Wal-Mart Store at 6545 North Landmark Dr., Park City, UT. In this popular ski resort town, local snow removal ordinances specify that Overnight RV Parking isn’t allowed in winter, but is in summer.

If you plan to park overnight at a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club, please remember that you virtually always need the store’s permission to do so. Asking the store’s manager or Customer Service desk is often the only way to be sure that Overnight RV Parking is allowed there.

Even when the store allows Overnight RV Parking, remember that there’s no legal right for us to park there, other than during the time we’re actually in the store, shopping. In order to park beyond that time, we need their permission. Just seeing other RVs parked there isn’t sufficient. You don’t know whether or not they have the store’s permission to be there, and even if they do, you don’t until you ask and the store says “Yes.” There are a few cases where Wal-Marts have told RVers that the store doesn’t require that RVers ask permission to park. These stores are very few and far between. When receives such a report, we include that detail in our database record for that store.

And of course, in order to preserve the Overnight RV Parking privilege, we don’t camp at Wal-Mart, we park there, and we abide by the FMCA’s Overnight RV Parking Guidelines. There’s more on these topics in some of my earlier Overnight RV Parking Blog articles.

Safe travels,

Jim O’Briant

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13 Responses to “Overnight Parking At Wal-Mart — Part II”

  1. Rick Lamb on April 15th, 2008 10:56 am

    Great info. Have never parked in one yet, thanks for info.

  2. Jerry Skinness on April 15th, 2008 4:38 pm

    We park at WalMarts every chance we get as we’ve never had a problem. If they have a gas station, I always fill up in the morning before taking off. We also usually have purchases to make in the store so it’s a great place to stop. We spent about $300 at two stops on our last trip. $150 a night isn’t too bad so I can see why WalMart does it. The next thing I expect them to do is a wireless internet service like some McDonalds are doing. We appreciate WalMart and always leave our spot cleaner than when we got there. Thanks WalMart!

  3. harriet on April 16th, 2008 6:28 am

    thanks for the information. with $$$ increasing for everything it is good to know where a free space might be available.

  4. Harold on April 16th, 2008 10:22 am

    We spent a night last week April 11th at a Wal-Mart in Lafayette, GA. on highway 19. We ask at the Service desk and were told YES. Only stipulation not to park in the rear of the store. There parking lot servied more than the Wal-Mart Superstore. We were told to park over by the Goody’s store because they closed up at 9PM. Spent the night did some shopping and left by 8:30AM.

    We spend the night at Wal=Mart’s every now and then as we travel across this great country.

  5. Jim on April 20th, 2008 5:09 pm

    Due to high fuel prices I think more and more of us will be parking overnight at Walmarts, Cracker Barrels and Cabelas. Another point is that we have a short coach with a bedroom slide that has to be out while using the bedroom. We always put the bed slide towards the curb or out to a lamppost as to not hamper anyone.

    Happy Trails, Jim

  6. Jim O'Briant on April 20th, 2008 5:45 pm

    Jerry, I agree with the old RVers’ joke that “free parking” at Wal-Mart isn’t free. Wal-Mart knows that RVers need to stock up on a variety of things, and in general they welcome our business.

    I’ll just repeat for Rick & Harriet and others who haven’t ever parked overnight at a Wal-mart, that I very strongly recommend asking permission, regardless of what anyone else says about whether it’s allowed, and regardless of whether or not there are other RVs there when you arrive. Harold’s message illustrates one reason — the store may want you to park in a specific place.

    Jim’s situation is not uncommon — an RV whose interior isn’t fully accessible without extending one or more slides. If your RV manual says you can extend slides without using levelers, then Jim’s approach is the right one — extend the slide over the curb at the edge of the lot, or over a center island, or in some other way where it doesn’t block vehicle or pedesrian traffic, and where no vehicle or pedestrian is likely to run into it. Some RVs require use of levelers before extending slides. With these, you also need to use levelers only surfaces that the levelers won’t damage, such as concrete. On asphalt, use a large wooden or plastic pad to ensure that the leveler doesn’t damage or deform the surface.

    Thanks to all above for your comments.

