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Can You Sleep Overnight in a Publix Parking Lot?

The first things that come to mind when many shoppers think of Publix are their crispy fried chicken, mouthwatering sub sandwiches, and southern hospitality.

However, it also might be a convenient place to get some rest.

With the trend toward RV and van life, more nomads are looking for a spot to park overnight during their adventures. So can you sleep overnight in a Publix parking lot? Let’s find out.

The History of Publix? 

Publix is a popular grocery chain located throughout the southeast United States. George W. Jenkins launched the first store in 1930 in Winter Haven, Fla. What started as a single store has grown over the last 90 years into a Fortune 500 company with more than 1,000 stores.

The company has a legendary reputation for having the highest level of customer service and doing just about anything to avoid disappointing customers.

George Jenkins said, “We are not only in the grocery business, we’re in the people business. It depends upon how well we get along with each other and get along with our customers.” You can feel that Publix is anything but an ordinary grocery store from the moment you walk through the doors.

Can You Sleep Overnight in a Publix Parking Lot?

While you can expect many things from a Publix store, sleeping overnight in their parking lot isn’t likely to be one of them. There’s no official statement from Publix regarding shoppers staying overnight in their parking lots. 

This means it’s up to individual stores. However, sometimes the decision will be out of the store manager’s hands as many cities and municipalities are crafting rules and regulations prohibiting overnight parking.

FYI: For risky stealth campers, this may be a viable option (however, we don’t recommend breaking the law).

The best way to know if you can sleep overnight in a Publix parking lot is to ask. You should call the individual store and ask to speak to a manager or other employee in a position to grant permission for you to stay overnight.

However, finding a Publix willing to host you for the night can be hit or miss, making it hard to rely on them when you need to find a place to park.

Which Stores Do Allow Overnight Parking (in many cases)? 

While Publix as a corporation may not take a stance on overnight parking, some businesses are very accepting of overnight parking.

While these locations can still be unpredictable, they’re some of the most frequently used locations for overnight parking in vans, RVs, and passenger vehicles. Let’s dive in! 

Keep in mind: All the suggestions below are hit or miss and don’t offer overnight parking 100% of the time. We always recommend calling the stores ahead of time to verify if overnight parking is allowed.


Walmart is by far the most popular option for overnight parking. This is a great option as there are more than 4,500 Walmart locations throughout the United States.

Their parking lots are massive and tend to remain empty throughout the night, especially now that their locations are no longer open for 24 hours. Despite their reputation for sharing their parking lots with travelers, you should still get permission before getting comfortable for the night.

It’s customary to support the local business hosting you for the night. Luckily, finding something to buy at Walmart shouldn’t be a problem. Their stores offer just about anything you could need during your adventures.

Cracker Barrel

Another business with southern roots and a reputation for hospitality to travelers is Cracker Barrel. There are more than 650 Cracker Barrel locations across the country, many of which have designated RV parking spots in their parking lots. These restaurants typically sit near major interstates and highways, making it easy for RVs of all sizes to get in and out.

Call ahead to avoid a potentially frustrating situation and ensure the location permits overnight parking. Local rules and regulations can prohibit the restaurant from allowing guests to stay the night. 

If they do let you stay, make sure you stop in and make a purchase. Grab a meal at the end of your travel day, or start the day off right with a delicious breakfast. A southern breakfast is one of our favorite ways to start a travel day!


Cabela’s is a large outdoor sports store owned by Bass Pro Shops. There are roughly 160 Cabela’s locations throughout the United States. 

When local rules and regulations permit overnight parking, Cabela’s typically accepts RVers and other overnight guests. They’ve even invested in dump stations at many of their locations. However, reports of dump stations closing at Cabela’s locations have been increasing as the repair and maintenance expenses aren’t cheap.

Whether the dump station is available or not, these massive parking lots can be great places to park for the night. They’re usually easy to access and offer plenty of room to maneuver a large rig in and out. They’re often in or near shopping plazas, meaning it should be quiet after the stores close for the night.


Costco is one of the largest wholesale warehouse retailers. They’re direct competitors of Sam’s Club and require shoppers to get a membership. 

However, you don’t need a membership to stay overnight in their parking lot. When possible, many Costco locations allow overnight guests in their parking lots. However, the frequency at which stores will enable the practice can vary, so check with the individual store and get permission.

Staying the night at Costco can be a great option, especially if you need to buy a few things or have room to purchase items in bulk. It can be an excellent opportunity to save a few bucks by buying frequently used items in larger quantities. If you don’t need to stock up on supplies or make any purchases, you can score a very inexpensive and delicious dinner by ordering off their food court menu.

Camping World

Camping World and many other RV dealerships will do anything to earn customer loyalty. When possible, many RV dealers will gladly accept overnight guests. They hope to win over a customer, so their business is top-of-mind when it’s time for the RVer to upgrade to their next rig. 

Some locations will even have dump stations, potable water, and electrical hookups. If there’s a charge for any of these services, it’s typically more convenient and much less expensive than staying in a campground.

How Do You Know if a Store Allows Overnight Parking? 

You can use resources like Campendium and iOverlander to scout out possible locations. However, rules and regulations are constantly changing. To avoid a major headache, you should contact the individual store to confirm overnight parking availability. 

Always ask to speak to a manager or someone with some authority in the store. You can’t trust just any employee to give you permission. They may not be aware of all the rules regarding overnight parking.

Where Is the Safest Place to Sleep in Your Car?

While many may think that campgrounds are the safest place to sleep in your car, many public places aren’t any less safe. Law enforcement often patrols throughout the night to help keep the community safe. Parking in a well-lit section of a parking lot is the best way to maximize safety while parking overnight. 

It’s also a good idea to take note of where security cameras are pointing. Anyone up to no good will likely think twice about trying something sketchy in a well-lit area with cameras. If something does occur, the business will probably be able to turn over evidence to local law enforcement.

Is Staying Overnight in Store Parking Lots Worth It?

Sometimes you do what you’ve got to do to get some rest. Travel days can be unpredictable, and campground reservations can be challenging to acquire. With the rise in RVing, many campgrounds reach capacity on more than just holiday weekends.

If you can find a quiet store parking lot where you won’t be in the way, it’s worth it. Hitting the road fresh can help you stay safe and enjoy your adventures.

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