Washington DC Charter Bus Parking Guide

At GOGO Charters, one of the biggest questions we get about renting a Washington DC charter bus is: Where do I park? Thankfully, we’ve got you covered! While there’s countless places to explore in the Nation’s Capital, we will help you by outlining all the basic charter bus parking laws in Washington DC, along with tips and tricks to make your journey as smooth as possible. 

When looking for a charter bus rental in Washington DC, you can count on GOGO Charters to get you there! We’ve helped countless groups secure government and military charter bus rentals at the Capitol, field trip bus rentals to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and much more. Give our 24/7 team a call today at 202-741-9808 to learn more and book your Washington DC charter bus rental in record time!

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Charter Bus Parking Terminology Explained


One of the first things to understand if you are booking a bus rental in Washington DC is charter bus parking and loading logistics. If you’ve never rented a charter bus before, you’ll need to know this terminology, and if you have, it’ll be a great refresher! Make sure you have the following phrases in your vocabulary: 

Staging: The staging area is where your charter bus driver will temporarily wait before moving to the loading area. These designated zones help keep traffic flowing more smoothly in crowded areas. Staging zones are especially useful if you are renting a charter bus to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC or other areas with high traffic. 

Loading: The loading time for a bus starts when passengers begin to board the bus. Depending on where you are going, there are different loading zones that are designated for passengers. These loading zones are different from long-term parking and should not be used as such. If you rent a field trip charter bus in Washington DC or have another group with numerous passengers, your loading time could be longer than if you rent a minibus or other smaller vehicles. 

Idling: Idling is when the charter bus is not in motion but the engine is turned on. This usually occurs when a charter bus driver is waiting for passengers at a designated staging area. States have different laws regarding how long commercial vehicles are allowed to idle, with some being stricter than others. In Washington DC you cannot idle for more than three minutes. 

This information will be important to know as you research different destinations in Washington DC that you want to visit with your group. 

Where to Park a Charter Bus Rental in Washington DC

Before you embark on your journey, be sure to get a Trip Permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles to drive in Washington, DC. You can find all the information you need on the DMV website. Keep in mind, you could be subject to a fine if you do not obtain one before your trip.

Once you’ve decided to book a private charter bus rental in Washington DC, the next step is to determine which roads on your itinerary can be safely traveled in a charter bus. DC is a very complex city, with everything from new construction areas to historic, narrow streets. Some of these streets are difficult or even impossible to travel for oversized vehicles, and others have security restrictions and other limitations. Popular attractions, such as the National Mall or the White House, tend to be charter bus friendly. 

There are numerous resources online that show which routes in the city that charter buses can safely travel. You can look online at the DMV’s website in order to find their guide to motorcoach regulations, requirements, and tips. This guide is particularly helpful because it also includes information on loading zones, bus parking and the number of spaces available, bus pick up and drop off locations, and other key pieces of info you’ll need to know. Be sure to check and make sure all parking garages and other businesses listed are still in operation. 

We will also sprinkle in plenty of bits of knowledge for you here in our guide to Washington DC parking! 

a photo of the white house during the day

Charter Bus Parking in Washington DC for Popular Attractions

Because Washington DC is such a popular tourist city, there are countless resources available on where to park a charter bus near The White House and other major attractions. And whether you are renting a travel agent charter bus in Washington DC for clients or flying solo with your own DC charter bus, our guide will serve you well in parking safely and legally. Keep in mind, when you rent with GOGO Charters, you will have a professional charter bus driver who will handle all the driving for you so that you don’t need to worry!

For easy access to most of DC’s major attractions, we recommend booking a reservation at the Union Station Parking Garage in advance. For a fee, you are guaranteed entry with in and out privileges and don’t need to worry about where your driver can find parking. The fee changes depending on the year, but at the time of writing in 2024, it was $60 during off peak season (July-February) and $75 during peak season (March-June). Parking is one of the fees that is not included in the cost of your charter bus rental, as it is a separate fee outside of GOGO’s control. 

Below are a few highlights on where to park a charter bus in Washington DC near all the major attractions. 

The National Mall Bus Parking

If you are renting a charter bus to the National Mall, you can be dropped off at the 1700-2200 block of Constitution Ave, NW. There are 19 free curbside parking locations, and you are not allowed to have any standing bus loading and unloading. This means that your driver will have to immediately leave after either picking up or dropping off your group, and you cannot load or unload anything like suitcases. It’s within half a mile of the Capitol, making the Union Station Parking Garage a great option if you do not want to risk not being able to find curbside parking.

The White House Bus Parking

For groups renting a charter bus to the White House, you can be dropped off at 200-400th Block on 15th Street NW. There are five curbside parking locations, which are free, and you have a two hour time limit for parking. The Union Station Parking Garage, which is about three miles away, is also an option.

The Capitol Bus Parking

The Capitol is a little over two miles away from The White House. For groups visiting the Capitol, there is no parking near the venue, and it is designated loading only. You can be dropped off at Garfield Circle SW. The Union Station Parking Garage is only a mile away and is an easy option for parking if you have a reservation. 

Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Bus Parking

If you are visiting the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, keep in mind that there is no standing bus loading and unloading at the designated drop off point, which is at the 400th block of Jefferson Drive, SW. There are seven free curbside parking spots. If you want to see other museums, this is also the unloading point for the Museum of the American Indian and The National Gallery of Art

Find a Bus Rental in Washington DC Today 

Navigating parking in a Washington DC bus rental may seem overwhelming, but we hope this guide helped simplify things a bit. When you book a charter bus in Washington DC through GOGO Charters, you can count on us for 24/7 customer service for every mile along the way. Give our team a call today any time at 202-741-9808 to learn more and see why GOGO Charters is every groups’ go-to charter bus rental company in Washington DC and the rest of the United States! 

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