In addition to supplying everything you might need for a weekend in the woods, you can also look towards Costco locations to provide an overnight RV parking spot along your route.
While a Costco parking lot won’t be the dream destination you had in mind when you bought your RV, using a conveniently located Costco as a pit stop along the way to your final destination is something every RVer will have to consider some time.
Next time you’re planning your route, know that most Costco stores welcome overnight RV parking, but not every Costco franchise.
It can be complicated to keep track of which stores are open to sleepers and understand the several unwritten rules and etiquette guidelines for overnight parking at Costco.
That’s right! Just like at the campground, there are several important rules, policy, and etiquette to parking within company lines.
Keep reading to ensure you can get stocked up and next time you park at a Costco overnight.
Can You Park at Costco Overnight?
The short answer is… yes! A large majority of Costco franchises allow overnight parking in well-lit and designated RV parking spaces.
Costco’s are known for having a little bit of everything, and that policy can extend outside of the store.
Unfortunately, inside and outside the store, Local and city ordinances overrule any company’s policy.
If the Costco you’re heading to is within a municipality that bans sleeping in parking lots overnight, the store manager will have to send you away.
Because of varying local rules, you can’t just show up at a Costco location expecting to sleep over.
Once you confirm the Costco of your choosing welcomes overnight guests, it’s not as simple as showing up and setting up a camp.
Instead of showing up willy nilly, We RVers are responsible for respecting our host’s property.
The best way to show your appreciation for Costco’s lenient policy and get a good night’s sleep without receiving unwanted knocks in the middle of the night is to follow the basic steps we’ve laid out below.
Costco Overnight RV Parking Basics
You can expect to find an almost empty parking lot when it’s time to go to sleep, besides an occasional delivery truck or other RV.
Costco’s built for overnight parking provide well-lit parking spots in a designated area, away from the hustle and bustle of the main parking area.
These parking spots are made for larger vehicles and are typically located behind the store.
Don’t expect to find much else than a parking spot once you arrive. There won’t be any hookups or dump stations in these parking lots.
Finding Costco Locations for Overnight Parking
All the information you need to locate Costco’s along your work is in the palm of your hand. Start with a website called Allstays to find great places to sleep along our route.
Every day, users update the (free!) app with new reviews and locations to build up extensive information databases on free places to sleep across the country.
You can find up-to-date information and personal reviews of other traveler’s experiences.
If anyone has ever slept at the Costco along your route, there is a good chance they have reported whether or not the store is ready for visitors.
Not every Costco has been uploaded to the app, but that doesn’t mean it’s not open for parking.
You can do a bit of your own research by checking out Costco location’s parking lots in Google Maps satellite view and look for Spots big enough for big rigs.
Large parking spaces are a great sign the place is ready to host.
Once you have a Costco in mind, give them a call. It is the first step towards building a healthy relationship with your hosts and will immediately clear the air about whether or not that location is willing to host.
When you place your call, ask to speak to the manager, as individual employees answering the phone may not know their specific store rules.
It is up to the store manager whether or not to allow overnight parking for RVers, so your chosen store’s hospitality towards RV guests will depend on how prior visitors treated them.
Sleep and Move On
The most essential basic of overnight Costco parking is not to overstay your welcome.
When you call ahead and ask permission, state your intentions on the property and plan to come late and leave early.
If you’re not sure how much time to stay, a general rule for RVers in urban environments across the board is not to stay more than 12 hours.
If you must stay longer than 12 hours, tell the manager as soon as you realize your situation instead of simply waiting around for someone to ask you to leave.
Dos and Don’ts of Overnight Parking At Costco
Once you shift your vehicle into park and settle into your Costco parking lot, these simple guidelines will ensure that you aren’t disturbing your hosts and guarantee that nobody in the area will ask you to leave at odd hours of the night.
Don’t Run A Generator
It may be tempting to fire up your alternate power source once the parking lots are empty, but the loud noises could disturb the neighbors.
The sound of a generator running quickly can lead to local law enforcement calls.
If running your generator is absolutely necessary, talk to the manager beforehand and make sure they’re okay with it.
The communication doesn’t end once you’ve established that you can park overnight at the Costco of your choosing.
When you arrive at the location, introduce yourself to employees and preferably the manager so they can put a face to the call.
Whoever you introduce yourself to, ask them if there is anything you should be aware of or anything you can do to make their lives easier while you park.
Speaking to someone is a great way to get info on expected delivery or any other night visitors to the parking lot.
Don’t Start Fires
You’re at Costco to sleep; leave the camping to your final destination. There should be no fires, no outdoor cooking, and no or setting up campsites at all.
You should expect to fall asleep with everything safely stored away inside your rig.
This also means no setting up awnings or camping chairs. If you must set up slides to move around your vehicle, make sure you set up your slide over an island.
Do Go On Supply Runs
You can thank your hosts, and pick up valuable supplies for the road ahead, with a quick shopping trip to your hosting Costco.
There is sure to be something that can make your journey easier inside the store.
If you’re fully stocked up, some Costco locations also feature discounted gas stations so that you can combine your night of rest with a fill-up.
Don’t Park Wherever You Want
Disregarding the manager’s recommendation for parking spots is more than just rude. It could be obtrusive.
Even after the store is closed, employees and delivery trucks may need to access areas of the store that seemed safe spaces to park earlier.
As long as you’re using designated RV spaces established by the manager, you can be sure you’ll be out of the way.
Do you Need A Membership to Park Overnight at Costco?
No, you don’t need a Costco membership to park overnight. Membership is only necessary if you want to access the inside of the store.
Pro tip: If you want a quick trip to the savings haven inside the Costco location you are sleeping at but don’t have a membership, a cheeky trick to gain access is by getting your hands on a Costco gift card.
Costco has its own version of a gift card called a Costco Cash Card. As long as there is balance on the card, you can get through the doors and access the bulk savings on offer.
Is Overnight Parking at Costco Safe?
There is no overnight parking option that is safer than a designated campground, but Costco is about as safe as it gets when searching for free places to sleep.
The store closes early, so you won’t hear much traffic outside your window.
Just because the store is closed doesn’t mean you will be completely alone. There will always be a few people around restocking stores and potentially other overnight RVers.
Franchises often keep some lights on around the building all night long to help the restockers and ward off any foul play, but nowhere is entirely secure.
To ensure you stay safe, get all of your business taken care of before the store closes down and lock up your rig.
There are very few good reasons to wander around outside a Costco in the middle of the night, so stay safe by staying inside your RV.
final thought about Overnight Parking At Costco
Sleeping in a parking lot is something that every RVer will have to go through at some point.
While the lifestyle makes us picture sleeping under the stars in sweeping vistas, we’ve all had to sleep somewhere less stylish at some point.
When it’s time to sleep in the urban jungle, Costco locations provide plenty of lighting with large parking lots that are more than capable of handling overnight visitors.
Most locations have gas stations, along with warehouses full of useful supplies and outdoor toys that will make your trip more fun.
As you can see, the convenience, quiet, and safety offered make Costco a great choice for overnight parking. You can fill up your gas tank, cooler, and energy levels all in one night!
To make sure travelers can find fill-ups and parking at Costco for years down the line, follow the tips and tricks listed in this article.
You will be sure to find a great night’s sleep and keep Costco’s across the country open to overnight RV parking.