Is It Legal And Safe To Sleep In Your Car Overnight At Walmart?

Walmart allows RVers and travelers to park overnight for a few nights at some locations. However, the official policy varies by store and local laws may restrict overnight parking. We’ll explore the legality, tips, safety considerations, and best practices for sleeping in your car overnight at Walmart.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Walmart generally allows overnight parking but you need to check with each store’s manager. Be discreet, don’t litter, and move locations daily.

Walmart’s Official Stance on Overnight Parking

When it comes to sleeping in your car overnight at Walmart, the company’s official policy may vary depending on the location. While some stores do allow overnight parking, others may have restrictions in place. It is important to understand and abide by the rules set by each individual Walmart store.

Policy Varies by Location

Walmart’s policy on overnight parking is not standardized across all of its stores. Some Walmart locations explicitly permit overnight parking, while others may have restrictions or even prohibit it altogether.

It is crucial to check with the specific store’s management or consult their website for information on their policy regarding overnight parking.

Additionally, local ordinances and regulations may also influence Walmart’s policy on overnight parking. Certain cities or municipalities may have restrictions on sleeping in vehicles in parking lots. It is essential to be aware of these regulations to ensure compliance.

Stay for a Few Nights

While some Walmart locations allow overnight parking, it is important to note that they generally expect it to be a short-term arrangement. The intention is to provide a convenient option for travelers who need a place to rest for a night or two.

Staying for an extended period may not be permitted or may require prior authorization from the store manager.

It is always a good idea to be respectful of Walmart’s parking spaces and not overstay your welcome. Remember, these parking spots are primarily meant for customers who are actively shopping at the store.

Always Check with Manager

Before deciding to sleep in your car overnight at a Walmart store, it is highly recommended to contact the store manager or speak to a representative at the customer service desk. They can provide up-to-date information on the store’s policy regarding overnight parking and any specific guidelines you need to follow.

It is also worth mentioning that policies can change over time, so even if you have stayed at a particular Walmart location previously, it is still advisable to confirm their current policy before assuming it is still in effect.

For more detailed and official information, you can visit the official Walmart website at and search for their parking policy or contact information for specific stores.

State and Local Laws on Sleeping in Vehicles

Many people wonder whether it is legal and safe to sleep in their car overnight at Walmart. The answer to this question depends on the state and local laws in the area where the Walmart is located. It’s important to note that laws vary from place to place, so what may be allowed in one city or state could be prohibited in another.

Many Cities Have Bans

Across the United States, many cities have implemented bans or restrictions on sleeping in vehicles, including cars, vans, and RVs, in public areas. These bans are often put in place due to concerns about public safety, sanitation, and the impact on local businesses.

For example, some cities have banned overnight parking in commercial areas to prevent people from using their vehicles as makeshift homes.

It’s crucial to research the specific regulations in the city where you plan to sleep in your car. Check the city’s official website or contact the local police department to find out if there are any restrictions that could potentially affect your decision to park at a Walmart overnight.

Regulations on Large Vehicles

In addition to restrictions on sleeping in vehicles, some cities have specific regulations regarding the parking of large vehicles, such as RVs or trucks, in public spaces. These regulations may include restrictions on the length of time a large vehicle can be parked in one location or designated parking areas for oversized vehicles.

To avoid any legal issues or fines, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these regulations before deciding to sleep in a large vehicle at a Walmart parking lot. Again, checking with local authorities or visiting the city’s official website can provide you with the most up-to-date information on these regulations.

Remember, laws and regulations can change over time, so it’s always a good idea to stay informed and comply with the rules of the area where you plan to sleep in your vehicle.

Tips for Staying Safe and Being Considerate

Park Away from Entrance

When sleeping in your car overnight at Walmart, it is important to park away from the store’s entrance. This helps to minimize disruption to other customers and allows for a quieter and more peaceful sleeping experience.

By parking further away, you also reduce the chances of being asked to move by store management or security personnel. Remember, the goal is to be considerate to both Walmart and its patrons.

No Awnings or Chairs

While it may be tempting to set up awnings or chairs outside your car, it is important to refrain from doing so. Walmart has specific policies in place that prohibit the use of awnings, chairs, or any other camping equipment in their parking lots.

These rules are in place to maintain a clean and safe environment for all customers. It is best to adhere to these guidelines and keep your sleeping setup limited to the interior of your vehicle.

Don’t Leave Trash

One of the most important aspects of being considerate when sleeping in your car at Walmart is to leave no trace. This means cleaning up after yourself and properly disposing of any trash or waste. Walmart provides trash bins throughout their parking lots, so be sure to utilize them.

Leaving a clean and tidy area not only shows respect for the store and its customers but also helps to ensure that overnight parking privileges continue to be available.

Move Daily

To be respectful to Walmart and its policies, it is recommended to move your vehicle daily when sleeping overnight in their parking lots. While some stores may have designated areas for overnight parking, it is still a good practice to move your car to a different spot each day.

This shows consideration for other customers who may need parking spaces and helps to avoid any potential conflicts with store management. By moving daily, you also reduce the chances of overstaying your welcome and ensure that you are following Walmart’s guidelines.

Alternatives to Walmart Parking Lots

Highway Rest Areas

If you’re looking for a safe and legal place to sleep in your car overnight, highway rest areas can be a great alternative to Walmart parking lots. These rest areas are conveniently located along major highways and offer designated areas for parking and resting.

They are well-lit, monitored by security cameras, and often have restroom facilities and vending machines available. Some states even provide picnic tables and pet exercise areas for added convenience.

It’s important to note that each state has its own regulations regarding overnight stays, so be sure to check the specific rules for the rest area you plan to use.

National Forests

For a more scenic and nature-filled experience, national forests can provide a serene and legal option for overnight car camping. Many national forests allow dispersed camping, which means you can park your car in designated areas and set up camp.

These areas are usually free of charge and offer a peaceful environment surrounded by beautiful landscapes. However, it’s important to practice Leave No Trace principles and follow any rules or regulations set by the specific national forest you choose to camp in.

BLM Land

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages millions of acres of public land across the United States, and some of this land is available for overnight camping. BLM land offers a wide range of options, from desert landscapes to mountainous regions.

Many BLM areas allow dispersed camping, similar to national forests, where you can park your car and set up camp. It’s essential to research and familiarize yourself with the specific BLM district’s rules and regulations before camping on their land.

Apps to Find Overnight Parking

In this digital age, there are several mobile apps available that can help you find safe and legal overnight parking options. These apps provide information on campgrounds, RV parks, and other designated areas where you can park your car overnight.

Some popular apps include AllStays, iOverlander, and Park4Night. These apps often include user reviews, ratings, and detailed information about amenities and regulations. They can be a convenient tool for finding suitable places to sleep in your car while on the road.

Remember, it’s always important to prioritize safety and legality when choosing where to sleep in your car overnight. Research the local laws and regulations, be respectful of your surroundings, and leave the area clean and undisturbed.

By exploring these alternatives to Walmart parking lots, you can find unique and enjoyable places to rest during your road trips.


While Walmart allows overnight parking as a courtesy, always check local laws and with each store’s manager first. Be discreet, don’t overstay your welcome, and practice good etiquette to ensure free RV parking at Walmarts remains an option for travelers.

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