Many people wonder, can you park your RV at Walmart overnight? Boondocking was allowed at Walmart years ago, not true for all Walmarts now. You’ll find the answer to this question and alternative boondocking locations in this post.

Out of the more than 5,000 Walmart stores across the country, only 77% of these locations allow overnight parking. 

To check, you may make use of the Walmart Locator to know which locations allow you to park overnight.

It’s been a while since I’ve gone boondocking. Recent trips were with the kids and I had to organize an orderly adventure just to stay on the safe side.

My youngest is one year old and I need to wait a few years more before I can tag her along in one of my boondocking trips.

But once in a while, I go on an adventure with fellow RVers. These are mostly times when my wife and the kids sleepover at Gramps’ place.

I’d go to the nearest camping location I can find and just explore.

Today we passed by Walmart and I think of how boondocking has changed. 

Over the years, Walmart has been a famous place for boondocking – mostly for an overnight stay when going on long drives on the way to campgrounds or RV parks.

If you’ve been RVing for quite some time, chances are you’ve already wallydocked in at least one or two Walmart parking lots.

It’s a happy place for a lot of us RVers because we get to hit a lot of birds with one stone. 

First, we save around $30-50 on overnight parking. Second, we get to grab travel essentials at the store. Third, the experience.

Can You Park Your RV At Walmart Overnight?

Recently, however, there were changes around the policies that RVers should be aware of.

Out of the more than 5,000 Walmart stores across the country, only 77% of these locations allow overnight parking. 

To check, you may make use of the Walmart Locator to find out where overnight parking at Walmart is allowed.

Some RVers have become concerned about the potentially growing number of Walmart stores not allowing vehicles to park overnight, but there is a practical reason behind the policy.

Each location is governed by laws and there are some cities where sleeping overnight in vehicles is prohibited. Steer clear of these areas if you plan on staying at a Walmart overnight to get ready for a long trip ahead.

I also heard that locations near popular tourist spots also do not allow people to sleep in the parking areas overnight to control the crowd and to help maintain the cleanliness of the area.

With that said, as responsible RVers, we also need to play our part and remember the following rules of thumb when camping at a parking lot:

  • Check ahead of time if the store allows overnight parking.
  • Only stay one or two nights at a given Walmart location.
  • Pick a spot far from the store’s entrance or exit so you don’t disturb the shoppers.
  • Do not pull out the RV’s awning or bring out lawn chairs in the parking lot.
  • Never use a grill or cook outside your RV.
  • Don’t run your generator overnight.
  • Keep the parking lot clean at all times.
  • Stay out of trouble and maintain peace and order.

Even on hot summer days, you may not be able to use electricity in the Walmart parking lot, so you may want to check out this list of tips to cool off your RV without electricity.

For me, I think the most important thing here is that we don’t abuse this privilege. Get the rest you need, grab some essentials from the store as a way of paying back, then off you go to your camping destination.

What Is Boondocking?

Boondocking is the practice of parking at free locations without facilities and hookups. It’s also known as dry camping, free camping, dispersed camping, off-grid camping, or wild camping.

You can do this using your van, camper, trailer, or RV. 

In the past, boondocking is usually referred to as camping out in the wild or land areas where campers are allowed. There are also national parks that allow you to stay for free.

But over the years, boondocking has changed and can now be done in shopping mall parking lots and truck stops. So if some asks me can you park your RV at Walmart overnight, they often don’t know what they are planning on doing is called boondocking.

While others really intend to just camp there, there are others who stay the night as a pitstop on the way to the campsite.

Overnight parking at Costco?

Just like Walmart, some Costco locations allow RVers to park overnight in their parking lots.

The same general rules apply. Check first if the location is not covered by a city ordinance banning people from sleeping overnight in their vehicles.

If you haven’t checked online, check with the store manager and ask if it’s okay to stay.

Remember the rules of thumb and do not overstay.

Overnight parking at Home Depot?

In the past, RVers were free to park overnight at Home Depot. However, that has changed over time as Home Depot parking spaces are becoming smaller.

The company started selling rarely used sections of the lot to small businesses. Because of this, the areas have somehow become congested and RVers don’t have much space anymore.

While there is no corporate policy in Home Depot that allows vehicles to park overnight, you can always ask the store manager if you can stay for the night.

The common practice today is that some store managers allow people to stay but should leave early the following morning before the store opens between 5:00-6:00 AM.

Otherwise, your RV will be boxed in by shoppers and you might find it hard getting out due to the restricted space.

What Stores Allow Overnight Parking?

If you are in an area without any nearby Walmart, Costco, or Home Depot, there are a lot of other options for you.

The following stores host overnight guests in their parking lots, whether you are just passing through town or looking for an urban campground.

  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Cabela’s
  • Denny’s
  • Camping World
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Food Lion
  • Fred Meyer
  • IHOP
  • Kmart, factory outlet stores and shopping centers
  • Lowe’s
  • Sam’s Club
  • Some malls
  • Target
  • Winco/Safeway/24 Hour Grocery Stores

Where Else Can You Boondock Besides Stores?

If you are far from any of the stores that allow boondocking, there are more places that allow overnight parking. The options never seem to run out.

Below spots may be helpful to you.

  • Flying J truck stops
  • Fraternal lodges
  • Highway rest areas
  • Most casinos
  • National forests
  • Some organizations like VFW and American Legion
  • Trailheads
  • Visitor centers

Wrap it Up

RVers are very privileged to stay overnight for free in many parking lots across the country. This helps us save tons each year. 

In return, let’s all be responsible campers. Research the location, follow the rules, and support the businesses in return if you can.