Can You Stay Overnight At Rest Areas?
Driving an RV or hauling a trailer when you are tired is dangerous. It just doesn’t make sense to keep going when your brain and body need to sleep.
Highway engineers knew this when they put many rest areas on most of the major routes throughout the US and Canada. These rest stops are usually set up with a parking area, restrooms, and a few picnic tables. Really awesome rest stops have some nice trails or walkways to stretch legs and refresh. There are even a few rest areas with Wi-Fi access and/or a small store where you can buy souvenirs and refreshments. These days, it’s not unusual to find rest stops with electric vehicle charging stations.
Rest areas are plentiful along most highways because driving is hard work, and sooner or later we can all benefit from a visit to the restroom, a stretch of our legs, and maybe even a nap. If the sun is setting, it can be tempting to just park for the night.
Whether or not you can sleep at a rest area really depends on which one you are at. In fact, some states do not allow overnighting at rest stops in your RV. While all rest areas are meant for short rest stops, and not camping out in your RV (especially not in a tent), many rest areas do allow you to sleep in your vehicle.
These places often have a 10-hour limit on how long you can stay. If you’re tired and really need to sleep overnight, the best decision you can make is to get a good night’s rest and then take off in the early morning. No one wants you driving at night when you are tired.
Tips For Staying Overnight at Rest Stops
- Find rest stops along your route (as well as campgrounds and other points of interest) with RV LIFE Trip Wizard and the RV LIFE App.
- If a rest area looks sketchy, don’t stay there. The next one won’t be too far away.
- Carefully check rest areas for “No Overnight Parking” signs. These signs are often put there because there have been problems with campers there in the past. If there is such a sign, have a quick rest and move on to the next area. Most Rest areas say “No Camping,” but parking overnight in an RV is not “camping” as long as you simply parked and resting in a vehicle or RV.
- Don’t take up parking spots obviously meant for tired long-haul truckers. They need these spots more than you do.
- Don’t camp. Keep your slides and awning in. Don’t bring your chairs out.
- Have something to eat or drink. Go to sleep. Wake up and have a light breakfast, make your coffee, and leave.
RV LIFE Trip Wizard is the best app to have with you in your RV. You can use it for planning RV-friendly routes, finding amazing places to stay, checking campground reviews and more. Learn more here.
- 6 States That Allow Overnight Parking At Rest Areas
- Why Overnight RV Parking At Truck Stops Is A Bad Idea
Lynne lives, travels and works full time in the R-Pod 180 with her 2-pointers, Jolene and Annabelle. Lynne began full-time RVing as an experiment in 2019, but she quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full-time RV living. Lynne is a professional writer and has been a professional dog trainer since 1995. You can read about her travel adventures on her R-Pod Adventure blog, R-podyssey at: http://www.rpodaventure.com