Walmart is known for its mammoth superstores that sell everything from groceries to treadmills. For thousands of RV travelers, though, its stores are appealing for a different reason: Spacious parking lots where people can relax and stay overnight for free.
The company has allowed overnight parking for RVers in many of its 4,700 US lots going back to the days of founder Sam Walton in the mid-twentieth century. Even RV enthusiasts Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, have been known to stay at Walmart.
But parking at Walmart is getting harder to find. In 2010, about 78 percent of Walmart stores allowed overnight RV parking. Now, it’s close to 58 percent, according to Jim O’Briant who runs OvernightRVParking.com, a website that tracks more than 14,000 free RV parking locations in the United States and Canada.
This presents a problem for scores of self-proclaimed nomads just looking for a place to settle after dark. RVers looking for a place to park overnight for one night will need to find other places.
Walmart is now taking camping to a whole new level. The mega-retailer recently announced (July 28, 2022) a partnership with Getaway, a health and wellness hospitality company to build small retail stores that will offer supplies to visitors spending time in nature. The companies say the partnership’s goal is to help consumers “live better by aiming to make traveling to nature even easier and convenient.”
Founded in 2015, Getaway, a network of modern cabin retreats said in a news release that it has averaged “above 84 percent occupancy over the year across Outposts” and recently announced nine new Outposts will open amounting to 28 total locations before the end of 2022.
According to the release, Getaway offers guests Wi-Fi-free stays in nature at its campsite-styled Outposts which are located less than a two-hour drive from major cities across the country. Getaway builds collections of tiny cabins, called Outposts. More “glamping” than camping, Getaway cabins have kitchens, toilets, and queen-size beds.
The new alliance which designates Walmart as Getaway’s first official retail partner will introduce innovative offerings for guests starting this fall at The General Store by Walmart.
A mini-retail experience at select Getaway Outposts, The General Store by Walmart will include seasonal products sourced from Walmart and curated by the outdoor experts at Getaway. Items may include hiking gear, leisure activities, and equipment including FujiFilm cameras, Lodge Cast Iron Skillets, Pendleton Outdoor Blankets, and Burt’s Bees lip balms to name a few. The everyday items will be available at the Outpost saving guests from having to travel off the property if they forgot an item at home.
At the time of check-in for the next six months, guests will also receive Welcome Kits which will include ingredients to make the ultimate camping treat: s’mores.
The General Store will also feature quality goods from small businesses within the community furthering Getaway and Walmart’s commitment to supporting local communities, the retailer said. The items on sale at the General Store will also be available on Walmart.com via a dedicated Getaway shopping page for travelers to shop in advance of their visit.
The General Store by Walmart will make its debut later this month at Getaway Hill Country, in Wimberly, Texas with additional locations to open by the end of the year. Wimberly is 37 miles southeast of Austin.
Meanwhile, there are plans to open four more General Store locations through the end of the year. The planned locations include:
- Getaway Machimoodus in Moodus, Connecticut
- Getaway Big Bear in Running Springs, California
- Getaway Western Catskills in Roscoe, New York
- Getaway Ozark Highlands in Osceola, Missouri
“At Getaway, our mission is to help people disconnect and spend time in nature,” said Carlos Becil, chief experience officer of Getaway. “In partnering with Walmart, we are able to amplify our efforts to a larger audience and provide our guests with more free time, helping them prepare for their stays and enjoy the comforts of nature once they arrive.”
In addition, Getaway guests who visit any Outpost during the next year will also receive a complimentary trial of Walmart’s membership program, Walmart+.
If this latest retailing venture is successful, WallyWorld may well export the mini-stores idea to campgrounds where you and I might actually stay.
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.