How Long Can You Park At Walmart

Parking overnight at Walmart has long been a refuge for RVers and travelers looking for a safe, well-lit, and free place to briefly rest. However, confusion around Walmart’s overnight parking policy often deters nomads from utilizing this convenient option. Uncertainty over permission, time limits, and the risk of being towed can quickly put a damper on travel plans.

The clear answer is that each Walmart location has individual discretion over its parking regulations. While some warmly welcome self-contained RVs to spend one or multiple nights, others prohibit any long-term stays in their lot. Most stores allow a 24-hour stay, but a small portion enacts stricter limits of only a few hours. Knowing the policies of your destination Walmart is key before assuming an overnight spot.

Here, I’m gonna provide all the information including Walmart’s overnight parking history, corporate policy versus individual store rules, time limits by location, conditions for parking at Walmart, and much more in this guide. Equipped with this knowledge, you can better utilize Walmart as a convenient and cost-free stopover point without uncertainty.

How Long Can You Park At Walmart

Does Walmart Allow Parking RVs?

Yes, Walmart does allow parking RVs at most locations, but permission is extended on a store-by-store basis and determined by individual store managers. Walmart considers RVers as its biggest customer base, so there are few restrictions on parking.

While the corporate policy permits recreational vehicles to stay overnight, local circumstances and demand mean some locations choose not to participate.

Walmart’s History of Allowing RV Overnight Parking

Walmart has an intricate history regarding overnight RV stays in their massive parking lots spanning over 50 years. Here are some key events that shaped their policies over time:

Origins of Welcomed Overnight Stays

Sam Walton, Walmart’s founder, first began allowing traveling motorhomes to utilize store parking back in the 1960s and 70s during the company’s early development. This hospitality would bring shoppers inside while providing a safe rest stop.

The small-town relationship between stores and RVers established back then continued through the 80s and 90s as more locations opened nationwide. Overnighting at Walmart developed into an American pastime and a reliable fixture of full-time RVing.

Shift Away From Universal Overnight Stays

By the early 2000s, some locations began prohibiting overnight parking due to complaints of excessive noise, trash, and RV fluid dumping in lots. However, the majority of stores still allowed it.

A class action lawsuit settled in 2004 over an RVer getting injured in a store lot brought more scrutiny towards safety and overnight policies. Still, the company remained publically welcoming to RVers through the 2000s.

Recent years have seen more individual locations restrict or impose strict time limits on overnight stays as stores face mounting issues with long-term campers. Though many spots remain available, confusion and inconsistencies around current policies have developed.

What Are the Conditions to Park and Stay at Walmart?

Managers grant permission to park RVs overnight based on several factors:

  • Available Parking Space – More vacant spaces in the lot enable managers to better accommodate RVers requesting to stay. Stores constantly at full capacity even overnight deny space.
  • Avoiding Loss of Customer Parking – If overnight RVs crowd out needed retail customer parking in premier front areas, restrictions may apply to balance access.
  • Adherence to City Ordinances – Local laws prohibiting longer-duration habitation in commercial lots or screening visibility by large vehicles can dictate restrictions despite the corporate policy.
  • Limited Extraneous Noise & Light – Provided vehicles spend nights discreetly without loud a/c units, bright lights, and generators disturbing neighbors or store operation, they are more welcomed.
  • RV Waste Containment – Proper disposal of sewage offsite and avoidance of on-premise fluid leaks and trash helps sustain parking privileges, per corporate guidance.

So besides sufficient space, RVers not diminishing prime customer access, avoiding disruptions, and practicing waste responsibility enables most stores to continue their hospitality tradition.

When They Don’t Allow RVs Parking at Walmart?

Even stores allowing overnight RVs may still deny access in exceptionally high-demand situations such as:

  • Peak Holiday Weekend Volume – Major summer road trip seasons and holidays overflow available overnight parking beyond capacity, requiring temporary bans.
  • Special Regional Events – Local happenings like festivals and conventions consuming hotel rooms may lead RVers to overwhelm stores lacking infrastructure to support huge demand surges medium term.
  • Ongoing Parking Shortages – Metropolitan area Walmarts bordering other big box retailers in densely packed zones contend with chronic parking crunches, requiring permanent everyday prohibitions.
  • Chronic Rule Violators – Stores encountering the same LICENSED RVers repeatedly flouting policies or mistreating premises eventually are forced to prohibit all visitor parking to correct behavior.
  • Local Laws – Many jurisdictions have laws against overnight parking on public streets and private property. If the local Walmart store is situated in such places where parking overnight is prohibited, then they cannot allow RVs to park there for a long time.

Occasional denial of overnight RV access during acute spikes in visitor volume or limited space should be expected, with courteous understanding from guests.

Time Limits for Overnight Stays at Walmart

In addition to knowing if overnighting is allowed, abiding by Walmart’s time limit policies for continuous parking is crucial to avoid towing and fees. Here are some commonly enforced caps by location:

  • 24-Hour Limit – The most common time constraint across stores allowing overnighting is a one-night-only or 24-hour policy. Parking beyond this risks towing even if initially welcomed. Always clarify with staff.
  • Sunset to Sunrise – Overnight guests may be required to vacate the premises during daytime hours, only returning after sunset. This still provides needed rest but prevents squatting.
  • Multi-Night Stays – Some Walmart locations with less demand do allow RVers to enjoy consecutive overnight stays for 2-3 nights. Ask management upon arrival and be flexible to move if crowded.
  • Only Few Hours – A minority of stores strictly limit any continuous parking or idling to only 4-6 daylight hours before vehicles must vacate for at least 24 hours.
  • Case-By-Case Basis – The store manager on duty may request overnight guests who attempt to stay for multiple night shift locations or limit days depending on current occupancy conditions in the lot.

