Is overnight parking allowed at Indiana rest areas? How long can you stay at a rest area in Indiana? Is sleeping in your vehicle permitted? Is camping overnight permitted? What are the full Indiana rest area rules?
Indiana Rest Area Rules
The State of Indiana has not adopted any laws or administrative rules with respect to its highway rest areas. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has not published any guidelines concerning its rest areas, either.
However, a handful of high-traffic rest areas do have signs posted prohibiting overnight parking and camping. But as far as we can tell, overnight parking and camping is not officially prohibited in rest areas statewide. It’s only prohibited in just those specific rest areas where there are signs posted.
The only rest areas that have posted signs prohibiting overnight parking and camping that we know of at this time are…
- Plainfield Rest Area, westbound & eastbound, I-70, just west of Indianapolis, IN
- Nancy Hanks Rest Area, westbound & eastbound, I-64, just east of Dale, IN
- Black River Welcome Center, eastbound, I-64, Stewartsville, IN, mile marker 7
- Spring Creek Welcome Center, eastbound, I-64, just east of Danville, IL
Indiana Toll Road (I-90) Travel Plazas
Interstate 90 through Indiana is a toll road. There are eight (8) travel plazas along this route, four westbound and four eastbound. Both the toll road and travel plazas are operated by a private company. To date, we are not aware of any rules prohibiting overnight stays at travel plazas. These plazas offer parking for trucks and RVs, and its common to see these parking areas filled all through the night.
How Long Can You Stay at an Indiana Rest Area?
There is no maximum time limit. The State has not adopted any specific number of hours or days you can stay at a rest area. This does not mean you can remain for 24 hours or longer. Rest areas are intended to offer rest and relief to fatigued drivers. You are expected to leave as soon as you are able to resume driving safely.
Can You Park Overnight at a Rest Area in Indiana?
Yes, you can park overnight at most rest areas in Indiana. The state has no laws or regulations against parking overnight. Because rest areas are open 24 hours a day, you are within your rights to arrive at a rest area in the evening and stay until you are rested well enough to resume driving safely.
However, there are a handful of high-volume rest areas in which INDOT has posted signs prohibiting overnight parking and camping. If there are no such signs posted, you can assume that overnight parking is permitted. Note that in these specific rest areas, both trucks and RVs continue to park overnight without consequences. So, play it by ear!
Can You Sleep in Your Vehicle at an Indiana Rest Area
Yes, you can sleep in your vehicle. There are no laws or rules against sleeping in your vehicle at a rest area. INDOT expects many drivers to sleep in their vehicles as a way to promote highway safety.
Is Camping Allowed at Indiana Rest Areas?
No, camping is generally not allowed. However, you are permitted to enjoy rest area facilities as part of recreation. Most rest areas include picnic tables, pet areas, scenic walkways and viewing areas, and visitor information centers. You are welcome to set up at a picnic table, enjoy a meal, and relax under the sunshine. However, if you extend your recreational activities through the night and into the following morning, you may get a visit from a law enforcement officer.
A handful of rest areas have posted signs prohibiting overnight camping.
If your goal is to remain at a rest area overnight, your best bet is to remain inside your vehicle, don’t put out any camping equipment, and try to act like someone who is too exhausted to do much of anything. You’re less likely to attract attention.
Where is a List of All Rest Areas in Indiana?
The Indiana Department of Transportation publishes a map of its rest areas on its website at… https://www.in.gov/indot/restareas.htm