Is overnight parking allowed at Delaware rest areas? How long can you stay at a rest area in Delaware? Can you sleep in your car? Is camping allowed? What are the full Delaware rest area rules?
Delaware Rest Area Rules
Delaware has only two rest areas…
- Smyrna Rest Area, Highway 1, just north of Smyrna
- I-95 Welcome Center, I-95, just southeast of Newark
The State of Delaware has not adopted any formal laws or rules regarding use of its rest areas. The Delaware Department of Transportation has not published any guidelines either.
The Smyrna Rest Area does have signs posted stating, “No Camping”, as well as, “6 Hour Parking Limit”. Its staff enforces a maximum eight (8) hour limit for its truck & RV parking lot.
The I-95 Welcome Center, however, does not have any posted signs prohibiting camping or overnight parking. Many reviewers have reported being able to park overnight without incident.
How Long Can You Stay at a Delaware Rest Area?
The Smyrna Rest Area enforces a six (6) hour time limit for vehicles parked in its car parking area, and a eight (8) hour limit for vehicles parked in its truck & RV parking lot.
Is Overnight Parking Allowed at Delaware Rest Areas?
Yes, overnight parking is allowed. There are no rules prohibiting overnight parking, nor are there any signs prohibiting either. Although the Smyrna Rest Area enforces maximum time limits, it is still open 24-hours a day. Therefore, you are allowed to arrive at night and remain up to the maximum time, which may effectively be overnight. The I-95 Welcome Center, however, has not adopted any time limits.
Can You Sleep in Your Car at a Delaware Rest Area?
Yes, you can sleep in your car. Delaware has no rules against sleeping in vehicles while at a rest area. The State would expects drowsy drivers to sleep at their rest area before continuing driving. They would prefer you sleep in your vehicle rather than on the grass or on a picnic table.
Is Camping Allowed at Delaware Rest Areas?
No, camping is not allowed. The Smyrna Rest Area has signs specifically prohibiting camping. While the I-95 Welcome Center has no such signs or rules, their facilities are generally not conducive to camping. It’s largely a parking lot and building facilities; there isn’t much green space to support recreational activity. Moreover, the I-95 Welcome Center is very busy, and heavily trafficked. If you spread your camp space you’d likely get run over.
Where Can I Get a List of Delaware Rest Areas?
The Delaware Department of Transportation publishes a list of their rest areas on their website… https://deldot.gov/Programs/restareas/index.shtml
I stayed at Smyrna Rest Area last night. A large RV could probably go to the truck section and get 8 hours; my small camper went into the cars/vans section and was limited to 6 hours. However, I arrived about 10pm and left about 6am and no-one questioned me. I suspect the time limits (especially at night) are not rigidly enforced (how do they know what time you arrived?) There is also a Park-n-Ride lot here signed ‘No Overnight Parking’ but several vehicles were left there overnight.August 29, 2021 at 5:05 pm
Rules and enforcement are two different things. Thanks Mike for letting us know what the enforcement situation is like.August 29, 2021 at 10:52 pm