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Old 07-07-2017, 04:31 PM   #1
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Rest Stops

I've seen so much great info in these forums on just about every aspect of RV'ing. Campgrounds, Walmarts, dry camping, boondocking, full timing... but I have not come across anything about spending the night at state rest areas when traveling cross country.

We are planning to drive from AZ to Ohio and figured on 2 to 3 full days of driving. Are there any things I should know about parking at a rest area for the night along the way?
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:36 PM   #2
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Depending on where you are going in Ohio: The Ohio Turnpike "camping" spots in the service plaza's are pretty nice:
Service Plaza RV lots (pdf)
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Depending on where you are going in Ohio: The Ohio Turnpike "camping" spots in the service plaza's are pretty nice:
Service Plaza RV lots (pdf)
Thanks Jamie. By the time I get to Ohio we will be with relatives. I'm thinking an overnight in New Mexico, then another in Missouri.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:03 PM   #4
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Thanks Jamie. By the time I get to Ohio we will be with relatives. I'm thinking an overnight in New Mexico, then another in Missouri.
Yeah I figured as much given the destination being in Ohio I wasn't sure if you were all the way on the east side--probably wouldn't be overnighting in OH.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:19 PM   #5
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Rest Stops

We stayed at rest stops along the way this past month in about 20 or so states with no issues. Most of them are really nice. I found Ohio to have the best stops, a lot of them with full dump stations and clean water fill up(free of charge). Rest stops are the best when going from point A to B. New Mexico had some decent ones as well.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:27 PM   #6
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We stayed at rest stops along the way this past month in about 20 or so states with no issues. Most of them are really nice. I found Ohio to have the best stops, a lot of them with full dump stations and clean water fill up(free of charge). Rest stops are the best when going from point A to B. New Mexico had some decent ones as well.
Thanks, that's very helpful! I'm looking at our route. Probable stop in New Mexico, just east of Albuquerque on the I-40; and one just southwest of St. Louis. I won't be hooking up, just sleeping overnight.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mike in AZ View Post
Thanks, that's very helpful! I'm looking at our route. Probable stop in New Mexico, just east of Albuquerque on the I-40; and one just southwest of St. Louis. I won't be hooking up, just sleeping overnight.
I've stayed in rest areas in a few states - never had an issue... Typical of a Walmart stop - I don't extend slides, etc - get some sleep and on my way. Just can't do the shopping thing beyond vending machines...

Ohio is the only ones I've seen so far with hookups (and a machine to take your credit card for the fee - reasonable as I recall compared to CG).

Many are posted with no overnight parking - never been even questioned as I sit between 18 wheelers doing the same thing...
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:11 PM   #8
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If you haven't done so get the app "Rest Stops Plus"

https://www.allstays.com/apps/reststops.htm

Another one is USA Rest Stops.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/usa-...528988698?mt=8
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:33 PM   #9
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The key is to not appear to be camping and if you by chance do talk to an attendant you're only there to catch some needed rest before you get back on the road. We've only been asked to move along twice in the past 30 or 40 years. One was a weather evacuation and the other actually closed between the hours of 2 and 6 am (to keep out overnighters).

All in all they aren't bad but can be noisy at times depending on who pulls in near you. Cattle trailers are the worst! Stomping and mooing all night long!
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:43 PM   #10
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I think there are something like half a dozen states that technically allow it.
google "states that allow overnight parking in rest areas"
and you'll find several references.

I personally have never done it..... probably would but I would be very selective.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:03 PM   #11
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Www.beamalarm.com

Beamalarm.com has a list of all the rest stops by state and whether they allow parking overnight. I did it for several nights on a trip in my RV from Denver, Co to South Florida several years ago and it was fine. In the states that allow it, you will almost always find a few RVs together around dark. It was nice on the interstate not to have to stop early and look for a site. I drove until just before dark and stopped at rest stops until I found a few RVs parked for the night.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
If you haven't done so get the app "Rest Stops Plus"

https://www.allstays.com/apps/reststops.htm

Another one is USA Rest Stops.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/usa-...528988698?mt=8
Thanks, I will check them out ASAP!
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by airforceret View Post
The key is to not appear to be camping and if you by chance do talk to an attendant you're only there to catch some needed rest before you get back on the road. We've only been asked to move along twice in the past 30 or 40 years. One was a weather evacuation and the other actually closed between the hours of 2 and 6 am (to keep out overnighters).

All in all they aren't bad but can be noisy at times depending on who pulls in near you. Cattle trailers are the worst! Stomping and mooing all night long!
Good advice, thanks. I'm going to look for that info (overnight allowed or not) for the rest areas I'm looking at.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
I think there are something like half a dozen states that technically allow it.
google "states that allow overnight parking in rest areas"
and you'll find several references.

I personally have never done it..... probably would but I would be very selective.
Awesome tip, thanks! Both NM and MO are listed as allowing overnight parking. NM says "24 hours," and MO says "unless otherwise posted." That will be perfect for us.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Oneilkeys View Post
Beamalarm.com has a list of all the rest stops by state and whether they allow parking overnight. I did it for several nights on a trip in my RV from Denver, Co to South Florida several years ago and it was fine. In the states that allow it, you will almost always find a few RVs together around dark. It was nice on the interstate not to have to stop early and look for a site. I drove until just before dark and stopped at rest stops until I found a few RVs parked for the night.
Thanks! That is the first site that popped up on the google search someone else suggested. Looks like it's going to work out well for us.

I would love to see a couple other RV's in the area too, safety in numbers and all that.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:36 PM   #16
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Keep in mind that if weather is bad they tend to fill up quickly, and if you wait too late it can be a gamble whether or not a spot will be available. If it's getting late and you are contemplating stopping it may be worth getting to bed early and getting out early... I've found myself out of luck on more than one occasion and had to go to a backup plan (walmart, loves, pilot, american legion, and so forth).
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:51 PM   #17
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Overnighting in rest areas has come up various times in different threads as I recall.

We've used rest areas to sleep from 4 to 8 hours many times when traveling between home and family. Don't recall it ever being part of a vacation because we take it easier and drive shorter days. Rest areas meet our needs much better than campgrounds when driving late regardless of cost.

Most of our stops have been on I-10 in Florida, Alabama, or Mississippi; or I-75 in Florida. We've also stopped one or two nights each in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Georgia while driving to visit family.

As I've mentioned before, our van is only 20-feet long so we park next to cars where there are a lot more people sleeping, and it's not as loud because trucks are farther away. We have never been bothered, and haven't seen anyone that's been asked to leave.

As long as there are many open spaces, I doubt there is going to be an issue. However, there have been a few recent reports of upcoming campground shortages that may change our ability to overnight in rest areas. I hope it doesn't come to that.
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Old 07-07-2017, 08:06 PM   #18
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I use a website and app, OvernightRVParking. Besides a list., it gives you crowd sourced reviews of rest areas, WMrts, Cracker Barrels.
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Old 07-07-2017, 08:21 PM   #19
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Thanks for the additional info, this is all very helpful to a first timer like me!
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Old 07-07-2017, 08:23 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Overnighting in rest areas has come up various times in different threads as I recall.

We've used rest areas to sleep from 4 to 8 hours many times when traveling between home and family. Don't recall it ever being part of a vacation because we take it easier and drive shorter days. Rest areas meet our needs much better than campgrounds when driving late regardless of cost.
That's the case with us now, Chance. We are going to visit relatives in OH, so the traveling part is really just to get there.
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