I Woke Up In A Car: A Collection of Stories From Nights On The Road

When was the last time you slept in a car? Have you ever?

Whether sitting behind the wheel, seat back, off on the side of the road somewhere, or fully sprawled out in the back, in your sleeping bag. Have you slept at least one night in a car?

I asked that very question on Facebook and the responses were really fun! So I decided to compile some of the best and share them here. Also, feel free to enjoy this throwback Something Corporate song as you read up on some awesomely adventurous roadside nights!

“Bonnaroo 2013. Paul McCartney was completely worth three blazing hot, humid days in the middle of a field in Tennessee.” – Bethany Green

“Slept in a car overnight once on my first surfing trip – on Oregon coast. We started in a tent but woke up to being flooded by rain. So slept, soaking wet, in my 1978 Honda Accord. But I learned how to surf. Was amazing.” – Keri Ouellet

“My first night doing that was because I got in a fight with my parents and “ran away,” but unfortunately by the time all this happened it was 2am and none of my friends were awake, so I poached a Walmart parking lot for the night. Definitely wasn’t prepared with a sleeping bag and froze my ass off!” – Kris Olson

“34 hour road trip to SXSW followed by running out of gas on day 12 coming back from Vegas.” – Jenna Forstrom

“Rockin’ night at a honky tonk in the middle of the desert. Swing dancing, beers, good people, great times. Left the bar to go driving into the desert. Ended up eventually pulling over, and we decided to park the car and sleep in gorgeous place, with the desert lit up by a sky full of stars and a sliver of a moon. Woke up just after sunrise with a NPS ranger pounding on my window telling me I couldn’t sleep there. Realized I was in Joshua Tree, with my new fiancee in the passenger seat. Good times!” – Mandy Stewart

“My husband and I slept in our car for a night in Wyoming with our son who was two at the time. I was traveling for work that year and at this time we were driving from Chicago to San Francisco. Wyoming is so barren and we were in the middle of nowhere so we decided to sleep at a beautiful rest area. My two year old kept waking up asking if the bears could open his door. It was a long, adventurous night we won’t soon forget!” – Leeanna Brown

“Does it count if I slept in a boat on a trailer (out of water) overnight?” – Adam Margolis

“I helped a friend move once and while driving through the Everglades we got so tried we just pulled off the highway and slept in the car. It was 95 degrees and we kept the windows up…Mosquitos the size of small birds!” – Eric Webster

“Drove to Boston for an audition for a TV show with a buddy. We got a place for one night, couldn’t find a place to stay the second night. Drove around and found a 24hr bowling alley. Pulled in the back and slept in the rental car for the night.” – Ty Hahn

“Back when I was young and not having any fun at all I slept in my car all the time. Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale, all of the New England states. One time in a bean field in upper state New York after an ill advised 11 o’clock Saturday night decision to drive to Montreal with my German Shepherd without her rabies certificate.” – Dick Shaughnessy

“My husband and I packed our mountain bikes in our suitcases and bought a car in NZ and lived/camped out of it for 2 months while traveling around and riding all over the country. We mostly pitched a tent and only spent 5 nights of the whole trip in a hotel/hostel.” – Holly Buell

“I once had a craving for chocolate at 11:30PM. Decided to walk to a convenience store nearby but I grabbed my car keys instead of the house keys. I tried but couldn’t find a locksmith on a Sunday at midnight to open up so I slept in my car. It was winter so it was a bit chilly. Finally got a locksmith at 9am the next morning. Chocolate can be bad for you!” – Zaid Mahomedy

“10 days in Iceland because we didn’t want to pack a tent and it was windy. Actually I prefer to sleep in my car than pitch a tent because it’s easier. Probably over 20 nights in the last year. I have a specific mattress from Ikea that fits perfectly in the trunk.” – Sara Leung


Sara, the obvious pro! Investing in a trunk-specific mattress…smart. The moral of these stories? Most nights you spend in your car, you won’t soon forget. Those stories becomes some of your best and wildest memories!

Every once in a while, ditch the creature comforts of your bed or a hotel and just call it a night on the side of the road somewhere. Be smart, stay safe, but sometimes, chose the adventure of waking up in a car!


woke up in our car after 22 miles of backpacking and we’re feeling alright #butverysore #iwokeupinacar #ogwayfam

A post shared by Hanna Way (@hannaoliviaway) on

If you have an epic story from an overnight (or several) in your car, share it in the comment section below! I’ll revisit the thread from time to time and pull the most outrageous stories out of the comments and into the blog post.

Happy car camping!

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Jonathan Ronzio
Jonathan Ronzio

Founder & Host

Founder, Explore Inspired | CMO, Trainual | Co-Host of The Stokecast Podcast | Mountain Athlete | Award-Winning Adventure Filmmaker | Keynote Speaker

  1. I’m about to sleep in a car (but hopefully in my tent if I can) in Iceland for a month. That’s a lot of car zzzzz’s. This article made me even more excited than I already am!

    1. Really happy to help stoke the adventurous spirit fire! And that sounds amazing! I did a bit of winter camping last year around Kirkjufell and it was incredible. I’d love to hear more from your experience, whether after or during, feel free to reach out and share a story from your time on the island! You’re certainly in for some unforgettable experiences 🙂

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