Answering the first out of the top 18 questions about the travel industry, NATSO stated that the quantity of full-scale truck stops in the US has already exceeded an impressive number of 2000. Each of those facilities is crucially important for the drivers in their everyday freight-carrying ride and in this article we are going to take a deeper look into the matter and find out more about the best truck stops in America, where the drivers can take a short rest or stay overnight safely and smoothly. To find the stops mentioned in this article, you need to have good GPS applications. Therefore, you should read our article on the best truck gps apps.
In general, a driver might need a truck stop to:
- take a short rest;
- stay overnight;
- fix something in the vehicle;
- refuel the truck.
- What Is a Truck Stop?
- Are Truck Stops Safe to Sleep?
- How Many Truck Stops Are in the US?
- Largest Truck Stops
- Famous Truck Stops
- Newest Truck Stops
- Oldest Truck Stops
- Worst Truck Stops
What Is a Truck Stop?
A special facility for drivers, which provides overnight parking, in many cases an opportunity to buy food and fuel, and everything to make a forced or a planned stop more comfortable.
Most of the largest truck stops are equipped with showers, cafes, entertainment facilities, and even laundries. Truck stops are usually located along the highways, close to major junctures and off-ramps, normally at a significant distance from small settlements or large cities. All the truck stops are open 24/7, however, some of the facilities, for example, stores, might be open on their schedule.
Are Truck Stops Safe to Sleep?
Yes, normally they are. It is not dangerous to stay at a truck stop overnight. Most of the truck stops have no restrictions on the duration of stay, however, some of them restrict this to 2-10 hours. So, you have to keep in mind that some truck stops in different states might have their own rules, so it is better to know them before planning your ride.
In any case, it is extremely risky to neglect your level of fatigue, especially when you’re driving a huge truck, so you should use any chance to get some rest when he feels tired. At the end of the day, it is about not only the driver’s safety but all other drivers and pedestrians on the highway. The National Sleep Foundation reported that drowsy driving causes more than 6,400 U.S. deaths every year and is to be considered a public health concern at the national level.
At the same time you probably should take into account that some places can be less safe than others, so you might want to consider that too. Some of the states have various statistics on truckload cargo thefts, with California, Texas, and Florida leading the list of the riskiest places. No matter which place you stay, you can at least double the level of your safety if you observe the following simple rules:
- Park only in well-lit places near security cameras;
- Turn off the engine;
- Pull the parking brake, so that your truck doesn’t roll unexpectedly;
- Lock the doors and put your belongings and valuables out of sight;
- Walk around the vehicle before leaving to check the condition of your semi or tarp, watch out for anything suspicious, and be sure to make a check on that if you notice something;
- In case you are transporting hazardous materials, the applicable dot regulations on vehicle parking have to be strictly observed.
Following these simple rules will guarantee you a secure and comfortable night.
How Many Truck Stops Are in The US?
Truck stops in America are widely and quite evenly spread across the territory of the country. As we’ve already mentioned this above there are about 2,000 fully-equipped truck stops nationwide. Also, more than 6,000 trucker gas stations are offering only refueling and sleeping facilities. Furthermore, there are more than 40,000 smaller truck stops in North America, and they are all highly demanded and used by drivers. Some truck stops are ultimate and provide workout rooms and basketball courts for visitors.
Truck stops can be private or state-owned (the latter are often referred to as rest areas or rest stops). According to the Federal Highway Administration, 12% are state-owned, and others are private, with the total number of truck parking spaces amounting to 309,820.
Below we describe some of the best truck stops in America, being the largest and the most famous truck stops in the country. You can click on the names to see the truck stop locations.
Largest Truck Stops
It deservedly boasts the title of “World's Largest Truck Stop”. This impressive site was opened in 1964 by Bill Moon for Standard Oil. After managing the place for 20 years, Bill received a chance to purchase the stop and eventually turned it into one of the brightest pearls of Interstate 80. Currently, the second generation oversees this busy place.