Being thoughtful parking neighbors, respecting directives, and not overstaying vaguely defined welcomes helps preserve Walmart’s RV parking privileges into the future.

Walmart’s Corporate Stance Versus Individual Store Policies

Today, Walmart corporate states that overnight RV parking is allowed based on each store manager’s discretion according to location circumstances and demand. Some specifics on policy differences include:

Corporate Policy

No universal company-wide ban exists on overnight RV parking. Walmart officially states that the decision to allow overnight guests rests solely on individual store managers. Corporate customer service cannot verify if a specific store permits overnighting. Inquiries must be directed to store management.

Individual Store Differences

Most 24-hour Supercenters allow overnight RV parking while banning overnight tent camping. However, more stores recently enacting complete bans make confirming policies vital.

Stores in popular tourist destinations see heavier demand for overnight parking spots which increases restrictions, while rural areas tend to have more availability.

Signage, barriers, painted lines, and lot associate guidance further dictate local rules that travelers must observe during visits.

This decentralized approach means that the only way to guarantee that overnighting is permitted is to call or speak directly with your destination store when planning a visit. Not all locations welcome drop-ins.

Best Practices For A Smooth Overnight Stay

Once confirmed that your destination Walmart allows overnight guests, implementing these tips will help create goodwill and an undisrupted rest stop during your visit:


  • Park away from the main store entrance to avoid bottlenecking customer traffic when arriving and departing. Avoid pharmacy or grocery doors.
  • Ask associates where designated RV overnight parking zones exist to comply with local policies. Use provided lines or barriers as guides.
  • Only take up one marked spot keeping within space lines to allow other travelers room to join. Avoid trailer overhangs.

Overnight Etiquette

  • Keep indoor lights and noise to a minimum after 10 pm so neighboring RVers can rest peacefully.
  • Always contain and properly dispose of waste. Never litter the parking area.
  • Leaving promptly in the morning maintains good standing if planning on recurring future visits.
  • Patronizing the store to shop demonstrates guest appreciation. Purchase clearance closeout items!


  • Check the entire area surrounding the rig for any stray debris, tank valves, leveling blocks, etc. before driving off.
  • Safely pulling out early before the morning rush begins allows staff to service the lot.
  • Thanking any associates or managers encountered for their hospitality goes a long way toward sustained goodwill.

Repeatedly staying at the same store without issues shows that mutual overnight parking respect and accountability between Walmart and RVers contribute towards beneficial longstanding store policies.

Night Stay Alternatives If Walmart Restricts Parking

With current variability around Walmart’s overnight parking acceptance, having backup options if unexpectedly denied a spot allows continuous road trip travel. Here are some alternative big box stores that frequently offer similar overnight accommodations:

  1. Cracker Barrel: While restaurants don’t usually allow overnight parking, the country-inspired Cracker Barrel chain actively welcomes self-contained RVs to utilize parking lots at most locations when dining in or taking out food orders. Stay durations allowable vary by high traffic versus remote areas.
  2. Bass Pro Shops: This massive outdoor recreation gear and apparel mega chain store allows RV parking more often than restricting it. Avoid peak holiday weekends and call the specific store to check. Bass Pro also provides electrical hookups at some spots too!
  3. Camping World: The RV accessory and service company allows free stays at many outlet locations which provide a sense of community. Special member perks like equipment storage and loyalty rewards accompany attractive overnighting benefits when touring their stores.
  4. Casino Parking Lots: Well-lit, security-patrolled casino hotel parking areas tend to generously welcome free overnight RV guests as they likely will visit gaming floors or on-site entertainment during stays. Always verify policies before assuming open parking access.

Utilizing these welcoming overnight alternatives helps supplement sporadic Walmart location inclusion until their policies become more universally aligned and reliable again chainwide.

Frequently Asked Questions Time 

Do I Have to Pay For Overnight Walmart Parking?

No payment or fees apply for self-contained RVs staying one or more nights at Walmarts allowing overnight guest parking. All coast-to-coast locations provide free access. Remain self-sufficient by containing bathroom and greywater needs rather than expecting utilities. Patronizing the store is purely optional for those wishing to further express thanks for the hosting service.

Will Walmart Tow My RV If I Leave It Overnight?

Generally no, Walmarts allowing overnight RV guests will not tow properly parked vehicles left unattended overnight if following all posted policies like parking zone instructions and duration time limits at that location. Always touch base with staff on duty for permissions and directives to avoid exceptional case towing if constraints are ignored or abused.

Is Overnight Parking Safe at Walmart?

Yes, Walmarts permitting RV overnight parking provides relatively safe and secure options for rest by merit of lit, active lots with late hours, surveillance cameras in many cases, and often patrolling security guards discouraging criminal mischief towards visitors and property under watch. Public settings inherently limit risks overnight versus more isolated locales.

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