Planning the perfect road trip means packing some great snacks, queuing up podcasts or playlists and making sure the car or RV is road-ready. Of course knowing exactly where rest stops are along the route is also part of good planning and rest area locators can come in handy. As every road warrior knows, roadside stops are great places to pull over for bathroom breaks, leg stretches and even picnic lunches.
Find Next Rest Area With Apps
Travelers can keep an eye out for rest stops denoted on highway signs. But with today’s apps and improved travel technology, there are seamless ways to not just find rest stops along your route, but also discover what kind of amenities each one offers.
Several free apps are available that can help drivers pinpoint rest stops and enable GPS to help answer the common question of “Where’s the next rest stop from my location?”
USA Rest Stops, an app, will help locate the nearest rest stops in the U.S. along interstates, U.S. highways and state highways. The app will also show welcome centers and service plazas. The app is GPS-enabled and uses the user’s location to find rest stops within a 25-mile radius.
Another free GPS-enabled app is Waze, which culls real-time data from users to alert drivers to traffic jams and other problems on the road. Other features on Waze can help drivers find the cheapest gas as well as nearby rest stops. Because Waze is community-based, meaning users upload information, it’s possible not all rest stops have been listed. After you input your final destination, you have the option to “add a stop” at a restaurant, rest stop or gas station.
Planning Stops Before Departing
For those who want to map out rest stops before leaving on a trip, Google has an interactive rest area map with information about what types of amenities are offered at the rest stops, including restrooms, pet areas, wifi, vending machines, picnic tables and information on whether the rest stop is handicap accessible and if there are RV stations. Google maps can also deliver real-time information on where nearby rest stops are once you’re on the road, too.
Another helpful website is Interstate Rest Areas, which provides a map of rest areas. It’s color-coded to help travelers find a good rest stop depending on the direction they are traveling.
Finding Roadside Attractions
While not officially “rest stops,” quirky roadside attractions can also make for fun stopping points. Along with rest stops along 95 south, for example, the route that travels along the East Coast is peppered with fun roadside attractions, including a UFO Welcome Center in Bowman, South Carolina and a tattoo museum in Maryland. To help incorporate a roadside attraction into a road trip, websites such as Roadside America and Roadtrippers curate lists of roadside attractions.