Every day thousands of RVers across America go “Walmart Camping.” After a long day on the road, these road-weary travelers happily take advantage of the company’s policy to allow overnight stays in cities that don’t restrict it. Most of these guests will return the favor going inside to buy a few items. But when they’re inside shopping, could criminals be lurking around their RVs?
The hot iRV2 Forums topic, “Walmart Crime” shows that many RVers are grateful for the privilege of Walmart camping. Most do it because it’s easier than hooking up for the night. Walmart’s RVing loyalists unabashedly defend the company and its approval of parking lot sleepovers.
However, as these RVers snooze away for the night, U.S. crime statistics reveal that crime is happening all around them. A recent Bloomberg Business Week analysis of Walmart crime rates in Tulsa, Oklahoma revealed that in 2015, Tulsa police were called to four Walmart stores “just under 2,000 times. By comparison, they were called to the city’s four Target stores about 300 times.” Crimes in these Tulsa Walmart stores included:
- Five armed robberies
- A murder suspect who committed shotgun suicide in the parking lot.
- A parking lot shootout that killed one and seriously injured two people.
According to police reports, 24-hour Walmart Supercenters are hubs for this kind of illicit activity. Since many towns have little else open at that hour, these locations attract more people than competing retailers. “By pure numbers, the crime is going to be where the people are,” said Charles Fishman to Time Magazine in the article “Low Prices, High Crime: Inside Walmart’s Plan to Crack Down on Shoplifting,” Fishman examines Walmart’s impact, both good and bad, on communities in The Wal-Mart Effect.
RVers Support Walmart Camping
The sobering reality for all shoppers and overnight guests is that police blotters demonstrate that crimes happen outside of WalMarts. Will that stop RVers from Walmart camping after a long day driving? Maybe, maybe not. Those who don’t like Walmart to begin with will avoid it while others will continue to support a company that offers overnight accommodations for the cheapest prices in town.
“We use Walmart when ever it is convenient. We have seen no issues. In fact I think the use of their parking lot by RV’s adds to their security. In the end we all benefit. We end up stocking up at their store – we all benefit. My hat if off to Walmart. It is a smart marketing idea that is to the benefit of all.” – Davidej M
What’s your opinion about Walmart camping? Do Walmart crime statistics impact your feelings about overnight stays? Share your thoughts below.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Michael Grandy says
I’ve never stayed overnight at a WalMart, and now I might think twice about it in the future. If I were to do so, I doubt that I would leave my RV unattended, and would just tucker down for the night to rest, which would be the only reason for stopping there in the first place. Keeping the RV and towed vehicle locked tight while we’re sleeping is my policy, always, and I also am packing self defense. Pity the fool who tries breaking into my RV during the night!
While traveling cross country almost every summer we’ve stayed at Walmart dozens of times and never experienced a problem. Some Walmart parking lots have designated parking areas for RV’s where you can open slides, pull our chairs and enjoy a peaceful, cheap night. Of course we spend money in the store but it’s what we would have needed anyway. Thanks Walmart corporation for your hospitality.
Karel Kramer says
Actually you should NOT be using your slideouts or taking out your chairs. As RV’ers we are overnight guests -not campers.
I agree with you, but you’re not WalMart, so maybe your “opinion” would be better off kept to yourself.
Michael Grandy says
More comments about using slides. As I pointed out in an earlier response, many RVs (such as mine) are largely unlivable unless you put out the slide allowing you access to the rear of the coach (where the bed is!). I would avoid generalizing; it generally doesn’t work out the way you would like.
Robert Thomson says
Steve, maybe you should study up on this right ALL American citizen’s have. It’s called FREE SPEECH. I bet you’re a Constitution hating republiCON.
Just common sense. Having slides and chairs out is one thing that prompts communities to pass ordinances against overnight parking
Dennis, do you have any evidence of that? Even one piece?
Things that are likely to cause ordinances like that:
1) The town/city council is, err, “influenced” by campgnound owners in the area
2) People doing things like dumping their holding tanks in the Wal-Mart parking lot (sadly, I’ve heard of multiple instances of that)
3) Maybe too many semi-permanent campers? OTOH, there are more than a few in my area who would be homeless but for an old and somewhat battered RV, and they are at my two local Wal-Marts often enough that I recognize many of them, so…
Maybe you should keep YOUR opinions to yourself Lo
What different does it make if the area is compatible with chairs and slides. If you are staying for the evening and the store is closed, how can that matter? Moving in for the long haul is a different matter. ( I have used wallys a couple of times).
Michael Grandy says
Besides, some RVS, such as my Fleetwood Expedition, aren’t livable without putting out the main slide, which allows access from the front to the rear of the coach.
Tip Rykoff says
Assuming you also use levelers, they can damage the pavement.
Never saw one closed at night! But if that was the case, I would never stay there.
We stayed at the Polson, Montana, Walmart…it was closed from midnight to 6am. First time we’ve seen that. Incidentally, we have been comfortable in smaller town Wal-Marts, but wouldn’t be in a city. We also travel with two large dogs, which does make me feel safer. They would greet anyone who tried to enter our rig. And, we have a safe inside so anything really important we keep there.
Jim Graham says
WalMarts as a rule “Don’t Close”.
I cannot get into my bedroom or make a meal without extending the slides. And THANK YOU WALMART for allowing us to overnight there. There are many reasons that communities are stopping overnight camping.
1. The RV camping owners are lobbying these communities to pass laws so they can get more $$ from RV campers.
2. RV owners living there for extended periods.
3. Leaving trash and not cleaning up and staying there too long filling up the parking lot during business hours.
We, the RV community must project a better image or we will lose our privelages… this is not a right.
Robert M Thomson says
Lou, maybe YOU should familiarize yourself with the US Constitution, DERP
Charles Merson says
For your information, the Constitution seems to be more reviled by those on the LEFT (also since they’re the ones who want to change it the most), who think it’s a “living document”. There’s about as much chance of “Re-Constituting” the sheepskin into a sheep, as it being “living”. So kindly deep your politics to yourself. Let others think you the fool rather than open your mouth and prove it.
Very good comment that brings to mind a situation that occurred at a Walmart in AZ a few years ago.. A large group of RV’ers traveling together stopped to spend the night and set up as if they were in a campground BBQ’s and all. In the end the Walmart manager had to ask them to scale things back. The same type of issue has also been noted on interstates at rest stops.
Have any of you ever RV’D to Alaska? Walmart there doesn’t mind it being an all out gathering amongst the RVs, tents, campers on vehicles, bumper pulls, and those “car camping”. We had a great time visiting with them when we were up there on our bike.
jackie ritschard says
All good comments, The big thing I would be is respect for the place and be curteous
Shari C. says
I’m not sure you will see this reply but, I’m just wondering why you feel it’s appropriate to start with the political nastiness with a fellow RV’er. I can tell that you haven’t done any research or thinking of your own and are only parroting what you think is clever without knowing if it is actually true. If you are going to RV and enjoy yourself and others you’ll need to lose the attitude. Good grief, it’s not even 2020 yet. You are only in 11/2019. Now me, I am in 6/2020 while writing this and am truly tired of people who think it’s smart to be nasty.
I agree with you about taking out your chairs. But the slides are another thing. I have to put the slides on my drivers side out just to be able to move around inside our 40ft Country Coach. I always try to put that side toward a grassy area. And I always check with the store manager to see if it’s OK to park there. I also mention putting 2 slides out, I’ve never been told I couldn’t.
Colin Abbott says
We always park by an island or on the edge with our slides in no ones way, we never use chairs, and we always ask the manger if it’s ok to stop over, and we alw,says shop while there. We have never had a problem while staying at Wal-Mart. So be considerate and leave the lot cleaner than when you arrived.
Now there’s a comment I respect! Well done, and well said!
We have boondocked in a few Walmart parking lots, on our way from point A to point B. My travel trailer’s design requires that I extend my slide. But I don’t unhitch, I don’t extend my stabilizers, I don’t extend my awning, I don’t use my generator and I don’t take out grills, or chairs. I do ask permission, either by phone or at the service desk. I do use my tongue jack on a large block to get close to level. If a town has more than two Walmarts, safety would probably become an issue. But be aware, they will be noisy.
Watson Awpher says
“pull our chairs”
“Dear Fellow RVer,
I hope you will accept this gentle reminder in the manner in which it is intended. We obviously share and enjoy the RV lifestyle; therefore, we are comrades in the truest sense. Please do not take offense with this letter, but rather consider the message with an open mind.
Some individuals would like to abolish overnight parking anywhere but in designated campgrounds. I feel certain that you do not want to see this happen, nor do we, so we must be on our best behavior! We¹d like to share with you our code of dry-camping etiquette:
1. Obtain permission from a qualified individual.
2. Park out of the way.
3. No awnings, chairs, or barbecue grill.
4. Avoid using slide-outs if at all possible.
5. Do not use your leveling jacks on asphalt.
5. Limit your stay; don¹t abuse your host¹s generosity.
6. Purchase gas, food, or supplies as a form of thank-you when feasible.
7. Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.
8. Use safety precautions.
We wish you safe and happy travels,
A fellow RVer”
Colin Abbott says
We have, as we have mentioned previously, used Walmart’s, we always park as far away as possible from the store, and always on the edge of the parking area. In a situation where we can not find a truck stop of a Walmart we have used a restaurant with a large parking lot and always ask if we have a meal can we park over night, we have never been turned away.
Mark Hampton says
You should NEVER put out chairs or anything else! That is one of the main reasons Walmart’s have started to ban RV Parking. Do Not be uncouth and trashy, use proper etiquette and show respect by NEVER setting up camp like people with trailers do and as a result ruins it for decent RV’ers.
Richard Alty says
“That is one of the main reasons Walmart’s have started to ban RV Parking”
Sorry, Not true.
WalMart has a Corporate policy of allowing overnight RV Parking at any store that has sufficient parking to make it practical, and *where local ordinances do not forbid it*.
People setting up ‘campgrounds’ might lead a city or county to ban overnight RV parking in commercial parking lots…. but they don’t lead Walmart to ban it.
“…Setting up camp like people in trailers do?” That is a statement that I like to see backed up with some facts! Why do you think people who pull an RV behind them are “uncouth and trashy”? Perhaps seeing this happen once or twice is no reason to pile on ALL the people who pull an RV. People with trailers would not be any different than someone who drives their RV home.
