RVing is fun. You can enjoy a road trip while having the comfort of home on the wheels. Many people plan the way before they choose to leave for a vacation. They outline every single detail. However, some just don’t.
While traveling on an RV, you should preplan some essential details that may include stocking up on your groceries, your route, and the expected time of arrival at your destination. These essentials also include, if need be, your overnight stay at a safe location during the journey.
The whole planning process includes the expenses you may incur in your trip as well. Let’s say, you want to cut some of your travel expenses by staying at a place that’s free, for instance, at Costco, Wal-Mart, etc.
You’ll need to know all the details, prerequisites, responsibilities, and numerous other factors for that matter.
Let’s dig deeper into Costco overnight RV parking, shall we!
Does Costco Allow Overnight Parking?
Yes, it does.
Costco allows overnight parking in their parking lots. However, every Costco location is different. While some of them let you park your RV for overnight stay, others don’t.
In such a situation, it is always better to contact the manager before your arrival and confirm if they offer this facility. Usually, it’s on the store manager’s discretion. He may or may not grant your overnight stay.
A manager has a lot of factors to consider before he allows you to stay overnight. Mostly, they have an area allocated for RV overnight parking, if they allow. The parking lot of Costco is well-lit, which is a favorable point.
If you’ve talked to the manager already, there is a strong chance he’d have a spot saved for you. Better get there during their business hours, so you can meet the manager and get to know about various things beforehand.
In some cases, local laws of a particular state, city or territory prohibit overnight parking. At such places, even the store manager can’t help you with your overnight stay.
Are There Any Prerequisites?
There are no definite prerequisites for your Costco overnight RV parking. However, we would recommend you to call that specific store’s manager beforehand.
Your call serves the purpose of checking if that specified location allows RV overnight parking. You can also check if there is any specific requirement you need to meet for your overnight stay.
Another thing you can discuss is the time of your arrival i.e., if you’ll be arriving during the business hours or after the store closure.
Do we need a membership card for overnight RV parking?
This is a pervasive question people ask. However, the simple answer is ‘No’.
You don’t need a membership card for your overnight parking at Costco as they allow it free of all costs.
However, you need to have a membership card if you plan on restocking any supplies, groceries, or driving gear. You can’t refuel without a membership card as well. Nonetheless, Costco offers enormous discounts on a variety of products. You may think about investing in one.
Some Responsibilities on Your Part
Although Costco doesn’t impose any restrictions or limitations on you during your overnight stay at their parking lot, it is only fair to be a responsible citizen. You must follow some self-inflicted rules strictly.
Some of these include:
- You must respect the permission granted for overnight parking and use it solely for this purpose.
- Don’t damage the property.
- Avoid taking out chairs or extending awnings.
- Do not consider it your camping area and start barbequing.
- Avoid any kind of littering.
- In case of accompanied pets or kids, clean up after them.
- Clean your trash, if any.
- Avoid playing loud music.
- Turn your generator on, only if you have permission from the manager.
- Most importantly, stay for one night and be on your way the next morning.
Is There Any Security or Other Concerns?
As mentioned above, Costco’s parking lot is well-lit for security reasons. In a general manner, it is safe. There are no immediate dangers.
However, it is always wise to be extra cautious at any new place. Since you don’t know much about the neighborhood, you should get over and done with your chores immediately after arrival. This is to avoid any unwanted exposure whatsoever.
In Case of Any Unexpected Activity
In some places, youngsters often use Costco’s huge parking space as a fun place for their muscle cars. They gather around for some entertainment and head out somewhere else.
We would recommend you to lock your RV and stay in the vehicle unless it is necessary otherwise.
Moreover, if you happen to witness any suspicious activity, never take matters in your hands. It’s always better to stay put and call the police.
Are You Alone in the Parking Lot?
The answer to this question depends upon the various situations.
Sometimes your RV may be the only vehicle parked for the night.
Conversely, in some cases, you may find other RVs parked in the parking lot, which indicates other folks staying for the night as well.
Moreover, there is a huge chance that some of the workers stay late at night as they are busy restocking or performing numerous other chores.
The working hours may end by 8:30 p.m. during weekdays and a little later during the weekends, for the shoppers. The workers, however, may have to work another shift, while unintentionally providing you the comfort of a company.
Enquire About a Potential Threat
Numerous stores refrain from letting you park your RV in their parking lots at night. That’s because of the attention your RV may garner from some criminals.
The attention could be due to the simple fact that most of the times RVers have cash with them. It makes them a potential catch for lawbreakers. We would recommend you to discuss this particular issue with the store manager.
In addition to that, calling the local police station and checking about that specific store is also a good idea.
Does it cost money?
Costco overnight RV parking doesn’t cost any money. Their well-lit parking lot is for free. However, you don’t get any electricity or water connection, as compared to the campers’ areas.
This overnight stay is strictly for parking. You don’t get to extend your awnings, or lounge in the parking lot. The sole permission is to park and spend the night.
What’s in it for Costco?
Costco doesn’t get any monetary benefit. However, deep down, permission could be a way to prompt you to make some purchases from the store.
It is only fair if you buy gasoline or some other supplies, as your way of returning their kind favor since they are providing you a relatively safe place for your overnight stay without charging you a penny.
How to Find the Closest Costco That Allows Overnight RV Parking?
As we know, not all Costco outlets allow overnight RV parking. However, there are some ways through which you can know beforehand if the store you’ll come across allows overnight RV stay or not.
Calling the Store
One way to know it is by browsing their website and checking the specific store you will be visiting.
Since the website doesn’t provide any information about overnight RV parking, we would recommend you to call the store and ask the question directly.
Another important point we should mention here is the fact that not all employees are aware if the authorities allow overnight RV parking or not.
