Is overnight parking permitted at an Oregon Rest Area? How many hours can you stay at an Oregon Rest Area? Is camping permitted at an Oregon Rest Area?
Oregon Rest Area Rules
The following rest area rules were adopted by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and are current as of this writing (August 11, 2020). These rules were edited for easier reading. For the full (word for word) text of the regulations, please visit, “Rules for Using Rest Areas in Oregon“…
As described in Oregon Administrative Rule 734-030-0010, to preserve state property and increase health and safety in Department rest areas, the following activities are prohibited:
- Remaining in a rest area for more than 12 hours within any 24-hour period,
- Setting up a tent or other structure, or camping,
- Lighting a fire (except for portable barbecues and gas stoves),
- Picking, removing, or damaging plant life or forest products,
- Hunting, trapping, or injuring birds or animals,
- Discharging a firearm, bow and arrow, or other weapon,
- Discharging fireworks, explosives, or other similar devices,
- Mutilating, defacing, damaging or removing any property, structure or facility,
- Digging up, defacing, or removing any dirt, stone, rock, or other natural substance,
- Operating a concession or selling merchandise, food, or services,
- Smoking in a restroom building or within 20 feet of a restroom building,
- Operating a motor vehicle in any area not intended for motor vehicles,
- Parking a motor vehicle outside the designated parking area or parking in violation of any posted parking regulation,
- Allowing a pet to run loose,
- Allowing livestock to run at large,
- Placing a poster, flyer, sign or other marker in or on any utility pole, sign post, building or other facility in a rest area,
- Depositing garbage, recyclables, or refuse of any kind except in designated containers,
- Dumping, spilling or allowing to leak any sewage, waste water, or other substance from the vehicle,
- Using a restroom to bathe or wash clothing, dishes or other materials,
- Participating in a disturbance or riotous or other behavior,
- Obstructing, harassing or interfering with a Department of Transportation or Travel Information Council employee,
- Creating noise by any means which interferes with the reasonable use of the rest area by other visitors
Failure to comply with rest area regulations governing health and safety in a rest area may result in a Class B violation. Upon receipt of a citation the person must leave the rest area immediately.
The rules of use for other rest opportunities are determined by the entity that provides the facility and may vary based on the site.
Is Overnight Parking Permitted at Oregon Rest Areas?
Yes. As long as your vehicle remains parked for no more than 12 hours, overnight parking is permitted at all Oregon Rest Areas.
Can You Sleep Overnight at an Oregon Rest Area?
Yes. You are permitted to sleep overnight in your vehicle while at an Oregon Rest Area. You just cannot stay beyond 12 hours. It’s worth noting that you must be inside your vehicle while sleeping overnight. This is because sleeping outside, either on the ground or on a bench could be construed as camping.
Can You Camp at an Oregon Rest Area?
No. The second rule prohibits camping.
The difference between “camping” and “sleeping in a vehicle” is generally based on recreational use. Most state transportation departments and law enforcement agencies look to see if you’ve rolled out your awning, set out patio chairs, put down your leveling jacks, etc. They could make the argument that you are camping. But if you are inside your RV sleeping, with nothing else set up, then they consider that as just “sleeping in a vehicle”.
Sleeping in a vehicle is permitted at Oregon rest areas, just as long as you don’t go over 12 hours.