Many people love shopping at Costco to save money by purchasing frequently-used items in bulk. Whether you need to stock up for your next camping adventure or you’re hosting a party, Costco has just about everything you need.
RVers love that most Costco locations have enormous parking lots that are easy to navigate. But will Costco allow camping in their parking lot? Let’s see!
What Is Costco?
Costco is a warehouse club that first opened in 1976 under the name of Price Club. They have since grown to over 500 locations in the United States. They continue to grow their customer base year after year.
Shopping at Costco requires a membership. Basic memberships to Costco cost $60 each year, or you can upgrade to an Executive membership for $120 each year.
Members can experience tremendous savings by purchasing items in bulk. You can purchase everything from food to paper products, clothes, and electronics.
Can You Stay Overnight in a Costco Parking Lot?
These large warehouse stores typically also have huge parking lots. These are great options for overnight RV parking.
Luckily for RVers, Costco is often very generous and allows overnight parking in their parking lots when possible.
Do All Costcos Allow Overnight Camping?
Like other large retail chains, not all Costco locations can allow overnight camping. Some stores have had to pump the brakes on offering overnight camping due to abuse of parking privileges or local ordinances.
If a store sits in a city or county that prohibits overnight camping, they still must follow the regulations. If you try to camp in a Costco parking lot in an area that prohibits overnight camping, you could receive a citation or fine.
Some RVers have received knocks on their RV doors in the middle of the night by law enforcement asking them to move. Getting woken up in the middle of the night and having to find a new spot to get some rest is not ideal and something you’ll likely want to avoid.
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What Etiquette Should You Adhere to Camping at Costco?
The most important etiquette for overnight camping is always to get permission. It doesn’t matter what you’ve read online or that there isn’t signage.
Speak to a manager and get permission to park overnight in their lot. They may have special instructions for where to park or any information that might be helpful to keep you out of the way.
When camping overnight at a Costco, you should remember that you’re not camping. You’re simply staying overnight on your way to the next camping location.
Limit your stays to one night and make sure you park out of the way. You don’t want to be a nuisance or cause any issues for the store.
Avoid putting your jacks down or getting any supplies out of storage. You want to be able to make a quick getaway in the morning. Some RVers will avoid opening slides when possible to make leaving in the morning even easier.
Lastly, always make sure you clean up after yourself. Do not leave trash or anything behind when you leave in the morning.
Some of the locations that experience high RV traffic have experienced litter and other messes. This creates stress on the business and ultimately leads to stores and cities shutting down the ability for RVers to stay overnight.
Do You Need a Costco Card to Get Into Costco?
Non-members can purchase prescriptions from the Costco pharmacy, but that’s it. Only paid members can enter their warehouses and make purchases.
They do not offer shopping passes and are confident that you’ll experience enough savings that the membership will pay for itself.
Can I Get Gas for My RV at Costco?
Similar to their warehouse locations, only paid members can purchase gas from Costco fuel stations. Some RVers share that they’re able to pay for their Costco membership simply by purchasing their fuel from there.
Remember that these fuel stations aren’t like truck stops and may not handle RVs and other large vehicles. Fuel pumps can be close together, and it may be challenging to maneuver larger RVs.
Keep an eye on the overhead clearance and watch your RV’s tail swing when leaving the pump.
Is Camping in a Costco Parking Lot Worth It?
For us, any quiet and safe place that allows overnight parking is worth it. Staying in a Costco parking lot can be a great spot for an overnight stop. You can stock up on supplies, visit the food court for a cheap meal, and avoid paying for a costly campsite.
We wish more convenient places like Costco were available across the country for RVers. We’re going to keep an eye out for more Costco locations during our travels!
Have you stayed overnight at Costco?
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