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overnight at rest areas


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#1 csjim

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:00 AM

There have been recent posts about staying overnight at places like WalMart and Cracker Barrel. Earlier this year I contacted all 48 lower states to see about staying overnight in an RV at highway rest areas. Several states expressly allow it; many states conditionally allow or tolerate it; some states do not permit it. New York and Montana were the only states that did not reply. Here are the results:

Is it permissible to stay overnight in a travel trailer at highway rest areas in ______?

Alabama - officially no, but maybe at the Welcome Center - 2/11/2009
Arizona - no camping but overnight parking is OK - 2/17/2009
Arkansas - no - 2/11/2009
California - website: officially no camping but you can stay up to 8 hours - 2/7/2009
Colorado - officially no, but it will most likely be overlooked unless they receive a complaint - 2/11/2009
Connecticut - they donít condone it, but have no law against it - 2/13/2009
Delaware - no rest areas in the state!
Florida - no - 2/12/2009
Georgia - no - 2/17/2009
Idaho - no per website - 2/7/2009
Illinois - no - 2/11/2009
Indiana - no camping but sleep is OK - 2/17/2009
Iowa - Yes - 2/11/2009
Kansas - Yes, except turnpike - 2/4/2009 / Kansas Turnpike - Yes, but no facilities and max stay in turnpike of 18 hours - 2/5/2009
Kentucky - no - 3/2/2009
Louisiana - officially 2 hours but OK if you let the guard know - 2/11/2009
Maine - no - 2/12/2009
Maryland - no - 2/13/2009
Massachusetts - no - 2/12/2009
Michigan - no - 2/12/2009
Minnesota - only at (1) Manitou Rapids rest area on Rainy River 8 miles east of Birchdale on Hwy 11 (about 35 miles west of International Falls), and (2) Pomme-de-Terre rest area at Pomme-de-Terre River north of Appleton on Hwy 12 (near the western border due west of Minneapolis). All other areas limited to 6 hours.
Mississippi - no - 2/11/2009
Missouri - Yes - 2/11/2009
Montana - no reply
Nebraska - no - 2/7/2009
Nevada - Yes - 2/9/2009
New Hampshire - no - 2/12/2009
New Jersey - Yes at any rest area in the state except on the turnpike or at scenic overlooks - 4/1/2009
New Mexico - Yes but not recommended due to no security - 2/8/2009
New York - no reply
North Carolina - no - 2/13/2009
North Dakota - only in a truck parking space, if available - 2/12/2009
Ohio - time limit not enforced; should sign in - 2/17/2009
Oklahoma - no - 2/5/2009
Oregon - Yes - 2/9/2009
Pennsylvania - no - 2/19/2009
Rhode Island - no rest areas in the state!
South Carolina - no - 3/16/2009
South Dakota - officially no, but not enforced - 2/9/2009
Tennessee - no - 2/11/2009
Texas - Yes, and they have free WIFI, too - 2/9/2009
Utah - no per website - 2/7/2009
Vermont - no - 3/16/2009
Virginia - no - 2/20/2009
Washington - officially no camping but you can stay up to 8 hours - 2/9/2009
West Virginia - no - 3/16/2009
Wisconsin - no - 2/12/2009
Wyoming - no per website - 2/7/2009

Jim in Colorado Springs

#2 thetugboater

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:29 AM

For a complete listing of state by state trailer laws, see Here. This includes each state's rest area policy.
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#3 mike712

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:55 AM

Jim: Thank you for doing this research and for sharing this with us. Very helpful to all of us. Mike
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#4 DesertHawk

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 09:29 AM

QUOTE (mike712 @ Nov 11 2009, 08:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Jim: Thank you for doing this research and for sharing this with us. Very helpful to all of us. Mike


Ditto and Thanks again.

RE: Massachusetts - no - 2/12/2009
In 2001 when we were helping out daughter to move to the Twin Cities area, we overnighted at a rest area off I-35 south of Owatonna one night. Didn't see a sign, nor did we get a notice to move. Maybe a "law" since then?

TugBoater, likewise, Thanks! A very good website with info. Re: "For a complete listing of state by state trailer laws, see Here. This includes each state's rest area policy." I liked the listing of if they allow double towing or not.

Edited by DesertHawk, 11 November 2009 - 09:35 AM.

