Learn about camping and boondocking in Texas

Texas Rest Area Rules


Does Texas allow you to park overnight at their rest areas? Is sleeping in your car permitted at Texas Rest Areas? How many hours can you stay at a Texas Rest Area? Is camping allowed at Texas Rest Areas?

texas rest area amarillo
Texas Travel Information Center, Amarillo, I-40

Texas Rest Area Rules

The only official laws that Texas has regarding the use of its rest areas are found in its Transportation Code…

  • You can stay at a rest area, picnic area, or travel information center for no more than 24 hours.
  • Selling food, drinks, or anything else without a permit is prohibited.

You can read the full, word-for-word, text of these rules at, “Rules for Using Rest Areas in Texas“.

Note, it’s possible you may see additional rules posted on the facility grounds. This is because the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) often contracts the maintenance of its facilities to contractors. Those rules will vary depending on the unique circumstances of that facility.

Is Overnight Parking Allowed at Texas Rest Areas?

Yes. The State of Texas has no rules prohibiting overnight parking at its rest areas. The same is true with picnic areas, and travel information centers. These facilities are open 24 hours a day. This mean you are allowed to arrive at night. Because Texas allows you to stay up to 24 hours at a time, overnight parking is allowed.

Many of these rest areas are filled with trucks and RVs parking overnight.

Can You Sleep at a Texas Rest Area?

Yes. The State of Texas has no rules prohibiting sleeping in your vehicle at its rest areas, picnic areas, and travel information centers. As long as you remain in your vehicle, and do not sleep on the grass or picnic tables, you’ll be fine. Many Texas rest areas are filled with people sleeping in their trucks and RVs.

Is Camping Permitted at Texas Rest Areas?

Generally, no. However, the State of Texas has not adopted any rules or laws addressing the matter of camping at a rest area, picnic area, or travel information center. Because the State has described the purpose of these facilities is to allow drivers to rest and gather information about the local area, it’s assumed that camping is not allowed.

Camping is generally seen as a form of recreation, whereas alleviating driver fatigue is simply promoting highway safety. Texas allows you to sleep in your vehicle at a rest area, and even offers you up to 24 hours to stay there. However, they don’t want you to use their facilities for purposes of recreation. When staying at a rest area, picnic area, or travel information center, it’s best to minimize noise, don’t erect any tents or shelters, and try not to draw too much attention to yourself.

Where can I find a list of Texas Rest Areas?

A map of every Texas rest area, picnic area, scenic overlook, and travel information center can be found here.

More About Overnighting at Rest Areas & Truck Stops

Available at Amazon.com...

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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Rules and Restrictions on the use of Motorized Vehicles - US Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, 2022

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