Kurt Verlin
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Walmart Stores are Slowly Banning Overnight RV Parking

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Overnight RV parking is increasingly banned at Walmart
Photo: Mike Mozart via CC

RV sales are surging across the nation, and one of the side effects is that more and more people are turning to Walmart for overnight RV parking. Unfortunately for them, Walmart stores are increasingly banning the practice.

In the past, the company not only turned a blind eye to RVs in their parking lots but even encouraged their presence. On its website, Walmart says it “values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers.”

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Typically, RVers are allowed to park at Walmart lots for 24 hours, but the company says the policies are up to store manager discretion; and in recent times, fewer and fewer stores allow it.

According to Jim O’Briant, who maintains a database of over 14,500 free RV parking locations across the United States and Canada, about 78 percent of Walmart stores allowed overnight RV parking in 2010. Nowadays, that figure has declined to around 58 percent.

Parking at Walmart is appealing to RVers looking to save money they would otherwise have to spend on fees at a campground or dedicated RV park. And while other stores allow overnight parking, such as Lowe’s and Cracker Barrel, Walmart stores are far more common and thus easy to find as well as convenient to access.

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It’s possible that Walmart is cracking down on the practice because of local laws. In recent years, places such as Mountain View City in California and Sherwood in Oregon have banned overnight RV parking in business parking lots.

These laws were motivated in part by RV travelers who leave litter in parking lots and dump their wastewater on the pavement. Other RVers think it may also have to do with people who treat Walmart parking lots like campgrounds and stay there for extended periods, and because of concerns over homeless people living out of their RVs.

Whatever the reasons, there was a culture of staying at Walmart overnight that may be on its way out. So for the sake of RVers and non-RVers alike, please don’t be that guy who dumps wastewater on a parking lot.