None of the 50 states in the United States have laws or regulations on running a generator at a rest area. In fact, none of the states address the issue of making loud noises while staying at a rest area. Considering how many trucks stay the night at rest areas, you might think it would be an issue.
Can You Run a Generator at a Rest Area?
None of the states in the United States address the issue of noise while staying at a rest area, at least not specifically running a generator other other mechanical device. And we’ve examined the rest area rules for each of the 50 states.
So, the answer is “yes” you can run a generator while staying overnight at a rest area, in any state that allows overnight parking.
Most Trucks Run Their Engines at Rest Areas
The fact is that nearly all rest areas across the United States host trucks overnight, and at least half of these trucks are refrigerated, requiring them to run their engines all night long. This explains why none of the states prohibit running a generator at rest areas. Anyone who has stayed overnight at a rest area knows that trucks already run their generators all night long.
Running a Generator is Expected at Rest Areas
Rest areas are probably the only place where you can park overnight and legally be noisy. No other overnight location tolerates loud noise, not Walmarts, not Cabelas, not Home Depots, not Camping Worlds. Rest areas are naturally noisy places because they are located right next to busy Interstates and highways. The fact that they are already noisy is why states don’t try to enforce quiet hours at rest areas.
States Want You to be Comfortable at Rest Areas
No state wants drowsy drivers on their roads. Every state that operates rest areas along their highways (Hawaii is the only state does not) wants you to be comfortable enough to get rest. They actually encourage you to run your generator so that you can enjoy air conditioning, power your C-PAP device, or watch television, so that you can fall asleep and get rested up enough to continue driving safely.
Noise is one of the last things that states are concerned about with respect to their rest areas. They are more concerned about travelers staying too long or using rest areas for illegal activity.