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Boondocking at Walmart


Many of us who drive RV’s, occasionally do park overnight at Walmarts. Some of us once in awhile, others of us more than that. Of course, there are still others of us that despise those who choose to take the opportunity to park at Walmarts.

There are a few common sense rules to follow no matter whether you park at Walmarts overnight, Flying J, visiting old friends, lost relatives, or in one of your kids driveways.

Please consider these common sense tips that one should consider the next time you decide to spend the night, camp, or boondock.


Somewhat depends on the situation, but there are some things that you must NEVER do:

  • Never leave any trash or any other trace that you were there.

  • Never dump any gray or black water on the ground. In most places, dumping even gray water is illegal. Dumping black water, especially in a storm sewer, will get you in big-time trouble.

  • Be mindful of your "neighbors" and do not do anything that will create a disturbance. Included in this category is loud noise and generators.


Do not put our your awning, lawn chairs, grill, etc. that will give anyone the impression that you are doing any more than just parking. Slide-outs are permissible, but care must be used to make them as inconspicuous as possible and also be sure that they are not a safety hazard. You will also want to park in a location that is either recommended by the management or that is such a location as not to pose a hazard to other patrons.

NEVER put your jacks down on asphalt! Most times, this will dimple the asphalt parking lot (the hotter the weather, the worse the damage). In some cases, I have even seen where an RV'ers jacks punctured the asphalt!

It is only common courtesy to patronize the business that is allowing you to boondock, such as fuel purchase, restaurant meals or misc. supplies depending on the business.

NOTE: It always helps to ask with your shopping cart full.

Generally, you should limit your stays in a parking lot to no more than three nights - preferably only one or two.

RV'ers have been under attack recently in many states and locales due to a few inconsiderate folks.

Please do not ruin staying there for the rest of us!


Unless you are camping with a very close friend or relative, it is always proper to offer a small gift as a token of your appreciation. This does not have to be anything major, and can simply be a food that you prepared in your kitchen. However, if you are being provided any hookups, you should provide at least a token remuneration. If they refuse money, take them out for lunch or supper.

Also, be aware that most driveways are NOT reinforced enough for the weight of your D. If in doubt, don't park on a concrete drive.

Parking on grass may leave ruts, particularly if the ground is moist. Be careful not to tear up your host's landscaping!


If you fail to follow these simple and responsible acts when boondocking probably nothing will happen to you. However, those that follow you, or the next time you return, you may find that the local city government has now made it illegal, or the manager has decided enough is enough.. You may pull in and find that the lot has been posted, a height device placed limiting your access, or simply permission to stay overnight denied. These have all happened as a result of inconsiderate overnight campers who crossed the line between being good responsible neighbors and those who didn’t consider their actions as affecting anyone but themselves.


Submitted by Mike Sundberg - 2/08/06

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