Ohio Camping Laws and Regulations

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Rules for Using Rest Areas in Ohio

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Chapter 5501 Department of Transportation, Subchapter 2 Division of Highways

Synopsis: These are the full set of rules adopted by the Ohio Department of Transportation regarding the public use of its rest areas.

5501:2-4-01 Control and use of rest areas and roadside parks.


(1) The state highway patrol shall have full authority to enforce this rule and all state laws within the rest areas as well as on the highway. (2) All transportation department facilities employees shall be familiar with this rule, advise violators of the same, and, if necessary, immediately contact the nearest state highway patrolman and request assistance.
(B) The following are prohibited at all rest areas and roadside parks under the jurisdiction of the department:
(1) The use or drinking of alcoholic beverages of any kind or the possession of open containers of such beverages. (2) The parking of vehicles on grass. (3) The moving, removing, destruction, defacing or alteration of any state property. (4) The presence outside the confinement of personal vehicles of any unleashed household pet. (5) The littering and disposal of any waste other than travel trash. (6) The disposal of any travel trash in any area except inside the containers provided for this purpose. (7) Any fires or grilling outside the designated areas and outside the containers provided for such activity. (8) The failure to extinguish any fire or flame after use. (9) Any display, use, or discharge of firearms, pellet guns, B-B guns, other weapons, dangerous ordinances, or explosives as defined in section 2923.11 of the Revised Code or fireworks as defined in section 3743.01 of the Revised Code. (10) Loitering within or around toilet facilities or other buildings. (11) The parking of commercial vehicles for interchanging, unloading, or similar activities. (12) Leaving any vehicle unattended for three hours without the permission of the state highway patrol or the department. Any such vehicle will be towed away at the expense of the owner. (13) Camping. (14) All acts of indecent exposure and lewd motions or actions. (15) The solicitation of voluntary donations including donations to help defray the cost of a free coffee program as permitted by section 5515.07 of the Revised Code. (16) All advertising of any nature except those contracted under the authority of the department of development for Ohio tourism.
(C) The only commercial sales allowed at these rest areas and roadside parks shall be from vending machines authorized by the department. Priority shall be given to blind vendors pursuant to the Randolph-Sheppard Act, 20 U.S. Code section 107. (D) The state of Ohio, department of transportation and its employees, and the state highway patrol and its officers are not liable for damages or proceedings of any kind caused directly or indirectly as a result of the enforcement of any law of this state or this rule. Ohio Admin. Code 5501:2-4-01 Effective: 5/15/2023 Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 2/28/2023 and 05/05/2028 Promulgated Under: 119.03 Statutory Authority: 5501.02, 5515.07 Rule Amplifies: 5515.07 Prior Effective Dates: 06/22/1965, 12/27/1976, 08/05/1989, 12/06/2012, 03/22/2018 Ohio Admin. Code 5501:2-4-01

1 thought on “Rules for Using Rest Areas in Ohio”

  1. Can a homeless couple stay at an Ohio rest area continuously in their camper? Just moving to different truck spots throughout the day?


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