Has Walmart changed it’s policy nationwide and no longer allowing overnight RV parking. That’s what one RV Redditor claims a Walmart store manager told RVers in the parking lot at 9pm.
So, is it true?
Are the glory days of free overnight RV parking at Walmarts around the nation gone forever?
We did some digging and here’s what we learned.
Has Walmart Canceled Overnight Parking Nationwide?
According to a Reddit thread, a user shared:
“Hi, the managers of my local Walmart are going around to the RVs in their lot and telling everyone that Walmart has changed it’s policy nationwide and will no longer allow overnight parking.
I’ve seen zero news articles and haven’t heard anything confirming this, is anyone here still sleeping at Walmarts since yesterday?”
Naturally, this is an alarming announcement for any RVer. Walmart has let RVers park for free overnight at many store locations ever since they were founded in 1962.
Today, the retail giant has over 5,000 stores in the US, and over half of them have been known to allow overnight parking. So what gives?
Is There Any Truth to This Claim?
As soon as we saw this thread, we were shocked.
We immediately reached out to Walmart HQ for comment and started digging online for any supporting information. So far, we’ve come up short. Walmart has not responded to our request for comment and there are no news articles or announcements posted to social media as far as we’ve seen.
Surely if a major retailer was making such a huge change in the midst of a pandemic when more people are on the road than ever, they’d make some kind of official public announcement… right?
In our opinion, it doesn’t look like there’s any truth to this claim. Unless Walmart is slowly working on rolling out the policy or keeping it from the public, as of right now it looks like this claim is false.
Of course, there’s always a chance this is a policy that Walmart is slowly rolling out. But without any official announcements or changes to the FAQ on the corporate website, we can’t confirm it right now.
The original poster goes on to comment “This place has 12 hour parking signs, that’s what’s so strange. At 9pm, managers walked around telling everyone in an RV that the nationwide policy had changed as of that day and they’d be switching the signs soon.”
So why would a store manager say this? Well, we don’t know who said it or even what store it was or the state that it was in. But, if we had to guess, they were just fed up and wanted the RVers out for good.
It seems like a weird thing to lie about, especially going as far as saying they are going to change the signs. But this is also the internet, so for all we know the story could just be hearsay.
What’s The Walmart Corporate Take on Overnight RV Parking?
We didn’t find any news articles or announcements stating that RVers can’t park overnight at Walmart anymore, so we did some digging on their corporate website.
Walmart’s corporate website does mention RVers and overnight RV parking. Here’s what they have to say on an FAQ point asking “Can I park my RV at a Walmart store?”:
“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.”
There you have it, straight from the Walmart Corporate website. Walmart as a corporation leaves the decision up to local store management teams and local laws.
Walmart: Once a Safe Haven, Now We Aren’t So Sure
Once upon a time, overnight RV parking was allowed at the majority of Walmart retail stores around the US. But free overnight parking at Walmarts have declined rapidly over the last 10 years.
In 2010 the percentage of Walmart stores that you could park your RV overnight was around 78%. That number declined to around 58% in 2020 according to Jim O’Briant of OvernightRVParking.com.
According to a report by CNN, Walmart Corporate does not track how many stores allow overnight parking because RV parking policies are at the stores discretion.
So, if Walmart is critical on your voyage, you might want to rethink that decision.
Why Do Some Stores Allow Overnight Parking And Others Don’t?
There are many reasons why some Walmart stores allow free overnight RV parking and others don’t.
Some stores make the decision themselves based on crime rates, nuisance, litter, or even the size of their parking lot.
In other instances, the decision is the result of a local law or ordinance. Many cities around the US have local laws or ordinances banning sleeping in vehicles or overnight parking in public places. In these towns, it’s out of Walmarts hands.
Why Stores Across The Country Are Banning Overnight RV Parking
With the recent announcement about Cabelas rolling up the welcome mat for RVers and more and more Walmart stores banning overnight parking, one has to wonder: Why are so many stores banning RVers?
The answer here is pretty simple: abuse of the privelege.
Redditor DudeWithAMood12 hit the nail on the head with this quote:
“People don’t value anything free. Others have ruined it for everyone.”
This is why stores are banning overnight RV parking: a few bad apples have ruined it for everyone.
Free parking at public places is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and unfortunately it’s abused by most people. When you stay for free in a public place, you should never do any of these things:
- Set up camp
- Grill out
- Sit outside your rig in camp chairs
- Gather with friends
- Stay longer than 8 – 10 hours
- Put your jacks down
- Put out your slides
- Dump waste water
All of these things make it look like you’re camping, and some of them are downright disgusting. But the unfortunate truth is that many people do exactly this, and this is why stores are banning RVers. If you need more examples, check out this article: The Don’ts of Walmart Camping.
So, What Now?
Walmart has not responded to our request for comment on this claim, so we can’t confirm for 100% fact that it’s true or false.
In the meantime, it looks like you should still be able to park overnight at Walmart stores, but relying on this option in the future doesn’t look as sure as it once did. Always call ahead and ask before you park overnight at a Walmart store. Check out this article to learn how to find other overnight RV parking.
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