Illinois Camping Laws and Regulations

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IAC Title 92, Part 533: Use and Enjoyment of Rest Areas


Title 92: Transportation, Chapter I: Department of Transportation, Subchapter f: Highways

Synopsis: This the full set of regulations adopted by the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding the public use of highway rest areas.

AUTHORITY: Implementing and authorized by Section 4-201.14 of the Illinois Highway Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 121, par. 4-201.14) [605 ILCS 5/4-201.14].

SOURCE: Adopted at 18 Ill. Reg. 2625, effective February 7, 1994.

Section 533.10  Purpose 

This Part is being promulgated to govern the use and enjoyment of rest areas located on Interstate highways which are under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation (the Department).

Section 533.20  General Requirements 

a) The rest area grounds, building and appurtenances are provided and maintained for use and enjoyment by the traveling public. Persons using any of the facilities shall be considerate of the rights of fellow travelers.
b) Any vandalism, defacing or misuse of the rest area, including its structures, is strictly prohibited. The offenders in such acts shall be subject to prosecution and civil damages.
c) The allowed duration of a rest area stop shall not exceed three hours. The length of a rest area stay may be limited further when capacities of the facilities are approached or exceeded. Appropriate notice of additional limitations will be posted at the affected rest area.
d) Waste containers shall be used for the disposal of all travel and picnic trash and shall not be used for depositing household garbage.
Section 533.30 Definitions As used in this Part, the words and terms listed shall have the meanings ascribed to them as follows:
"Department" − The Illinois Department of Transportation.
"Rest Area" − A roadside area or park designed for rest and relaxation of motorists in the interest of highway safety.
Section 533.40 Prohibited Activities
a) Camping or the erection of tents and shelters on the grounds of rest areas is prohibited.
b) Use of waste containers for depositing household garbage is prohibited at rest areas. A fine of $50 pursuant to Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 121, par. 9-121 [605 ILCS 5/9-121] applies to littering within rest area.
c) Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in rest areas.
d) Removing or damaging any rest area accessory, such as picnic tables, trash containers, buildings, lighting, natural features, plant material, and turf is prohibited in rest areas.
e) Selling, merchandising, panhandling, and soliciting of any kind is prohibited in rest areas.
f) Disorderly conduct, intoxication, obscene or indecent acts, oration or other public demonstration are prohibited in rest areas.
g) Organized group activities are prohibited in rest areas unless first approved in writing by the District Engineer. Requests for approval should be submitted to:
Illinois Department of Transportation Bureau of Operations 2300 South Dirksen Parkway Springfield, Illinois 62764 (217) 782-2984
h) Swimming, bathing, or fishing in waters within or adjacent to rest areas is prohibited.
i) Displaying or discharging of firearms or fireworks is prohibited in rest areas.
j) Disturbing or injuring any fowl, animal or habitat within the rest area is prohibited.
k) Loitering and hitchhiking in the area is prohibited.
l) Sleeping overnight on the grounds, benches, or in the building of a rest area is prohibited.
m) Pets are prohibited in the buildings of rest areas.
Section 533.50 Pets
a) Dogs and other pets must be kept on a leash. Pets should be exercised within the limits of the designated "pet exercise area."
b) Pets are not allowed in the buildings.
c) Large animals, such as cows, horses, pigs, etc., are not to be removed from their vehicles for the purpose of grazing, drinking or exercising.
Section 533.60 Vehicles
a) Vehicles are restricted to surfaced areas only and operators shall obey all traffic signs and markings.
b) Rest areas shall not be used as a relay station or transfer point for trailers or cargo in transit. No cargo, trailer, or mobile home shall be uncoupled from its power unit within the rest area, except in the case of mechanical breakdown or other emergency.
c) Vehicles shall occupy no more than one marked parking space.
d) Rest areas shall not be used to change oil or to perform any other automotive service. Minor repairs will be allowed.
Section 533.70 Enforcement
a) In matters covered by this Part, persons shall obey requests made by authorized rest area personnel.
b) Authorized rest area personnel and representatives of the Department may contact the appropriate police agency to assist in the enforcement of this Part.

3 thoughts on “IAC Title 92, Part 533: Use and Enjoyment of Rest Areas”

  1. If traveling coast to coast with a travel trailer, am I to understand that we cannot sleep more than 3 hrs in an IL rest area?

    • George, that is correct, there is a state regulation limiting you to just three hours. However, each rest area in Illinois has signs posted stating, “After 11 hours driving, you need 10 hours of rest”, which suggests you’re advised to stay longer. That being said, we have stayed overnight in Illinois rest areas before and were never bothered by law enforcement.


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