View Full Version : Rate States rest stops
04-26-2001, 09:31 PM
When traveling long distances in a car, I find myself judging an area by the comforts it provides those visiting them. So critique the rest areas provided by states you have traveled in?
04-26-2001, 09:48 PM
upper NY: Suck
lower NY: Not bad
western NY: Good! wonderful coffee
Pennsylvania: Pretty but not very useful
i've been in lots of other states but those are the only rest stops that stood out.
04-27-2001, 09:15 AM
Ohio has some nice ones on I-70. The PA Turnpike service islands are good. But the best rest stop I've been in recently was on eastbound I-68 in West Virginia. Nicely done and, wow, what a view!
04-27-2001, 09:38 AM
There's one rest stop on the NYS Thruway, about 45 mins outside of NYC...Ramapo maybe? Anyway, it's got an indoor parking garage, and inside it's almost like a little mall, with a food court and everything.
The rest stops along I-81 in Tennessee are ok, and also on I-81 going into West Virginia from Maryland.
04-27-2001, 09:51 AM
Here is a few for out west.
Colorado - Great. Nice views. Good park like enviroments. Comfortable facilities. Good information especialy near the borders.
Favorites- Rifle, Glenwood Canyon, and Grand Junction.
Utah - Poor. Rare. Frequently delapidated.
Favorite- Helper (Spanish fork Canyon)
Wyoming - Rest stops??? I'll I've ever seen are large parking lots. Little to no facilites etc.
04-27-2001, 10:10 AM
I'm usually asleep, letting the Mr. drive. But the few I did see down in Florida weren't bad. Had ATM's, Dunkin Donuts and Burger Kings. The rest stops in GA are just wide spots in the road, usually without any "comfort facilities".
04-27-2001, 11:03 AM
Best single rest area: At Sideling Hill, on I-68 in Maryland
Worst single rest area: between Bozeman and Billings Montana, on I-90.
Worst state for rest areas: Montana, hands down. All the rest areas on Interstate 90 are dirty, disgusting, and crowded.
Best state for rest areas: North Dakota, oddly enough. Nothing spectacular, but they're conveniently spaced, clean, and uncrowded.
Contrary to Bartman's experience, I found Wyoming's rest areas to be better than average. They may be pretty widely spaced, but I don't stop that often, so it didn't bother me. They were clean and uncrowded, and some of them were scenic.
04-27-2001, 05:04 PM
During my extensive travels of the Southeast, I learned which states had the better rest stops among those I visited.
Mississippi has excellent stops. 24 hour security guards, which makes it great for women traveling alone, especially late at night or early in the morning, which I did a lot.
Tennessee's are ok, at least on I-40 between Memphis and Nashville and around Chattanooga.
Georgia-northern are pretty good, southern ones suck.
Louisiana-stop at a McDonalds if you can. Avoid the rest stops.
Alabama-I don't think I ever stopped at one there. Same for Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri.
Florida's are ok, at least on I-10 near Pensacola.
South Carolina-decent but not great.
04-28-2001, 06:10 AM
I never knew what rest stops were till I turned 10 and we moved to Texas. I grew up in Hawaii and we were never more then afew hours at most from the other end of the island. I don't know anybody who doesn't get a chuckle that we have interstates.
That being said I can say that Texas has some scary rest stops. Me and my dad did the road trip thing in 1997. And we had to drive from Bilouxi, MS to Manhattan, KS in 30 hours. (I drove it all myself only stopping once to nap for an hour) Anyway round about 3 am we pull into this stop about 100 miles east of Paris, TX. No lights, no facilities just a picnic bench and trash can. And it was all covered in thick trees. So as I walked briskly over to a nice thick pine for some relief all I could think about was escaped convicts with guns and hook-armed men who hang out at places like this. Man did I fly back to the car. But Kansas has some really nice ones. Lots of facities, Arby's and more. FLA has some good ones too.
04-28-2001, 08:01 AM
The facilities at the ones in Missouri are terrible. Dirty, foul-smelling, and no climate control. If it's cold outside, it's cold inside; if it's hot outside, it's hotter inside. However, outside the restrooms Mirrouri's rest stops are quite nice; good landscaping, plenty of picnic facilities. Some offer good views and almost all incorporate local flora. Dogwood trees are especially nice this time of year.
Ditto for Tennessee.
The only one I ever went to in Louisiana was beautiful. Nice, clean facilities. Plenty of tourist information in a well-kept setting (when I was there, it was decorated for Mardi Gras). Magnolia trees and picnic areas outside; I give Louisiana rest stops an A+.
I've never actually stopped at a rest stop in my home state of Illinois. Whenever I'm on a highway in Illinois, I'm generally no more than 3 hours from where I'm going, so there's no need for a rest stop.
Maybe somebody can tell me what Illinois rest stops are like.
