North Dakota

Learn about camping and boondocking in North Dakota

North Dakota Rest Area Rules

North Dakota Rest Area Rules


Are you allowed to stay overnight at a North Dakota rest area? How long can you stay at a North Dakota rest area? Is camping allowed at a North Dakota Rest Area? What are the full North Dakota rest area rules?

north dakota rest area
Rest Area in North Dakota

North Dakota Rest Area Rules

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) has not codified any rules with respect to use of its rest areas. However, each rest area has a sign posted, “No Overnight Camping”. Otherwise, the NDDOT has no other official rules posted. There does not appear to be any maximum time limits either.

Does this mean you can stay for as long as you want at a North Dakota rest area? That’s doubtful. North Dakota Highway Patrol officers routinely monitor rest areas. If they feel you have stayed too long at a rest area, they will tap on your window or door to check.

“Overnight Camping” is not specifically defined by the NDDOT. Most state departments of transportation identify camping as a form of recreation. Hence, we believe what they are referring to are people who are there to enjoy the facilities as part of recreation, then stay overnight. As long you are only there to rest in your vehicle long enough to safely resume driving, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Is Overnight Parking Permitted at North Dakota Rest Areas?

Yes. Because North Dakota’s rest areas are open 24 hours a day, you can arrive during evening time hours. And since there is no maximum time limit, you can remain there until the following day. As long as you don’t remain too long, it’s highly unlikely law enforcement officers will bother you. Moreover, as long as you’re there to rest, and not make any noise, no one is going to bother you.

Can You Sleep Overnight at a North Dakota Rest Area?

Yes. You are permitted to sleep overnight in your vehicle at a North Dakota rest area. The NDDOT has no rules against sleeping in your vehicle. You’re well within your right to arrive in the evening and stay until the morning. As long your vehicle does not remain stationary for more than 24 hours, you probably won’t hear from a law enforcement officer.

Can You Camp at a North Dakota Rest Area?

No, at least not overnight. The NDDOT has posted signs in its rest areas prohibiting “Overnight Camping”.

It seems you’re allowed to arrive at a rest area with family, enjoy a picnic, walk around, and take photos, as long as it’s all done within the same daylight hours. They don’t want you using a rest area for recreational purposes. If you’re already well rested and capable of driving along the highway safely, they want you to leave.

If a law enforcement officer knocks on your window or door, it’s because he or she has already witnessed you enjoying yourself that day, or noticed you have been there for far too long.

List of North Dakota Rest Areas

The North Dakota Department of Transportation publishes a list of its rest areas at the following webpage.

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.

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