John Royer says
Dear Sir Mark,
Slightly prejudiced toward trailer owners? Sorry to offend you your highness so I’ll be sure to park my trailer on the other side of the tracks when you’re around.
Then again, maybe some day you’ll grow up?
Robert M Thomson says
Arnie, just because You’ve never experienced any crime in a Walmart parking lot doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, as evidenced by the following: A recent Bloomberg Business Week analysis of Walmart crime rates in Tulsa, Oklahoma revealed that in 2015, Tulsa police were called to four Walmart stores “just under 2,000 times. By comparison, they were called to the city’s four Target stores about 300 times.” Crimes in these Tulsa Walmart stores included:
We stay at WalMarts often when we travel. We always research the location. When we get there we ask for permission, park in an appropriate area and DON’T APPEAR TO BE CAMPING. We are jsut spending the night. Use common sense!!
After retiring as A Police Chief in four different jurisdictions, I would offer that crime rates for larceny/theft in Walmart are indeed high by shear numbers, Beaking those down will show that approximately 85% of those crimes are shoplifting offenses. The shoplift offenses that are reported are a direct result of Wal-Marts highly effective internal security measures to identify and apprehend offenders before they have a chance to leave the store. Depending on other environmental factors, I’ve found the Wal-Nart will have increased incidents of vehicle burglaries during the Christmas Holiday shopping season. Other than that, WalMarts are typically any more crime prone than other large retailers.
The only Walmart we have had a problem at was in Cleveland and a Police Officer came to our door and said we should move and find another location to park for the night as the crime rate at this location was pretty bad, we could wake up in the morning without tires.
So we took his advice and drove about 20 miles to another location where we met other RV’rs who said they did the same and moved.
We never had any problems other than a great sleep, we had already stocked up at the other location so no need to leave the RV.
We would rather stay in a Walmart than a Rest stop for the evening as we have to park in same area as the big haulers and these guys love leaving their noise Gen sets running all night or if not them they leave their trucks running all night for heat in the winter and AC in the summer, not thinking what all that noise does to the Other travellers, they probably don’t give a damn about anyone else except themselves.
Samuel Crabtree says
Peter – There are many reasons why a big truck may run thew engine or generator all night. Many of those trucks are carrying perishable products that require refrigeration and the refrigeration system used is with an engine driven compresser or an electrical driven one – probably engine driven as the power needed to refrigerate a big truck may make using an engine driven system more economical than having another motor large enough to operate the refrigeration.
Also, depending upon the length of time expected at that stop the driver may feel that leaving the diesel running is better than risking the trouble of starting a cold engine.
Larry Garber says
We were over-the-road truckers and when you drive for a living and are dead tired after driving for many hours, it is pretty frustrating to pull into a rest area and have all the parking spaces occupied with motorhomes. Truckers cannot pull into campgrounds for the night, so give them a break and park at Walmarts or use a Campground
Peter, Those semi drivers are living out of their trucks. They depend on their trucks providing heating and cooling to keep them safe and allow them to get a good night sleep. It has nothing to do with being considerate of others. I am sure you want to be well rested when they join you on the highway driving.
Semi drivers are limited as to where they can pull off and get their sleep or rest. A lot harder to park a semi than a car and travel trailer.
Maybe you could show some consideration and not take up the very few parking spots the semis have available to them for their rest.
William B Morgan says
Don’t tread on the truck drivers they are not allowed to be driving more than 10 hours a day and that load may be frozen or refrigerated and they can’t shut down just like the fridge in your RV it has to run to keep the food cold
I always followed the rule to not get between a working man and his tools.
You need to spend a little time in a big rig before.opening your pie hole. If we didn’t run those trucks we would either freeze in winter or have heat stroke in the summer.
Stay out of the rest areas if you’re not happy. Spend a few dollars and go to a campground. I do.
Joe Harper says
Those truckers in the rest areas are working extremely hard to deliver goods to stores like Walmart for your shopping convenience! They have only a few hours to get some much needed rest to be able to safely drive again the next day. Forcing them to freeze in winter or not sleep in sweltering heat is not only dangerous but incredibly selfish on your part!
Wow! What an ignorant comment, Peter. Only an entitled ass would say such a thing. You do know they deliver your food, and literally everything else you use in your life, right?
Besides, all those pee bottle disposed of in the ‘trucker’s’ rest areas are pretty disgusting. Life on the road, ok. but why dump your pee bottles in the lot at Loves? Lazy asses.
Cactus Flower says
Please stop generalizing in your comments! We could say all RVr’s are snobby with some of the comments being posted. And you wouldn’t have anything to buy at Walmart if truckers weren’t on the road. And yes, truckers can’t park in an RV park. Don’t get me started about cars parking in the marked RV spaces at Cracker Barrell!
I know of that Walmart, it’s just as well you were told to move on, it’s in a really bad area.
Vanha Pieru says
Margie J says
Thanks for your comment Mike. As a retired police records administrator in a town with a Wal-Mart, your assessment is spot on. I would always chose my location wisely, but crime stats show that Wal-Marts don’t have a high rate of personal crime or vehicle break-ins (Christmas shopping time being an exception). I looked up crime stats for Tulsa (cited in the original post) and they have a significantly higher crime rate than most of the country. Know your surroundings… Use good sense. Crime happens in the best of places. Wal-Mart is a shoplifting heaven. If I were Wal-Mart, I might be more concerned with people sleeping in the parking lot coming inside and stealing from them….
I like your response.
Let’s not get truck stops and rest stops mixed up, on rest stops the signs coming in states cars in one direction and trucks and trailers in another, besides I drive a 42 foot 5th wheel, that’s not including the tow vehicle so walmart is out! Could not even get into one, much less trying to find a location to put it? In all the traffic. It is however interesting to see how ( some) truck drivers feel about campers in general!
We are able to maneuver our 44′ MH with a toad into most Walmart’s with ease. Admittedly some lots are smaller and should be avoided. We note these locations and never return.
Nancy Jeffrey says
We have a 40″ Class A plus toad on a dolly, making us over 60′, yet we normally are always able to find a place to at least park for shopping at Walmart, and have never had a problem when we have decided to park for the night. We have never felt unsafe, but we always lock car and RV, and there is an extra piece of bedside protection.
Uncle Louie says
Manners are nice.
Patrick Granahan says
I have never overnight camped at Walmart but find most have video cameras looking over the parking areas. Local news programs often show crimes in progress supplied by police that were obtained from Walmart security.
Having seen both the cameras and the TV news reports using Walmart security tapes I’d feel safe overnighting at Walmart….great place to shop and perhaps an excellent overnight RV parking selection !
Mike Bishop says
Join Boondockers Welcome . com . save and free ! We have stayed at over 20 and it’s beats Walmart !
Glen Wither says
Absolutely a great recommendation. We have been hosts as well and the experience beats the anonymity and soullessness of a Wal-mart parking lot.
Bill Halberstadt says
With the help of many volunteers, I have assembled and have published, free of charge, a listing of all Walmarts in the US, their addresses, phone numbers, and whether or not each one allows overnight RV parking. This has been maintained for several years now, entirely as a volunteer effort. No fees, no advertisements, just accurate and complete data. You are welcome to visit at http://halberstadt.macmate.me/Walmart
Removing the header cells and saving the Excel file to CSV format, I was able to convert to a Delorme an1 file that can be imported into various Delorme mapping programs.
Conversion program I’ve used for many years: GPSBable, converts between different types mapping software formats, including different types of text files such as csv files (comma separated values).
Needed to use the Universal CVS format to create a conversion convert to a Delorme An1 file.
gpsbabel can be downloaded from: https://www.gpsbabel.org/download.html#downloading
Bill Halberstadt says
It’s not necessary to do that yourself. If you go to the web site mentioned, and click on the link referring to “map overlay files”, you will be directed to free files for importing into Delorme Street Atlas, Microsoft Streets and Trips, Google Earth, and more. These files contain all the entries (and parking status) from the “Walmart Parking List”.
Ok I see the Delorme file is listed under the upper link referencing Delorme Street Atlas, which should also work with Delorme Topo.
I have copies of Street Atlas that’s rarely been used. Mostly use Delorme Topo and Topoquads, since Delorme mapping products were first introduced to the market.
Years ago I use to travel all over North America, including up into Canada.
When I became lost or disorientated I use to mainly stop and ask for directions or use dead reckoning, Rarely needed a map. People use to be happy to provide direction if one became lost. However now-a-days with the expansion of suburbia and decline of small towns there are many more complicated streets, roads, highways and freeways, which potentially makes travel more difficult even with a maps and gps.
Thanks Bill! Been using your list for the last year.
Thank you so much for sharing your Wall Mart location document! Much appreciated.
Vanha Pieru says
Vicki Digby says
I am a single female and have stayed in Walmart in just about every state for years. NEVER a problem. In fact, one Walmart caught me on camera putting shopping carts up one windy night and knocked on the door the next morning to say “thank you” and gave me a gift certificate. I recommend everyone do a search on the crime around not only the local campground, but your own personal house. There is crime everywhere and to give Walmart a bad rap when they welcome you is just not a fair decision. I HIGHLY recommend them along with Cracker Barrel. I also stay in campground, but sometimes it is just easier to stop, shop, eat, sleep.
I’ve stayed at many Walmarts. Never had a problem. I’m a solo woman with a protection trained dog and I’m packing. I feel reasonably safe.
Colin Abbott says
Micheal, try not to be so paranoid, my wife and i have camped all over North America, used many Walmart’s’ and never seen or heard of problems, we also use truck stops and rest areas, mind you we never stop in large cities, we use small towns, enjoy your camping, relax, not everyone is a crook.
dominic benecasa says
I would think that the appearance as you stop at a Walmart will vary enough to decide if it’s “sketchy” or not. The “safer” ones have better landscaping, cleaner parking lots, and obviously in a more upscale area. If you are that oblivious to your surroundings maybe you shouldn’t travel.
Most people that are breaking in – are packing heat.
Unless you’re already awake and wearing your holster, it’s not going to do you much good cowboy. By the time you say “No school grandma” and then actually wake up and think “wtf did I just say?”, you’re already dead. .
Most RVrs are not stopping in the ghetto of Tulsa OK for a nights rest. Most Walmarts are safe where RVrs stay here in FL I’ll see 8-10 RVs and a couple tractor trailers parked and no one is going to be stupid enough to bother them.
