After hauling across two state lines, you’re in need of some serious grub and shut-eye. But you’re not going to stop at that same greasy spoon as last time, the one that had you hightailing it to the next truckstop with your stomach feeling like you’d swallowed a pack of Mentos and a liter of Coke. No, you’re willing to put some extra miles behind you to get to a sweet little haven that’ll see you well rested once you finally get back in the cab.
Where are these asphalt asylums? We’ve picked ten standout stops, in no particular order, that are worth the extra drive time.
1. Iowa 80 (Walcott, IA)
You want big? As the world’s largest truckstop, it’s only fitting that this roadside paradise is home to the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, featuring antique trucks, collectible toys, and “petroliana” — a collection of road-worthy artifacts such as vintage gas pumps and signage. Aside from all the truckstop must-haves, Iowa 80 also offers a movie theater, barbershop (and pet-washing station), the fabled eats at Gramma’s Kitchen, and several on-site medical services — including a chiropractor. Ah, sweet relief! Don’t miss the annual Trucker’s Jamboree, held each July.
2. South of the Border (Hamer, SC)
You’ve seen the bumper stickers, now visit the stop that’s known coast-to-coast as much for its kitsch as its comfort. Located just outside Myrtle Beach, the Mexican-themed oasis is ideal for a siesta at the motor inn or campgrounds. Just need some diversion? Stop by the reptile park or shoot 200 feet up to the top of the iconic Sombrero Observation Tower, which is shaped like — well, you know.
3. Jubitz Travel Center (Portland, OR)
A 24-hour restaurant with lodge decor is outdone not only by a discount movie theater (just $5!) but by the Ponderosa Lounge, a self-described roadhouse that claims to be the “longest-running” honky-tonk bar (although specifics on the title aren’t given). But records aren’t what keep customers coming back. Rather, that’s the live C&W music and rowdy dance floor, which even Portland’s hipsters tout as the real deal. Jubitz also features a 100-room deluxe inn, and a service center that’s open 7 days a week. It’s everything a driver could hope for, all in the convenience of one stop.
4. Trail’s Travel Center (Albert Lea, MN)
Yes, those are 10-foot Viking statues waiting to greet you inside the log-cabin facade. The Scandinavian theme runs rampant throughout the complex, with Viking weapons decorating the walls and a 25-foot mural of a longboat. If you’re planning to overnight, consider sampling a few of the whiskeys at the Skol Tavern, which boasts over fifty varieties.
5. Whiskey Pete’s (Primm, NV)
You could motor right past this casino complex without even realizing the host of trucker amenities that await. In addition to all the roadside basics, Whiskey Pete’s boasts a roller coaster, monorail, and outlet mall, all conveniently located on the side of the California-Nevada state line that allows slots, blackjack, and all your other favorite casino games.
6. Johnson’s Corner (Johnstown, CO)
For more than half a century, the I-25 establishment has been nourishing travelers with grub so delicious that it’s raked in the accolades, including “Best Truck Stop Restaurant in the U.S.” by the Food Network and one of the best breakfasts in the world by Travel & Leisure. One bite of their cinnamon rolls and you’ll have Johnson’s permanently bookmarked in your GPS.
7. Bosselman Travel Center (Grand Island, NE)
Although the Motel 6 belies the Grand Island location’s claim as the “most luxurious, full-service travel facility in the Midwest,” the rest of the amenities — and the center’s legendary customer service — keep ‘em coming back time and again, often filling all 400 parking spaces. The company’s line of Boss Shops is among the largest service center chains in the country, while an on-site chiropractor and masseuse will set you right before you hop back behind the wheel.
8. Billy Bob’s Texas Truck Stop (Fort Worth, TX)
Jubitz may well be the oldest honky-tonk, but with more than 100,000 square feet of space, this Fort Worth institution can confidently stake a claim as the world’s largest. More than just a truckstop, Billy Bob’s attracts some of the biggest names in country to its stage, while weekends offer live professional bull-riding performances.
9. Clearwater Travel Plaza (Clearwater, MN)
Whether or not it’s world famous, the fritter bread made by the onsite Nelson Bros. Bakery is worthy of a detour, and is one of the reasons Food Network has featured the truckstop more than once. Drivers also rave about the burgers and sandwiches, also served on fresh-baked bread.
10. Lee Hi Travel Plaza (Lexington, VA)
One of the East Coast’s oldest truckstops owes its longevity to old-fashioned hospitality and the downhome meals served at Berky’s Restaurant, which Most Extreme Truckstops dubbed the tastiest in all the land. The Antique Toy Museum alone is reason enough for an extended pit stop.