Learn about camping and boondocking in Oklahoma

Is Overnight Parking Allowed on Oklahoma Turnpikes?

Is Overnight Parking Allowed on Oklahoma Turnpikes?


Yes, overnight parking is allowed on Oklahoma turnpikes. But to be more precise, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has not issued any rules or statements regarding overnight parking at service plazas along Oklahoma turnpikes. Hence, there is nothing in law or regulation prohibiting you from sleeping in your vehicle overnight at a service plaza along an Oklahoma turnpike.

will rogers turnpike service plaza oklahoma
Service Plaza along Will Rogers Turnpike with the Great Big McDonald’s, Vinita, OK

Is Overnight Parking Allowed on Oklahoma Turnpikes?

Oklahoma’s system of turnpikes are managed by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. As of the date of this writing, the OTA has not adopted any rules regarding sleeping in vehicles overnight while parked at a service plaza or parking lot along its system of turnpikes.

We’ve also had the opportunity to chat with an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer who said that they never kick anyone out for sleeping in their vehicle overnight, and they never bother anyone either. It’s only when someone has been parked there for several days in a row that employees will call an officer to come investigate.

There is, however, a statewide law banning the parking of vehicles where there is a sign specifically prohibiting parking (Reference 47 OK Stat § 47-11-1003). However, to the best of our knowledge, none of the service plazas and parking lots located along Oklahoma turnpikes have such signs.

Service Plazas Were Intended for Short Term Rest

Keep in mind, the purpose of service plazas are for short term rest, re-fueling, dining, and simple mechanical service. They were never intended to be used as an overnight accommodation for travelers. Yet, there are still no laws, rules, or signs posted prohibiting such use. It’s still within the judgement of each highway patrol officer to decide if you’re abusing the service plaza by remaining too long.

From our own personal experience boondocking and traveling through Oklahoma, we’ve stopped at service plazas along turnpikes in the middle of the night where truck parking was completely filled, and have also seen RVs parked there too. To the best of our knowledge, it appears to be common practice to sleep at these service plazas just like rest areas along an Interstate.

Unlike other states, Oklahoma does not seem to suffer from overcrowding at its service plazas, nor having to deal with car dwellers remaining there for multiple nights. Hence, the State has not had to issue rules specific to occupancy.

Oklahoma Turnpike Fees Are Assessed on Distance, Not Time

Because tolls along Oklahoma turnpikes are based on the length of distance you travel, the amount of time you spend is no longer a factor. By contrast, there are some states with their own turnpike systems where you could end up paying full tolls after having spent the night at a service plaza, even though you didn’t travel the full distance.

Service Plaza versus Rest Area

Because turnpikes were intended to have very few on-ramps and off-ramps, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority placed service plazas along these routes to give travelers a place to refuel, replenish, and refresh.

  • Service plazas exist only along turnpikes (toll roads) within Oklahoma, and are managed by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
  • Rest Areas exist only along state highways and interstates and are managed by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Also, each turnpike in Oklahoma can be completely driven from one end to the other in less than a couple of hours. On the other hand, interstate highways run for hundreds or thousands of miles, and thus drowsy driving becomes more of an issue.

For more information about Oklahoma rest areas, please read, “Oklahoma Rest Area Rules“, and “Map of Oklahoma Rest Areas“.

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