I’m licensed to carry in all 50 states. And I do so, as does wife. We don’t flaunt it but our safety and security is OUR responsibility, not that of our host or wherever we choose to park!
We have never made a habit of staying the night at a Wal-Mart, (or any other non-campground), but have stayed there on occasion. We always ask permission, park out of the way, keep the slides in and leave early the next morning. As far as safety is concerned, a Wal-Mart in a large city will be probably be less safe than in a small town. I have a concealed carry permit so really don’t worry about it…
How did you manage that? New York and wash dc are two that don’t allow guns
The state of New York does issue concealed carry permits, but I understand they are rather hard to get. DC does not issue concealed carry permits, but IIRC there is a lawsuit in progress on that point. If DC loses, I expect they will be very difficult to get there, anyway.
Since permits are issued by individual states, and at least in California at the discretion of the county sheriff, as a matter of practicality I would think it pretty difficult to be licensed in all 50 states, so the poster may be LE. To the best of my knowledge, police officers may carry their weapon concealed without any further permit, in any state. Any LE please correct me if I’m wrong on that.
There is also the issue of reciprocity. For example, an Arizona resident with a CCP may also carry in 37 of the other 49 states. The other 12 do not recognize that permit, nor does DC and most or all US territories/commonwealths (Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.). It may be possible, with the right combination of resident and non-resident permits, to be covered for all 50 states (but not DC or territories/commonwealths).
Wife and I are retired Feds, BUT there are ways to use reciprocity laws and firearms safety courses to accomplish most of this. For example, check out NV gun courses.
We actually stayed at our local Walmart for 5 nights once due to the fires blocking us from returning home. there were a few other RVers also. never seen or herd of any problems. the Walmart we stayed at is one that closes at midnight daily. it was a good thing we were 100% self contained. 27′ 5th wheel toy hauler at the time. I figured if we were able to go into the hills somewhere (couldn’t due too fire)) it sure would of been cheaper. one thing about staying in any store parking lot, where do you go when you are bored and you are within steps of the store? you guessed it…….inside the darn store. food, camping supplies, music, dvd’s, this and that for the RV, when you only have one place to go to, its hard not too. we never had to disconnect our rig because we had our other car with us to get around. one good thing we did notice is that there were a lot of parking lot security cameras thru-out the parking lot. also a lot of security signs and security personnel walking and driving about. It is my opinion that they do put in a good effort to keep there shoppers safe.
You are correct Jack! I have a lot of friends that have retired from Federal Prison System and can carry in all states, airlines and federal buildings.
I think the problem is basically with crime in the jurisdiction the Walmart is in and not the Walmart itself. Walmart may attract criminals because it creates shopping crowds. Crowds sometimes incite criminal activity or criminals sometimes take advantage of crowed situations.
If crime becomes a problem around a Walmart, if haven’t already, can invest in security cameras in the parking lots with some sort of security monitoring. Plus have some sort of human security, walking around. Possibly helps prevent crimes from occurring. For some reason perhaps in part the design of a Walmart, parking lot design, crime problems in the area and creation of a shopping crowd. Criminals and potential criminals are being attracted to certain Walmarts and other businesses with large shopping crowds.
Most likely the crimes are gang and/or drug related. Possible feuding between gangs and/or family’s. There’s probably a myriad of potentially causes, which most probably are related to the area and surrounding areas of a Walmart. Walmart’s don’t really have any control over their shopping crowd other than being courteous, helping people with their shopping, etc.
After installing security cameras, hiring security personnel and crime still is a problem. The business should consult with local authorities who should have a better idea what’s going on in their area, for a better approach to detract the criminal element and help prevent crimes from occurring.
I think too the in part these problems exist because of urban and suburban areas are replacing small towns and businesses areas, Which at one time were more or less were isolated. Where people use to shop at individual small stores that didn’t create crowds such as those at a Walmarts and shopping malls. Their basic design is to create a free and open shopping area comprised of large box stores and smaller stores inside a shopping mall, which basically creates large crowds. Shopping and shoppers has become less manageable by the businesses, than it use to be. Many of the small towns where people use to shop have been turned into ghost towns, all the businesses have moved to a shopping malls and industrial complexes. I know of many of these towns that once had thriving businesses, there’s zero or near zero stores and businesses. The closest place to shop is at least 25+ miles away.
Crime and related problems not only exist in shopping malls but within larger suburban environments which have become less manageable by police and government. Crime problems and other problems that used to be localized are now inter-wind between county jurisdictions. In our area police often consult one another between counties, because the same and related crime problems exist within at least several county jurisdictions.
I live near two Wal-Marts, and one is so close that it’s within my radius for my crimemapping.com daily report. Both of those Wal-Marts allow RV parking, and the closer one seems especially popular for it. You can always find a few RVs overnighting there.
Because I subscribe to crimemapping.com, I can tell you that a lot less crime gets reported from that WM than gets reported from an even nearer and much more upscale shopping center, which is anchored by Lowes, Costco, and Ikea. From both ,shoplifting is the number one crime report. I’d think that might be much more common in a center anchored by Wal-Mart, but apparently, I’d be wrong to think so. That’s also a 24-hour Wal_Mart, too.
There are probably W-Ms that have a higher crime rate, but I suspect that’s more a reflection of the neighborhood than of W-M. I don’t live in a bad neighborhood, but I think you’re much more likely to have your car broken into on the street in my neighborhood (especially if you live in or near the apartments) than you are in the parking lot of our local W-M.
I think it’s safe to shop there. My wife and daughters shop there at night. No problem. I think it’s safe to overnight there in an RV. I’ve never heard of an incident. I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable doing it.
Grumpy Old Timer says
We have overnighted at Walmart for years with no problems.I feel MUCH safer in a WMT lot than many truck stops or rest areas.
By the way, the book, the “WalMart Effect” was written in 2006 and was kind of a hit piece on Wally World. Not sure I would take everything in it as gospel.
Some WalMarts are not so great overnight, some are reasonably safe. Anytime one is overnighting in a strange place, caution is always in order. Locked doors and storage compartments and maybe a light on
And, if you don’t feel safe, go for an RV park and cough up the 30 to 40 bucks. Whatever trips you trigger, buckeroo.
Grumpy, The book you refer to was a “hit piece” by labor unions who despise WM because it refuses to kow-tow to them and remains non-union.
Pilot Camper says
I have yet to drive a long enough trip with my rig to require an overnight stay on route that would justify a Wal-Mart pit stop. If I ever need one, I would not hesitate because I would shop there to return the favor, but would choose one that is well lit, 24 hours and in a clean area convenient to my route. I would have researched this in advance and likely leaned on multiple RV websites to help me choose.
As for theft or breakins, we travel with dogs which would be a discouragement for most thieves alone, but we also take turns leaving the rig so someone can stay with the dogs. Since RV walls are thin and door latches are weak, we are also packing so if someone breaks in during the night, whether an RV campground or a Wal-Mart, they will regret it.
Please be more careful when authoring an article that quotes statistics in support of negative views. The Bloomberg article was pointing out that Walmart “called the police” many more times than their counterparts such as Target, not that Walmarts in general have a higher crime rate. The article was making the point that Walmart’s policy appeared to be to use the local police rather that in-store security to deal with shoplifters. We are not full-timers but we do travel a fair amount in our 30′ class A. Walmart is not our first choice due mainly to bright lights and surrounding noise. However, we’ve always been greeted by uniformed security officers letting us know they are on duty.
Good reply! We have stopped many times at various Wal-Marts to stay over night. We took a 6,000 mile trip this summer from California to Wisconsin and back with MANY side trips. We parked our rig at Wal-Mart maybe 8 times in those 2 months. ALL of the 24 hour Wal-Marts have a security guard in a car that is on duty all night. They make the rounds in their car every ½ hour and spend at lot of time in the car watching the parking lot. ALL Wal-Marts have tons of video cameras in the parking lots. It’s a stupid place for a criminal to think he can get away with a crime, but criminals are stupid by definition so I suppose you could have a problem. I usually end up buying at least $50 worth of stuff I need, so Wal-Mart isn’t stupid. I have blackout curtains, so the bright lights don’t bother us. I went to Wal-Mart in Kansas because the KOA we had planned on staying in wanted $65 a night and they had HORRIBLE dirt roads, lousy hook-ups, and our 38′ American Eagle Class A with a trailer wouldn’t fit in what they called a pull-thru. We also have an 8KW generator, so if it’s really hot we can leave the AC on. That burns about a gallon of diesel fuel for 8hrs. I also have a fully loaded side arm for those events that may require a stiffer penalty. I have NEVER had to even pull it from the nightstand drawer, but once again, a criminal would be stupid to break into an RV they know has someone in it.
Jim S. says
We have Wally-Docked when we see fit. From OH. to VT. is too far for one days drive, so I pick a Walmart half way. Usually it’s past midnight when we roll in, and leave at sunrise. On our trip to Alaska this summer, I picked out 3 Walmart’s and one Cabala’s and one casino to overnight in. I’ll shy away from the more urban Walmarts. Plus I’ll find more of them have “No Overnight Parking” signs.
Safety is also the reason to just pull off and get some shut eye. I wonder what would happen if you had been driving and get to a point your dead to the wall tired. You pull into a WalMart and lay your head down and a officer tells you have to keep moving. You tell him you feel you are a danger to the driving public and yourself and family to keep driving because your bone tired. Never happened to me, but where at midnight are you going to find a campground open? And actually find it? Have stayed in one or two truck stops (Flying J) but with all the running trucks and fumes it was hard to sleep.
I have pulled into few Walmarts with a no parking signs. If I see another RV parked. I’ll ask the manager to park and have only once been turned down ( Spearfish / (Sturges SD.) and had to grab a large cup of coffee to travel another hour to the Cabala’s in Rapid City SD. It was tough driving, heavy rain and wind.
Larry Garber says
I am from spearfish SD and know the store well. The reason they don’t allow parking is that some idiot dumped their black tank in the parking lot and the health department got involved. So if you decide to park overnight there be prepared to be ticketed. The fine is $50
We have stopped at Walmarts on some long trips . We have never had a problem. .we always stock up on everything that we need before pull out . One time we stayed one more night so my wife could shop the whole store as there inventory was completely different than any we had ever been in .
Edward S Nemnich says
Be sure and call ahead not all Walmartswill/Supercenter s allow you too park overnight, my wife had a eye appt in Kansas City Mo last week so not wanting to get towed I called ahead and spoke with Mark a company rep/manager we were traveling thru and just wanted to park for a couple of hrs and take my tow vehicle to my wife’s eye appt. I was told that they did not allow parking for RV’s , I would hate too think about the amt of money over the years we have spent with the Walton family, it will be less in the future!
