Tesla Destination Charging: A Guide for New Owners

level 2 chargers on a wall - Tesla Destination Charging

Tesla Destination Charging:
A Guide for New Owners

Charge your Tesla EV at a Destination Charger while dining, shopping or relaxing at a restaurant, mall or hotel. Unlike Superchargers, Level 1 or 2 Destination Chargers charge slowly, but are convenient and often free. Tesla EV owners share their experience with destination chargers, expert tips and how to find one.

There are many charging options available to you as a Tesla owner, whether you’re at home, on the road or simply enjoying time at your favorite restaurant, shopping centre or hotel. 

In this friendly guide, our Tesla experts at EVehiclePro dive deep into Destination Charging to help you understand:

  • how Destination Chargers differ from Supercharging
  • availability and cost of Destination Chargers
  • how you can easily find Destination Chargers using your Tesla’s touchscreen or third-party apps like Plugshare
  • our personal experience with Destination Chargers
  • our expert tips on getting the most from Destination Chargers

What is Tesla Destination Charging?

Tesla Destination Charging is a network of charging stations originally designed for Tesla vehicles, and now being adapted to a wide range of EVs. These stations are conveniently located at popular destinations like hotels, resorts, restaurants, and shopping centres. The idea is simple: you can charge your Tesla while you dine, shop, or relax.

Unlike Superchargers, which are designed for fast charging on long trips, Destination Chargers are usually Level 1 or Level 2 chargers. This means they take longer to charge your Tesla, but they’re perfect for when you’re spending a few hours—or even overnight—at a restaurant, mall, hotel or resort.

Tesla Superchargers vs. Destination Chargers

You might be wondering how Destination Chargers differ from Tesla’s Superchargers. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Speed: Superchargers are much faster but are primarily intended for long road trips. Destination Chargers are slower and are ideal for charging over a longer period, like during a hotel stay.
  • Location: Superchargers are typically found along highways to facilitate long-distance travel. Destination Chargers are located at places where you’re likely to spend time, such as hotels, restaurants and shopping malls.
  • Cost: Supercharging usually comes at a cost, while many Destination Chargers are free to use, courtesy of the business that hosts them.

How Much Does Destination Charging Cost?

The cost of using a Destination Charger varies by location. Many businesses offer free charging as a perk for Tesla owners, seeing it as a way to attract a desirable clientele. However, some locations may charge a fee, either as a flat rate or based on the electricity consumed. 

EVehiclePro Tip: Always check the pricing details at each specific location before plugging in. Most are free, but some will charge a fee.

Where to Find Tesla Destination Chargers 

Finding a Destination Charger is a breeze, thanks to Tesla’s in-built tools and third-party apps. Here’s how:

2 Tesla's parked in a Tesla Destination Charging station. The charging station is in a underground parking garage

Tesla Touchscreen

Using the Tesla Touchscreen:

  1. Access the Map: On your Tesla’s touchscreen, tap on the “Search” (or navigate) button located at the top left corner of the map.
  2. Choose Charging Options: You’ll see three options appear: Home, Work, and Charging. Tap on “Charging” to view a list of nearby charging stations.
  3. Understand the Icons: Below “Nearby Charging,” you’ll notice three columns with lightning bolt icons. Each column represents the speed or level of the charging station:
    • Single Lightning Bolt: These are Destination Chargers, ideal for overnight charging. They will slowly charge your Tesla over many hours.
    • Double Lightning Bolts: These are Level 2 chargers, which can take 4 to 6 hours to charge your Tesla from near-empty. They’re a good option if you’re not in a rush but don’t plan on staying overnight.

Simply tap on the single lightning bolt icon to bring up a list of Destination Chargers in your vicinity. This feature is particularly useful for those planning to stay overnight at a location and want a slow, steady charge.

‘Tesla Find Us’ Webpage

Plugshare App

  1. Download the Plugshare app from your mobile device’s app store.
  2. Use the filter option to display only Tesla-compatible chargers.
  3. Tap on a charger to see details, including user reviews and real-time availability.

EVehiclePro Tip: Next time you’re at your favorite restaurant, shopping centre or hotel, look around to see whether they offer Destination Charging. 

Tesla App

At this time (2023), the Tesla App only shows Supercharging Stations.

Benefits and Challenges of Tesla Destination Charging

Destination chargers offer some fantastic perks, but there are a couple of downsides to be aware of. 

Benefits of Destination Charging

  • Convenient. Charge while you eat, shop, or sleep.
  • Widely Available. Destination chargers are located at many popular destinations, not just along highways (like the Supercharger network).
  • Cost-Effective. Many locations offer free charging.

Challenges of Destination Charging

  • Charging Speed. Destination Chargers are usually Level 1 or Level 2 stations, which means they are not ideal for quick top-ups. You need to spend a few hours at a Destination Charger to benefit from their slow charging speed.
  • Variable Costs. Although most businesses offer free charging, some locations may charge a fee. This inconsistency can be confusing and potentially costly if you’re not prepared. Always check the pricing details before you plug in.
  • Limited Accessibility at Popular Locations. Although your favorite businesses may offer Destination Chargers, you might find that all the charging stations are occupied, especially during peak travel times or at high-traffic destinations. This can be frustrating if you’re running low on battery and had planned on charging at that specific location.

    EVehicle Tip: Is your battery critically low? Here are our favorite tips to extend your range in an emergency.
  • Restricted Access. Some Destination Chargers are located within gated communities, private properties, or areas that have restricted access during certain hours. This can limit your ability to use the charger, especially if you’re not a guest or member of the community.
  • Lack of Amenities. While many Destination Chargers are located at hotels or shopping centres with amenities, some might be in remote or less desirable areas. In such cases, you might find yourself with not much to do while your car charges.