In such a situation, you must ask for the manager and talk to him about the concern. He can not only discuss the permission but also inform you if there are any preconditions.
Overnight RV Parking
The other way to know about permissions regarding overnight RV parking is using the application known as ‘Overnight RV parking.’ It is an authentic way to know about the specific store’s status.
Its database includes over 14000 Costco locations, affirming RV parking or No RV parking locations in both the United States and Canada.
As the application provides the status of either approval or disapproval of overnight parking locations, there is no ambiguity whatsoever, thus allowing you to plan otherwise.
Why Do Some Outlets Do Not Allow Overnight RV Parking?
Many Costco outlets used to offer free overnight RV parking in all of their stores earlier, but the numbers of locations that still allow it seem to be dwindling due to various factors.
With prohibitions on overnight RV parking imposed by local laws in various states, store managers of those regions have no authority to give anyone a permission.
Another important reason is the misconduct of some folks, such as:
- Misunderstanding the favor given by the store manager by staying outside instead of inside the RV
- Misusing the courteous offer by staying longer than predetermined period – more than one night
- Making the parking lot dirty by littering or leaving trash behind
What Are the Alternatives To Costco Overnight Parking Like Wal-Mart?
There are a variety of alternatives when you are looking for a free RV overnight parking alternative to Costco. These alternatives are free and offer almost similar facilities for your convenience. Some examples are Wal-Mart, Cabela’s, and Bass Pro Shops, etc.
Wal-Mart stores are all over the United States and Canada. Since Wal-Mart is almost available everywhere, which means travelers don’t have to go entirely out of their way and park.
However, some of these stores offer free overnight parking in their parking lot while others don’t.
The drill is similar to when you plan on staying at Costco for overnight parking. Call the manager at that particular Wal-Mart store and check if you can visit. If there is no objection from the local ordinances, he may allow you.
Another way to check if the concerned store allows overnight parking is by using Wal-Mart Locator. You can check the state, the city, and then the specific store location on this website, and confirm if they allow or deny.
The App called Overnight RV Parking is another authentic and handy way to confirm.
Wal-Mart does not offer any hook up for your RV.
You can also park your RV overnight at Cabela’s. They allow you to park at the back of their store.
There is a designated area for RVers. However, it’s on a strictly first-come, first-serve basis, and you must call ahead to get a spot booked.
Space is limited if they have a spot for five or six RVs, and they are already full. There’s nothing you can do.
Some of Cabela’s outlets have their own dump station, which means you’re not without hookups completely. You can dump your gray water or black water upon payment of some dollars.
Some outlets also have water connections; however, the water is not potable.
Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are under the same proprietorship. You can stay at their parking lot, too, subject to permission granted.
Bass Pro Shops do not have any designated space for RVs or bigger vehicles. It means if there is no large enough space for your RV, you have to move ahead and find some other place for your parking.
In addition to that, most of the Bass Pro Shops are attached to some big malls or shopping centers. It means they have to follow the policy of the mall. Usually, malls do not allow overnight parking or stay at their parking lots, which brings us back to the point that you must call the store and talk to the manager way ahead.
Camping World SuperCenter
Camping World Supercenter also allows you to park your RV and stay overnight.
You get water and dump station facilities at their place. If you choose to stay overnight at Camping World SuperCenter, then you can visit their website.
Search by scrolling down to the RV services; check the location in concern to know if they allow overnight parking.
Most people are unaware of the fact that they can stay overnight in their RVs in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel for free.
Although among 650+ outlets of Cracker Barrel throughout the United States, there are few that don’t allow overnight parking. We would recommend you call ahead and ask the manager if you can stay overnight.
Some reasons due to which he may not allow you an overnight parking at their parking lot could be:
- Local areas’ jurisdiction doesn’t allow overnight parking.
- They have their eighteen-wheeler truck scheduled to restock on their groceries or food items that day.
You may have a nice dinner and breakfast the following morning at Cracker Barrel if you stay at their parking lot for free. It could be your way of showing appreciation.
Some Other Alternatives
Numerous other places allow overnight parking for free. You can check by calling beforehand if they have a spot for you. Some of these places include:
- Flying J Truck Stops
- Home Depot
- Grocery Stores
- Pilot Flying J Travel Centers
- Rest Areas
- Planet Fitness (subject to membership)
Are Any Of the Alternatives Better Options?
Many alternatives are way better than staying at a parking lot with no electricity, water or dump station. However, they may not be completely free.
Many RV owners around the United States have formed a club known as BoonDockers Welcome. They offer free parking at their property to fellow RVers for a night or two.
With the club expanding, they now have more than 1000 locations all over North America. The owners may provide you electric and water connections as well.
The parking spot is usually close to the owner’s house, so you may be allowed to know and meet new people residing in the area.
If you want to avail of the attractive locations Harvest Host offers, then you need to buy its membership. Its annual membership is for 79 dollars for a year. You get access to their website and App to stay at any of these incredible locations.
These incredible locations include wineries, breweries, farms, orchids, and hundreds of other serene spots. You get access to more than 650 sites.
Your access can go up to 1000 locations if you buy an additional annual subscription of 20 dollars. Thus in 99 dollars per year, you get access to over 300 golf courses around the United States for overnight RV parking, as well.
Costco is a great place to shop and refuel. Their permission to park overnight is a privilege with the well-lit parking lot and great space to refresh and reboot. Besides, who doesn’t want to save hundreds of dollars by availing Costco overnight RV parking facility?
With the Overnight RV Parking app, it is effortless to find the locations that allow you to stay.
You should take the approval to stay as their favor and do not damage the property in any way possible. You should respect their permission and use it in the best way possible. If possible, make a purchase and show your appreciation.