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All About Overnighting in Rest Areas.
When it comes time to get a little shut-eye before hitting the road again in the morning, you want somewhere to stay that is easy, fast, safe, and already on your route. Enter rest stops. Rest stops are parking lots located along major routes or highways, deed to give travelers a place to get out of their vehicles, stretch, and use the bathroom.
Some have visitor centers, mowed lawns, public wifi, and heated facilities, while others have outhouses and a little patch of roide brush for vegetation. No matter what they look like, they all have one goal in mind—giving you a place to take a break. Around the United States, some but not all states allow overnight parking in their rest stops.
Here is your ultimate guide to overnight parking at rest areas, including what overnight parking is, where to find it, and what you need to know before you go. How can I park overnight but not camp?
In the morning, you brew your coffee, toast a bagel, and hit the road. Camping, in contrast, is making yourself at home—putting out your slides and jacks, unhooking your travel trailer, grilling a tasty dinner on the barbecue, and setting up camp chairs outside to watch the traffic go by. First, do your best not to park in spaces used by truckers.
Commercial truckers have to follow a stringent set of rules and regulations about how long they can drive and how long they need to rest. If they violate these rules, they face steep fines and career-damaging marks on their driving records. Besides, who wants to camp sandwiched between two semis that run their engines all night?
Leave trucker spots for the truckers. Second, trust your gut. In addition to poring over reviews of rest stops here on Campendium, take stock of a rest area when you pull in. Is it well-lit? Are there any other RVs or trucks in the lot? Does it feel safe, or is your spidey sense going off? Your safety is in your hands when staying at a rest stop, and often, the nearest town is miles away. If anything about it makes you uncomfortable, move on. Third, get comfortable inside. Park as far away from the road and semis as you can to reduce the nighttime noise, and place Reflectix in your windows to help block the light.
Lastly, we have yet to find a rest area that allows people to sleep outside of their vehicles. That means no tents and no hammocks. So, stick to the legal ones, which are:. Arizona : Arizona does not allow camping at their rest stops, but they allow people to park and rest. If you use an Arizona rest stop overnight, be sure to keep your slides in, your trailer is hooked up, and all of your gear is inside.
Arkansas : If you need to sleep to continue to drive safely, Arkansas allows you to do that within the confines of your vehicle in their rest areas. No camping, though. Idaho : In Idaho, you can park in an interstate highway rest area for 10 hours, and you can park in a rest area on other state highways for up to 16 hours.
Kansas : Overnight parking is allowed in Kansas rest areas for one night only. No camping. Mississippi : Mississippi allows overnight parking for safety and rest but not for recreational camping. Vehicles can park for up to eight hours.
Missouri : Rest your head for a night in a rest stop in Missouri, where overnight parking is permitting at their rest areas. No camping allowed. Nevada : Nevada allows vehicles to park for up to 18 hours in their rest areas, some of which even have dump stations for RVs. New Mexico : The Land of Enchantment wants you to stay rested and relaxed while on your journey. They allow vehicles to park in rest stops for up to 24 hours in any three-day period. North Dakota : North Dakota allows overnight parking at their rest areas, and many of them offer up water and free wifitoo.
Ohio : Ohio does not allow overnight camping at their rest areas, with the exception of eight service plazas on the Ohio Turnpike. These eight service plazas welcome RVs up to 40 feet long to overnight and plug in for a fee. The sites are all first-come-first-served. Oklahoma : Rest overnight in any Oklahoma rest area without any restrictions on the of hours you can stay.
Oregon : Oregon allows travelers to rest up to 12 hours in their highway safety rest areas.
Rhode Island : While no camping is allowed in any Ocean State rest area, overnight parking for safety and rest is permitted. Texas : Texas knows that its highways are long, flat, and can get a little snoozy. They allow overnight parking for up to 24 hours at all their rest stops; no camping allowed.
However, extended stays are permitted and are monitored by the on-site staff and the Highway Patrol. Washington : You can stay up to eight hours in a Washington rest area, many of which offer free coffee to help keep travelers caffeinated and alert. No camping is allowed. Wyoming : Wyoming does not allow overnight parking or camping at their rest areas but permits longer naps if you need one.
Just be sure to stay inside your vehicle and keep your slides in. Can You Sleep at Rest Stops? Published: April 12, By Sara Sheehy. So, stick to the legal ones, which are: Arizona : Arizona does not allow camping at their rest stops, but they allow people to park and rest.Looking for place to rest night
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