Is overnight parking allowed at rest areas in Kentucky? How long can you stay at a Kentucky rest area? Can you sleep in your vehicle at a Kentucky rest area? Is camping permitted? What are the full Kentucky rest area rules?
Kentucky Rest Area Rules
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has adopted a series of rules into the Kentucky Administrative Regulations concerning use of its highway rest areas. These are the only rules that exist for the state’s rest areas. The following is a synopsis of these rules…
- Maximum stay is limited to four (4) hours in any twenty-four (24) hour period.
- Trailers cannot be unhooked from their tow vehicles, unless in an emergency.
- Selling merchandise is prohibited
- Animals are not allowed inside rest area buildings.
You can read the full text of the above rules, word-for-word as adopted into the Kentucky Administrative Regulations at, “Rules for Using Rest Areas in Kentucky“.
How Long Can You Stay at a Rest Area in Kentucky?
There is a maximum four (4) hour time limit within any twenty-four (24) hour period. This limit applies individually per rest area. What this means is that you are limited to four hours of stay at a rest area, regardless of how many times you visit that rest area, all within a twenty-four hour period. If you reach four hours of stay at a rest area, you cannot return to that same rest area until twenty-four hours has expired since the moment you arrived at that rest area.
However, if you leave a rest area, you are welcome to arrive at a different rest area. Your time limit at that different rest area has its own four-hour maximum within a twenty-four hour period.
Is Overnight Parking Allowed at Kentucky Rest Areas?
Yes, overnight parking is allowed at rest areas. KYTC has not adopted any rules prohibiting overnight parking. However, they have adopted a maximum four (4) hour time limit for staying at a rest area. But because rest areas are open 24 hours a day, you are welcome to arrive during night time hours and remain until you are rested well enough to resume driving safely.
If you need to stay more than four hours, then we advise you remain in your vehicle and try to look like so tired that you cannot continue without more rest. It’s highly unlikely rest area staff or law enforcement officers will force you to drive while tired.
Is Sleeping in Your Vehicle Allowed in Kentucky Rest Areas?
Yes, sleeping in your vehicle is allowed. KYTC has not adopted any rules prohibiting sleeping in vehicles. The State expects you to get adequate rest if necessary before continuing to drive along its highways. That’s part of what a rest area is for.
Is Camping Permitted at Kentucky Rest Areas?
KYTC has not addressed the issue of camping at a rest area. Interestingly, most rest areas in Kentucky have picnic tables, cooking grills, scenic walkways, viewing areas, children’s playgrounds, pet areas, informational kiosks, and display cases of historical memorabilia. It seems as if KYTC welcome it’s visitors to spend time enjoying their stay. As long you don’t exceed the maximum four hour limit, and at least try to spend most of that time getting rested, it’s unlikely rest area staff or law enforcement will care what you do with your time.
If your goal, however, is to extend your stay beyond four hours, then it’s highly recommended you spend all your time inside your vehicle, acting as if you are too tired to do much of anything.
Where Can I Get a List of All Kentucky Rest Areas?
The Kentucky Department of Tourism publishes a list of rest areas here… https://www.kentuckytourism.com/travel-tools/rest-areas
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet publishes a map of its rest areas here… https://transportation.ky.gov/MultimodalFreight/Documents/Rest%20Areas%20and%20Welcome%20Centers.pdf