Costco is a membership warehouse club, dedicated to bringing its members the best possible prices on quality, brand-name merchandise with hundreds of locations across the United States and Canada.
So will a large multinational warehouse club like Costco actually allow RVs to park overnight? The answer is Yes!
Costco locations are very convenient and their parking lots are well-lit and provide a good environment for overnight parking. Plus you can purchase gas, camping gear, RV supplies, groceries, and even tires at very discounted prices.
Can I Really Stay Overnight?
Most Costco locations allow for overnight RV parking. They usually close around 8:30 PM on weekdays and a little later on the weekends so their parking lots are empty overnight. The manager or security guard will usually have an area for overnight RV parking and it’s typically in a well-lit area in the parking lot.
But, you should be aware that every Costco location is different. Some locations allow overnight RV parking and others do not. It is up to the manager at each location to decide if overnight stays are permitted. The store managers have to consider many factors when deciding if they will permit overnight stays at their location. And sometimes, the manager doesn’t have a choice if local ordinances prohibit overnight parking.
Since every store has its own policies it’s always best to call ahead and speak to the manager to see if their particular location allows RVs to park overnight. You should also let them know if you will arrive during business hours or after they have closed. If the store is still open when you arrive it’s always a good idea to introduce yourself in person to the manager and security guard if they have one before staying the night.
Do I Need a Costco Membership to Park Overnight?
No, you do not need a Costco Membership to park overnight. But you do need one if you want to shop or purchase gas. Costco does offer some tremendous discounts. I had a membership for years and loved it. The prices were terrific. Many businesses, like the place I used to work before blogging full-time, use a Costco Membership for discount office and kitchen supplies.
How Can I Find Locations That Allow Parking?
You can find Costco locations that allow parking in several ways. You can go onto the Costco website to find a suitable location. But their website does not have any information about RV overnight parking. So, once you find a location you will need to call the manager and ask.
The best method to find Costco locations that allow free overnight parking is to use an app called Overnight RV Parking. The database contains around 14,000 RV Parking and No Parking locations in the USA and Canada. So, you can very easily find out if a Costco location allows overnight parking or not. One of the best features within the app is you can read actual RV owner reviews and updates about overnight parking at a Costco location near you.
This is a fantastic app that we love and endorse. In fact, we have partnered with OvernightRVParking.com and you will get 3 free months of membership when you sign up by clicking our special link. So, that’s 15 months for the price of 12 and you will more than make your money back with just one free overnight stay!
What’s It Like to Park at Costco?
You will park in a parking lot behind or beside Costco. You should also expect that the parking lot will be well-lit. Although the store closes by 9:00 PM there are overnight deliveries so you should expect to hear some noise.
Once you are parked at Costco you should plan to stay in your RV for the night. Don’t expect to extend your awning, set up your chairs, listen to music or have a barbecue in the parking lot. It’s just a free place to park overnight and then be on your way in the morning.
Are Hookups Available?
No, hookups are not available at Costco so you will need to be self-sufficient overnight. And, you should only plan to stay for one night.
What Are The Overnight Parking Rules?
When you call ahead to ask the manager if overnight parking is permitted you should also ask if there are any rules you need to know about. Be sure to ask the following:
- Is it ok to run your generator?
- Can you put your leveling jacks down?
- Can you extend your slide outs?
Since Costco does offer free overnight parking for RVs you should be a cordial guest. Even though you are parked in the back or side parking lot and there are no customers after 9:00 PM does not mean you can do whatever you want.
So here are some obvious rules to follow to make your stay problem free:
- Keep your noise levels down
- Keep your voice down and don’t blare the music even if you are inside your RV
- Don’t turn on your generator unless the manager has given you permission
- Only stay for one night and then move on
- Do not open awnings, set up your chairs or have a barbecue outside of your RV
- Clean up your trash
- If you are traveling with pets please clean up after them
- Be courteous and polite, even if you’re told that you can’t stay overnight
- If you happen to have a Costco Membership please buy something as a way to show your appreciation for the free overnight stay. One of the reasons they allow RVers to stay is to earn our business, so please be respectful at all times and give them your business.
Is It Safe to Park There?
Costco closes most nights by 9:00. After they close there will still be employees working overnight to restock the shelves. So for the most part, you will be in the parking lot by yourself, or maybe with a few other campers too.