Raymond Richard says
KC MO. Would not overnight within 50 miles of that city. High crime rate and that’s maybe why you were told no. Ray in AZ Full timer
Ron Howes says
Canadians, and folks living north of the “Mason-Dixon Line” would be hard pressed to find a place to spend the night on the way to Florida for the winter if it wasn’t for friendly Walmart stores. Almost all RV parks in the north close by the first of October. A handy $3 iPhone application from the Apple store by http://www.allstays.com will show you which Walmarts do and don’t allow overnight parking, give directions, comments by other RVers who have stayed there, and even a button that you can push to call the store for permission. We use it on a very regular basis.
Steve Fennell says
Thanks very much for your suggestions. We also suggest the trip planner RV Trip Wizard as it has a wealth information on campgrounds as well as additional places to stay overnight, including Walmarts.
Captn John says
Don’t shop at Walmart and don’t park there. I prefer a CG if at all possible. If not a rest stop is next. The last thing I’ll do is get off an interstate to drive into a town/city to save $30 or so. In an emergency doing so is understood. I’m very pleased there are so many cheap people as it keeps prices low and sites available for the rest of us.
Michael Grandy says
Really, the rudeness of some posters is quite surprising, given the so-called RV brotherhood out there. We’re all friends, right? Well, apparently not; some are quite arrogant and selfrighteous.
Considering the apparently significant percentage of RVers who will take another RVers reservation slip off of a good campsite and replace it with their own just because the person who has the site reserved is out sightseeing with the RV (I tow a car now, so it doesn’t happen to me anymore) and the (presumably) small but certainly non-zero number of people who will dump their tanks anywhere – even in a Wal-Mart parking lot – nothing surprises me anymore, especially in a more or less anonymous forum.
Michael Grandy says
Well fortunately, other than images of Hillary’s campaign bus dumping tanks into a storm drain, I’ve never seen such behavior from fellow campers. I must either be lucky or just unaware of all the questionable behavior out there. If we’re not a brotherhood, we should be; I’ve had nothing but good experiences so far with my fellow campers. Not sure what I’d do if or when I encounter a classic boor or uncouth person who seems to violate all the expected norms.
You said it quite well….Snob and arrogant for sure…..
Thank you Mike. I wanted to say the same thing. And X2 on the Allstay App (available at googleplay & apple iStore).
Peggy Elliott says
I use the app AllStays, Walmart ONP. There is a one time fee for downloading but saves a lot of anxiety. There you will find which stores allow or don’t allow. I read the reviews of each location before heading for it, and leave my own reviews there. I drive a motor home and tow a car. Park under lights, lock doors, don’t stay if questionable activity is present, stay in after dark. Listen to your instincts. I am more comfortable in a Walmart with good reviews, especially if trucks are using it, than all alone out in the boonies. I love the quiet but the wildlife on two legs is too unpredictable.
Barbara M says
We had a bad experience with Walmart in Santa Clarita, CA – we parked our rig next to a vacant Walmart truck in the parking lot and went in to buy a few things as well as have lunch. We came out to a “citation” on our windshield from the security company. We went back inside to talk to the Walmart manager and she explained they do not own the property and it was posted no RV parking. Sure enough 25′ above next to the street lights was a sign that said no RV parking. Guess you need to always look up? Who would have thought someone would post a sign that high. Although there was no fine she explained we would have gotten towed if we stayed longer. So much for RV-friendly Walmart. We avoid parking at Walmart since which means we also take our $$$ elsewhere.
ROBERT W NORDLANDER says
We park at Walmart when we can. Truckers need the rest stops
However, we also leave a thank you card to the manager that we produced
What ever works.... says
Another option, is to travel point A to B is to drive @ night.
Less traffic, all Walmarts allow daytime RV parking for shopping.
Less likely daytime crime….. not the best sleeping noise-wise, but good for 3-6 or 7 hours of shuteye and/or off road relaxing (downtime).
What ever works….
I’ve stayed overnight in Walmart parking lots numerous times over the years. I have to say though that Walmart is always my last choice and I always find out what kind of area I’m in before I make a decision to stay or not. Cracker barrel is usually my first choice. Regardless of where you stay you should always know about the area you’re in.
I’ve spent the night in truck stops and at rest areas along highways. The rest areas are the most convenient, though they can be noisy from highway traffic. It depends on their layout and how big they are. Talking to truck drivers is a great way to find out information, such as good or bad areas and rest stops to avoid. At one rest area I spent the night in I was told that sometimes homeless people make their way to the rest area and come knocking on your door looking for a handout. Luckily there were other rv’s and trucks spending the night there so I was in good company. Just always do a little homework before you leave for a trip and know where you are.
Over the years, I’ve stayed at many Walmart lots for a single night. It’s polite to check in at the customer service counter to ensure that RV Parking is allowed … and if there is a preferred area to park in. (It’s typically preferred to park near the outer edge of the lot, so an RV is not in the way of over shopper’s cars.) Another ‘rule” is that use of a Walmart lot is for parking … not camping. Keep awnings in, don’t set up folding chairs and/or charcoal BBQs outside. If possible, don’t lower jacks or extend slide-outs (although some RVs, to be used, must have some slide-outs extended). Try to minimize generator use …. shut down by 10 PM (or earlier) so that the generator noise doesn’t disturb neighbors of the store. (Observe what’s in the vicinity and adjust accordingly. Running a generator all night might be fine at some locations, but would likely disturb many people at others.)
As for crime … some Walmarts are located in less-than-idea neighborhoods, so you need to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings (and possibly pass by some stores). I never had any problems when I stayed at a Walmart. I note that many Walmarts have signs (up high) on their parking lot lights stating “security cameras in use” (or something similar. That might be an indication that a store might not be in the best neighborhood … or is so isolated that it is targeted by criminals.
As for truck stops, I’ve generally avoided them. On one occasion, I stayed in the ‘front” parking lot of a truck stop that featured a Cracker Barrel restaurant. I was away from the truck, so the engine noise of trucks coming and going was not a problem. Note that Cracker Barrel, like Walmart, has policies encouraging RVers to stay overnight in their parking lots. Many Cracker Barrel restaurants have an “RV section” with extra-large parking spots designated by painted stripes on the pavement.
Paul E Doherty says
I don’t think there is any more crime in a Walmart Parking Lot then any place else. Of course, if you leave your motor home be sure and lock it up as well as your tow car. This is just common sense. I recently traveled 3,500 miles in my RV Motor Home from Las Vegas to Independent, MO and on to Branson, MO and stayed at Walmart a bunch of times both going and coming back and never had any trouble. All the Walmarts I have stayed at have Security driving around the parking lot which is a good thing. I applaud Walmart for letting us use their parking lot. Of course we go in and buy things just about every time. I think it is a PR plus for Walmart and I personally would like to thank them for it.
We use Walmarts on a regular basis in traveling to destinations, we also purchase many items while at Walkmart, like any place you go you should be aware of your surroundings, if it doesn’t feel right move on. I just have a tough time paying $30 and upward for an RV slot with little usage of utilities. But that’s just me, I just pulled into Wallyworld before writing this, thank you Walmart.
Glen Thompson says
I use Walmarts all the time when on long trips. Never had a problem at one but I try to pick stores that are away from bad areas. I have shopped at some stores that I would not stay overnight due to the neighborhood.
On another issue, it’s an overnight stop for rest, not camping. People staying multiple nights and setting up camp can cause the store to rescind the privilege of overnighting and ruin it for the rest of us.
Susan Cromer says
We have stayed in Walmart parking lots and have never experienced any problems.
There is one location in Albuquerque, NM (Juan Tabo & I-40) that doesn’t allow any RV parking overnight. Also a Walmart location in Apache Junction, AZ (E Apache Trl & Delaware) doesn’t allow any RV parking overnight.
I had heard that Cracker Barrel allows overnight parking. Not sure if this is true or false.
Mary Jo Ros says
I think there is and can be all kinds of crime anywhere. However I wish someone would address the subject of Campground owners lobbying Counties, districts, Parishes, communities against Free overnight camping in their communities. We travel throughout the U.S. and Canada, usually 6 mo. out of the year, and find many Walmarts etc. who won’t allow boondocking. To ‘force’ people to use campground/RV parks. We think, perhaps, it’s time that campground/RV park owners have a 2 or even 3 tiered system. Those that want to come in for a one night stay, say from 3:30 or 4pm to 8am. Shouldn’t have to pay $36 a night for all the bells and whistles the parks offer i.e. pools, mini putt, resort like amenities. Just simple one night stay with either electric, water and sewer or just electric, say for $10 a night, that will more than pay for any electric or water used for one night. Have another price for those who want the other amenities offered, say swimming pool and laundry for one or two nights and a full price for those that want total resort amenities for however many nights they want to stay. We are so tired of all the ‘fancy’ things that we wouldn’t ever use with a ridiculous price, just a good simple place to spend a peaceful night then move on. We’re also so very very tired of people thinking because we have a motorhome we’re all very wealthy and are willing to pay large prices for a one night stay. That’s why we seek out Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, Cabelas, Camping Worlds and free boondocking in town parks. When we stay at these places we always spend money in these types of towns. There are more and more retired people who are interested in continued traveling around these beautiful countries, but we do it on a budget, just like most homeowners do.
You hit it on the head Ms. Ros
Tommy Molnar says
We’ve only stayed in a Walmart parking lot a couple times. Both times was because of an issue with our tow vehicle and we had to wait until the morning to get it fixed. No problems either time.
However, I think it has a lot to do with the location of the Walmart. There is one in North Las Vegas that I wouldn’t park in if I had a squad of Navy Seals protecting me. Nuff said.
Thanks wallmart !
Bill Korson says
We travel across the country each summer and Walmart has been a big part of our travels. We always check out the location first and if we think there are potential problems, we move on. We always ask the store manager for permission and usually find other RVers. Casinos and Cabelas work but our favorite are Cracker Barrels. Good food, locations near the highways and nicely lighted parking areas!!!!
It ALWAYS amazes me that someone can afford a 250K Rv and then camp ay Walmart. Seriously people, camping at Walmart you might as well place a sign on your RV that says PLEASE ROB ME!