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#5 Lane

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 09:47 AM

Jim,
Thanks very much for some very valuable research. Lane and the Poodle Girls who aperiodically rest in rest stops.
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#6 highwayfl

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 01:03 PM

Judging from the number of truckers and other RVs I have seen stopped for loooong periods in some of those "no" states I submit that it is likely akin to jaywalking-while it's not quite legal to do it, nobody really does anything about it to stop you. I personally have stopped overnight in My Casita in quite a few of those "no" states-to many to list, beginning with Florida (a 'no' state) when I made a long round trip to Montgomery, Alabama and back, same day, to get my Casita. I could go no further than the Rest area outside Tallahassee late that night on the return leg and I even asked two of the policemen security detail there and they said i could. The lot was full of other truckers doing it too! And it was cold. And all I had was shorts. Luckily I found some sheets that the prior owner had neglected to take out and I pulled them over me for warmth. No a pleasant first night's sleep. I had no idea I was doing something illegal. I do know I never asked anyone again, though, much as all those truckers, i suspect, either
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#7 Rich & Penny

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 04:55 PM

I would not feel comfortable camping at a highway rest area. It seems to me that there are a lot of unsavory characters that travel our freeways just looking for an opportunity to commit a crime and make a clean getaway. I think you are safer to stop in a place away from the traffic of the Interstate. I know that in Utah, we have had crimes, including murders committed at rest areas.

Rich

#8 tedinkc

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:16 PM

Thanks tugboater for the web page. Great information. Would never have guessed you could ride in the travel trailer in so many states.
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#9 Muttley

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:49 PM

Most Arizona rest areas are being closed because the state ran out of money a while back.

Some years back a couple was murdered in a rest area in Florida. My recollection is that it was on I-10.
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#10 Luckyman

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 05:11 AM

Can you tell me somewhere that people haven't been murdered?

I would suspect that more people are murdered in their own home or in the home of friends/family than anywhere else. Perhaps we shouldn't spend the night at home either. smile.gif
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#11 DesertHawk

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 11:22 PM

QUOTE (Luckyman @ Nov 12 2009, 06:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can you tell me somewhere that people haven't been murdered?

I would suspect that more people are murdered in their own home or in the home of friends/family than anywhere else. Perhaps we shouldn't spend the night at home either. smile.gif


True, one can get murdered about anywhere, one must be very careful not to led one's guard down at any place we happen to be.

We have often used Rest Areas, Just be Viligant, Consider your surroundings carefully and if you feel uncomfortable with the area, move somewhere else. I feel comfortable when there are one or two (more so if more) RVs are overnighting at a location. Less confortable being in a deserted place. Some are better than others, if spooky, don't, if not, stay. Welcome centers have been nice to stay in.

However, I can not remember staying overnight at a rest area with the Scamp or with our other trailer (once at a kind of rest area/memorial close to Yosemite, which was kind of deserted & spooky). Most of our rest area & welcome center stays were in a C-class motor home and the others were in a truck camper. With the MH, I could just start it up and drive away without going outside, which gave me a safer feeling doing an overnight at them.

I would rather stay at a Wal-mart if possible. The only time I actually moved from an overnight sleep was in San Antonio, TX. I had moved the MH from a Wal-mart which had been very busy traffic wise to a Home Depot parking lot which was next door. At about 1 am, the Employees from the Home Depot (I assume) started playing base ball in the lot. The ball cracking the bat and the laughing, etc. was a little much. I got out of bed, into the drivers seat and drove back to Wal-mart. I didn't want a ball breaking a windsheld or whatever, nor did I want to see how rawdy they might get.

Edited by DesertHawk, 12 November 2009 - 11:31 PM.

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#12 BnCmarietta

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 04:45 PM

This is different than pulling in for 3 or 4 hours sleep if it is unsafe for you to drive any longer - right?

#13 Tom Ayers

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 05:52 PM

Jim,

I appreciate the offical position, but at least in the western states there is nobody standing with a stop watch counting the time you rest at a spot designated for that purpose. A highway rest stop, or Wal-Mart, wouldn't be my overnight stay of choice but if driver fatique sets in the old sailors saying "any port in a storm" seems wise advice. I suggest it is better to pull off and get as much rest as needed to continue your voyage safely. Don't put out the awning and roll out the barbeque, just turn off the lights and get some sleep. No one is likely to disturb it, and I will include Montana (one of the non-respondants in your survey) where I routinely travel.

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#14 Bill & Karen

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 07:16 PM

In Florida the law says no, but asking 3or4 state troopers and they say its a liability thing, some of the rest areas have signs saying 24 hour security and I've never seen a sign in the same area that said no overnighting, sooooooooooo
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#15 highwayfl

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 02:13 AM

Reading this thread I am reminded of a joke I read somewhere about sleeping at Walmarts. It seems that a lawful minded Casita owner, stopping late in the afternoon at one and wishing to spend an evening there, dutifully walked up to the service counter and asked permission to do so. After asking politely, he was shocked when the manager replied, "No".

"But", the Casita owner sadly replied, "There are other RVs parked out on the fringe of the lot preparing to spend the night"!

"Well, they didn't ask", the manager said.
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