Part two: What would you do if Walmart stopped allowing overnight RV stays?


Part Two.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A few weeks ago, we asked you what you would do if Walmart totally banned the practice of overnight RV parking in its lots. While the number of Walmarts still allowing RV overnight stays is dropping fast (Click here for that story), many stores remain that allow it. Our thanks to the more than 150 RVtravel.com readers who responded to our question. Because of the number of responses, we posted the responses in two issues. Read the first installment here. — Mike Gast

Below, Part Two, is a sampling of what they had to say:

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“I think it would be a big mistake. First of all, we always asked to stay first. We always made it a point to buy something before we left and made sure things were clean around our rig. Only once we’re refused to stay and it was Over a holiday weekend so we called Menard’s and they said sure, come on over. I would stop maybe at a farm and ask to boondock for ten or fifteen dollars.” – Kenneth Troxell

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“We don’t often stay at Walmart stores and we do commend them for the continued support of the RV travelers. It is, however, a comfort to know that we are able to stay there if we are ‘stranded’ or arrive late in the day to a location. Almost all locations have been most accommodating and offer a safe stay. Unfortunately, we have been to a few where people staying there take advantage of the Walmart goodwill.” – Scott Johnson

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“This question has prompted me to write to them and thank them for this courtesy and ask them to never change. Never take things for granted, and all that. Next, when traveling I would do as I do now and use the ‘apps’ to find the closest overnight stay that will work for us. RVPARKY is my most often used for this.” – Tim McRae

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“Before COVID, and hopefully in the future, we take 3-4 days or more to reach our Arizona destination from Minnesota. The first night is spent in a hotel as our RV hadn’t warmed enough to sleep in. From then on, we sleep in truck stops. They are welcoming and safe. Most have restaurants and showers. We always ask if there is a specific spot for RVs.” – Tina Snell

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“There are so many other locations to choose from that it would not cause any major difficulty in our travels. The one good aspect of choosing a Walmart is that there are so many located all over the country plus we always do some shopping at the Walmart so if they do ban Walmart’s completely they will be losing sales from me and many other RVers, too.

Some of my other choices for places where we have stayed previously are Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Cabela’s, church parking lots, shopping center parking lots, commuter parking lots, rest areas, truck stops, vacant parking lots, highway pull-offs, scenic pull-offs, etc. If it’s large enough to get into and out of easily I will be there. We never pay for a one night’s stay as we travel. If tired of driving daily then we will book into the RV park and stay 2-3 nights depending on the location.” – Richard Smith

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“We’d find another place or, like we did year before last, look up a campground in our Good Sam campground book and find a campground and call. Never have a problem. I believe the majority of the overcrowding is with the destination parks near the action. We’ve never had a problem with an overnight spot.” – Robert Pulliam

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“I imagine all the answers will be about the same. I’d seek an alternative. Cabela’s, some Bass Pro, some Costco or Sam’s stores also allow overnight. As do some rest areas. Truck stops rarely work for us because we are a big rig towing and cannot back up. Harvest Hosts would be a possibility and we already use the app Overnight Parking. And all of those are assuming that there isn’t a campground in the area with a spot available. If all else fails you drive on…with two drivers, we can keep going if the need arises. We have noticed that many, if not most, new Walmart stores have parking lots with lots of concrete islands that do not leave enough space for a semi or a larger coach to park. I suspect there is some direction, either corporate or governmental, to discourage overnight parking overall.” – Goldie Hanson

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“In 6 years of full-time RVing, I’ve only parked overnight at Walmart twice. Both were because of fatigue slipping up on me. I was too tired to travel any further. I checked with management and followed good camping manners by parking where the store manager indicated, not leaving any trash, not putting slides out, no overnight lights or music, and leaving early the next morning after purchasing supplies at the store. Both times were unplanned and I try to gauge my driver readiness closer now. It would be great if (1) Walmart allowed limited overnight parking and (2) campers realized it is an accommodation and not take advantage of the manager’s generosity. I loved it when plenty of campground space was available and reservations were usually unnecessary, but I’m afraid that time has passed.” – Marilyn Martin

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We will stay where we have been staying for twenty plus years and some 200,000 road miles, in commercial campgrounds, state and national
parks, etc. We do not frequent Walmart for camping.” – Ridge Gardner

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“I wouldn’t say that we “routinely” stay and we don’t stay more than one night, but Walmart is a good alternative for us for a number of reasons. We build with Habitat Care-A-Vanners and when we are on the way to/from a build, or other trip, it is a safe place to stay – well lit and populated. Also a good place for groceries and other RV items as needed. If we run into bad weather and need to get of the road (unplanned) it is a good stop for the same reason. We always ask, and make sure that we give the store some business.

It is truly unfortunate that some among us abuse the privilege! It would be truly unfortunate if we could no longer use Walmart (Wally World!) because of the small number of those.” – Alan Davis

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“I stay most of the time at truck stops and rest stops and BLM land.” – Charles Pendola

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“Actually, we’ve scaled back on our Walmart overnight stays over the last several years.We have sometimes felt unsafe or looked upon resentfully. We have also noticed how others have abused their hospitality and have left trash behind and sometimes worse. We have found Harvest Hosts to be a good substitute, along with Cracker Barrels, Cabela’s, RV dealers and even overnighted on city streets that allowed overnight parking. We always call ahead as we plan the trip and then again the day before we arrive. If we’re in a pinch, we’ll resort to parking on a city or town street, but will call the local PD to make sure it is allowed and as a courtesy.

Some small municipalities might even allow you to park in their parking lot. Doesn’t hurt to ask! We were actually able to do this when we visited Marathon, Ontario. Churches are also sometimes willing to provide an overnight stay to tired travelers. We are polite, ask permission and leave our spot better than we found it. There is an etiquette to doing this that I am sure all reading this understand.

We also became members of Boondockers Welcome, so we can use the app to find private folks who don’t mind you overnighting in their driveway or on their land. The key here is politeness, respect and consideration. We always remember that these places are doing us a favor and are suitably grateful.” – Lynn Mekeel



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