I have stayed at many Walmart parking lots in my travels. I really appreciate their hospitality. Many Walmarts have video cameras in their parking lots, so it can be safer than some campgrounds. One needs to pay attention when picking a place to stay in general. Stores away from urban areas are generally safer. In Mississippi, the Walmarts I have looked at were posted that overnight stays are not allowed,
Bill Halberstadt says
There is a “Code of Conduct” or “Good Neighbor Policy” with recommendations for RVers who wish to park overnight at Walmart parking lots. This has been endorsed by many RV organizations and can be found at:
There is also complete and free information about which specific Walmarts do (or do not) permit overnight parking at:
We have used Walmart as quick overnight stops during our longer trips for a number of years. We check the Allstays app for areas and stores that we think we may stopping at as well as due some area due dilligence including aerial views on our iPads and iPhones as well. We have only had one situation where, after checking with on-site security, we decided to move to a different location. We prefer 24-hour stores that have outside roving security because the activity is a deterrent.To date we have not had any incidents nor have our friends who also use Walmart.
Peter LoCascio says
The smart phone app “Rest Stop” can be a great hepl in planning when and where to stop.
John Funk says
As a retired LEO we have a local Walmart inundated with problems of a criminal nature. I’ve seen several Walmart’s with similar type criminal activity, drugs, vehicle burglaries, vandalism, etc. A Walmart parking lot would be the last place I’d prodigies my family me or mine just for an overnight stay.
Franklin Wills says
We are full time RVers and frequent WalMarts overnight. We have only had positive experiences and are very appreciative to WalMart. I wrote them a letter last week telling them how much they are appreciated. We use Allstays RV and camping app that list all WalMarts as well as campgrounds. The app shows which WalMarts are ok for campers as well as reviews and comments from other RVers. As full time RVers living on a budget we are very lucky to have WalMart as a host. When you are is travel mode you do not want the hassles of an RV park and WalMart fits. There is also a wonderful App “Overnight RV” that list 1000’s of overnight free spots like WalMart.
Jim Graham says
We have used Walmart many times and have never had a problem. We usually only use Walmart when we have exceeded our driving time and can’t find a campground before it gets dark.. If it gets dark the navigator finds the next available Walmart and we go there.. The only problems we ever have is when it is dark and we get to a run down campground that has very dim or no lighting and I hit one of their well-placed rocks and it costs me $3K to fix a side door… When we stop at Walmart we always go in and buy way more than we would pay for campground, even if it is only acohol!!!
tom pike says
i’ve camped out in walmart parking lot, never had a problem, done it many of times, some town have regulations, no camping only in camp grounds, one place a police officer checked in on me,to make sure i was ok, had people donate money to me, all and all, i highly recommend using walmart for camping, if it’s allowed, and don’t forget if you use walmart to stay over night, buy from them if you can, it’s only c0urteous`
I have never had any problems spending nights in Walmart parking lots probably because we have 3 dogs in our motor home with us. If ANYBODY comes within 75 feet of our vehicle they notify us immediately and we turn on all the outside lights and check the outside through the windows without turning on any interior lights so they can’t see us inside. We’ve never seen anything that looked suspicious but that could be because we lit up all the areas with the many bright lights around the outside of our vehicle making it look like daytime. I have no qualms about parking almost anywhere and we are also heavily armed (retired LE) just in case the SHTF.. We have two of these lights on each side of the RV plus one each in the front and back on one main switch I installed on the control panel along with a cut-off switch for each side and front and back lights. All are mounted on the roof edges and difficult to get to by anybody with bad intentions. They also come in very handy when setting up our camp site or for light when outside when we need it. They are LED lights and are very inexpensive to buy and operate and last forever.
Michael Grandy says
Thanks for the lighting tip, sir….I have struggled more than once trying to park in an RV slip after dark; hate it! These lights will help out a lot!
LED lights have come down in price so much and have increased in brightness at the same time. I have a few exterior ones but will buy a few like listed above – thanks for the link.
I downloaded sounds of conversations and play them on repeat through the RV stereo if I have to leave my rig for more than 15 minutes at any time of day but especially at night. The combination of the lights and voices makes the place appear lived it. I think I will also add the sound of a big dog. Anyone have a recording of a rottweiler?
John Koenig says
I started RVing in 2010. Each year since, I’ve stayed at least a couple of nights at various Walmart locations. I have NEVER, in seven years, felt “unsafe” when parking overnight at a Walmart (or Cracker Barrel or Cabelas etc, etc). Were I ever to feel even the SLIGHTEST bit unsafe, I’d move on!
Richard D Keith says
We have stayed at many Walmarts on our long trip. Almost all of the stops have been safe, worry-free. One of the very few times I was uneasy in a Walmart parking lot was in South Texas in an urban area, it was just too tense and after a few hours we picked up and left. That was when we were relatively new to the TV camping/travel scene. Now with more experience I can usually get a feel by driving the lot. If it doesn’t look or feel right we move on. I also use respect their hospitality and needs as a business. I don’t park in areas where trucks have to get in (this also gives us a quieter stay), pay them back by shopping while stopped, being quiet and respectful and not ‘camping out’, it’s only an overnight stay. As for the safety issue, we have never had problems and I feel safer because of all their security cameras and patrols. That said, you still have to be aware of things, but then that should apply even if you are only shopping, the world has gotten to be a dangerous place but use your instincts and common sense. In my opinion the more dangerous Walmart parking lots are in urban areas, some of them raise the hair on the back of my neck. If we feel uncomfortable we move on down the road or else pay for a campground site. Speaking of campgrounds and safety, we have stayed in a few campgrounds that I did NOT feel safe in. Run-down, too many long-term residents in broken-down campers, I was only too glad to move on the next morning and would have felt MUCH safer in a Walmart lot. So, overall, Walmarts are great for overnight stays, much better than truck stops or rest stops, neither of which I like or feel safe in. Like any thing else, use your gut feeling. I really appreciate Walmart for letting RVers stay, let’s not abuse it.
Problem with the stats 300 target vs 2000 walmsr if you look at store size most Walmart super stores dwarf Targets by size and traffic now throw in 24 hours vs 9 to 9 for Target and Wallys numbers are actually better. This article seemed a little bias and maybe even had an agenda go figure.
Butch Orend says
We have traveled all a cross these United States and have stayed in rest stops, Wal Marts, Home Depot, Lowes, shopping centers and church parking lots (leave a small donation) or place of business that is out of business or closed. Never set up for camping it is just an over night, gone by the time they open. Have never had any problems with crime.
Bruce Martin says
We pulled into a Walmart in north GA once just off I-75.
We parked behind a motor home, went inside the store for a few purchases and then settled in for the night.
Around midnight we were awoken by a loud rumbling and our camper shaking.
The motor home had pulled out and an 18 wheeler had taken it’s place. The driver left his noisy diesel rig running all night.
What a thoughtless jerk!
So it’s not entirely true that the big rigs just stay at the rest stops.
Our local WalMart quit allowing RV overnight camping. All the homeless people showed up in their vans, ratty motorhomes, PUs with campershells, etc. The trash these people left was terrible. The RVers weren’t the problem, but how do you allow an RVer, and not somebody living out of their 30 yr old run down motorhome?
We will stop in a Walmart when we travel and have never had issues. If we do not make it to a Walmart we will stay at the Truck stops, Flying J, Pilot, etc. I travel with 10 dogs (8 Golden Retrievers and 2 Newfoundlands)
We get supplies from Walmart if needed then stay overnight and if we forgot something, common, we will go in the AM before leaving. Not once have we ever heard any commotion as the dogs would let us know
We have camped at Wally World with no problems. On occasion the late night motor heads have to race around those camping to wake them up before driving off…
we have stayed at Wally World and even at one we had Walmart security that policed the parking lot overnight for safety. We appreciate the good will of the founder Sam Walton for his desire to have his stores accommodate RV travelers in using his stores parking area.
Like anything else in life ,be courteous and be considerate of others and the Walmart people who provide the free accommodations !
I have stayed in Walmart parking lots when traveling for many years. I have had nothing but good experiences both in the parking lots and in the stores. I do shopping in the store the night I stay and usually get breakfast from the store in the morning. I don’t “camp” in the Walmart lot, but simply park overnight. Those who set up camp or litter or have all night parties give all of us a bad name. It is very gracious of the Walton family to allow travelers this privilege and it shouldn’t be abused. As far as safety is concerned, there are those who will get “mugged” in Manhattan at noon on Sunday. These people should consider staying at home. And keep in mind that often criminal statistics are more an indication of police behavior than criminal behavior.
Shirley Ashley says
We have traveled from the East coast to West and have stayed in dozens of Walmarts. Sixteen years worth. Never had a problem. My only complaint is they don’t sell hot coffee in the morning! 🙂 We appreciate Walmart. No matter where one parks, we need to always be aware of what is going on around us. Just the times.
I seem to remember the coffee I got at 4am was from the staff room. Someone got it for me while the rest of the staff got to pet my golden retriever. They seemed to think it was a pretty good trade off. My dog Emma didn’t complain. I used to wonder what kind of jobs people with facial tattoos, Mohawk hair, Goth makeup and other body art got. Now I know – they work the night shift at Walmart. Those were not regular cigarettes they were smoking either.
If you want free coffee at 4am get a friendly dog and take a walk.
I used a Walmart only once when my RV was picked up after a repair too late in the day to find a local RV park. We notified the manager who was surprised and appreciated that we even asked. We parked in an area where we wouldn’t get in the way of other customers who had children or were less mobile. We put out our sliders (had to) but remained hooked up and ready to leave at first light.
The store was not open 24 hours but the lights were on all night for staff loading shelves in the wee small hours. I was able to get a coffee and chat with some of them around 4AM when I walked the dog. Some weird and wonderful people work the night shifts at Walmart. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and felt completely safe. Park as close as you can to where the staff go for a smoke as long as it is not out back and let some of them know why you are there. They will help keep an eye out for you.
I hope Walmart continues to allow this type of service. and that municipalities do not let one or two squeaky wheels mess it up for everyone else. Please fellow campers do not abuse the service either by overstaying, leaving a mess or making the parking lot look like a longer term facility by unloading anything other the bare minimum..
well said. 🙂
Many areas you can legally park overnight on the side of the road but then need to move the next day. Some areas may have no overnight parking, only day parking.
