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Old 06-02-2015, 01:30 PM   #1
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Rest Stop Overnight Camping -- Legal?

Does anyone know if it's legal to park/camp overnight at rest stops and off ramps, the kind you see on interstates and US highways where the big tractor trailers stop and sometimes spend the night?

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Old 06-02-2015, 01:32 PM   #2
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Varies from state to state.

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Old 06-02-2015, 01:52 PM   #3
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I bet its awfully noisy with all the semis running their engines all night.

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Old 06-02-2015, 01:56 PM   #4
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It's actually not that bad. We've done it twice, and including having one running his diesel behind us. It varies from state to state, and usually if it's not allowed, there is a sign that says, NO OVER NIGHT PARKING.
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Old 06-02-2015, 01:56 PM   #5
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No one will question you if you are stopping to "REST". These are not camping areas and most are signed as such.
Some of these stops are monitored and others not. The ones that are not monitored are hangouts for various nuisance types. Take your chances.
Sometimes the money spent on a campground is well worth it.

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Old 06-02-2015, 02:04 PM   #6
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What to watch for either in rest stops or truck plazas are lot lizards, ie whores on the prowl, or teams trying to break in or some times singles, it has happened several times but when alarm went off they vanished, sometimes if there is security they are aware then they go to jail. If I stop in rest stops or tuck plazas I try to stay farther away as drivers need spots to park, also if stopping do not park on side of road or off ramp as can get hit very easily, if no spots go thru park on ramp back to hiway if room to do so. never on side of hiway when leaving. If in doubt about security, truck drivers no of bad places and they will tell you if you have cb radio and ask.
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Old 06-02-2015, 02:06 PM   #7
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It varies from state to state.

In Minnesota it's unlawful to park more than six consecutive hours at a rest stop except for motor carriers.
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Old 06-02-2015, 02:29 PM   #8
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There's a reason that some rest areas in Fl have full time security and it's not to keep you from resting there. Be alert! Jim
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:55 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the informative replies. I appreciate it.
Terry P. Rizzuti, "Yertle"

"My two cents is worth every penny."
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:14 PM   #10
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Don't spend nights on off- and on-ramps...its too dangerous for various reasons. I'll leave again next week for a cross-country trek ending in Florida, and I will (as always) spend the nights at interstate rest stops (while in transit). I have done this for several decades, without a single bad experience. Just use common sense. jon
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:34 PM   #11
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Avoid the entrance/exit lanes when using rest stops.
Truckers entering/exiting often have wide loads or lumber stored beneath their rigs which shift when travelling and can hit your vehicle/trailer without their knowledge. Ask me how I know.
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:53 PM   #12
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Another option is that last I checked all the Walmarts allow overnite parking in their lots, which are usually well lit & well patrolled, & you can use their restrooms & McD or whatever for quick meals or buy food - which is partly why they allow it.

Note that at Wallymarts, truck plazas & rest stops etc. - we're talking about "parking" not camping - i.e.: leave the TT hitched up to the TV - & observe the limits for rest stops - if 6 hrs max - then it's for a short sleep while driving a leg, but they probably wouldn't hassle you much if your went 7 hrs to make breakfast & eat in the am!

We did these options as kids traveling with family in the 1950-60's (except no Walmarts everywhere back then), & as an adult since the 1970's in our cars, our 1988 VW Westfalia since bought new & since getting our vintage kin Avion in 2012.

As others have said - today it's good to be cautious & ready to leave if trouble is suspected, ergo leave the jacks up & other connections off so you can roll away quick if needed!

Travel Safe & Have Fun!
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:05 PM   #13
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Can't overnight in Florida rest stops anymore -- we had a very bad period where there were a lot of drug deals and a few armed robberies that resulted in killings. Most interstate rest areas have a night watchman who will move you along in fairly short order. In the Florida Keys, overnighting anywhere outside of an established campground is unlawful even with the permission of a business owner. On private residential property, it quickly becomes a zoning issue.

As for Walmart parking, it is available in most, not all, instances. In a lot of areas (Homestead, Fl for example), the privilege was abused by people who "homesteaded" and the local authorities stepped in to stop the practice.

More and more rigs on the road and, it seems anyway, less and less common courtesy and horse sense, is starting to have a price.

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Old 06-03-2015, 02:03 PM   #14
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Check out the Ohio rest areas. They have a few that have separate camping rest areas, away from the cars and trucks. They have full hookups and dumping station. If you stay overnight, they accept $10 (last time i did it) in a machine for a permit ticket. Very nice. Also one in CT probably many more. In a regular truck stop, be careful. Your nature is to park in a quiet isolated spot with little truck noise. That is where you will get trapped by the lizzards. Stay close to trucks they are usually safer. The lizzards are afraid of them.

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