The Atlantic Cities has a great article on roadside rest areas. When travelling while I was younger, whether with family or Boy Scouts, we would often stop at these rest areas for, most commonly bathroom breaks, but also to have lunch or dinner while travelling. And, as the article points out, many of these rest areas truly are in beautiful locations. One rest stop in particular stands out. I believe it was at the Missouri River off an interstate – the exact location I don’t remember, but the view I do.
There were historical markers talking about Lewis and Clarke, and a decent cold sandwich lunch, but the view of the river valley was quite impressive, especially for a northern Indiana boy who thought a hill was a 30 foot change in elevation. Though I had seen mountains before, it was a rare occasion, and the view was fantastic and unique.
The point of sharing this article is to remind you, and myself, that road trips need not be a rush to the campsite or the park, with McDonald’s or Iron Skillets to keep oneself fueled, which I myself have been frequently guilty of. Having visited many rest stops over the years, I don’t think any two are the same, and while some really are nothing more than a bathroom with vending machines, most have some combination of natural beauty, historical significance, or unique feature that led them to be placed at mile marker 146 instead of 157. Enjoy these unique American features with a picnic, reading about the local area in the travelers’ center, or pause and take in the view as your fellow travelers hurry by.
Do you have a favorite rest stop? Or do you try to frequent rest stops or stick with the travel plazas?