Texas Highways Rest Stops: A Great Place to Catch Zzzs

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How Many Rest Stops Are Along Texas Highways?

The state’s Department of Transportation, commonly known as TxDOT, has an online list (and map) of 80 Safety Rest Areas. Some of them are Travel Information Centers, similar to a welcome center. Many lie along interstates while others lie on U.S. or state highways. One rest area, near Johnson City in the Hill Country, sits off a Ranch Road. It’s a sweet one, too. Just off U.S. 281, it overlooks the Pedernales River near the home of former President Lyndon Johnson.

What Is Special About Rest Stops in Texas?

You may experience many impressive things about Texas rest areas and travel information centers. They have air-conditioned and heated restrooms accessible at all hours. They have ADA-approved features, and most even have attendants on duty around the clock. The rest stops also provide plenty of room to park, with separate areas for commercial trucks. Additionally, they will often have Wi-Fi and surveillance cameras for security. Texas rest stops have walking trails and play areas for kids. They can also serve as emergency tornado shelters.

Can You Sleep Overnight in a Texas Rest Stop?

Texas’ transportation department didn’t build these nice facilities specifically to accommodate overnight guests. Instead, they give motorists a safe and comfortable place to pull over for a while. They want to prevent accidents caused by drowsy drivers. But the law says you can use them for up to 24 hours, so that opens the door for sleepovers. This is fairly uncommon, and Texas isn’t the only state that allows this. But many states have a shorter time limit.

What to Expect at a Texas Rest Stop

To be clear, these aren’t RV campgrounds by any stretch of the imagination. They are not a place to pitch a tent or extend your slides. In fact, the law that allows overnight stays at rest stops expressly forbids erecting a tent, shelter, booth, or structure. With such a boom in RV camping in recent years, you may see more RVers taking advantage of Texas’ welcome attitude. Still, don’t abuse the privilege.

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