Travel Tips

Is it illegal to sleep in your car in the US?

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Last Updated on April 1, 2022 by Rose Morah

Before sleeping in the car after a long drive, it’s important first to check if the state laws allow you to park and sleep in the car.

These are laws relating to sleeping at rest stops and not parking laws.

But before we go into the list of states that allow drivers to sleep in the car and those that don’t.

Is it legal to legal to sleep in a car in the US?

Yes, it is legal to sleep in the car in some states but provided that;

  • You are not drunk or under drug intoxication.
  • You don’t sleep while the car keys are in the ignition.
  • You are not sleeping while driving.
  • You don’t park on private property unless authorized.
  • You are not doing anything suspicious.

Related: Can You Sleep In Your Car In A Parking Lot?

You may also like:

11 Best Cars To Sleep In (Tips From Avid Campers).

How to Sleep in a Car During Winter (5 Things You Should Know).

States with no laws prohibiting sleeping in the car

STATESSLEEPING IN CAR LAWSCITIES (Where it is illegal to sleep in the car)
AlabamaNo Sleeping Laws, but in some cities, it is illegal.
The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has not published anything on this.
Fairhope
Orange Beach
Gulf Shores
AlaskaNo Sleeping LawsSleeping in the car laws varies depending on the city
DelawareThere are no rules prohibiting sleeping in rest areas. 
But parking rules should be followed (4-hour limit).
GeorgiaNo specified sleeping law
However, before parking to sleep in your car, read the parking signs.
IndianaNo Specific Laws for sleeping in the car.
IowaNo Specific Laws but do not camp outside your car.
KansasThere are no specific laws that prohibit anyone from sleeping in the car at a public facility or rest area.
KentuckyNo Specific Laws
LouisianaNo Specific Laws
MaineNo Specific Laws
MarylandNo Specific Laws
MassachusettsNo Specific Laws
MichiganNo Specific Laws
MinnesotaNo Specific Laws
MississippiNo Specific Laws
MissouriNo Specific Laws – But sleeping in the car should not be more than 24 hours.
MontanaNo Specific Laws 
NebraskaNo Specific Laws 
New HampshireNo Specific Laws 
New YorkNo Specific Laws 
North CarolinaNo Specific Laws 
North DakotaNo Specific Laws – But don’t sleep in your car for more than 24 hours.
OklahomaNo Specific Laws 
PennsylvaniaNo Specific Laws 
Rhode IslandNo Specific Laws 
VermontNo Specific Laws 
West VirginiaNo Specific Laws 

See also: Read This Before Sleeping In A Car At A Truck Stop.

States where it’s legal to sleep in your car 

STATESSLEEPING IN CAR LAWSCITIES (where it’s illegal to sleep in the car)
ArizonaLEGAL, but this does not include camping outside the car.Phoenix
Arkansas LEGAL, but this does not include camping outside the car.
CaliforniaIt is illegal to sleep in your car in some cities between 9 PM to 6 AMLos Angeles (illegal near schools and parks)
San Francisco (From 10PM – 6AM)
Berkeley 
Sacramento ( only on the street or city parking lot)
San Jose (illegal if you are not a resident of this city).
San Diego – (it is illegal sleeping near a school and the Westside neighborhood). 
ColoradoLEGAL – Only at designated overnight parking locations, but do not violate the parking laws.
Connecticut LEGAL – Although some cities prohibit sleeping in the car at certain hours.
Floridaillegal – It is illegal to sleep in most cities in Florida.
Hawaii illegal – It is illegal to sleep in your car between 6 PM and 6 AM.
You are not allowed to sleep in your car in Hawaii in public areas and highways.
IdahoLEGAL – it is legal to sleep in the car in Idaho for a max of 10 hours. People are not allowed to camp outside.
Illinois LEGAL to sleep in the car but not camping outside the vehicle.
You are only allowed to park in a rest area for more than 3 hours.
NevadaIt is illegal to sleep in the car under certain circumstances.
New JerseyLEGAL 
New MexicoLEGAL
OhioLEGAL
OregonLEGAL, but do not stay more than 12 hours at a rest area.
South CarolinaLEGAL
South Dakotaillegal
Tennessee
TexasLEGAL
UtahLEGAL
VirginiaLEGAL, but no camping outside the car.
WashingtonLEGAL but should not be for over 8 hours.
WisconsinLEGAL as long as you sleep inside the car.
WyomingLEGAL

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.