Therefore, it is best to take care of anything you need to do outside of your camper before the store closes and then stay inside and lock up for the night. If you hear anything suspicious call the police. Don’t take any chances by going outside. Remember, you are in a parking lot so in most cases, it’s best to play it safe.
Most of all, trust your gut instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe for any reason – leave! There are plenty of other places to stay as you will see in the next section of this article.
What if Costco Doesn’t Allow Overnight Stays? Where Else Can I Park?
There are many other places that will let you park overnight for free. Everyone knows that you can always count on most Walmart locations for a free stay and there are plenty of other options too. But wherever you decide to land for the night call ahead and ask if they allow overnight parking first. Then introduce yourself to the manager when you arrive to double check that your overnight stay is ok.
So where else should you try if you get turned away at Costco? Just check out the list below.
I wrote an article all about staying at Cracker Barrel too. Just follow the link to read all about it. It is ok to stay there and you can have an awesome breakfast in the morning but you need to know a few things first.
Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops
Some Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s will allow you to stay overnight at their store. But most Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are located in or attached to, big shopping malls. And the malls may have policies which prohibit overnight stays in the parking lot. This is the main reason why some locations do not allow RV’s to stay overnight. So before you go out of your way be sure to call ahead.
Walmarts are everywhere so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one on your road trip. Just be sure to find a Walmart Supercenter since those are the stores where you are allowed to spend the night in most locations. The smaller Walmarts typically do not allow overnight parking. You can use the Walmart Locator website to find out which Walmarts will allow you to stay overnight. You can also read our article called Overnight RV Parking At Walmart – Know Before You Go for the latest info.
Camping World SuperCenter locations allow you to spend the night in your RV. But the number of locations that allow free overnight parking seem to be dwindling down. The Camping World SuperCenter locations have dump stations and water available. Once you choose a location on their website scroll down to the RV Services section and it will show if they allow Overnight Parking. So if you find one that will allow you to stay it would be well worth the search.
Overnight RV Parking Membership
Overnight RV Parking is a directory of over 13,000 free parking lot camping locations throughout the US and Canada, such as Walmart, Flying J or highway rest stops. Overnight RV Parking’s website and app provide you with excellent information about where you can park overnight as well as any rules about the location. We love the real-time updates and reviews that Overnight RV Parking members add to the directory to provide accurate and up to date information. The subscription cost is only $24.95 a year so you will break even if you stay free somewhere for just one night. And if you click our affiliate link above you will get 3 months free! So that’s 15 months for only $24.95!
Also, check out our article on the 5 Best RV Campground Memberships to find other awesome ways to stay for free or at least decrease the cost of your overnight stays!
1. Are There Nicer Places Than Parking Lots to Stay Overnight For Free?
Yes! There are some great alternatives to staying overnight in a Parking Lot and they are pretty close to free. There are two camping memberships that I highly recommend if you want to park in some great locations for free.
Harvest Hosts is a membership which has over 670 free places to park overnight. These overnight parking places are gorgeous. They are orchards, wineries, farms, breweries and other unique attractions that allow RVs to stay the night. The annual membership is only $79 a year and gives you access through their website and App to stay at any of these incredible locations. And, they just added an additional membership for only $20 to stay at over 300 golf courses across the country too! So, for $99 a year, your price will never go up and you have over 1000 gorgeous locations to park overnight! We are members and love our membership!
Boondockers Welcome is an RV club that offers places to park for overnight stays from people who own private land. They now have more than 1000 locations across North America. The idea is that Boondockers Welcome provides a website directory of fellow RVers who are willing to let you stay a night or two on their property. Even though the name is Boondockers Welcome, which gives the impression there are no hookups, many hosts are able to provide electric and water, as well. Guests are encouraged to offer the host a gift or pay a few bucks if hookups are provided. Most of the time the parking area will be right beside the property owner’s home or it will be on land that they own but do not live on. And you have the benefit of meeting some great people who can give advice about the area where they live!
There are many options for free places to stay overnight. Costco is a great choice because they have convenient locations and offer discounted prices on a multitude of products, services, food, and gas.
Thanks for reading this article. We hope you found it useful. If you would like to contact us directly please feel free to go to our Contact Page and send us an email.
Do you have another great option for a free RV overnight stay? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
To see a list of all of our articles check out the Blog Archive!