Overnight Parking in Rest Areas – Texas
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.
Texas 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 …..)