Can You Sleep In Your Car In California? (2022 Updated)

Do you want to know if it is illegal to sleep in your vehicle? If yes, then this article is definitely intended for you. So stick around and find out the answer to this question.

So can you sleep in your car in California? The answer is yes; you can sleep in your car in California. 

If you find yourself suddenly homeless or if you might be living out of your vehicle because of some circumstances, then this article is an excellent help to you to know where you can park and where you can park your vehicle. If you are sleeping on the side of the road inside your vehicle, it can be illegal in some cities. However, there are some ways to get away with urban stealth camping. 

Here are some tips and ideas on where you can spend your night. There are also some places that you can camp legally. Some people have camped in many city streets, and they have reported it as very stressful because it is hard to find a legal place to park. 

It is not necessarily illegal to sleep in your vehicle, especially if you will take a quick nap in a city street. You will not also find any federal or state laws that will ban sleeping in vehicles. 

So stay and keep on reading to learn more. Let us get started.

Can You Sleep In Your Car In California

Can I Sleep Legally In My Car In California?

According to the California State Department of Transportation, it is legal if you will sleep in your vehicle at rest stops for up to eight hours. The counties and cities have different laws, but most do not allow sleeping in vehicles overnight. 

Some prominent cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego do not allow sleeping in vehicles overnight between 9 AM to 6 AM. it is also never within five hundred feet of schools or residential homes. 

Where Can I Legally Sleep In My Car In California?

According to the California Department of Transportation, parking your vehicle for up to eight hours in twenty-four periods in a rest area is legal. But it might be illegal to pitch a tent or camp. If you take a nap for eight hours, it is most likely legal. But if you will consistently sleep in the same spot or you might have items outside of your vehicle, an officer or a judge will determine your situation as camping, and that is illegal. 

If your vehicle is a giant can or an RV, it will look like you are camping. In this case, you might be told to leave, you might get a ticket, or you can get arrested.

Can You Sleep In Your Car On A Public Street In California?

Municipal codes govern each city park, and each county has its own set of rules. In San Diego, it’s illegal to sleep or camp in any public park or beach. It is also illegal to sleep in a vehicle parked in a public park or on the beach in San Diego county. 

In Los Angeles county, camping is allowed where it is designated. This is by the rules and the regulations for using such an area. You can sleep in your car on a public street but do not camp out.

Can You Sleep In Your Car At Walmart In California?

Yes, you can sleep in your vehicle at Walmart. Walmart does not have a centralized policy of allowing people to sleep in their vehicles in their parking lot. It is up to the manager of the store for that decision. 

Most Walmart store managers will tend not to make it a big issue and will not issue a policy about it, and they will mostly not do anything. However, some store managers would go the extra mile to make a particular area of their parking lot with signs that denote RV overnight parking.

Can You Sleep In Your Car Drunk In California?

According to California law, a driver will be arrested for a DUI if they are found to be sleeping in their vehicle while they are intoxicated. The legislature in California has created a separate law allowing for an area for those sleeping in a vehicle to be authorized by law. But some factors are still considered to arrest.


In summary, people ask if they can sleep inside their vehicle in California. This situation can happen to anyone. 

And yes, you can sleep in your car in California. However, some things are illegal. Make sure to know all these things to avoid doing it.



Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more