ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Many weary travelers nationwide have spent the night in a Walmart parking lot, since good ole’ Sam Walton, an RV enthusiast himself, encouraged the company to allow drivers of recreational vehicles to spend the night in his stores’ parking lot.

But, does that mean I can park overnight at an Illinois Walmart?

Walmart’s policy was set up to apply to recreational vehicle owners but does apply to people sleeping in their cars as well.

Even so, some stores in larger cities and at popular destinations do not allow people to sleep overnight in their lot. Sometimes, city or municipal codes don’t allow it. Those stores will often have posted signs that explicitly state “No overnight parking.”

“While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store parking lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV,” the company’s official policy states.

There is no Illinois law forbidding drivers from parking overnight in a parking lot, so long as they have permission from the property manager.

The general guidelines are as follows:

  1. Ask the store manager for permission to stay.
  2. Do not stay for multiple days.
  3. Leave it cleaner than you found it.
  4. No grills, chairs, etc. Walmart is not a campground.
  5. Buy your supplies, groceries, etc. in the stores.

The AllStays Camp and RV app allows users to filter for Walmarts that do and do not allow free overnight camping.