It came as no surprise when the Associated Press reported this week that a growing number of rest areas are closing along some of the country’s busiest roads. As state budgets are getting squeezed at the same time there’s an influx of other roadside stops, from fast food joints to gas stations, the rest area is getting closer to becoming an endangered species. Since you don’t want to get stuck between stops during your holiday travels, this is the perfect time to plan ahead.
- Visit the websites of the department of transportation for the states you’ll be driving through. The state should have a detailed listing of what rest stops are open. If the information isn’t clear, find an (800) number to call and detail your route to find out the best stopping options. For a list of all state DOTs, click here.
- If you have an iPod touch or iPhone, consider downloading one of the rest stop apps. There are a few options out there, including a free one, and the data found should be up-to-date. You may want to cross-check this information online. Some popular rest stop apps are Rest Area and Rest Area Finder.
- Look for the blue hut icons in your 2010 Road Atlas to find rest stops—usually with running water, public bathrooms, telephones, and area information—along your route. Additional information is available at RandMcNally.com.
This is also a good time to make sure the roads you plan on taking will be open. Rand McNally’s road construction page has the latest information and provides alternative routes if necessary.—Hilary Solan