04-28-2001, 09:48 AM
I used to do a great deal of traveling especially in the Mountain West and the Midwest so I have experienced a number of rest areas.
Colorado - Nice, clean, and if a little lacking in charm, they make up for it in numbers.
Oklahoma - When you can find them, nice facilities.
Texas - "What do y'all think bushes are fer?"
Kansas - Much like Oklahoma, but when you do find them often they seem to be larger than nearby towns. In Western Kansas, they are very few and very far between.
New Mexico - Nice facilities and each tends to be very distinctive. Unlike most states which have a single design for the entire state, New Mexico tries to match the design with the geographic location. It is a very nice touch.
Utah - In previous posts about other things Utah related, I have had Utahans claim I am a Utah hater. I am not. I really love the state, but as for rest areas, Bartman may have captured the feeling.
Wyoming - Few and far between but when you find one, they are very nice.
Nebraska - Along I-80 they are great. Wonderful facilities and also - here's the fun part - each stop has some sort of giant piece of "art". At one site you might find a 30-feet long concrete fork and spoon and at the next a huge random, wooden sprial reaching up into the sky. At the next one might be a group of five eight-feet-high concrete balls sitting on a checkerboard. Nebraska also has a number of backroad rest stops, that, if not fancy, do at least exist. Many states have none of these.
04-28-2001, 11:52 PM
Originally posted by racinchikki
racinchikki, I live in Maryland, and I must admit, the rest stops rock. I am consistently dazzled by the beauty of the Gift Shops and the neverending variety of tasty, fresh victuals awaiting me in the wide variety of eateries! Except you have to take LEFT-hand exits to get to the rest stops, which sometimes makes it hard for me to get over in the proper lane in time to get any use out of them. (I have a helluva time with those pesky left exits! If people would just let me OVER, then I wouldn't have to cut anybody OFF and they wouldn't have to blow their HORNS at me and stuff...) But then the only other rest stops I've been in recently have been the ones on the NJ Turnpike, and they were pretty good as well. I mean, you got to love pitstops named "Clara Barton", "Joyce Kilmer", and "Vince Lombardi". And, they have Cinnabons and great gourmet coffee. I still crack up especially hard whenever I see the Vince Lombardi rest stop, for some reason. I honestly don't know why.
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
04-29-2001, 07:41 AM
Am I the only person who uses "McDonalds" as a rest area? I don't recall the last time I went into one for getting food.
05-01-2001, 09:07 AM
When Angie & I drove the old wagon to Illinois for Christmas, we pulled off into a PA Turnpike service plaza to clean the windshield and headlights. Service plazas are interesting creatures: rest area, gas station, and at least one fast food joint all existing in the same complex. The one we were at also had an actual restaurant. We opted for the McD's.
Rastahomie, I pretty much grew up in Illinois. I remember being in rest areas along I-57 that were nicly done, but haven't actually been in one since the '80s. Those huge rest area roadmaps were the first ones I saw which were detailed enough to show the small (pop. 200) town in Kankakee County we called home.
05-01-2001, 10:19 AM
Originally posted by rastahomie
Maybe somebody can tell me what Illinois rest stops are like.
I've been in a couple. One was really a service area, on I-80 westbound, south of Chicago, I think. Fast food and gas, mainly. It was clean and nice. The other was a couple of hours further west on I-80--no food or gas, but clean washrooms, clear maps, TV monitors showing weather information, and a rack of brochures with traffic safety tips. You should be proud of your state's rest stops; they are among the nicest I've been to.
Other notable ones I recall include I-69 in Michigan (parklike settings indeed), and I-80 through Iowa (gotta love the vending boxes selling "Iowa Singles" newspapers). I-25 south of Denver has nice ones, but I hope the ones on I-76 both directions in Colorado have finally been replaced--they were supposed to be this year, I think, so the maintenance wasn't good when I was through there last year, and they were pretty shabby. I agree that the ones in Nebraska are clean and comfortable, and I also agree that the idea of naming the stops on the New Jersey Turnpike is kind of fun--I think I've stopped in the Vince Lombardi one, actually.
Oddly, in Canada, we seem to have very few of what Americans understand to be "rest stops." I've driven many Canadian roads, and I don't recall any really--you do get the service areas (fast food, washrooms, gas) on the 401 and 400 in Ontario, though.
Far better to use what is available--Ontario highway 69 north of Parry Sound has some nice scenery. If you're driving through in the summer, you can pull over in the snowplow turnarounds. And while it's a little primitive, there are nearby trees for...you know.
And Highway 1 through the BC/Alberta Rockies is spectacular. You drive through a chain of national parks between Revelstoke and Banff, and every so often, there are pullouts where some natural or historical thing can be viewed. (In many cases, there are washrooms, so perhaps these qualify as rest stops.) They may not be quite like those in Illinois, but the view makes up for it.
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