I've heard that Wal-Mart will allow you to park overnight in their lots. Is this true? I have a couple of road trips coming up and am just looking for a spot to stop overnight for no/low cost. I have pick-up truck with a cap, and am pretty much self-contained.
... anyone know about Wal-Mart's policy on this issue?
There is no national policy -- Polite to ask
The polite thing is always to ask permission when you plan to "squat" over-night on someone's private property. Wal-Mart has no official policy but there is a reasonable expectation that you can spend the night in the lot in most of the store locations. Rules of thumb: 1). Park in the outer areas, so as not to take parking spaces from the regular shoppers. 2). Remove & dispose of all trash in the area of your parking area -- whether you put it there or no. 3). We make a point to ALWAYS ask permission of either the store manager or the local Wal-Mart security. 4) And most important -- ALWAYS purchase something from the store as an indication of courtesy. In certain areas of the country, security will be less welcoming to Pick-up/campers than to traditional RVs.
Our personal choice for free over-night parking -- is off-road in National Forest and BLM lands or commercial truck stops. Nearly all truck stops have areas reserved for RVs, campers and passenger cars. Do not park in any area reserved for commercial 18-wheelers!
Thanks very much Mark/editor for such a quick response and such good info! I would certainly check with the management at Wal-Mart, and always be a good citizen/customer while there.
I would prefer to stay overnight at a National Forest or BLM land, as you suggest - but how can I find out about those locations? I'd like to find something near the Interstate (I40) in TN (probably within a few hours of Nashville). Is there a website offeing locations of National Forest or BLM lands? (What is a BLM land)
Forest Service & BLM
BLM is Bureau of Land Management and basically is the management entity for all Federal land, (administers 262 million acres) that is not already part of another group, (like National Forests and national parks). Generally, the BLM allows boondocking as long as the campers are not destructive. Most of the holdings are located in the Western states, More info at http://www.blm.gov/nhp/index.htm
The US Forest Service site has lists of all of the areas managed by them. For Tennessee -- http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml#Tennessee
On this page: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/read/books.htm there are links for free campgrounds and also information about camping at Corps of Engineers -- some of the very nicest public campgrounds in the country.
Not all stores allow it.
Actually Walmart does have a policy on RV parking.
I contacted Walmart a few years ago and they told me they allow self contained units to spend the night if the manager is notified and says it's OK. Some stores do not allow it because it's prohibited by the city. Walmarts are prohibited from letting RV'er spend the night in the whole state of Arizona.
There are no bathrooms available so if you are not fully self contained you won't have a bathroom.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-26-2007 at 08:19 PM.
Thanks for the info -- Updates here
Thanks for looking up that information. The list available on the URL stated above is current only to August 2002. Chuck Woodbury's site http://www.freecampgrounds.com/noparking.html has an updated version current through April, 2003. It costs $3.
Walmart Parking Lots
I've heard that each Walmart is different...the best thing to do is go inside & talk to a manager....get permission.
Some Target Stores will also let you park overnight....
The only thing most of them are really concerned about is people dumping human waste in their lots or sewers drains...so they might take down your license plate number.