I have found within the past several years some cities, municipalities and possibly suburban areas have started writing new parking rules. Such as no parking of a vehicle over a certain width (which excludes most RVs). While others written new parking rules that have no overnight parking for RV’s at all. If your an RV, you need to find park somewhere else.
Out where I reside, off a highway along the ocean, like most areas you can technically park for one night or 24 hours and then need to move on. I think you may need to move so many miles from where you were once parked.
There is strip of the ocean beach that’s a state highway you can drive and park all day long but there’s no overnight camping.
Some towns I’ve traveled through aren’t RV friendly and may have RV specific parking laws that exclude RV’s and/or have a max width for vehicle parking.
Michael Grandy says
This response didn’t add much to the dialogue, unfortunately. Yes, some municipalities and cities have toughened their rules regarding overnight parking of RVs on streets, etc. We get it. But this was not the question. What have been your experiences while parking at WalMart? If making a long range trip, I will usually try to find an RV park at specific distances (e.g., 300 miles or so) each day; if I can’t find something, only then would I consider parking in a rest stop or a WalMart parking lot. Personal safety should be a concern wherever you park, whether in an RV park, or at WalMart, or at Pilot, etc. This is not the safe world you might expect in your home town; be vigilant, and stay safe.
I guess I’m unable to provide a suitable reply because I don’t ever park my RV in parking lots, including Walmarts.
I do park in and near small towns. In our state many of the small towns some over 150 years old have disappeared. Many of the businesses and shops have moved out into the shopping malls leaving small towns as ghost towns.
I know of one small town in the middle of farm country. That was once a thriving small town. Now it has one post office and one small mom and pops grocery store. The closest shopping other than the mom and pops store is over 35 miles away. Where most people in the area shop probably one or twice a month. Being able to stock up is the key. When at home I shop perhaps once every six months if possible. Spend a hole bunch usually at a Costco more than 125 miles away.
When travling in a RV I normally stock up, carrying supplies and rarely have a need to stop and shop.
Closer to home I’ll shop in a Walmart once in a while but often will shop at a Grocery Outet (both approx 35 miles away). Has many of the same items at better price than Walmart, but you first need to take a look at their expiration date.
The Walmart in our area has one of the worst reputation of all the Walmarts within over a hundred mile radius. It’s parking lot is small and there appears to be no place for RV’s to park.
What has this to do with Walmart parking experience being dangerous?
Walmarts exist at least in our area of the US because shopping malls, including Walmarts and suburban housing have replaced small farming, fishing and logging communities that once offered a good and safe place to stop and shop, have a meal and/or cup of coffee. Be able to shoot the breeze for a while and get to know at least a few people from the surrounding community.
What has replaced most of these small town communities has taken over the entire surrounding area for hundreds of miles, where many of the towns where people once stopped and shopped have become Ghost towns.
A Walmart has the potential to be a good place to shop, mediocre or just terrible.
The problem is many of these small town communities that have for the most part disappeared and replaced with people from out of town. Some of these out of town people are coming directly from large cities such as Los Angelus, Chicago and New York.
Many of these transplants are hard working and not causing local problems. However there are transplants that once were part of large city gangs. That have brought their problems with them. So many of these once safe areas with shopping malls, walmarts, etc. have become unsafe and have similar problems of larger cities. Perhaps one Walmart is spared for at least a while from these problems while other are not.
At a fishing hole I stopped miles from a town and ran into a retired person who use to work iirc for a county road crew. He had worked for them for decades then retired in this area that was once a small town community over ten years ago. We got into conversation, when he brought up some problems he was experiencing around the once thriving small farm town community. He said many areas around the area had drastically changed in just a few years where people including himself are worried of being shot at, areas that are close to walmarts and shopping malls.
Essentially all across the US I think much of this is going on. Where you once had a safe town and community have been taken over, much of the original community has left and your ending up with less safe places to shop. Some are better than others but I think all these shopping areas have become compromised in one way or another.
Michael Grandy says
While your post is interesting in a way, it still does not answer the question. And you never do say what part of the US, or which state, you live in. That might help make your comments a bit more relevant and understandable. You seem to have a lot to say, in a somewhat rambling way; maybe this particular thread isn’t the one you need to visit. Anyway, happy traveling, sir, and stay safe!
Sorry, my comments can’t be more plain and understandable for you. I guess I’m trying to say Walmarts parking lots at least in my area aren’t really safe even for non rv’ers. They’re a place where most people would not want to stay very long. For an RV’er they would not be a good place to stay overnight.I think that’s one reason why there’s no place at my local Wal-Mart for RV’ers, to park.
I’d have to say most shopping malls in my state are not a good place to stay for very long, they’re basically there for you to park and shop and then go home.
I don’t think it has to do with Wal-Mart’s per se it’s just most of the streets and parking lots in the US are not a safe place to be for an extended amount of time.
If you stay on or near the street (which includes parking lots) long enough you will be eventually targeted, unless you’re able to produce and have some sort of repore and reason to be near or in the streets. In some areas being in a RV overnight may be a good enough reason for most people but not all people.
Many streets potentially you’re safer being a pan handler or a person living on the street than a person driving a fancy RV. As a street person you may need to have been on the streets for a while to get to know everyone to feel safe.
I have had jobs where I was working and part of the streets at least 16 – 18 hours per day 24/7. There are unwritten street rules connected to most all urban and suburban streets over entire US which includes parking lots.
A 24 hour period in a RV shouldn’t be a problem in most areas, however who knows these days, things happen for no apparent reason.
Michael Grandy says
Sir, you speak with apparent authority, but in all your posts you have neglected to tell us which state you’re from. That might be a good one to avoid, if it’s as bad as you say. To me, it sounds like Trenton, New Jersey, which is a hell hole with high crime, etc., from all accounts.
I think it really depends on where you are. I live in San Diego, and there are two Wal-Marts near my house. People park RVs overnight at both of them, but mostly the nearer one, because it has a larger parking lot. It’s also not far from a major police station, which maybe doesn’t hurt. There are also a number of people in this area who appear to be living in RVs on the street, including at least one or two right in my neighborhood. I know a street slightly out of my neighborhood where there’s sort of an informal RV “campground on the street” and it always seems to have a bunch of the same RVs. They are older, at least one has a portable generator sitting on the ground next to it, and look like they belong to people living in them full time. It’s also not too far from the aforementioned police station, but they keep the place clean and don’t bother anyone. It’s probably technically illegal, but since it’s a dead-end, non-residential street and no one has presumably complained, I’m inferring that the police aren’t bothering them because they aren’t bothering anyone. It’s likely safe enough, or they wouldn’t be there, I think. The area is decent and they have the safety of numbers. Some have dogs. I wouldn’t be surprised if some have guns. I hope they do, because you just never know.
Could not reply to your last comment so I’ll post here.
I’m a West Coast person, lived on the West Coast my entire life. have friends and traveled the East Coast including Boston, New York, New Jersey, (including Trenton)., etc. My family moved, (some homesteaded) here in North America over 500 years ago. I have traveled all over North America, for me it’s the greatest place on the entire planet to be. I lived mostly rural areas but because of work have worked and lived in urban and suburban areas. I can remember years ago I worked in San Pedro, I liked Los Angelus and Southern Calif, ok, mostly because of my work , but it wasn’t a place I wanted to stay permanently.
I also love the water, lakes, streams, rivers and the ocean. I’m currently living next to the Pacific Ocean and have resided next to mostly salt water my entire life.
People, humans don’t know much about our oceans yet our oceans cover 71 percent of the earth, whereas land mass is only 29 percent.
In my younger days, decades ago after a big factory lay-off I lived on the street and in missions for a while. I got to know some of the street people. Most were there because of their homelessness, no money and bad luck or circumstances, weren’t really into crime per se,
Most only wanted a warm place to sleep and a meal. Many were actually suffering from of mild form of hypothermia where it would take an entire warm day (or inside with a heater) for them to warm up. (where some never actually ever warmed up completely) In the evening many didn’t have a warm place to sleep, in the morning would wake up again cold. It would then take another entire day for them to try to warm up. Alcohol was often used by many to keep themselves warm during the day and evening.
Many people don’t really understand street people as most people never get into a homeless situation.
Most street people at least in colder climates, basically are trying to keep them selves warm and looking for a meal. Which becomes problematic if you’re trying to look for work. Your mind and brain doesn’t work the same when you’re suffering from a form of hypothermia, the sugar levels start to change. When they start to feel better and get warmer with a meal, their physiology and mental health really isn’t normal at all.
Many areas around the US the spring, summer and fall months it usually becomes cold at night. A blanket usually doesn’t cut it.
It can take months of care, possibly longer to take a person off the street and make them feel normal again.
IMO the majority of the street people aren’t bad people their just in bad circumstances and homeless where many are exploited, because of their circumstances. Those that do work odd jobs often are paid less than half of min. wage as people will give them some work taking advantage of their situation.
Today there are camps, many years ago when I was on the street for a while. There were some hobo camps, but I don’t remember there being any tent camps or cities as you see today. These camps imo aren’t suitable and really no place for humans to live.
Years ago, when I was young there were many more manual labor jobs available. In my youth I could easily find field and farm work, work on the docks, fishing and fishing boat related work, etc. Many people seasonally moved around, some riding the rails would seasonally work in the fields. (e.g. farms use to hire hay balers) Not much of that work exists today as many jobs and work have been replaced by machines. Most of the small farms that once existed, that use to offer seasonal work, mostly have disappeared.
Places that go out of their way to make RVers feel unwelcome should reciprocate by not giving them our business but also by making sure we let them know this. Businesses that are the “only show in town” who use this fact to gouge on prices should similarly be punished. For example I let them know that (in the case of filling my propane tanks) I would rather take my business to the supplier in the next town and pay for the fuel to drive there than pay their inflated prices.
If you are organized and plan ahead so that you can grocery shop, eat out, do some touristy things and fill up your tanks etc all on the same trip to the next decent sized town, the cost of the gas to do so makes it worthwhile – as long as you let local retailers you are doing this. If you just take your business elsewhere but say nothing then you have wasted the opportunity to send the message that “I’m madder than hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Towns that take extra measures to disrespect RVers should be written up on blogs like this one so that we won’t go there to begin with. Remember towns that pass bylaws that ban overnight parking at Walmart may have RV park owners on council who have vested interests. They may think they are making money this way but we need to make sure they and the other businesses in town realize they are in fact losing business.
Money talks but only if you do too. Learn to be assertive and haggle. Think of it as a sport that pays well if you get good at it and go pro.