    Jim O’Briant

  7. Michael Stowe on May 15th, 2008 9:43 pm

    I work for Wal-Mart as a Customer Service Manager and have a 28 foot moterhome towing a HHR car. When travel I have stayed in our lots with out even telling them what store I work in or that I even work for Wal-Mart. When some one stps in my store, and we do have “No RV Overnight Parking” signs, I tell them the police do not care if they are quiet. I also tell them if a officer knocks on the door to just tell them ” Office I am just so tired I could not keep my eys open”. The police dont want to deal with another accedent, and they realy dont care. Our signs were mandated by some busybodies, and has not been enforced. So stop by on you way north or south in Jupiter, FL.

  8. Stardust on June 7th, 2008 9:55 pm

    My wife and I just bought our first RV, a small travel trailer. We are planning our first trip, (from TX to PA ) in a few weeks. Having never been on the road with a trailer, before it promises to be exciting to say the least. I have been reading all the BLOG sites and other information on the web. I must say that I have learned a lot from Jim O’Briant’s blogs. Thanks Jim.

  9. Carl Parman on July 26th, 2008 10:19 am

    I bought a book that has all of the Sams Clubs, Supercenters, and regular Walmarts listing how to get to them from the nearest interstate Phone number of the Manager, Zip code of the location if you want to set up your dish up .Works Great

  10. Jim O'Briant on July 27th, 2008 11:14 am

    Carl Parman wrote:

    > I bought a book that has all of the Sams Clubs, Supercenters, and regular
    > Walmarts listing how to get to them from the nearest interstate Phone
    > number of the Manager, Zip code of the location if you want to set up
    > your dish up .Works Great

    Only a couple of problems with this…

    One is that Wal-Mart is opening hundreds of new stores each year, so if you want to stay up to date you have spend around $25-30 each year for a new book.

    Another is that this book does not have current information on which Wal-Marts and Sam’s Clubs allow Overnight RV Parking and which ones don’t. Store polices change with surprising frequency.

    And the third issue is if by “set your dish up” you mean setting a tripod outside your RV, you should not be doing this in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Awnings, lawn furniture, BBW grilles and portable satellite dish tripods are indications of camping rather than parking, and Wal-Mart generally disapproves of CAMPING in their lots. Parking is often acceptable. (A roof-mounted satellite dish is another matter entirely.)

    Jim O’Briant
    Gilroy, CA
    Moderator, OvernightRVParking Yahoo Group
    Overnight Parking Blog:

  11. Steve Silverwood on December 30th, 2009 4:02 pm

    Until just recently, I worked the night shift at the Wal-Mart store in Murrieta, CA at Murrieta Hot Springs and Interstate 15. I also have a 32-foot Class C Jayco Granite Ridge, which I needed to use to drive to work a couple of nights one week (car trouble on our main vehicle). The first night, no problem. Second night, even though I was parked in a different place, the roving security car in the parking lot took note of it, but on my first break I made sure to let the guard know it was mine (she knows me), it wasn’t parked overnight, and I was actually on duty. :)

    By the way, it DID make a nice place to go during my lunch hour, away from the crowded break room!

    When you look for a spot in the parking lot, check the spaces the farthest away from the store entrance. Often you’ll find extra-wide, extra-long spots at the very end of the rows, where an RV can pull through. If you spot one, be sure to use that if possible.

    Also, one commenter mentioned that the store asked them not to park in back. There’s a couple of good reasons for that.

    First, on the store’s part, the trucks come in at various hours of the night to unload, as it’s the graveyard shift that’s responsible for restocking the store before the morning rush. Parking back there will hamper the drivers’ movements of their rigs, so best not to use that area.

    Second, for your own comfort, the noise from the trucks, the forklifts and the night crew will make for an uncomfortable night’s sleep for you if you were to try to park back there. I guarantee you won’t get much uninterrupted sack time.

    All in all, most Wal-Mart stores are happy to have brief overnight visits from RVers. Also, while you’re there, look in the automotive department for RV-specific supplies, such as accessories, toilet paper or chemicals. If you need something for your rig on the fly, so to speak, chances are you’ll find it there. If not, ask the poor guy sweating his off in the auto department (that was me!), as he might be able to find it for you in the stuff he’s unpacking! :)



  12. Murrieta Dog Walker on May 21st, 2012 11:51 am

    That is really good information to have. It makes since as most Walmarts are becoming 24 hour locations anyways.

  13. ways grow taller on June 22nd, 2012 3:37 pm

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