One of the best reasons to have a Small RV, such as Class C RVs or a Class B RV, is the fact that you can take off for relatively short periods of time and get pretty far from home. You’re not as restricted as the large motorhomes because of poor gas mileage and other hassles. For trips where it’s the destination that counts, an overnight at a convenient Walmart along the route might just be the ticket. onewalmart
Some people chuckle at the mention of parking overnight at a Walmart, or think that it must be against the rules. But actually the company’s policy does allow it and leaves it to the discretion of local management, and of course local ordinances. This is why some of the locations do not allow overnight parking. The overall philosophy according to their website, is that “allowing overnight parking can enhance the one-stop shopping convenience for RV’ers.”
Walmart parking lots are known to have ample lighting and security cameras. Additionally there is usually a fairly steady amount of traffic though the night, so it’s not too secluded. When first arriving at a store it is important to scout out the area. Drive around the perimeter to get a sense of the layout and traffic routes. For example, there are usually one or two paths from the parking lot entrances to the main doors where people drive pretty fast throughout the night.
Take advantage of driving a Small RV by driving up to the store front to see how involved the store employees are in the operations. Are they coming out to the parking lot to get carts and clean up? It’s nice to see an active presence, but it’s only one aspect of your overall impressions and comfort level for staying. If you have any concerns, then ask. Go in and ask the manager on duty where to park and if you should have any concerns.
Where to Park
Unless you get specific directions on where to park, you’ll want to park closer to the perimeter of the lot, but well within its boundaries. Since you’ve already done your assessment of the lay of the land, you’ll know which lanes, or paths of traffic, to avoid parking in. It’s fine to be near the high traffic areas so you’re not too secluded, but you don’t want to be in the way or have difficulty sleeping because of traffic noise. It’s best to park under the lights and security cameras and just block the light from your eyes with a soft dark cloth if needed.
If your dog has to go out during the night, then look for a grassy area or median. At minimum, give room for the steps to come out and for you and the dog to exit into a safe spot. Do not park where you have to cross traffic paths to get to the grassy area. And as always, please pick up after your dog.
How to find a Walmart along your route
GPS is a must have for any serious small RVer, but another must have is Walmart’s Edition of the Rand McNally Road Atlas. Not only are they very reasonably priced, but the front and back sections conveniently show the locations and other pertinent information, such as stores open 24 hours or if diesel is available. It’s really the easiest way to choose which location best fits into your schedule and then set your GPS to that store.
When to park
Many of the locations that allow overnight parking are open 24 hours a day. So shopping hours probably won’t be a consideration when pulling in for the night, or leaving in the morning. Generally though, the reason for staying at a Walmart is because you’re passing through on the way to your ultimate destination. So often you’re driving to make headway and will continue until it’s bedtime, but before you’re too tired. Allow yourself a window of time; say between 8 pm and midnight, to find a good location. By being flexible, you’ll feel relaxed and will more easily find a location that fits into your plans.