Sleeping in one’s car is more prevalent than you may believe.  There are several reasons why you might sleep in your vehicle, whether you live in it full-time or are traveling.  Individuals do it on road trips to save money on pricey hotel rooms.  Others do it for longer periods of time to cut costs on rent.  Some people don’t plan ahead of time, instead of taking a spur-of-the-moment decision when they become too tired to drive.  Sleeping in your automobile isn’t always pleasant or convenient, but it is doable.  

Before sleeping or camping in your car, however, you should know where to go and what to avoid so that you don’t get into any difficulties.  Some locations are illegal, while others will assist with vehicle security.

Before you scroll down this list of places to sleep in your car in Austin, Texas, you can check out these other recommendations from our team at Wandering California: Where Can You Sleep in Your Car in San Diego? and Where Can You Sleep in Your Car in Phoenix Arizona?

Some individuals, however, might ask this question: Is it legal to sleep in your car?  Let us look at this issue and possible solutions further here.

sleeping in car in austin

Places to sleep in your car in Austin, Texas

Walmart parking lots

Parking overnight in a Walmart lot is a wonderful alternative.  It’s a worldwide company, so you’ll almost certainly see one on your travels.  Overnight parking, including with an RV, is permitted at about half of the country’s 4,700 Walmarts, so be sure to check ahead to make sure.

The parking lots are well-lit, making them more secure.  Some businesses are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with restroom access provided.  However, early-morning visitors and bright lights may cause light sleepers to have difficulty sleeping.

Parking Meters

To begin with, downtown Austin parking meters have distinct buttons for adding overtime fees. This makes it simple to pay for your automobile’s parking place while you wait for your safe ride home after a night out.

sleeping in car in downtown austin


If you’re in a casino’s vicinity, the restrooms and food are open 24 hours a day, so you’ll be able to access them.  For enhanced security, many of them have security guards and cameras in their parking lots.  Because the casino assumes you’re there to gamble, don’t draw attention to yourself by cooking outside, walking around excessively, or playing loud music in the parking lot.

Here are some casinos in Austin, Texas:

Lucky Card Club

One Time Card House

Shuffle 512

Rest areas

You’ll undoubtedly pass numerous rest areas on the highway.  In many states, you are permitted to sleep here lawfully, so you won’t be asked to leave in the middle of the night.  Many also feature 24-hour restrooms and picnic tables. While some are dark and remote, others aren’t as well-lit, so choose a location where you feel safe.

Here are some rest areas in Austin, Texas:

Bell County Safety Rest Area

Edmund P Kuempel Rest Area

Guadalupe County Eastbound Safety Rest Stop

Welcome centers

These locations, which are often found near state lines, have larger parking lots that aren’t utilized overnight. You may also obtain maps and information about nearby activities. They’re not open 24 hours a day, though, so there’s no way to use the restrooms during the night.

Here are some welcome centers in Austin, Texas:

Austin Visitor Center

Austin Welcome Center

  • Address: Austin, TX 78701

Texas Capitol Visitors Center


At night, parks are usually quite low-key.  The problem with parking in parks in the morning runners and joggers’ traffic.  Low light and noise are generally not issues.  Because they are typically the most attractive, parks are a wonderful place to look for because they tend to be busier on weekends than weekdays.

Here are some parks in Austin, Texas:

Mueller Lake Park

Bull Creek District Park

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Butler Metro Park

Bureau of Land Management

On Bureau of Land Management sites, dispersed camping is permitted, so you won’t have any trouble sleeping in your car or putting up a tent.  It’s allowed almost everywhere except trailheads and designated campsites, and you can stay for 14 days (and sometimes 30) without paying.  You’ll need to make sure you remove all of your waste with you.  This is more of an alternative in the West than it is in the East.

City Street

Sleeping in your automobile on a city street overnight, on the other hand, is quite safe.  Because parking charges are generally only required during the day, it’s frequently free as well.  Sleeping in your car there overnight, on the other hand, is typically illegal, so you’d want to avoid doing anything that might get you noticed.  Plus, there are no public restrooms available at night.


On Saturdays, parking at churches is ideal since the parks are often crowded with people and you’ll only need to depart before the service begins.  The key here is to park your car as far back as possible with the trunk facing away from the structure.  Parking with your trunk against a wall or a fence might assist avoid prying eyes from seeing into your vehicle.  The noise level is moderate, and the lighting varies.

Here are some churches in Austin, Texas:

Gracepoint Austin Church

Gateway Church, North Austin

Joshua Church

Christian Life Austin


In Texas, a backroad simply refers to a road that is less traveled. Finding the lesser-traveled backroads with tiny gaps and dead ends is what I’m searching for. You’re looking at one or two people knowing you were there if you go down a backroad and end up at a dead-end, but as long as it’s not private property, you should be fine. Backroads are great since they offer peace and quiet. 

sleeping in car on backroad texas

Tips for sleeping in your car in Austin, Texas

Finding a place to park in a city like Austin, where there are so many people, might be impossible.  As a result, the best you can hope for is an area with little traffic. 

Parks, former parking lots, backroads, and even churches provide just enough low-traffic refuge to allow you to stay for a few nights at a time. 

Other places in the United States with lesser land density have it much simpler.

When looking for anything or trying to set up a tent, it may be beneficial to park near a light at night.  However, they can be very disruptive when attempting to sleep.  Lights simply make it more difficult to avoid notice and get some good rest. 

Just because you park in an area with less illumination does not imply you are hidden.  It doesn’t indicate that you’re avoiding the light or in the dark. 

The most effective way for me to find parking is to start looking for wooded regions fenced off by roads and street lights first.

Rules for sleeping in your car in Austin, Texas

Next, you’re probably wondering if you can get in trouble for sleeping in your car in Austin, Texas.

It’s perfectly legal to sleep in your automobile in Texas.  It is lawful to park your car on the side and sleep inside it throughout Texas.  The only statute you must follow is that you may not park in a rest area for more than 24 hours.

However, if you don’t want to get fined by the authorities while sleeping, you must adhere to a few restrictions.

Restrictions include:

  • If you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you’ll be charged with a DUI or DWI.
  • You can’t sleep in the front seats of the automobile, nor can you wear your seatbelt.
  • Don’t forget to remove the keys from the ignition.
  • You can’t start your car’s engine to run a heater or air conditioner, especially in an area with lots of homes, since this may be a disturbance to the neighbors.

Conclusion for sleeping in your car in Austin, Texas

Texas is a lovely state in the United States with second-place rankings in both population and size. It receives a large number of tourists each year owing to its popularity among global visitors.

As a result, the majority of its hotels and resorts are in use, especially during the vacation season.

For that reason, you might be considering sleeping in your car.

In Texas, it is legal to park and sleep in your car across all of its counties and cities.

Nonetheless, in order to avoid being fined by the police officials, regardless of where you’ve parked your car, you must adhere to certain regulations.

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