Everything depends on the state. Since America is a republic, the different states have a limited amount of sovereignty. That means the state government gets to decide the rules for their territory and part of that territory includes rest stops. You will have to check with each state to find their specific rules on this issue.
Can you sleep at rest stops in Virginia? In one word, the answer is ‘no’. There are websites out there that contradict that answer but sleeping is a gray area unless you look at the actual laws of the State.
Those laws clearly say no sleeping is allowed, it is #F at this link.
To learn more about sleeping at rest stops in Virginia, just continue to read our article. It explores the issue and includes contrasting information so you have a better idea of what you can do when you are in that state. Camping is banned across the board.
When we mentioned that sleeping at a Virginia rest stop is not allowed, we also acknowledged that some websites tell a different story. That is because this is a very gray area that involves recovery from travel and driving fatigue.
Many states make allowances for drivers who need to stop and rest their eyes for a little bit when they feel they are too tired to continue. But those states do not change their laws or rules. Some people may get away with sleeping because they are trying to recuperate and that is what those contrary websites may be referring to.
The law, as we linked to and stated above, is very clear, though. No sleeping is allowed in rest areas. You would have to rely upon the good nature of the authorities if you do sleep for a couple of hours.
The law for rest stops is no you can’t and we quote-- Sleeping in any section of the rest area building is not permitted at any time. That would include sleeping in your car. As for the rest of the State, most likely, it would depend on the city and the laws they enact.
It is not so much for the State as it is a city problem, not a State one. What you have to watch out for is when you have drunk too much alcohol and you are caught in your car sleeping. You can get in trouble in Virginia if you do.
It is advised that you find a safe place, one on private property, to park your car in order to avoid getting into any trouble with the authorities for sleeping, etc.
The rules are very clear when it comes to Virginia rest areas. There are about 17 to 19 rules that govern your behavior while at a rest stop and that is too many to list here. Two examples will be quoted and then you can go to the #F link above to see the rest of them:
The second rule is the hardest one to figure out simply because there are no stated time frames that restrict a car’s or an RV’s length of stay. You will be asked to sign a log and if the staff personal figures, you have stayed too long, they will ask you to move on down the road. Not every rest area is staffed though.
We have checked the Virginia DOT website and two other websites listing the different dump stations in the State but none held any name for any of the rest areas. That does not mean there are none at those rest areas, it just means that they are not listed.
However, this link is fairly detailed with their lists and no rest areas were named. We did a cross-check of names and the rest areas on the Virginia website and the first link did not match up with any rest area.
Both links provide maps so you can locate the dumpsite nearest you if any of the rest stops do not have one.
There are 9 rest stops along I95 but some are in the same location, they just serve different vehicles. For example, the one at Dale City has one for both northbound and southbound cars as well as one for north and southbound trucks.
The one for cars is located at mile marker 155 while the one for trucks is located at mile marker 154. The Ladysmith rest stop has one for southbound cars and trucks at mile marker 107 and then another at mile marker 108 but the latter one has a visitor’s center.
Fredericksburg has one rest stop at mile marker 131, while Carson has a northbound stop at mile marker 37, with Skippers at mile marker 1 (with visitor center).
There are 7 rest stops along this stretch of the interstate. 3 are double servicing different directions independently. Charlottesville, Goochland, and New Kent have one rest stop for both eastbound and westbound traffic.
The Charlottesville stops are at mile marker 105 for eastbound and 113 for westbound traffic. Goochland’s two stops are within a mile of each other at 168 & 169-mile markers while New Kent has both at mile marker 213.
Jerry’S Run rest area is at mile marker 2 and has a welcome center as well. The thing to do before you get to Virginia is to do a little checking on the internet. The reason for that is that Jerry’s Run has no truck parking and only 11 spots for RVs.
Then the RVs must share those 11 spots with buses.
This little interstate only has 3 rest stops on it. Rocky Gap has two, one for each direction and they are located at mile markers 61 and 59 (for northbound traffic). The Welcome Center is at the rest stop at mile marker 61.
The last one along this route is Lambsburg and it is located at mile marker 1. It too has a Welcome Center and keep in mind that all Welcome Centers are only open during the day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. approx.
Also, of the rest stops we looked at, no dumping station was mentioned. parking for RVs is limited and you may have to share with trucks, buses, and your fellow RVers.
While there are 5 rest areas listed for this Interstate, there are actually only 3 of them. 2 are located at the same mile marker and service both north and southbound traffic. Their names are Dinwiddie and Aberta and they are located at mile markers 55 and 32 respectively.
The lone rest stop is Bracey and it is located at the half-mile marker. It is the only one with a Welcome Center and of the ones we have checked so far, it has the most parking spots for cars, RVs and trucks. No dump station is mentioned as being here or at the other two rest stops.
This is the interstate with the most rest stops. There are 14 of them with most of these handling traffic coming from both directions. Their names and mile markers are as follows:
This is possibly a toss-up between New Kent and Ladysmith. But the New Kent rest stop has a 110,000 Square foot building with an enclosed lobby, vending machines, restrooms inside.
Plus, it is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week for 365 days of the year. A picnic area with BBQ grills is provided as is a dog area, child’s play area, and lots of parking. There are 170 spots for cars and 70 for RVs, buses, and trucks, along with 9 handicap spots.
In addition, there is a Virginia State Police office on-site just in case you have an emergency. That should help in keeping the rest area safe for all users.
Located at mile marker 129, the rest stop at Ironto seems to be the best one that is closest to this city. Its restroom facilities are attractive, well maintained and instead of a Virginia State police office there is a caretaker on site.
It is a bit smaller than the one at New Kent with only 107 car parking spots and 23 to be shared by RVs, buses, and trucks. However, it does have a picnic area with BBQ grills, a pet area, vending machines.
Also, it is open 24 hours every day of the year. Troutville may be the second-best, but it is a lot smaller and has fewer amenities.
This city is located in a very densely populated urban area and you may find rest stops few and far in between. The closest one we found may also be the best, located at mile marker 155 on I95. It is called Dale City and it never closes as well.
This site comes with a picnic area but no grills, a dog area, handicap access as well as vending machines and restrooms. There is a parking spot for a State patrol car however, it does not seem to have a police office on site.
While this location services cars only, there are parking spots for RVs and buses. The truck rest stop is a mile down the interstate.
The best one that will service this city’s tourist traffic is probably New Kent as it is the only one between Virginia Beach and Richmond on I64. All the other rest stops in the state are south, north, or west of Richmond according to the map at the Virginia DOT website.
What we didn’t tell you earlier about this rest stop is that the Welcome Center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Every other day it should be open during the day and closes by 5 p.m.
To plan your stops, it is located at mile marker 213 and it has east and west access.
Traveling in Virginia is made easier when you have all the right details. The links to the dumpsites are vital as the rest areas we talked about did not indicate there was one at those locations.
Also, the link to the rules is important as you need to know what you can and cannot do at Virginia rest stops. Sleeping will always be a gray area and be careful of the websites you read as they are not always filled with accurate information.