Learn about camping and boondocking in Delaware

Delaware Rest Area Rules

Delaware Rest Area Rules


Is overnight parking allowed at Delaware rest areas? How long can you stay at a rest area in Delaware? Can you sleep in your car? Is camping allowed? What are the full Delaware rest area rules?

delaware rest area rules
Smyrna Rest Area, Highway 1, Smyrna, DE

Delaware Rest Area Rules

Delaware has only two rest areas…

  • Smyrna Rest Area, Highway 1, just north of Smyrna
  • I-95 Welcome Center, I-95, just southeast of Newark

The State of Delaware has not adopted any formal laws or rules regarding use of its rest areas. The Delaware Department of Transportation has not published any guidelines either.

The Smyrna Rest Area does have signs posted stating, “No Camping”, as well as, “6 Hour Parking Limit”. Its staff enforces a maximum eight (8) hour limit for its truck & RV parking lot.

The I-95 Welcome Center, however, does not have any posted signs prohibiting camping or overnight parking. Many reviewers have reported being able to park overnight without incident.

How Long Can You Stay at a Delaware Rest Area?

The Smyrna Rest Area enforces a six (6) hour time limit for vehicles parked in its car parking area, and a eight (8) hour limit for vehicles parked in its truck & RV parking lot.

Is Overnight Parking Allowed at Delaware Rest Areas?

Yes, overnight parking is allowed. There are no rules prohibiting overnight parking, nor are there any signs prohibiting either. Although the Smyrna Rest Area enforces maximum time limits, it is still open 24-hours a day. Therefore, you are allowed to arrive at night and remain up to the maximum time, which may effectively be overnight. The I-95 Welcome Center, however, has not adopted any time limits.

Can You Sleep in Your Car at a Delaware Rest Area?

smyrna rest area no camping
Sign posted at Smyrna Rest Area stating “No Camping”.

Yes, you can sleep in your car. Delaware has no rules against sleeping in vehicles while at a rest area. The State would expects drowsy drivers to sleep at their rest area before continuing driving. They would prefer you sleep in your vehicle rather than on the grass or on a picnic table.

Is Camping Allowed at Delaware Rest Areas?

No, camping is not allowed. The Smyrna Rest Area has signs specifically prohibiting camping. While the I-95 Welcome Center has no such signs or rules, their facilities are generally not conducive to camping. It’s largely a parking lot and building facilities; there isn’t much green space to support recreational activity. Moreover, the I-95 Welcome Center is very busy, and heavily trafficked. If you spread your camp space you’d likely get run over.

Where Can I Get a List of Delaware Rest Areas?

The Delaware Department of Transportation publishes a list of their rest areas on their website.

More About Boondocking in Delaware

More About Overnighting at Rest Areas & Truck Stops

Available at

The Ultimate Truck Parking Guide 9th Edition Paperback – January 18, 2020, by LeRoy D Clemmer

Note: the above list of books are not endorsed by Boondocker's Bible, but are recommended because they provide information relevant to this article. Boondocker's Bible will earn a commission on the sales of these books to help support our goal of providing free boondocking education to the public.

2 thoughts on “Delaware Rest Area Rules”

  1. I stayed at Smyrna Rest Area last night. A large RV could probably go to the truck section and get 8 hours; my small camper went into the cars/vans section and was limited to 6 hours. However, I arrived about 10pm and left about 6am and no-one questioned me. I suspect the time limits (especially at night) are not rigidly enforced (how do they know what time you arrived?) There is also a Park-n-Ride lot here signed ‘No Overnight Parking’ but several vehicles were left there overnight.


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