Groovy rest stops for the epic USA road trip
Wonderfully Weird Rest Stops: Check Out These Top Spots for a Truly Strange Vacation
A land of highways, America has long featured distinctive and even quirky places along the journey to stop for refreshment and a chance to enjoy the local culture.
- Highway 80 Truck Stop, Iowa
Billing itself as the “world’s largest” truck stop, this iconic rest area is the size of a small town and plays host to the numerous semi trucks that criss-cross America. The theme continues inside, where an entire 18-wheel truck is displayed in all its glory amid gift shops, concession stands and quiet nooks to drink a cup of coffee.
- Crown Point Rest Area, Corbett, Oregon
As the oldest rest stop in America, the glamorous marble walls of Vista House have been welcoming travelers since 1915. Perched atop a hillside overlooking the Columbia River, visitors are treated to 360 degrees of stunning natural scenery as the land plunges into the river gorge. Constructed of sandstone, marble and mahogany, the building continues to provided a luxury rest area experience for weary travelers today.
- Nike Missile Rest Stop, Organ, New Mexico
As so much of New Mexico was at the very forefront of the space race, it’s no surprise that even the rest areas reflect its historic ties to the aerospace industry. The most dramatic example of this is the Nike Missile Rest Stop, featuring a decommissioned missile in launch position as a rest stop attraction. Visitors can inspect the missile close up or enjoy the view out over the nearby White Sands Missile Test Range, where tests are still being conducted today.
- Highway 10 Rest Stop, Cabazon, California
Just a short drive from Los Angeles, Cabazon plays host to the dreams of a dinosaur enthusiast who thought outside the box. His crowning achievement is a pair of life-sized dinosaurs painstakingly created over decades. The larger of the two, a brachiosaurus, even has a museum housed in its belly. While the tyrannosaurus was originally planned to house a giant slide down its back, it was never finished and visitors will have to content themselves with taking pictures of its fearsome jaws and teeth.
- Tamarack Tourist Information Center, Beckley, West Virginia
From its 1950s-era architecture to its strategic location in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, this rest stop is the perfect place to spend a few hours for visitors of all ages. Peruse handmade crafts from local artisans, listen to a professional storyteller or musician in the on-site theater, watch a glassblower produce ethereal works of beauty and enjoy local home-baked delicacies or Southern favorites such as rainbow trout or fried green tomatoes. There is even conference space for large meetings.
- Big Bend National Park, Texas
This tribute to Plains Indians-style teepees sits at the edge of the Big Bend National Park. Visitors can enjoy a snack in the shade provided by the teepees and use the rest stop as a jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the park. Sheer cliffs, fresh, clear streams and endless swaths of stars by night are all the reward for spending time exploring this geological treasure.