Michael Grandy says
Agreed! But be specific and provide enough information so the rest of us RVers know who to avoid and who to visit.
If one business misbehaves we should boycott that business but if a whole town is involved – as it is when a council passes an anti RV bylaw – then the whole town is culpable. However consider this example,
I am wintering near Oliver, BC Canada. The town itself is OK but the propane guy charged me $25 the first time I went in because I had to wait about 10 minutes. He said his price would have been $30. The next time I went in he charged $35. When I questioned that he said everyone charged the same price. He also closes on Thursday afternoons and Sundays. The nearest competitor is 20 miles away and charges $30. It would cost me $6 in gas to drive there and back to save $5 but if I grocery shop etc at the same time the cost for gas is insignificant. But by taking my business away from the propane dealer I am also taking away my business with other retailers in Oliver. Is this fair? Should I even care?
So is this blog the best way to do it and should it be a searchable item – in which case some sort of indexing would be required. Maybe an “RV Friendly” score out of 10 or 100 with points gained for overnight parking facilities and points deducted if specific bylaws prevent it. Points can be gained for RV repair facilities and lost if too many businesses close for the “off season.” What other criteria?
Maybe such an index exists elsewhere (please post the link) and we shouldn’t reinvent the wheel but, if none exists, then this is a job for the collected efforts of all of us RVers who spend 6 months or more in our RVs annually.
A Republican would see such a list as a way to attract business to an RV Friendly town, A Democrat would see such a list as a way of discriminating against someone (which is automatically to be banned). Just kidding folks – I’m Canadian and found the recent elections in the USA more entertaining/exciting than any other “reality show” that was on.
On a more serious matter (to Canadian snowbirds and businesses that profit from them). What about the fact that American banks gouge on the exchange rate (35% instead of 25%) and many of us Snowbirds stayed away the last 2 years. Owners of RV parks and other businesses in the USA that have lost Canadian customers in the winter season because of this should be talking to their banks. No matter what the business is or where it is located, it will only do business if it is open for business and welcoming. Gouging sends a clearer message than boycotting does – lets correct the balance!
Michael Grandy says
With regard currency exchange rates: I have found the best rates are gotten when I use my American Express card for things like fuel, lodging, and groceries. You are generally not subject to the local “exchange rates” in that way.
I guess some of the snowbird problems you encounter are just a case of experience and a certain degree of inconvenience or dissimilar cultures and business practices. After all, we are two countries separated by a common language (I mean “ehhh!?” You know what I’m aboot!).
My Wife and I boondock a lot we have stayed overnight a lot of times at Walmart, we always ask the manager for permission, sometimes the parking lot will have signs posted as to no overnight parking. On a few occasions we had a gut feeling that it was not safe so we moved on to another store.
Michael Grandy says
My wife and I both prefer what we perceive to be the relative comfort and security of an actual RV park when we travel, so I tend to go to extremes to find parks at appropriate points along my route, using various means to find them. At our age we like to keep daily journeys relative short…no more than 350 miles or so….so being a member of various travel clubs, including Passport America, Resorts of Distinction, Camp Club USA and a few others, it’s usually not too difficult to find something close by our route in the $15-20 range for the night, complete with full hookups and other amenities. But I’m not against trying out a WalMart lot of the need ever arises; the WalMarts in our area all seem to be pretty well covered by security patrols and cameras. I also travel “packing” to provide my own degree of security while on the road; I’m looking forward to universal right to carry in the US, which to me is a no brainer.
I would stay in a Wal-Mart if it were more of an emergency. Was late and not enough time to look elsewhere.
I would prefer to find a place to stay in a National Forest or wilderness area than a Walmart.
As another person stated it depends on where a Wal-mart or a parking lot exits, even within city limits you can go from safe areas to more dangerous areas within a few miles.
The real threat on the streets and parking lots is usually from people who live in homes and exploit the streets for their own personal gain or for a gang.
Street people unless there being exploited somehow aren’t normally a threat. As I said previously many are suffering from a mild to more sever form of hypothermia and hunger. Or perhaps just from too much exposure to the elements.
There are street people living on the streets from a few weeks to years, even decades, that don’t commit crimes. However those street people who commit crimes is normally misdemeanors. There sometimes thrown in Jail for a while then released back onto the streets. However this was many years ago, how much and who is committing crimes these days I don’t know. When I was on the streets their were a few strick codes, you didn’t steal from another person or other people, I can remember people getting in trouble by other street people for stealing 35 cents.
I think some, perhaps most all of the street codes have disappeared because of the resurgence of street gangs, who live in the different surrounding neighborhoods.
If staying in a parking lot such as a Wal-Mart’s I would be more concerned these days with street gangs and individuals connected or a part of a street gang, which have been popping up around the west in what was once considered to be rural areas.
We have stayed in WM parking lots several times all across the US. We have never had a problem with crime. I always go to the service desk and ask permission before staying. Usually if they do not allow it, it is because of local ordinances against overnight parking within city limits, not because of WM policy.
You have way to much time on your hands anony! I think you have wore your welcome out with a 12 chapters of posting.
We stay at Wal-Mart parking lots going down to Florida and when returning to upstate NY for our annual winter sojourn. Never had a problem besides the occasional loud tractor trailer, but I understand their need to run their diesel engine or gen set. I’ve moved during the night on several occasions to a quieter spot in the parking lot, no biggie.
I like Wal-Mart for all the reasons posts previous to mine state. I too after finding a spot and parking will go to the store for supplies, bringing carts left in the lot up to the store. It’s my way of saying thank you, plus after a long day on the road, I could use the physical stimulation. As far as finding a spot, Wal-Mart parking lots are typically well lit. If possible, we try for security reasons to find a spot with good lighting.
Additionally, since we go in the winter, my unit is not de-winterized Wal-Marts are opened 24 hours, so a trip into the store to use the bathroom at 2 am is not uncommon. Many Wal-Marts also have a Subway or MacDonalds, so a quick hot breakfast there and we’re on the road.
Wal-Mart deserves a big thank you for allowing overnight stays. Respect and appreciate their hospitality.
clair lane says
I stay over at Walmart if tired and shop to repay the service when traveling or Loves truck stops and stay out of semi slots so truckers have plenty of parking. When I get to destination,I stay in coach,rv parks and had more trouble with attempted theft ,usually by employees, other people.Large well trained pet dogs are real good at keeping thieves ECT out. Thank you God &Jesus!
ken vb says
our walmart has locals that have sold there homes and go south to southern USA for the winter..then come back home for summer and park at walmart all summer .nothing is said. because they eat at Mc ds ,shop at wal mart .. on our trip to Beaver Creek Yukon last June,,we saw that wal marts were very busy with RVs .we never stayed there because of our dogs .always paid the price at campgrounds .
SD Boone says
I use Wal-Mart parking lots no matter where I go. Super convenient! I tend to go into the store in the daylight and will wait until morning to shop. I have had no problems with any Wal-Mart up and down California. I have however, left a Wal-Mart because I didn’t feel safe. I just drove 20 miles down the road to the next one. I spend more than I plan too at Wal-Mart every time I go! ha ha I have a large toy hauler.
we find walmarts safe when ever we go in Canada..will never go to US camping .so cant comment about there.
F. Walker says
After reading many of the comments regarding over-night parking at Walmart, it seems to me that there are many persons who should not leave home after dark.
Rory Sanchez says
This is a non-story. It talks about Walmart Camping, then it talks about general crimes happening at one random Walmart. The story makes no correlation about criminals targeting Walmart Campers or anything else. I’ve never spent the night at a Walmart in my RV but it is my “go to store” when RVing. It’s great. Everyone is friendly and I’ve never had a single problem.
Well my pit and lab will have a nice snack if the would be thief disregards the beware of dog sign in the window..
I am a women of 72 and I travel with 18 to 26 show dogs toy poodles , I never bring out my slides , I can get to the bath room and the fridge I have to crawl at the end of the bed to get in it , and yes its cramped. The dogs don’t get to go out side they have to use wee pads one at a time . But I am a guest and I want to show respect , its for one night of inconvenience. I can do that . I don’t run my gen after 4pm if I have to do that .. I have never felt in danger and if I did I would move on down the road . Common Sense and RESPECT FOR OTHERS GOES A LONG WAY I drive a 2014 class A DP. I bought it new
It’s all about the location. People would be foolish to stay at most locations in Metro Dallas or Houston. They’re scary enough just getting to your car, let alone camp there. Other Wal-Mart’s at smaller towns can be fine. Like anywhere else, check the surroundings.
JUDY Sharum says
we stay at CRACKER BARRELS. have dinner there-go to RV and stay for night. get up have breakfast there and leave. nice and quiet-one had beautiful lake we parked beside. FLORIDA.
they are open till 11pm and employees back around 5am jus dont park behind building-garbage truck and deliverys! noisy then in am. alot havebig sites to pull in.
otherwise FLYING J’S NOT PILOT J’s have RV parking out front semis in back. pilots have just in back for everyone. noisy. have security walking around
Michael W Nardin says
That location is sighted in Tulsa those police calls were mostly and almost exclusively for shoplifters I have spent time and shopped at that store in the past and it’s not any worse than any convenience store or other store in the area
Michael W Nardin says
I have never had a problem or incident at any Walmart anywhere in the country except for the occasional drunk or idiot
James D McGinn says
I totally understand Peter who complained about big semis running noisy generators. We have stayed at plenty of wal-marts and generally have a great experience there. However, one night we were in a corner of the parking lot and the semis were on the other side. There was plenty of parking for more semis over there. Even so a big semi came and parked right next to us! I was thinking I sure wish the price of diesel would go up so there would be higher efficiency and i wouldnt have to smell the stinky exhaust or hear it.
If I were parked in a Wal-Mart and it were either hot enough to need AC or cold enough to need heat, I would be running my generator all night, too. I have no expectation that truck drivers should do without heat or AC.
If those things bother you that much, don’t boondock at Wal-Mart. It’s that easy.
Our one and only time we stopped at a Walmart, not even overnight, in Quesnel, BC, someone slashed two of our 5th wheel trailer tires and had begun slashing tires on our truck. Had we not caught him, we would have probably lost all of our tires and who knows what else. Needless to say, we will never overnight camp in a Walmart parking lot or any parking lot for that matter. Whitehorse’s Walmart was like a tent city and we didn’t even want to park there just to shop. These places seem to breed trouble!
