Is overnight parking permitted at a Washington State Rest Area? How many hours can you stay at a Washington State Rest Area? Is camping permitted at a Washington State Rest Area?
Washington State Rest Area Rules
The State of Washington has rest area rules codified into law (RCW) and in administrative code (WAC). The follow rules 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 Washington“…
- Parking is limited to 8 hours in a 24 hour period.
- Camping is prohibited, including pitching a tent or other sleeping facility.
- It is illegal to leave a disabled vehicle, including campers and trailers, at a rest area for more than 48 hours.
- Parking is only permitted in designated areas.
- Litter containers are only for picnic and automobile litter.
- Pets shall stay in designated areas and shall be on a leash at all times.
- Open fires are prohibited.
- Aggressive solicitation for money or goods with the intent to intimidate another person into giving money or goods is prohibited.
- Sanitary disposal systems are for dumping sanitary wastes only from recreational vehicles. Commercial vehicles are prohibited from using the sanitary disposal systems.
Is Overnight Parking Permitted at Washington State Rest Areas?
Yes. As long as your vehicle remains parked for no more than 8 hours, overnight parking is permitted at all Washington State Rest Areas.
Can You Sleep Overnight at a Washington State Rest Area?
Yes. You are permitted to sleep overnight in your vehicle while at a Washington State Rest Area. You just cannot stay beyond 8 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 a Washington State Rest Area?
No. The second above 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 Washington State rest areas, just as long as you don’t go over 8 hours.