Sleeping in a Car at Walmart Parking lot: Legal or Illegal?

If it’s the first time you are stuck in a Walmart parking lot and wondering if it’s okay to stay overnight, well, you are in the right place. I have been there, and having this question is good as it makes you aware of many things you should know about staying overnight at a Walmart parking lot.

Not all Walmarts allow you to park your vehicle overnight in their parking lot. one big reason is that sometimes, these parking lots are not part of Walmart. The other stores own them next to Walmart. In some places, if the Walmart parking spot has been abused by people before and was disrespected, the Walmart managers choose to close the overnight parking.

One such incident was when someone parked an RV more than one day in a Walmart parking lot, and the manager warned them to leave by evening. Instead, the RV people disrespected the place by dumbing their black water tank directly in the parking lot. Please don’t be that person. 

Generally, you can comfortably sleep in your car in a Walmart parking lot. However, Walmart doesn’t have a company policy on this. The store managers are responsible for who they can allow parking for overnight sleeping. You can check if a Walmart store allows or not using apps like Rv parky and trucker paths.

If you are looking to stay in a Walmart parking lot to get a good night’s rest, then in this article, I will walk you through all the things you need to know regarding safety and things to do and not to do. Let’s get started, shall we,

safety in a Walmart parking lot:

  • Try to pull in before evening to get an excellent spot before the truckers stop for the night. They tend to swarm in fast.
  • Get your car windows tinted and blinds closed, which gives you more privacy while you are in the car.
  •  Always plan when you are pulling into a Walmart. If Walmart seems sketchy, have a reserved spot in your plan so that you can get there safely within an hour.
  • When you have other blinds, people can’t peel in and see that you are alone in the car, which is just additional safety.
  • Always call ahead and ask the Walmart manager if it’s okay to stay there for the night.
  • Park your vehicle along with the other RV people in the lot. If you don’t find any, always find a spot in the back of the lot.
  • Always bring an eye mask and earplugs as it might get loud sometimes. In simple words, Walmart is a place that never sleeps.

One product that you should always have for safety:

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Things not to do at a Walmart Parking lot:

  • Please do not park in truck spots. It’s hard for truck drivers to find these spots, and sometimes they might even wake you in the middle of the night to get their place. Truck drivers have only a set amount of time allowed in these spots, and if you are taking their site, it just annoys them even more.
  • If you had to park near trucks, avoid the refrigeration trucks, these are loud and can run all night. Instead, you can park near a flatbed, car hauler, or tanker truck.
  • If you have good blinds, you can comfortably park near a Walmart parking lot light, which will have security cameras and the added benefit of quickly getting away if something sketchy were to happen.
  • Please don’t act like it’s a camping spot by pulling your tent out and your grills out.
  • Don’t play music loud, and it just brings in unwanted attention.
  • If you have a trailer or anything attached to your car, don’t open it right away. Always stay in your driver’s seat and observe the place before you do anything.
  • Beware that you are in public, where anything can happen. This mindset will keep your animal instincts in check and sense danger quickly.
  • Don’t be flashy while you are in the parking lot; mind your own damn business.
  • Always keep an eye out for the signs in the parking lot, what you can do and don’t. 
  • Don’t stay more than one night in the same Walmart parking lot. Walmart is doing us a favor by letting us park overnight for sleep.
  • Don’t unhinge your trailer from your primary vehicle if you are not using a car. Don’t leave your trailer anywhere.
  • Please don’t put the lawn chairs out and act like it’s your home.

pros of sleeping in a Walmart parking lot:

  • You can pull in, have a great sleep, hop in the driver seat morning, and drive away.
  • Some Walmarts have grocery pickup; you can sleep in the night by placing your order, pick it up in the morning, and hit the road.
  • You can go for a walk around the parking lot and stretch your legs, as the car sometimes will make you feel like you are cramped.
  • If you are in urgent need of a bathroom, then Walmart has you covered.
  • Compared to rest stops, Walmart parking lots are well lit, which is an additional safety perk.
  • Unlike pulling out on a scenic trail, this is safer as people are always around you, and the store will always be buzzing throughout the night.

cons of sleeping in a Walmart parking lot:

  • You cannot enjoy any scenic views, which might be a bummer for some people who are all about the views. However, stopping at a rest stop might be an option for you.
  • It will be loud; if you are someone who needs a quiet place to sleep, it will be a long night for you.
  • Sometimes, fights might break out, and people might be loud outside; even though it’s not harmful to your, it might disturb your sleep and put you into paranoia.
  • Walmarts don’t have an Rv water disposal facility. If you are looking for one, rest stops should be your go-to choice.

Walmarts in big cities:

When it comes to Walmarts in big cities, they don’t allow you to park overnight. However, you might get away with parking if it’s a 24 hour Walmart. Some cities might even send patrol officers to check the parking lots for people who are staying. I have heard stories from people about patrol officers noting down the license plates if the vehicle is at the lot for more than 3 hours.

One great tip that I would give for staying at the city Walmart parking lot is not to drink any liquids as you get inside your car or van to settle for sleep. Another tip would be to find Walmarts that are 24 hours open to rest overnight. These places would make sure that the security or patrol officers wouldn’t tell if you are there for shopping or staying overnight.

Apps to use to find parking spots to sleep:

  • RV parky is an excellent app for finding parking spots and overnight sleeping rest areas. You can click on the search near me function and get a list of parking spots next to you. It’s available both on apple and android.
  • Trucker paths is another app that you can use if you are trying to find parking spots. Its usually used by RVs as well as truckers.


Being aware of what’s going on outside your vehicle is one of the essential qualities you should have as a traveler. The name Walmart doesn’t guarantee you safety at all. You, Mr.X, or Miss.Y is responsible for your safety. we humans are equipped with intuitions to understand and comprehend people and their actions. If anything doesn’t seem right in a place, flee as if it’s going to burn you to ashes. That should be your first response when it comes to unnatural things in a parking lot.

At the same time, you should not give yourself to paranoia, which happens a lot when people stay for the first time in a parking lot. The other end of this spectrum is where people get complacent by visiting multiple times in a parking lot.

If you are a woman traveling, keeping your weapons in different places in your car or van. Prepare for scenarios that might happen and be ready for them. You cannot avoid a group of drunk people trying to rob you, but you can make time to pull out of there using a knife, pepper spray, or even a chainsaw if that’s your style.

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