Can you park overnight at an Arizona Rest Area? How many hours can you stay at an Arizona Rest Area? Is camping permitted at an Arizona Rest Area?
Arizona Rest Area Rules
These are the “official” rules that apply to all Arizona Rest Areas maintained by ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation)…
- Please keep pets on leash and clean up after your pets
- Keep all vehicles in the parking area
- Place trash and recycles in the receptacles provided
- Please use water wisely, every drop counts
The following are prohibited in the rest area
- Unauthorized solicitation or advertising
- Vandalism of any kind
- Unloading Livestock
- Dumping of sewage and household trash
- Salvaging from trash and/or recycle receptacles
Can You Park Overnight at an Arizona Rest Area?
Yes. ADOT does not specifically prohibit parking your vehicle or RV overnight at a rest area. As long as you and your vehicle do not cross the line into “camping” you’re welcome to park overnight at an Arizona Rest Area.
Can You Sleep Overnight at an Arizona Rest Area?
Yes. ADOT welcomes travelers to sleep in their vehicles at all Arizona Rest Areas. One of the primary goals for a rest area is to promote safety, which is why ADOT uses the term, “Safety Rest Area”. You are not allowed to “camp” at a rest area, however.
How Many Hours Can You Stay at an Arizona Rest Area?
There is no policy adopted by ADOT limiting the number of hours you can stay at a rest area. But that is not to stay you can stay there indefinitely. One of the purposes of rest areas is to support safe driving. You’re expected to leave the rest area once you have rested enough to resume driving safely.
How Does ADOT Define “Camping” at Rest Areas?
ADOT does not have an official definition of “camping” with respect to enforcing its prohibition on camping. It would be up to a highway patrol officer to make that determination. However, you are allowed to sleep overnight in your vehicle. So, what is difference between camping and sleeping in your vehicle?
Generally, the difference is recreation. That is, if an officer determines that you are at a rest area for enjoyment, rather than rest, they could argue you are camping. For example, if you are sleeping in your vehicle, AND you have rolled out the awning on your RV, or put out your leveling jacks, or your patio chairs, this could be construed as camping. If you and other members of your party are sitting outside your vehicle, enjoying a meal and watching the stars, that could be construed as camping.
If you have pitched a tent on the ground, or made some other temporary shelter, that could be construed as camping.
However, if you remain in your vehicle, aside from using the restroom facilities, or using the facility picnic tables, you’re generally fine to remain overnight.
Your best bet is to not make a scene, and not draw attention. The more you remain inconspicuous, and under the radar, the more you will be left alone to remain overnight.