South Dakota

Learn about camping and boondocking in South Dakota

South Dakota Rest Area Rules

South Dakota Rest Area Rules


What are the full South Dakota rest area rules? Can you park overnight at South Dakota rest areas? How long can you stay at South Dakota rest areas?

south dakota rest area
Dignity Statue, I-90 Rest Area at Chamberlain, SD

Overnight Parking at South Dakota Rest Areas

South Dakota’s State Code makes it illegal to camp at South Dakota rest areas…

§31-7-15Camping prohibited at rest areas on interstate system–Petty offense.

“No person may camp at any rest area established by the department within and adjacent to the national system of interstate highways in South Dakota. A violation of this section is a petty offense.”

South Dakota state law defines camping as follows…

§31-7-16Activities constituting unlawful camping.

“For the purposes of § 31-7-15, camping is defined as temporary lodging outofdoors and presupposes the occupancy of a shelter, including any vehicle, designed or used for such purposes. A camper is defined as an occupant of any such shelter.”

How Long Can You Park at South Dakota Rest Areas?

You may park for as long as three (3) hours. Commercial vehicles may park for as long as ten (10) hours…

§31-7-17Temporary rest stops permitted–Time limit.

“No person temporarily resting in any vehicle is in violation of the provisions of §31-7-15. For purposes of this section, temporarily resting means stopping, parking, or otherwise keeping or occupying any vehicle in a rest area, or any portion thereof not officially designated for camping, for not more than three consecutive hours or, if the driver of a commercial motor vehicle subject to the provisions of 49 C.F.R. Part 395, as of January 1, 2009, for not more than ten consecutive hours.”

What Are the Penalties for Staying Too Long at a Rest Area?

The State of South Dakota does not specifically define a dollar amount or other penalty, but it does spell out its authority to levy a fine…

§31-7-18Additional fine for unlawful camping–Cost of repairs.

“Any person violating the provisions of § 31-7-15, in addition to the penalty provided by § 22-6-7, may be fined an amount as determined by the court which may be necessary to reimburse the department for the expense of repairing any damage to such rest area resulting from such violation.”

More About South Dakota Rest Areas

More About Boondocking in South Dakota

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

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1 thought on “South Dakota Rest Area Rules”

  1. On face value of the State Highway law (section 31) it would seem that there is strict enforcement of the time limit. However, in ( Martin v. City of Boise) the Ninth Circuit ruled “as long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people
    for sleeping outdoors, on public property” (in violation of a person’s Eighth Amendment rights).
    Case Number: (15-35845) Docket No. (19-247) Appeal denied Dec 16 2019
    (This applies to The States of Idaho, Alaska, Indiana, Louisiana,
    Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas…)


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