Whether you’re driving a truck or road tripping with your family, good truck stops are some of the best places you’ll find en route. Many of them don’t just sell gas; they also offer merchandise, food, and other services. And some of them offer something extra. Here are some of our favorite truck stops across the United States.
billed as the world’s largest truck stop, Iowa 80 offers so many amenities to travelers that you’ll have to see it to believe it. Besides several fast food restaurants, Iowa 80 also houses a 300-seat restaurant with a 50-foot salad bar. It doesn’t just sell a few travel souvenirs, but features a warehouse store and showroom with items especially for truckers. There’s also a 60-seat movie theater and a trucking museum. You’ll find Iowa 80 along I-80 at Walcott, Iowa.
Midway Auto Truck Plaza
Located at the halfway point between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, something special about Midway is that it’s featured in a Travel Channel reality show. If that’s not enough, there are several businesses that would invite any weary traveler to visit. There’s a family restaurant and a motel, plus an antique mall, an expo center, and mini storage. Look for Midway Auto Truck Plaza near Columbia, Missouri, at the intersection of I-70 and Highway 40.
Dixie Travel Plaza
No, it’s not in the Deep South; it’s in McLean, Illinois, just off of what now I-55 is but what used to be part of the famed Route 66. Like Route 66 itself, perhaps Dixie Travel Plaza is best known today for what it used to be rather than what it is now. According to illinoisroute66.org, it began in 1928 when a couple of guys rented space in a mechanic’s garage to set up a sandwich stand, aimed at serving travelers along Route 66. It soon grew to include a restaurant, cabins, and a cattle pen. Today it features the amenities you’d expect at a truck stop: a convenience store, restaurant, fast food—necessities for any travelers. And they do still sell plenty of Route 66 souvenirs.
Travelers along I-80 in Wyoming quickly become familiar with its endless miles of sparse population—and they may start to wonder where they can get fuel and food, or find a place to stay for the night that isn’t just at the side of the road. That’s where Little America comes in. About 22 miles from Green River, Wyoming, 150 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah, and 300 miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming, lay a travel plaza specifically established as an oasis for travelers in an area with few other options. The travel plaza features fuel and dining, 50-cent ice cream cones, and well-kept grounds and clean facilities. There’s also a repair shop and a 140-room hotel with a heated pool.
Wall Drug Store
Wall Drug Store isn’t really a truck stop, but it’s still a must-see for travelers. Located in Wall, South Dakota, off of I-90 and near Badlands National Park, you’ll see the signs advertising it hundreds of miles before you actually get there. Admission is free, and ice water is free too. With the establishment covering about 70,000 square feet, there are plenty of gifts and souvenirs for sale under its roof, as well as food—and, of course, things you’d find in a drug store.
Travel stops are a necessity for road travelers. Many travel stops are purely functional, but some of them burst with local flavor. With some advance planning, you can make a travel stop a memorable part of your journey.