On a cross country Motorcycle trip I pulled into a truck stop. I love the noise made by semis. I laid down on the curb and slept like a baby. Every truck that fueled there shined their lights on me. I would rather sleep around trucks and generators than anywhere else.
I think most everyone has the right ideas about what is acceptable or not at Walmart. Most issues about Walmart parking comes down to common sense. It does help if they completely and correctly word their idea. Most people however are unable to do so as we are not good writers, me included. Then the problem is the reader who mistakes that idea and takes it wrongly based on how it was worded or what parts were left out. Then the arguments come out and we all start acting just plain stupid.
This could be re-worded and placed in almost every internet forum too. We all have great potential to be amazingly stupid.
Statistics can ce used to support or refute most anything depending on how it’s presented and what data is used ie the highest crime rated retailer in our area is a Walmart but it doesn’t allow overnight parking and most of the crime reported is shoplifting. Other more serious crimes head been reported in Walmarts that are more urban and not anywhere near highways or where transient RV’ers would travel. If you do your research ahead of time and use apps like Allstays you can determine where the best locations are and which allow parking as they contain feedback from users. Also, being able to use maps with satellite views on smart phones is al another way to get an overview of the neighborhood(s).
Colin Abbott says
Must admit we only use Walmart now in Canada and have never had of any problems. But that is Canada
Most Campgrounds, off season, don’t have anyway to stop for a quick overnight. I often don’t know until well past 7:00PM where I will be so I could call for a spot. I’d pay $5 or 10 to pull in and park and use the electric and bathrooms if I could, but haven’t found any wayto do it. One time I tried the late night no assist pull in and pay in the morning. In the morning I was heading out long before the office was open. Put a $10 in an envelope and called it good. WalMart, Flying J and Golden Coral have been my go to places when I making my winter mecca to the south before Christmas.
Being retired, we usually limit our travel days to 4 to 6 hours actual travel time. That leaves a lot of time left in the day that we do not want to spend sitting in a Walmart parking lot. We usually find a state park, Corps of Engineers park, forest service campground or private campground.
We do utilize Walmart a lot in our travels. In fact, it is probably the #1 single item I search for on our GPS.
We use them for restroom and exercise breaks. We park far out in the lot, get a good stretch walk on our way in to use the restroom and then take a walk around the circumference of the store. We may walk just one time around, but usually it’s twice and sometimes even three times.
Sometimes we even buy something.
mikel john says
Cape Coral Florida has a sign in there parking lot the states in large print.
NO RV CAMPING IN OUT LOT !
Tom McCoy says
Yes I have stayed at Walmart in Fredericksburg Virginia and they have built a new store next to the old one and encourage RV parking in the old store parking lot.
JB you are correct, Good Sam’s is one of the biggest influences on local government to prohibit overnight parking. My Class A needs the slide out to use the bed, so yes I use the slide out.
I have stopped overnight at Walmart at locations all over the country for overnight stops between destinations; I always call ahead and ask permission, most times the manager thanks me for asking, and always shop at the stores that allow overnight parking. I have had permission and decided to leave that particular store and move on to another because it did not feel right. I have never set out camp chairs of lit a camp fire; I am only there to get rest to move on to my destination. Just use common sense and enjoy the journey.
Stephen Hawn says
You know what I think, crime is everywhere, icluding state parks due to cut backs. I’ve been to parks where is no division or gates between the campground area and the public areas. The criminals can hang out and drive thru the campground at will and do there shopping where campers are not present. Walmart is just as safe.
James O'Briant says
This article is long on sensationalism and short on facts and even shorter on nationwide statistics. It goes on and on about the crime at ONE Walmart in ONE city. It doen’t have ANY information about how many of those crimes affected RVers. Based on this article, noboday should ever go to ANY Walmart because of crime.
Once every year or two, we hear of an indicent in a Walmart parking lot that involves an RVer Yet every night of every year, there are literally thousands of RVers who park overnight in Walmart parking lots, (with permission from the store, as required by Walmart’s Corporate Policy on RV Parking), with no issues and no problems whatsoever.
The article is pure clickbait. I administer the http://www.OvernightRVParking.com website, where thousands of RVers report to us on places where they park overnight. In the 10 1/2 years we’ve been online, we have processed more than 54,000 RVer reports on their overnight stays. Not one has had any kind of problem in a Walmart parking lot. Perhaps 20 or 30 times, an RVer has reported that a given location (sometimes a Walmart, sometimes another free Overnight RV Parking spot) “just didn’t feel safe,” so they left. Would they have been OK if they’d stayed the night? Nobody will ever know. What matters is that they obeyed their instincts. But that’s only a handful of times out of more than 54,000 reports.
Steve Rive says
No matter where you go or what you do, there will ALWAYS be the standouts that abuse the system, take advantage or create unsafe or unsanitary conditions. That shouldn’t, and does not stop good people and good companies from being friendly, helpful and accommodating to guests. In the case of businesses, guests typically spend money; and that it the goal of the business.
With regard to Walmart, I have seen numerous occasions of non-RV’ers, people in cars, depositing full diapers and other unsanitary trash in the parking lot, just steps away from trash cans. I have seen kids spray paint the asphalt. And I have seen unscrupulous people walking through the parking lot checking door handles to see if they are locked.
This kind of activity is not selective to Walmart. It happens everywhere. Dependent on the type of business, the numbers or quantity of incidents is more than likely equal everywhere, but a business like Walmart that has 25,000 guests a month with 25 incidents, is no different than if Target has 10,000 guests with 10 incidents. The percentage is the same but the total numbers make it appear that Walmart is a magnet for evil people taking advantage of good people.
With respect to any RV’ers staying at Walmart or anyplace for that matter, the single most important topic and rule to follow is to treat the place you are at as if it was your home and don’t do anything you would not want someone to do in your home.
As far as levelers in the parking lot, if they are done correctly, there are no marks or damage to the asphalt. Leveler legs need base supports to spread the weight being placed on them. Using the levelers without the supports is no different than boondocking on soft or hard ground. Non-use of a base support means the leveler will simply sink into the dirt. So if your memory is that levelers make marks on the asphalt or damages it, could it be because you have personal experience with it. I made my own out of used ¾” hardwood shelves, cutting them in four alternating sizes of length so they could be stacked like very flat stairs. Then I used a dowel rod in each outside edge of to keep them together. They are light weight and can vary from ¾” to 3” in height. They do a great job and because they were scrap, there was no cost.
We like to leave for a trip as soon as my boyfriend gets home from work so we spend the first night of every trip at a Wal-mart. He drives until he is tired so we usually get there between midnight and 2 am. We we are there just to get a little sleep and be on our way. We don’t unhitch or level and we don’t have slides to open. We don’t set up chairs and we are very quiet. We keep our area very clean and pick up any trash near where we park that was left by others. By dong the Wal-mart first night stop we save money and get a good head start on our trip when traffic is light. In the morning we get up early, shop at the Wal-mart, Thank them for letting us stay, and then leave early. It is a win-win for us and the Wal-mart we stay at. We have a diesel so if they have a Murphy station we fill up before we leavve. The rest of our vacation we usually have planned overnight stays at campgrounds. Once in a while we will stay at a Wal-mart on the way home too. We try to stay outside of the big cities and we have never had a problem. At home I shop at our local Wal-mart at least once a week because I like their prices and the fact that they let us stay overnight and save money. They even know me at our local Wal-mart. I have never felt unsafe when spending the night. I have noticed at the ones we stayed at the other RV’ers are asleap when we arrive ant they are often gone when we get up. They all seem to be very respectful and quiet and also seem to appreciate the free stay too.
We purchased our RV just over one year ago and were on the road from early November 2017 through mid-March 2018. During that time we shopped at Walmart on several occasions, and never stayed there overnight. We had one very bad experience. We were traveling through New Mexico, located an area that appeared to be respectable, and clean with a Walmart. As we needed supplies, we made the decision to stop. After shopping, we returned to our rig to find several people (both men and women) around it. As we finished loading our supplies, one of the women came to the door and asked me if I would do something for one of the men. As her English was broken, it took me a couple seconds to understand what she was asking. I was really quite offended, but calmly said “No.” My husband was coming back from returning the basket, we closed the door and left the parking lot. When we got to the campground and were setting up for the night, we saw that our rig had been badly scratched, dented, and damaged along the back, and back 1/4 of the sides, apparently by these same people in the Walmart parking lot as there was no previous damage. A free night’s stay is not worth possible damage or anything else that might happen while in a Walmart parking lot. We do not believe Walmart parking lots are safe, and if we shop at a Walmart, we do not leave our rig unattended.
Sorry you had this problem. Some people are just mean. We have been very lucky and when we first started camping we had 5 dogs and one was a huge Rottweiler lab. The dogs would make such a rukus if anyone came around and tried to damage our trailer or van that it would probably scare someone off. We lost a few of our dogs due to old age and now we only have 3 but still I think they would scare someone off. I am usually the one that goes into Walmart and my boyfriend usually stays outside because he smokes cigarettes and can’t do it in the van when he’s driving but occasionally we go in together. He never stays in as long as me though. But trouble could happen anywhere really. You have to stop to eat sometimes or at rest areas and to get gas or groceries so that can happen anywhere in any parking lot not just Wal-mart.
In the last two weeks we stayed at 5 different Walmarts. No Problems
Esko Ala-Nisula says
We stayed at a Walmart parking lot once when traveling in our van.
It was late so we did not bother to look for a campground. There was a car that was identified with a SECURITY sign that was patrolling the parking lot. It was not to hard to figure out that all the cars that pulled up next to him briefly, were buying and he was selling….
Randy Beasley says
You are using the wrong statistics. Not WalMart v Target.
Areas near interstates are more crime ridden. As are stores that stay open 24 hours. The problem here is not with the name of the store but the location.
We have never stayed at a Walmart overnight5, nor will we. One year ago, while driving through Texas, we stopped at a Walmart at approximately 2 p.m. to replenish our supplies. We were in Walmart less than 30 minutes, and when we returned to our motorhome, it was surrounded by a group of men and women – the women were actually propositioning my husband and attempting to block us from entering our rig. The men did significant damage to the back and one side of our rig.
Not only will we not stay overnight at a Walmart, we will never shop at one. If they (Walmart) make it easy for an overnight stay, they should also provide security – not the kind as mentioned above – selling drugs.
It is NOT free to stay at a Walmart overnight. It cost us our deductible. We choose to stay at a campground.