American infrastructure is laid out in a way that people can pack up their cars and drive to nearly any distant location, time permitting of course. The mere thought of the open road and close companions excites any adventure seeker, and the journey to a new destination is half of the experience, some say.
From the road warriors to the casual vacationers, extended vehicular trips often require multiple stops and rest breaks, so with that in mind, we’ve taken the liberty of selecting the four coolest rest stops this country has to offer:
1. The Bear Lake Overlook: The western part of the United States is often overshadowed by the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, but there are a number of other picturesque scenes in the region of the country that deserve the same amount of respect. More specifically, the Bear Lake Overlook, located in northwest Utah on U.S. Route 89, features a short scenic trail and beautiful sights of the surrounding mountains and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Bear Lake gets the nod as the ultimate rest stop for the outdoorsman.
2. Buc-ee’s: Long road trips often include multiple stops to the restroom; it’s an inevitable reality. Although most gas stations get a bad rap regarding their washrooms, one Texas gas station and rest stop is known for having the cleanest lavatories in the country. In fact, Texas-based Buc-ee’s recently saw its New Braunfels location win the America’s Best Restroom contest, according to the contest sponsor Cintas’ website. Known as the world’s largest convenience store, the 67,000-square-foot complex has 60 gas pumps, 80 soda dispensers and most importantly, 84 gleaming porcelain ponies.
3. Tamarack Tourist Information Center: Located just west of I-77 in West Virginia, the Tamarack Tourist Information Center features one of the most unique menus of visitor activities in the country. Along with an information resource, Tamarack offers a jewelry and consignment store, a theater, an art gallery, a conference center, gourmet food and a handful of resident artisans. Even for the most avid of tourists, Tamarack has a little something for everybody.
4. Mars Cheese Castle: For the cheese lovers out there, we hate to break the disappointing news, but the rest stop located on I-94 halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee is not in fact constructed out of curds. It’s alright to take a breath now, lactose-intolerant readers. For travelers heading north or south on 94, Mars Cheese Castle is a tourist destination and provides a glimpse into the aesthetic that makes the state of Wisconsin so great: its high-quality dairy products. It also offers baked goods and deli meats for those who wish to stimulate all of their taste buds at once.
5. Iowa 80: Just off of exit 284 in Walcott, Iowa, truck drivers can take a load off and explore what the the Midwestern Mecca has to offer. Along with a trucking museum, the world’s largest truck stop includes a food court and a number of consignment shops for tourists to check out. The rest stop boasts 5,000 customers each day and more than 900 spots for the large number of truck drivers who pass through.