If you’re traveling through California, you may need to find a quiet and safe place to park at night. Walmart parking lots have become the go-to spots for travelers when they need to park overnight.
However, finding a parking spot in California can be hit or miss. So can you park overnight at Walmarts in California? Let’s look and see!
Does Walmart Allow Overnight Camping in Their Parking Lots?
Walmart is very hospitable to RVers and travelers parking overnight in their lots. They will typically do all that they legally can to welcome travelers.
However, some Walmart locations are in areas with strict regulations for overnight parking. Stores must follow the local rules for their area.
Can You Park Overnight at Walmarts in California?
California has a reputation for being a state that loves to create rules and regulations. However, they’ve unrightfully developed a reputation for not being friendly regarding overnight parking. Like many other states, some California cities and communities allow overnight parking at Walmarts, and some do not.
You must know the laws for parking overnight at Walmarts in California. If not, you could be in the middle of a situation that you didn’t expect. Ignorance of the law will not be an excuse for law enforcement. Familiarize yourself with the regulations before getting too comfortable. When in doubt, call local law enforcement to avoid any frustrating situations.
Can You Get in Trouble for Staying the Night at a Walmart?
If the Walmart store is in an area that prohibits overnight parking in public locations, you should expect to get in trouble. Law enforcement officers in some places take the rules very seriously regarding overnight parking.
Some law enforcement will be more patient and lenient than others. You could receive a stern reminder and warning regarding the local regulations. However, law enforcement doesn’t have to issue you a warning; you could receive a citation for your violation. If you do, the lot could quickly turn into an expensive overnight camping spot.
Pro Tip: Make sure you know these 7 Things You Should Know About Walmart Camping before you park up for the night.
Where Can You Find Which Walmarts Allow Overnight Parking?
If you’re wondering where you can easily find Walmarts that allow overnight parking, there are some things you should keep in mind. Here are some places to look and things you can do to find the best overnight spots at Walmarts.
All Stays App Reviews
The All Stays App is a massive database of Walmart locations. It’s a must-use resource for anyone who plans to use Walmart parking lots for overnight stays during their travels. Other users can leave helpful reviews and tips that can help you as you scout out a spot to stay for the night. It can save you the hassle of pulling into a Walmart only to discover that you cannot park overnight.
Call the Store or Go Inside to Ask for Permission
No matter what you’ve read online or had someone tell you, you want to get permission from the store before staying. An excellent way to do this is to call and ask to speak to a manager. They’ll likely patch you through to someone who can give you permission to park for the night or let you know the local rules. This is an ideal opportunity to ask if they have a specific spot they’d like you to park in during your stay.
Even if you call ahead, you should check in with the store when you arrive. Head into the customer service department and ask to speak to a manager. Take note of the person’s name who permitted you. This could come in handy later during your stay if anyone questions you.
Read the Signs Posted in the Parking Lot
Many Walmart locations that do not allow overnight parking will have plenty of signs letting you know. These signs will often be at the entrances to the parking lot and around the perimeter. You may even find some on light poles and under stop signs.
You should not ignore these signs If you pull into the parking lot and see them. These signs typically prohibit overnight parking. However, this does not mean that you can’t stop to do some shopping or pull over and take a break for a couple of hours.
What Business Allow Overnight Parking in California?
Walmart isn’t the only business in the Golden State allowing overnight parking at many of its locations. Several other places often open their parking lots to guests when possible. Let’s examine a few options you might want to consider.
Casinos are one of the most overlooked spots for overnight parking locations. The parking lots at these locations are relatively spacious and often have ample room for multiple RVs. You’ll want to call ahead and check with the place to see if they allow overnight parking. They may have a campground or designated parking area where they ask overnight guests to stay.
Staying at a casino can be an excellent choice because they often offer many entertainment options. You can find concerts, restaurants, and shows at many casinos. You don’t have to gamble a penny to have a fun time when staying overnight at a casino.
Cracker Barrel stores don’t only offer southern food; they also provide southern hospitality. They’re a go-to spot for overnight parking due to their proximity to highways and interstates frequented by travelers. Many of these restaurants have RV-specific parking spots, making it easy to navigate during your stay.
Like other locations, you should call ahead and ask permission to stay. These are popular destinations, and their parking lots may fill up with other travelers looking for a spot to park overnight. In addition, some Cracker Barrel locations may be in areas that prohibit overnight parking.
If you stay at a Cracker Barrel, the least you can do is support the store financially. Grab a bite to eat after your long day of traveling or before you hit the road in the morning. Trust us; almost everything is delicious on their menu!
Pro Tip: Before you spend the night camping at Cracker Barrel, make sure you know The Don’ts of Cracker Barrel RV Camping
Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s
Big outdoor recreation stores like Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are also possible spots to stop for the night. These stores have spacious parking lots that sit empty most of the night. They’re typically big-rig friendly and are easy to navigate. Some of these locations even have dump stations and potable water. However, these can be hit or miss. There have been reports that they’ve closed many dump stations due to the expense of maintaining them.
However, whether they have a dump station doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re great spots to stop for the night. Walking through these roomy outdoor sports shops can be a fun way to unwind after a long travel day. However, be careful how much shopping you do, or you could spend more than you would if you had booked a hotel or campsite.
Can You Boondock on BLM Land in California?
Boondocking on BLM land in California is an excellent way to camp and adventure. These spots are ideal for maximizing your privacy and space while camping. You can find boondocking sites in remote BLM lands in California deserts.
One reason to consider these spots is that you don’t always have to pack up and leave the next day. Many have stay limits ranging from five to 14 days. So not only can you stay overnight, but you can also stay several nights in a row without any issues.
Like when parking overnight, it’s up to you to know the laws for boondocking in a specific area. Some areas may require you to purchase a camping or use permit, and others may ask that you camp in particular spots. You could be in a tricky situation if you overstay your welcome or are boondocking in an unapproved location.
Is Finding Free Overnight Parking in California Challenging?
Finding free overnight parking in California isn’t as challenging as you might think. Like in other states, finding overnight parking in and around major cities will be tricky. Luckily, most of California is more rural than people realize. If you’re in a rural area, there’s a good chance they’ll be more flexible regarding overnight parking. However, we can’t understate how crucial it is always to get permission when parking for the night.
Are you planning a trip to California soon? Will you plan to park overnight at Walmart, or will you find alternative locations instead?
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: