How long can you stay at a Massachusetts rest area? What are the full Massachusetts rest area rules? Is camping allowed? Is overnight parking allowed at a Massachusetts rest area? Can you sleep in your car?
Massachusetts Rest Area Rules
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has not adopted any laws with respect to the public use of its highway rest areas. The Massachusetts Department Transportation (MassDOT) has not adopted any rules nor published any guidelines about how long one can stay at a rest area. MassDot did, however, adopt a rule about not leaving a vehicle unattended for more than 30 minutes at a rest area (720 CMR 9.03). Aside from that, the only rules in effect are based on whatever signs are posted at individual rest areas.
How Long Can You Stay at a Massachusetts Rest Area?
There is no statewide time limit enacted by law or regulation. However, a handful of parking areas located along highways have signs posted for “Two Hour Limit”. But these appear to be few and far between. Most rest areas, parking areas, and service plazas have no such signs.
Are You Allowed Park Overnight at a Massachusetts Rest Area?
Yes, you are allowed to park overnight at most rest areas. A handful of rest areas, however, have signs posted prohibiting overnight parking. But these are also few and far between. Otherwise, the Commonwealth has no statewide laws or regulations against overnight parking. Massachusetts does, however, have a regulation prohibiting you from leaving your vehicle unattended for more than 30 minutes at a rest area. But as long as you are in your vehicle, you should be fine.
Can You Sleep in Your Car at a Rest Area in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can sleep in your car. There are no laws or regulations in Massachusetts prohibiting anyone from sleeping in their vehicle while parked at a rest area. The state expects drowsy drivers to use rest areas for sleeping. They would rather you sleep in your vehicle instead of sleeping on the grass or on a picnic table.
Is Camping Allowed at a Massachusetts Rest Area?
There are no laws or regulations prohibiting you from camping at a rest area. However, in the interest of not drawing attention to yourself, and not attracting law enforcement officers, it’s best you remain in your vehicle. Some of MassDOT’s rest areas have picnic tables and cooking grills, however. This may encourage visitors to set up a barbecue and picnic for the afternoon. As long you don’t extend your outdoor activities through the evening and into the following morning, you should be fine.
Where Can I Get a List of All Masschusetts Rest Areas?
MassDOT publishes a list and map of their rest areas and service plazas here… https://www.mass.gov/info-details/service-plaza-locations