Learn about camping and boondocking in Idaho

Idaho Rest Area Rules


Is overnight parking allowed at Idaho Rest Areas? Can you sleep in your car at an Idaho Rest Area? How many hours can you stay at an Idaho Rest Area? Is camping permitted at Idaho Rest Areas?

idaho rest area
Juniper Rest Area, I-84 Idaho

Idaho Rest Area Rules

The following is a list of rules for Idaho Rest Areas. These rules were adopted by the Idaho Department of Transportation. They have been codified into the Idaho Administrative Code. Text of these rules have been edited for easier reading. To see the full, actual text of the rules, please visit, “Rules for Using Rest Areas in Idaho“.

  1. Maximum length of stay is 10 hours on Interstate rest areas, and 16 hours at all other rest areas.
  2. Camping is not permitted.
  3. Fires are not permitted, except for barbecues and gas grills.
  4. Dogs and cats must be leashed, caged, or under physical control.
  5. Selling services or products, or vending of any kind, is prohibited.
  6. Running your generator all night is prohibited.
  7. Dumping your gray or black tank is prohibited, except into a waste contained designed for this purpose.
  8. Dumping trash that was brought in from your home, or another campsite.
  9. Driving in excess of 15 MPH.
  10. Parking your RV or trailer in a location not designated for such vehicles.

Note: Idaho has many more rules that won’t apply to most RVers or boondockers. Please see the full, “Rules for Using Rest Areas in Idaho“.

Is Overnight Parking Allowed at Idaho Rest Areas?

Yes. The rules adopted by the Idaho Department of Transportation do not prohibit anyone from leaving their vehicle parked at a rest area overnight. As long as you abide by the maximum time limits (see rule #1 above), you’re fine, to park at a rest are overnight.

Can You Sleep at an Idaho Rest Area?

Yes. The rules for Idaho Rest Areas do not prohibit anyone from sleeping in their vehicle. The Idaho Department of Transportation expects many people to sleep or take naps in their vehicle at rest areas. However, rolling out a sleeping bag, or pitching a tent, or sleeping on the grass, dirt, pavement, will likely be construed as “camping”, which is prohibited.

Is Camping Permitted at Idaho Rest Areas?

No. The rules for Idaho Rest Areas do not permit camping, nor any other type of stay intended for recreation. The only type of stay you are allowed at rest areas are those intended to relieve the fatigue of travel.

The official rules do not define “camping” with respect to use of rest areas. The only definition they offer is that occupancy of rest areas is limited to relieving the “fatigue of travel”. As long as you are there to just rest before continuing on, you’re fine. But, if you exhibit any signs that you’re here to enjoy some form of recreation, business activity, or group gathering, law enforcement officers will have a reason to kick you out.

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.

Read Related Articles

Download Related Documents

Changes to Camping at Portneuf Lower Fishing Access - Idaho Fish & Game, April 8, 2021

4 thoughts on “Idaho Rest Area Rules”

  1. I want to drive from Seattle to denver 20hrs drive and want to sleep at a rest stop, my car is too compact to sleep in, is it possible to sleep over night in a tent at a rest stop?

    • No, it is not allowed to pitch a tent at rest areas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, or Colorado. Your best bet in this case is to find national forest land, or BLM land, in which you are always free to pitch a tent and sleep overnight, as long as you are safely away from the highway.

    • Eric, sleeping in a vehicle is always permitted at rest areas, including Idaho, as long as you don’t exceed the maximum time limit (10 hours along the Interstate, 16 hours on all other highways). However, sleeping at a rest area, outside of your vehicle, is not permitted. So, as long as your tent remains attached or confined to your vehicle, you’re fine. Camping is generally not permitted at Idaho rest areas, HOWEVER, if your camping specifically for purposes of sleep, then it’s fine. BUT, your campsite must still be restricted to your vehicle. You can read more about wording of the law at this article… Rules for Using Rest Areas in Idaho


Leave a Comment