Learn about camping and boondocking in Kansas

Kansas Rest Area Rules


Is overnight parking allowed at Kansas rest areas? How long can you stay at a Kansas rest area? Is camping allowed at Kansas rest area? What are the full Kansas rest area rules?

kansas rest areas
Rest area in Kansas

Kansas Rest Area Rules

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has amended the Kansas Administrative Regulations with a set of rules regarding public use of rest areas and other roadside facilities. Below is a summary of these rules. To the read the full, word-for-word text of these rules, visit, “Rules of Using Kansas Rest Areas“.

  • The maximum stay is 24 hours.
  • Overnight camping is allowed, for one night only.
  • You cannot block the free flow of traffic within a rest area.
  • Blocking other people from using various facilities, spaces, or areas is prohibited.

Note that these rules do not apply to “service areas” operated along Kansas Turnpikes. Service areas are similar to rest areas, but include gas stations, fast food restaurants, and repair facilities. These fall under jurisdiction of the Kansas Turnpike Authority. For more information, scroll down to “Kansas Turnpike Service Areas Rules”.

Is Overnight Parking Permitted at Kansas Rest Areas?

Yes. The KDOT says you can stay up for 24 hours at a rest area or other roadside facility. Because Kansas rest areas are open 24 hours a day, nothing seems to prevent you from staying there overnight.

Can You Sleep Overnight at a Kansas Rest Area?

Yes you can. Kansas does not have any rules that prohibit sleeping in your vehicle while at a rest area or other roadside facility. KDOT does not clarify if you are allowed, or not allowed, to pitch a tent and sleep on the grass. They only say that you are not allowed to block others from accessing the rest area or its facilities.

Can You Camp at a Kansas Rest Area?

Yes, camping is allowed!

Many of Kansas’ rest areas are designed with a paved road that loops through the facility. This loop is intended for people wishing to camp at the rest area for the night. Because KDOT has not clarified whether or not pitching a tent on the grass is allowed, it’s not clear to what extent you are allowed to spread out your camping equipment. However, if your goal is to avoid being bothered by law enforcement, it might be wise to sleep in your vehicle and keep your belongings inside.

Kansas Turnpike Service Area Rules

The Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) operates six (6) service areas along the Kansas Turnpike. They are similar to rest areas, but are usually positioned in the center divider, and include a gas station, fast food restaurant, and repair shop. These are not intended for long term rest, but to service your vehicle with fuel, or perhaps repairs, and get some snacks and refreshments.

The issue of extended stays at KTA service areas was addressed in a question and answer segment on the KTA’s website…

I will be traveling a lot this summer and wonder if it’s possible to leave my car at a turnpike lot when sharing rides. Is parking available?

We provide parking lots at many of our toll plazas as a courtesy for commuters. If a toll plaza has a parking lot labeled “Customer Parking” or “Commuter Parking,” you are able to park your vehicle there for 24 hours as space allows.

Parking at one of our service areas however is discouraged. Parking spaces are limited and are intended for customers who are purchasing fuel or food or who just need a short rest. Vehicles will be charged the maximum fare when the elapsed time between entering and exiting the Turnpike exceeds 18 hours.

The KTA has not issued any further rules regarding use of its service areas.

List of Kansas Rest Areas

The Kansas Department of Transportation publishes a list of its rest areas which you can download (click here).

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