BC Rest Areas: 9 Things You Need to Know

Information for Loon Lake Rest Area, opened in 2018.

If you’re like many of us in BC, on more than one occasion over the summer, you look out the window on a beautiful day and think ROAD TRIP!

To help plan your trip, and keep safety a priority, we recommend stopping at one of our BC provincial rest areas along the way. You will also see them on the DriveBC map, if you activate the Rest Area icon on the legend. They’re great for a quick stretch, washroom break, a place to sit and eat or just to get some of that fresh air in your lungs.

Here’s a breakdown of some basic rest area information:

  • The ministry has 170 rest areas around the BC.
  • They include large full-service heated facilities with flush toilets, sinks and other amenities, but there are also small pullouts with pit toilets.
  • A rest area is defined as a “roadside facility that is easily and directly accessed, offering the motorist toilets, picnic tables, litter containers and any number of amenities as may be available.”
  • Some rest areas now offer Wi-Fi and electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Click on the icons and you’ll find out more about the rest area. Added bonus for commercial vehicles: details include whether the spot can accommodate large vehicles over 20 metres in length, and if there are deceleration and acceleration lanes to enter and exit the area.
  • Ministry staff and maintenance contractors are responsible for delivering all aspects of maintenance at highway rest areas.
  • You are free to use any BC Rest Area to catch zzzz’s while you are travelling, but we try to discourage motorists from using rest areas for more than four hours at a time. Rest areas can be dark, secluded and remote which leads to safety concerns regarding those camping overnight. BC Parks has many campsites available to travellers (plus day use areas) and we encourage you to camp overnight there.

And here are some facts about rest areas you might not know:

  • Rest areas receive daily maintenance in the summer, while smaller pullouts are looked after three times a week.
  • Many of the rest areas are located between communities and tend to be in more remote areas. In addition to the scheduled maintenance, random inspections of rest areas occur regularly.
  • Ministry staff conduct audits of maintenance contractor inspection records to ensure inspection frequencies and maintenance standards are met.
  • If you have any concerns about our rest areas, you can contact our maintenance contractors, get in touch with our district offices around the province or phone in an issue with the facilities on the mobile Report-a-Problem website.

Part of the BC highway experience is stopping at one of our rest areas. It gives you a chance to take in where you’ve travelled to and where you’re going next. Do you have a favourite rest area spot?

For more information on B.C. rest areas, go to our Provincial Rest Areas page.

This blog was updated on March 2, 2020.

 

30 comments on “BC Rest Areas: 9 Things You Need to Know”

Leave a Comment

  1. Who do I contact about the crappy mess at the sani station at the the Bradner rest station recently?The tanks were over flowing, the water was turned off, the hose was broken and there was a line up to use the one and only station. Obviously the province needs more and better stations in the Lower mainland. This is the only public one and has been in service since the 1980’s by my recollection.

    Reply
    • Hi Dave! Yuck – doesn’t sound too pleasant. Please connect directly with our maintenance contractor for the area, Emil Anderson. You can connect with them a number of ways to let them know.
      We will share your feedback about the line ups and request for more stations to our rest area folks.
      Here’s the info:
      Service Area 7 – Fraser Valley (Chilliwack)

      Emil Anderson Maintenance Co Ltd
      1 800 667-5122

      Website: eac.bc.ca/eam
      Twitter: @EAMOperations
      Facebook: @eac.bc.ca
      Instagram: @eac.bc.ca
      YouTube: Emil Anderson Construction (EAC) Inc
      Email: info@eac.bc.ca

      DriveBC also has a Report a Problem feature, which will help you identify who to contact for each service area across the province: https://www.drivebc.ca/rahp/

      Reply
  2. Who do we contact to seek permission to operate a food truck at salmon valley rest stop or brookeside rest stop hwy 16 west..

    Reply
    • Hello Jayson – thanks for your question. Please contact our staff in the Prince George office at the number below.

      360, 1011 – 4th Avenue
      Prince George, BC V2L 3H9
      250 565-4410

      Reply
    • Hi Todd – thanks for your questions. Our vendors have to go through a competitive process in order to operate at our rest areas and providing direct approval for a commercial operation without that process would not be fair. Would you like to connect with the person in charge of the permitting process for this? We would be happy to connect you.

      Reply
    • Good morning Phil – thanks for your comment. Provincial highway rest areas are open and our maintenance contractors are taking care of them. Safe travels.

      Reply
  3. The interactive map is a fantastic resource. One thing I would like to see is a quick link to which rest areas are open year-round, rather than having to click a bunch and hope to find one. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Bogdan,

      BC Rest Areas are not built to accommodate tents or overnight camping. We do allow travellers to rest for up to four hours at a time at these facilities but if you would like to tent or stay longer than four hours, we encourage you to pull into a BC Parks campground. Here’s a list for you to choose from: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/

      Safe travels!

      Reply
  4. There are NOT enough rest stops in B C!
    Driving distance and time between stops is quite often excessive, leading to an unsafe condition of driver fatigue.

    Reply
    • Hi Eric,

      We appreciate the feedback. Are there particular sections of highway you think should be considered for future rest areas? Let us know and we will relay to our maintenance department.

      Reply
  5. I read that the aim is for rest areas to be used for a max of 4h. If driving exhaustion is so severe, and I need to rest longer is there a fine? Or is the primary motivation due to the risks associated with seclusion and dangers of the dark?

    Reply
    • Hi H,

      We like to keep people from staying more than a few hours in rest areas, to allow others to also take a break for a few hours, particularly truck drivers. That said, you will not be fined, if you overstay.

      Reply
  6. Is the map not working this year? I’m getting a run-time error from the page with the map and although the google map is there, it does not indicate any rest stop icons.

    Thanks,
    J

    Reply
    • Hi Jon,

      Thanks for connecting with us here and letting us know about the map issue. Our tech crew is currently working on repairing the map and we hope to have it up and running very soon.

      Reply
    • Hi again Jon,

      The new rest areas map is now live on the site. http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/restareas/
      You may need to hit your refresh button if you’ve recently visited the page(our tech crew informed us that there is a known issue with Firefox not remembering user’s choices about sharing location.) Hope that this helps and safe travels!

      Reply