We are back on the road and headed south to avoid the cold winter months in Minnesota and Wisconsin. And just like last time, Wisconsin sent us off with a slushy mix of rain and snow.
We said goodbye to family, the land of cheese heads and cheese curds and the mighty Mississippi River. Before we leave the La Crosse Wisconsin area, I’m getting the oil changed in the Ford F450 and the RV generator. But now it’s late in the day and there are only a few hours left of drive time.
Our preferred quick overnight RV parking is through Harvest Hosts. However, there were not any locations close to our route. So, for the first time in over a year and the first time in the Grand Design Momentum we are staying overnight at a Walmart! I checked the All Stays App to find Walmart locations on our route that still allow overnight RV parking. The Austin Minnesota Walmart was good to go on the App, but I called and asked the store manager just to be sure. Watch the full video here!
A few years ago we made our very first Walmart video after news that Walmart was planning new “Reimagined” stores with smaller parking lots. There were no plans for overnight RV parking in this new design from Walmart. However, since our video was published the website has been scrapped. We assume Walmart has abandoned these plans going forward.
At the time of our video, a few other RV youtubers called us out that we were wrong and Walmart’s were not changing their plans. Well, we may have been wrong about the reason for Walmart’s ending overnight RV parking. However, fewer and fewer Walmart’s & Sam’s Clubs allow overnight RV parking now. In 2010, 78% of Walmart’s and Sam’s allowed overnight RV parking, now it’s closer to 58% according to OvernightRVparking.com.
From OvernightRVparking.com: “As active RVers, we think it’s important that the story recognizes RVers themselves as the major reasons behind Walmart managers banning Overnight RV Parking at their stores. We’ve spoken to hundreds of Walmart managers over the past 20+ years, and those who have banned Overnight RV Parking say basically the same thing — it was because of RVers who parked overnight without store permission, parked in the wrong part of the lot, stayed more than one night, set up campsites (lawn chairs, awnings, BBQ grills) in the parking lot, left trash behind, or even dumped waste tanks in the parking lot.”
As we’ve said in our other Walmart RV videos, some of the other reasons for Walmart’s ending overnight RV parking is:
- Local or city ordinances that ban the practice.
- Homeless parking for weeks or longer in RVs and cars that are no longer road worthy.
It’s Saturday and we have a video to release tomorrow! So we left the Austin Minnesota Walmart and traveled just 19 miles to Myre-Big Island, a Minnesota State Park for a regular electrical connection and some time to work. After the video was uploaded and released, we hit the road on Sunday and finally made it out of Minnesota and into Iowa!
When we have a long distance to travel, we often do not pick a spot in advance for the next overnight. We try to stay flexible in case we decide on a short or a long travel day. So about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, it’s time to start looking for a spot for the night.
Of course when you wait till last minute, you might have to settle for your last choice for a quick overnight. Our first attempt was a small county campground with great reviews. Only thing is my directions had us entering the campground from a rest area and there was no way we would fit on that dirt trail to the campground.
Our 2nd attempt for quick overnight RV parking was at a rest stop, and those are usually one of our last choices for a place to stop. We decided to pass on that.
Our 3rd attempt was at a Loves truck stop, which we also try to avoid unless there are no other choices. We really try not to use rest stops and truck stops for overnight RV parking for several reasons. Number one is our trucker friends on the road need those for their mandatory sleep and rest breaks and us RVers have so many other choices to park. Plus, rest areas and truck stops can be noisy, have diesel exhaust fumes and sometimes questionable security.
Yep, for the second night on our trip South, we are back at a trusty Walmart for another quick overnight stay! We didn’t plan to park at Walmart twice on this trip, it just worked out that way and both overnights went great. We are grateful for the few Walmart’s that still allow free overnight RV parking.
And we are not the only ones, you might see Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginny! They love to park their Class A RV overnight in Walmart parking lots. It’s their favorite spot to park without hookups.
Do you or would you park your RV overnight at a Walmart? Let us know in the video comments!
Thank you for reading, watching and subscribing and sharing this with your RV friends. Safe travels friends! Say hi if you see us on the road!
Tom, Cheri & Logan
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