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Overnight Parking in Rest Areas – Texas

May 4, 2008 by Jim O'Briant · 43 Comments  
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In my last Blog entry, I wrote about Overnight RV Parking in rest areas in California.  Today, we’ll take a look at the same topic, in the State of Texas.

Texas makes a distinction between a “Rest Area,” a “Parking Area,” and a “Roadside Picnic Area.” 

On Interstate  Highways in Texas, a rest area that has restrooms is called a “Rest Area,” just as we would expect.  Similar areas on Interstates in Texas, but with out restroom facilities, are called “Parking Areas.”

 When you leave the Interstates, the terminology changes.  Roadside areas with rest rooms are still called “Rest Areas.” Those without restrooms almost always have one or more picnic tables, and they’re called “Roadside Picnic Areas.” 

The Texas DOT website provides excellent information on the 85 Rest Areas (that is, with rest rooms, on Interstate or non-Interstate highways) in Texas.  There’s a page that lists them all at http://www.dot.state.tx.us/MNT/sra/sralocations.htm. The listing gives the name of each Rest Area, a description of its location, and GPS coordinates.  You can click on any rest area name to see a descriptive page about that rest area. The location descriptions are pretty general, and not all of them are accurate with regard to distances. The GPS coordinates are for the most part correct, but for the http://www.overnightrvparking.com/ database I’ve had to correct some of them.

The TX DOT website also has a page with in interactive map of Rest Area locations: http://www.dot.state.tx.us/MNT/sra/map.htm. Here you can click on the “star” symbol for any rest area, and the site takes you to a a descriptive page about that rest area.

Wireless Internet signTexas was the first state to provide free wireless Internet access at Rest Areas. There’s access to information on the weather, lodging, Texas attractins and events, road conditions and safety tips. Whether you have free access to the rest of the web isn’t made clear on the TX DOT website. Perhaps a reader can add a comment with that information.

I’ve come across a very few “Parking Areas” on Texas Interstates.  These are constructed much like Interstate rest areas, but they have no restroom facilities. There are two of them (one for Eastbound and one for Westbound traffic) near Brookshire, TX. They’re both located in the center median of I-10 at Milepost 730.5.

And then there are the “Roadside Picnic Areas.”  Texas has more than 900 of these on non-Interstate highways throughout the state.  They range from off-road areas with entrance and exit drives, picnic shelters and historical markers, to tiny areas scarcely wider than the shoulder of the highway.

So, what about Overnight RV Parking at all of these places?  The State of Texas allows parking for up to 24 hours at any of their Rest Areas, Parking Areas or Roadside Picnic Areas, unless there are posted signs to the contrary.  I’ve received reports on about 50 Roadside Picnic Areas, and these are in the database at http://www.overnightrvparking.com/.  Only one of them has “No Overnight Parking” signage.

Well, that’s two states down and 48 to go (and don’t forget the 13 Canadian Provinces …..)

Jim O’Briant
Gilroy, CA
Administrator, http://www.OvernightRVParking.com

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43 Responses to “Overnight Parking in Rest Areas – Texas”

  1. Gary on May 5th, 2008 1:01 pm

    Jim,
    I have accessed the internet (for free) with my laptop on many visits to a Texas rest area. Keep up the good work.

  2. Jim O'Briant on May 5th, 2008 2:16 pm

    Thanks for that information, Gary!

    Jim O’Briant
    http://www.OvernightRVParking.com

  3. Harold on May 5th, 2008 6:12 pm

    Jim, I have some info for you on the state of Michigan in reguards to overnight parking in rest areas.

    Pretty simple really, No, None, Zero.

    I’ve lived in Michigan all my life, up until I became a fulltimer in 04.

    The reason for no overnight paking is they are not big enough, I’m told they were designed for short stops only, 1/2 hour max. They don’t have very many sites.

    This should remove one more state from your todo list.

    Harold,

    From on the Road

  4. Jim O'Briant on May 5th, 2008 7:06 pm

    Thanks for this information, Harold. But now that means I have to think of another new topic one week sooner!!!!

    Jim O’Briant

  5. Jack Ackerson on May 27th, 2008 4:59 am

    Jim,

    I have made many trips through Georgia and have found that their rest stops on I-75 and any of the bypass routes close the rest stops at 1130 PM and there is no overnight parking. The first time I found this was a trip with my son and his wife 5 years ago when we were heading to Orlando and driving straight through in my van and we stopped at a rest stop and found the rest rooms locked and the sign indicating the hours they were open. We also needed some gas so we pulled off at the next exit to get gas and yes to use their restroom and after getting gas we were denied use of the restroom. I no longer travel on I-75 when traveling to Florida. We take I-77 to I-26 to I-95. People are much friendlier and the rest areas are ALWAYS OPEN!

    Jack

  6. Daniel on August 2nd, 2008 7:13 pm

    Just a correction Jim. That’s 10 provinces in Canada and three territories. Yukon, northwest, and the recently added Nunavut. happy camping.

  7. steve on May 16th, 2009 11:20 pm

    Sitting in an I35 reststop north of Austin with unrestricted wireless connection. Range is limited, couldn’t get a signal parked closest to the main station, had to go inside to get a good 11g signal, only so slower but strong. Also has data ports in wall but only tried one with a CAT5 cable but did not get a link, must have yet switched the ports.

  8. Homepage on June 14th, 2012 7:29 pm

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