Can You Sleep At Rest Stops In Virginia? (The Truth)

Can You Sleep At Rest Stops In virginia

Have you ever wondered if you can sleep at rest stops in Virginia? Look no more. We´ve got you covered.

So can sleep at rest stops in Virginia? Yes, technically it is allowed to sleep at rest stops in Virginia. Rest stops that are lit will be open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. However, if you are at one of the unlit rest stops, then you will be asked to leave.

VA has some rather complicated rules with regard to sleeping at rest stops within the state. This is because, it is only allowed in some locations.

Let’s explain, shall we?

Can You Sleep at Rest Stops in Virginia?

Technically, yes. 

To understand this properly, you need to know that Virginia has two types of rest stop:

👉 Rest stops that are lit will be open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

👉 Rest stops with no lighting are open from 8 am to one hour past sunset. 

You are allowed to sleep at both of them. Although, if you are at one of the unlit rest stops, then you will be asked to leave.

These rest stops are actually patrolled often enough by police officers that it is very rare that somebody will be able to spend a whole night there.

Now, this is where things start to become a little bit confusing. This is because there seems to be no time limit on how long you are allowed to stay at one of the 24-hour rest stops.

The only rules are that you can use the rest stop for as long as the driver is too tired to continue to drive.

This does mean that there is a cap of between 8-10 hours in most cases. The state of Virginia wants you to be moved on rather quickly.

Read also: Where Can You Legally Live in an RV? (Incl. 10 Examples)

Are There Any Restrictions for Sleeping at Rest Stops in Virginia?

The main restriction that you need to be aware of is that you are only allowed to use the rest stop if you are actually resting.

This means that you can’t really pull into a rest stop and hang around outside of your RV. You will be moved on pretty quickly.

At the minimum, you need to give the impression that you are actually tired.

👉 What does this mean? Well, it means that you should be spending all of your time inside of your RV, truck, or car. You can, of course, use the facilities for the rest stop, but you can’t just park your vehicle and explore the local area.

You should be inside of your vehicle the majority of the time.

There doesn’t seem to be that much in the way of guidance with regard to whether you can cook outside of the vehicle or not. Because there doesn’t seem to be any guidance, we are going to say that you probably wouldn’t be able to do that.

👉 This is because, once again, rest stops in VA are designed for nothing more than resting.

You should not be pitching a tent anywhere at a rest stop. You should also not give the impression that you are planning to stay for longer periods of time i.e. outside of a period of rest.

This means that you cannot pull the awning out from your vehicle, etc.

It should probably go without saying that you are not allowed to cause any noise from your vehicle. This means that you shouldn’t be irritating people at all.

👉 Remember, if you are causing any sort of noise, it would give the impression that you are not tired in the slightest and, as a result, you are going to end up being moved on from the location.

Read also: Average RV Park Rates: Nationwide Campgrounds Prices per Night

What Happens if You Get Caught Breaking the Rules at a Rest Stop in Virginia?

Virginia is one of those rare states that will try to keep logs of the majority of the people that enter the rest stop area.

If the rest stop is staffed, which will be most of the 24-hour rest stops, then you may be asked to sign some pieces of paper that state when you arrive, your vehicle details, etc.

Subsequently, if the rest stop believes that you have stayed far too long, then they will check on you. If you are no longer tired, then you will be told to move on.

👉 All of the rest stops in Virginia are properly patrolled too. This means that you will not be able to pull into one of the unlit rest stops in Virginia.

If they have not been closed up, we are positive that it won’t be long before a police officer comes along and asks you to move on.

If you break any of the rules of the rest stop that you are staying at, or it seems that you are doing something other than just resting, then you will be asked to leave.

👉 If you leave right away, then there shouldn’t be that many issues. However, if you refuse to leave when required to do so, you will have become a trespasser and you will end up with a citation.

This will likely be a fine or a court date. In both cases, you will end up with a criminal record for trespassing.

Read also: Can You Sleep In McDonald’s Parking Lot? (The Truth)

Can You Hop from Rest Stop to Rest Stop in Virginia?

You can. However, we are not sure what the point of hopping between rest stops would actually be. This is because you are only allowed to stay at them while you are tired.

So, if you are just going from rest stop to rest stop, you likely won’t be tired at them. This means that you will probably end up being moved along if you are doing anything other than resting.

Read also: Can You Sleep At Rest Stops In Colorado? (Nobody Is Talking About This)

How Do You Find Rest Stops in Virginia?

There are plenty of lists online with regard to rest stops in Virginia. Since they are frequently used by truckers and those in RVs, the information should be regularly updated. However, do bear in mind that you can never guarantee the accuracy of these lists.

While the rest stop may still exist, the rules may have changed. Whenever you pull into a new rest stop in VA, you should take note of what the rules are.

Remember, each of the rest stops will have its own facilities. Again, your research will help to uncover what facilities are where i.e. whether a rest stop is staffed, whether it has food options, etc.

It is rare to find a fully-serviced rest stop in Virginia, though. The vast majority of the rest stops have nothing more than a snack vending machine.

Map Of Rest Areas Near Me

Just follow the link where you can find the current information >>

Overnight Parking Rules

If you are interested in the overnight parking rules then just follow the link to the Interstate Rest Ares Webpage where you can see the current status.

Is It Safe to Stay at Rest Stops in Virginia?

The lit rest stops are open 24-hours per day. Many of them are staffed. All will be patrolled by the police. This means that you should be fairly safe while staying at them.

Obviously, you will never be able to completely eliminate the risk of crime at one of these rest stops, but it should be kept to the minimum.

The unlit rest stops are unsafe. You cannot stay at them for any longer than an hour past sunset anyway. These will still be patrolled, however.

Read also: Tips For NON-Truckers: Are Truck Stops Safe for RV’s to Park Overnight?


If you want to stay at a rest stop in Virginia, do bear in mind that the rules will differ depending on the rest stop.

Check out the rules that have been posted when you arrive. Remember, while you can sleep at rest stops, you will have to move on the second that you are awake enough to head back out onto the road.


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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