If you own an RV and you are on the road, you know how hard it is to get a last minute booking at an RV park or resort. If you have been travelling for hours and you are tired, you need to find a safe place to stop and rest. For years, Walmart was a go to place for just that. In recent years, more and more reports of RV’s being told that they cannot park at a Walmart have been coming in from fellow campers.
While there is no official wording on the Walmart website that says this has happened, they still say that they permit RV parking in their parking lots as they are able. It seems that staying overnight at a Walmart is on a store by store basis depending on the manager. This new policy comes as a big blow for an RV traveler who needs to stop and take a rest from driving. Even if some of the stores still allow it you have no way of knowing until you actually pull up to a Walmart and find out from the manager. Since Walmart has over 5,000 store locations nationwide, it was always a last minute option to know you could safely and legally stay in the parking lot overnight.
This quote is directly from the corporate website: “While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store parking lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.”
If you do find a Walmart that allows overnight parking, always ask for permission from the store manager first. In some areas zoning laws may not permit travelers to park overnight. It is probably a great idea to call the Walmart in advance to be sure you are not wasting your time stopping there. In addition, they do not want you to open your slides or awnings while you are parked. In addition, you likely also will not want to set up the grill or lawn chairs. After all, this is just a temporary stopping point to take a rest from driving. It is also best to find out from the manager where they would like you to park.
Most Walmart’s will have a designated place that is out of the way so as not to interfere with normal shopping. Remember that if a manager says you cannot stay overnight, it might be due to local laws that do not allow it. Also remember to be courteous and do not stay more than one night. It is also good practice to patronize the store that let you stay overnight.
If a Walmart is not an option for you or if your chosen store will not let you stay overnight, there is a new place in town that will welcome you with open arms. Cracker Barrel will now allow you to stay overnight at most of its restaurant locations. This restaurant now offers you a safe and free place for overnight camping. The good thing about Cracker Barrel is that they are located right near most Interstate highways and they have locations in almost every US state. The only exceptions are Alaska, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
Like any place that will let you stay for free, be considerate and try to arrive in the evening when the restaurant is not as busy. When you arrive, you will want to check in with the manager so they knows you are there and they will likely tell you the best place to park your RV. Most Cracker Barrel restaurants