Every day, countless travelers take advantage of rest stops in Louisiana. These roadside facilities are excellent, whether they’re stretching their legs, taking a quick nap, or need to use the bathroom.
However, safety is one thing that many people have to worry about when they’re in unfamiliar territory. So, does the Bayou state have dangerous rest areas along the highway?
Today, we’re looking at these roadside facilities to see if you’re gambling with your safety if you decide to use them.
Let’s get started!
Is it Dangerous to Stay at a Rest Stop in Louisiana?
Rest stops are generally secure locations for travelers to stay when they need a break from the road. Can and do bad things happen from time to time at these facilities? Absolutely. However, most locations have security features like cameras and staff that monitor the area.
Another safety feature is that access to the area is only available to those traveling on the interstate. With only one way in and one way out, it’s hard for vehicles and people to go unnoticed. Those who are up to no good will often think twice about doing something wrong if there’s a chance it’ll get noticed by others.
Overall, staying the night is generally no riskier than in any other location. The added security features to help protect travelers should ease most of your concerns. However, these are high-traffic areas. You must take basic precautions to maximize your safety when using them. Be aware of your surroundings, park in well-lit places, and use the buddy system.
Can You Sleep at a Rest Stop in Louisiana?
Louisiana is extremely friendly for those needing a parking spot to get some rest at the end of the day. Their facilities are open 24 hours and allow overnight parking with no specific maximum time limits. If you pull in and can find an empty parking spot, you can call it home for the night.
Unfortunately, parking at some of these locations can be challenging. Many of these locations can be rather popular for truck drivers to park for the night. This can reduce your odds of finding a place to park, resulting in a rather noisy night. While you may be able to spend the night, there’s a chance it may not be an ideal sleeping environment.
Rules and regulations can change with little notice. You must look for any signs and confirm that staying the night is legal. You don’t want to be in trouble because you were unaware of the rules.
Safety Tips for Staying at Rest Stops
You can never take your safety too seriously while traveling. When staying at rest stops, there are several things you can do to protect yourself. If you want to avoid being an easy target while traveling, apply these tips during your driving breaks.
First of all, you need to be alert at all times. Avoid distractions like cell phones, headphones, or conversations. If someone is up to no good, you may not notice until it’s too late. Take the time to look at people around you and what they’re doing. Make sure you report any suspicious behaviors to the proper authorities.
Another thing you need to do is to secure your valuables. Thieves and other seedy people look for easy targets. Leaving your vehicle unlocked or valuables in plain sight can make it easy for them. Put money, electronics, and other valuables out of sight and lock your doors. You want to make it as difficult as possible for them to take your stuff.
Finally, don’t be afraid to leave a location if you feel unsafe. Whether it’s a campsite or an interstate travel plaza doesn’t matter. There isn’t a spot on earth that’s worth risking yourself. If things seem sketchy, pack your things and hit the road. It may not be convenient, but protecting yourself is worth it.
Pro Tip: Need to empty your tanks? Find out Do Interstate Rest Stops Have RV Dump Stations?
5 Convenient Louisiana Rest Stops
As we’ve mentioned, Louisiana rest stops offer travelers tremendous hospitality. Let’s look at five of the most convenient places to take a break the next time you drive through this area.
#1 Louisiana Welcome Center I-10 EB MM1 Rest Area
Address: 6212 West 1-10 I-10, Vinton, LA 70668
The Vinton, Louisiana facility sits off I-10 and is accessible for those drivers heading eastbound. It’s the first stop for travelers leaving the Lone Star State of Texas. You’ll need to bear to the right when accessing it. Plenty of parking spots are available, and passenger vehicles park in front of the building.
Travelers can find information on the area and interactive exhibits that spotlight state parks and regional museums. While there are RV dump stations or potable water, guests can enjoy access to free wireless internet.
#2 I-55 Kentwood Rest Area & Visitor’s Center
Address: 77479 I-55 South, Kentwood, LA 70444
Another convenient location is the Kentwood Rest Area off I-55. This facility is only accessible to southbound drivers. However, there are more than 50 passenger spaces and 30 truck spaces. Users can enjoy vending machines, informational brochures, or the dog walk area. If that’s not enough to convince you to stop, there’s more you need to know about this location.
Whether you’re looking for a place to stay for the night or to dump your tanks, the welcome center off I-55 in Kentwood is one option worth considering. Visitors can sleep soundly, knowing that security is on-site and keeping an eye on things. Additionally, there’s an RV dump station for anyone needing to dump the waste tanks on their camper.
#3 I-10 Slidell Rest Area & Visitor’s Center
Address: 41300 Crawford Landing Rd, Slidell, LA 70461
The Slidell Rest Area’s unique style catches many travelers off guard. It’s a mix of Creole and Victorian styles that would have been popular during the late 19th century. This visitor center is approximately four miles from the Louisiana-Mississippi border along I-10. Passenger vehicles must stay to the left when entering the facility, but truck parking is available behind it.
This large visitor center has spots for 94 passenger vehicles and 34 trucks. In addition, there’s a dog walk area and a dump station for RVers. However, everyone benefits from the on-site security that patrols the grounds. In addition, travelers can enjoy a free cup of coffee to help them stay awake and alert before hitting the road. Grab some brochures or highway maps to learn about all the area offers.
#4 I-20 Mound Rest Area & Visitor’s Center I-20
Address: 836 I-20 West Mound, LA 71282-1312
Another convenient Louisiana rest stop sits in the state’s northern section, a few miles after crossing the Mississippi border. The I-10 Mound visitor center has over 100 passenger vehicle parking spots but only 12 truck spaces. In addition to free WiFi, a dump station, and vending machines, there’s also 12-hour security.
If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy a picnic, this is one place you don’t want to overlook. This facility sits on some of the most fertile ground in the entire state. You’ll love the lush green grass and thriving vegetation in the area.
#5 I-49 Grand Prairie Rest Area
Address: MM 34, I-49 (I-49) Saint Landry, LA 71322
The final location on our list is the I-49 Grand Prairie Rest Area. This facility sits at mile marker 34 and is accessible by drivers traveling in either direction. It offers 30 passenger spaces and 30 truck spaces for drivers to use. In addition, an on-site RV dump station and dog walk area are conveniences available for travelers.
Travelers love how clean it is. The state also maintains a large grass area here. It’s perfect for getting out, stretching your legs, and burning off some extra energy during long travel days. You can check out one of the many picnic tables and shelters to enjoy a meal before returning to the road.
Pro Tip: If you can’t find a rest stop you feel safe in, these are Stores That Allow Overnight Parking.
Is Staying at a Louisiana Rest Stop Worth It?
If you’re traveling through Louisiana, there’s no need to worry when pulling over at its rest stops. Security does a fantastic job of keeping travelers safe when using their facilities. In addition, the state goes out of its way to keep the travel plazas in tip-top shape.
However, just because these are relatively safe locations doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Taking standard precautions will help you avoid any potential issues.
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