    EVehiclePro Tip: Check out our top 25 things to do while waiting for your Tesla to charge! Whether you’re charging at a Destination Charger or Supercharger, we’ve got some unique suggestions to keep you entertained!

By being aware of these challenges, you can better plan your trips and make the most out of the Tesla Destination Charging network.

User Experiences and Reviews

Tesla owners, including our own EVehiclePro team, have found Destination Charging to be a valuable feature, especially when staying at hotels. The convenience of parking your Tesla and waking up to a fully charged battery is a game-changer. It eliminates the stress of finding a charging station in the morning, allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip or getting a good start to your day.

Here’s what our Tesla owners have to say about their experience using Destination Chargers:

Personal Experience at Hotels

Useful and convenient.
I’ve personally used Destination Chargers at hotels and found them incredibly useful. My Tesla charges overnight, and by morning, I’m ready to hit the road again. It’s as simple as plugging in before I check-in and unplugging when I’m ready to leave. The convenience is unbeatable.”

The Challenge of Occupied Chargers

Chargers are not always available.
“My wife and I love Destination Chargers but there have been instances when all the Destination Chargers were already in use. When that happens, we have no choice but to rely on a Supercharger in the morning before continuing our journey. While it’s a minor inconvenience, it’s something to be aware of, especially during peak travel seasons or at popular destinations.

Overall Impression of Tesla Destination Charging

One of our drivers sums up her experience with Destination Charging:
Despite the occasional hiccup, the benefits of Destination Charging far outweigh any drawbacks. The network is continually expanding, and the convenience it offers makes it a popular choice among Tesla owners like myself. I love being able to shop and charge at the same time.”

Top Tips for Using Destination Chargers

Navigating the world of electric vehicle charging can be a bit daunting for new Tesla owners. To help you make the most of your Destination Charging experience, our team of real Tesla drivers give you our favorite tips:

Tesla level 2 charger on a Post - Tesla Destination Charging

Arrive Early

If you’re planning to use a Destination Charger at a popular location or during peak travel times, try to arrive early. This increases your chances of finding an available charging spot.

Check Charger Compatibility

While most Destination Chargers are designed for Tesla vehicles, some locations may offer universal chargers compatible with other electric vehicles. Always check to ensure the charger is suitable for your Tesla. 

Use the Tesla App

The Tesla mobile app may not help you locate Destination Chargers but it will allow you to monitor your charging status. You can see how much charge you’ve gained and how much longer it will take to reach your desired battery level.

Be Mindful of Time

If you notice that all chargers are occupied and others are waiting, try not to exceed the time needed to reach your desired charge level. Be kind and respect the unspoken rules of charger etiquette!

Verify Costs Before Charging

Some Destination Chargers are free, while others may have a fee. Always check the cost beforehand, either through the Tesla app or by asking staff at the location.

Look for Signage

Many businesses with Destination Chargers will have designated parking spots. Keep an eye out for Tesla signage to guide you to the right spot.

Plan for Overnight Charging

If you’re staying at a hotel, aim to charge overnight. This not only ensures a full battery by morning but also frees up the charger for other users during the day.

Keep Safety in Mind

Always follow standard safety practices when using electric chargers. Make sure the charging area is dry, and keep clear of the charger while your vehicle is plugged in.

EVehiclePro Tip: Some Tesla owners worry about leaving their vehicle at a charging station in heavy rain, lightening or severe storm conditions. In most cases, charging in the rain is perfectly fine if you follow some simple safety tips. We carry a waterproof outdoor charging port cover for peace of mind.

Tesla Destination Charging: A Guide for New OwnersTesla Destination Charging: A Guide for New Owners

Patronize the Business

Business owners often offer freeing charging to help bring in customers. If you’re using a destination charger, show your appreciation by making a purchase from their store or service.

By following these tips, you’ll not only have a smoother charging experience but also become a courteous member of the Tesla community. 


What is Tesla Destination Charging?

Destination Chargers are part of a network of slow-charging stations located at popular destinations like hotels, restaurants, resorts and shopping centres. They’re intended to let you charge your vehicle while dining, shopping or relaxing.

How much do Destination Chargers cost?

The costs for Destination Charging vary. Some chargers are free, while others may charge a fee, depending on the preference of the hosting business owner.

Where can I find Destination Chargers?

Destination Chargers are located at many hotels, restaurants, resorts and shopping centres. Find a Destination Charger by using Tesla’s Trip Planner, or third-party apps like Plugshare.

Are Destination Chargers good for road trips?

Destination Chargers are extremely helpful for charging up on road trips – especially for extended or overnight stops. Charge while you enjoy dining, shopping or relaxing!

Do I need to precondition before using a Destination Charger?

Tesla recommends preconditioning your vehicle for 30-45 minutes before using any charger – including Destination Chargers. Preconditioning optimizes your charging speed, range and performance. If you don’t precondition, expect your vehicle to use some of its own energy to warm itself, which may lower your driving range.

Can I use the Tesla App to find a Destination Charger?

Currently (2023) the Tesla App will only show Tesla Supercharging stations. Hopefully this will change with future updates.

We hope this guide helps you make the most of your Tesla ownership experience. The EVehiclePro team wishes you a safe and happy journey!

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Darren Globe

Darren is a Tesla EV owner, Professional Firefighter and former Paramedic. His experience and passion for EVs inspired him to create EVehiclePro.com, where he works as CEO and Chief Editor. Darren is a recognized Tesla expert featured in gobankrates.com and referenced by MSN, Yahoo and in numerous forums, websites and social media.

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