It was a not-very-well kept secret among RV owners for a very long time: If they couldn’t find or couldn’t afford a campground while visiting a city, they could almost always camp in a Walmart parking lot overnight. But a lot of Walmarts are banning overnight RV parking–sometimes because of city ordinances–even as RVs skyrocket in popularity.
CNN Business reports that only 58 percent of Walmarts allow overnight RV parking now, down from 78 percent 10 years ago. That’s for a number of reasons, including municipal ordinances that ban camping in commercial parking lots, campers abusing Walmart’s traditional 24-hour rule and staying for long periods of time, an uptick in homeless people living in campers, and campers who don’t dispose of trash or grey water properly.
Users say parking at a Walmart overnight used to be a treat, both because they could easily stock up on necessities and because the experience was quieter than a lot of campgrounds. They expect an uptick in campers using casino lots, which are increasingly opening up to overnight RV stays, and private driveways, which are being rented out to RVers online.