Generally, yes, you can sleep in your car at Walmart. Walmart does not have a corporate-wide policy of allowing people to sleep in their car in their parking lots. It’s up to each store manager to decide. Most Walmart store managers tend to not issue a policy on the matter, preferring not to do anything about it. Some store managers, however, go the extra mile to carve out a special area of their parking lot with signs denoting RV overnight parking.
Can You Sleep In Your Car at Walmart?
Most car campers, van dwellers, and RVers are able to sleep in their vehicles in Walmart parking lots across the United States and not get bothered by security or local law enforcement. However, a minority of stores will ask parking lot security to move RVers out. Smaller vehicles like car campers and van dwellers often go undisturbed.
Many cities have laws against sleeping in cars, and those laws apply to parking lots and private property too. The larger cities will go so far as to send parking enforcement officers into shopping centers late at night to cite and fine people caught sleeping in their vehicles.
But even while a city has laws against sleeping in your car overnight, most Walmarts still don’t mind you using their parking to get some sleep. However, they don’t have the authority to overrule law enforcement.
Look for 24 Hour Walmarts Instead
Walmarts that are open 24 hours a day are much easier to sleep overnight at because law enforcement and parking lot security don’t know if you’re in the store shopping or not. If you can park closer to the store, instead at the outer edges of the parking lot, it becomes more difficult to isolate you.
Make sure to keep lights off inside your vehicle, and put up curtains in the windows to shade light from your cellphone.
Sleep Where the Parking Lot Overlaps with Other Businesses
If there are other businesses sharing the parking with Walmart, try parking where it’s difficult to tell if you’re parking at Walmart or parking at the other business. Look for fast food restaurants that have 24 hour drive thrus. Local parking enforcement may let you slide thinking you’re an employee of the restaurant.
Stay Away from Walmarts in Big Cities
These cities all have laws against sleeping in vehicles overnight, even at Walmarts. Many of these cities will proactively send parking enforcement officers to patrol shopping centers. If you’re in a car or van, you may be able to get away with it, particularly if the Walmart is open 24 hours.
Should You Call the Walmart to Ask?
Many people do call the Walmart ahead of arrival and ask permission to overnight. However, what often happens is that the store manager may not mind you sleeping overnight, yet the assistant manager may not approve. Depending on who you get on the phone, may change your opinion. What we’ve found is that it’s actually better to go there and try it out. You may find that when you get there, there are already several RVs and vans digging in for the night.
Don’t Drink Liquids Within a Few Hours of Sleeping
This is because if you don’t have a toilet in your car or van, you will have to get out to pee, and then you’ll be visible to security or parking enforcement.
can i sleep in my car at walmart?