How to Camp at Wal-Mart

You have been sightseeing all day in the RV and you and the family are tired and just want to get some sleep. So where can you park the RV for a few hours that's relatively safe and legal?

Most rest areas on major highways do not allow overnight parking. And, you can't always find a campground if you are not in a tourist area. But most Wal-Mart stores allow and some even encourage overnight RV parking provided you follow some common sense etiquette. Here are a few simple steps to ensure a safe overnight stay now and in the future.
 Step One
Always go in and ask for permission if you arrive during store hours. If you arrive after the store is closed for the evening, park in the furthermost corner away from the store. Be prepared to be asked to leave during the night if you don't have prior permission. You might also be issued a citation by the local law. If you'll be arriving after hours and already know that you'll be staying at the store, call the store ahead of time for permission. Always get the name of the person you talked with.
Step Two
It's OK to open the slide-outs (if you have them), but do not put down stabilizer legs, supports, or jacks as they damage the asphalt parking lot surface.
Step Three
Never cook outside of your rig using any form of a BBQ or cooking grill of any sort. In fact, don't cook outside period.
Step Four
Never put outside any chairs, or other personal belongings. Do not open your awning. In other words, the only thing you own that should be visible is the RV and/or the tow vehicle.
Step Five
Don't play loud music or watch TV at high volume. Try to be as quiet as possible.
Step Six
It's OK to use your generator in very short intervals. Never run it for more than absolutely necessary, and never after 10pm at night or before 7am in the morning.
Step Seven
If traveling with children, do not let them run around and play in the parking lot.
Step Eight
The dumping of ANY tanks in the parking lot is not OK. Report anyone who does to the store management right away.
Step Nine
Do not unhook your tow vehicle or towed vehicle and leave the RV. This is not a campground. It is OK to unhook however, if you have repairs that need to be made to the tow vehicle and you are taking it to a local shop for the repairs. Put something under your supports so they don't damage the parking lot surface. Discuss it with the store manager so that they know what is going on and they also may be able to direct you to a local reputable repair shop.
Step Ten
Never do any repair work in the lot yourself.
Step Eleven
Be good neighbors to the store. Purchase something during your time there.
Step Twelve
Never stay more than one night. Period. If you have a reason that it's absolutely necessary, discuss it with the store manager.
Step Thirteen
Leave the area cleaner than you found it. Do not ever leave any trash.
Overall Tips & Warnings

    Just before you leave, drop a postcard off to the manager of the store thanking him for allowing you to stay at his store. This will do wonders for his attitude toward RV'ers and will go a long way to ensure that RV'ers will continue to be allowed overnight parking at Wal-Mart.
    There are a few guides available for finding Wal-Marts that allow overnight stays and those that don't. Check the resource section below for a list of these guides.
    Some cities have local ordinances that prevent overnight parking in parking lots, Wal-Mart or not. Look for posted signs indicating parking rules. If you choose to ignore the posted rules, be prepared to get a knock on the door at 3:00am from the police asking you to leave or get cited.


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