After 28 expansions and remodels, Iowa 80 can be easily compared to a city with an almost limitless set of services ranging from a dentist to a chiropractor. It includes a 300-seat restaurant, a 60-seat movie theater, a food court hosting famous chains such as Wendy’s and Taco Bell, 16 diesel lanes, 42 gas islands, fuel and service centers, and many other classic amenities and services. One of the highlights of this location is the Trucking Museum which houses old trucks and memorable family items.
The stop can accommodate 900 trucks, 250 cars, and 20 buses. With such capacity, it serves more than 5,000 customers every day and helps visitors feel at home even if their homes are in faraway lands.
Below see a couple of others, being a little smaller, but still quite impressive in their size.
Another huge and popular place capable of lodging more than 250 trucks. There are standard options, such as showers, lounges, and stores. Apart from that, drivers can enjoy jacuzzis, entertain themselves at Jubitz Marketplace, get an energy massage and even wash their dogs at a Self-Serve dog wash.
It deserves to be on the list with 120+ truck parking spots. The highlight of the place is the authentic Indian cuisine. This clean and friendly facility with excellent reviews welcomes every guest with open arms and has ambitious goals of expanding. Currently, only one Center is in operation, but the plans go as far as adding three new facilities and becoming a chain.
Famous Truck Stops
Located on the historic West 66 route, this old truck stop is an example of a successful family business. It also proudly carries the title of the most famous truck stop. The story started in 1971 when Emory and Barbara Russell opened their first grocery store in Cimarron, CO. With time, their store chain grew, but their particular attention was always given to a store combined with a trucker gas station. Eventually, it evolved into a true landmark of West 66 with a unique free-of-charge car museum featuring retro cars in perfect condition and lots of other cool stuff. However, what makes this place particularly distinct is a small chapel that reflects family values – faith in God and perseverance. They helped to maintain business and strong family ties for many years.
It is technically not just one of the ordinary truck stops. However, it provides almost the same services, and it is hard for drivers to pass by this oasis-like experience. The reason is not only a cute beaver mascot, acknowledged cleanest restrooms, and more than fifty locations. It also boasts two World Records with the largest car wash at Katy, TX, Interstate 10, and the hugest convenience store just 200 miles away, in New Braunfels, TX, Interstate 35. You definitely wouldn’t want to miss something as impressive as these places.
It is impossible to miss it on the road due to the fantastic smell of cinnamon rolls served here since 1952. This spot is all about food with home-style cooking and incomparable Colorado hospitality. According to reviews, the staff here really acts like a team of professional animators and helps all travelers feel at home. Combined with a cozy atmosphere, it’s enough to revive old childhood memories and recuperate both in body and soul from long hours on the road. Here you can also find a chapel, conference and banquet halls, and all the amenities required by professional drivers.
Newest Truck Stops
Love’s Travel Stops has opened quite a few new truck stops in different states: Florida, Ohio, and Georgia recently. They are located in Bellefontaine, OH, Milton, FL, and Garden City near Jacksonville, FL and have about 300 new parking spaces in total. These truck stops are equipped with laundry facilities, showers, CAT scales, diesel bays, and even dog parks.
There are also new Love’s truck stops in Waterloo, NY; Pageland, SC; Moses Lake, WA; and Rockville, MN. All locations are open 24/7, and the amenities offered at these locations include:
- More than 10,000 square feet at each location;
- Hardee’s, Subway, Wendy’s & Taco John’s;
- More than 300 truck parking spots;
- Diesel bays;
- Showers & laundry facilities;
- CAT scale;
- Mobile to Go Zone with the latest GPS, headsets, and smartphone accessories.
New truck stop amenities in Kansas City, Missouri include 115 truck parking spaces, a McDonald’s restaurant, 8 diesel bays, 7 showers, a Speedco, a CAT scale, and a dog park.
In 2021 and 2022 new truck stops were opened in:
- Bellefontaine, Ohio;
- Garden City, Georgia;
- Great Falls, Montana;
- Drayton, North Dakota;
- Dalhart, Texas;
- Heflin, Alabama;
- Kimball, South Dakota;
- Fillmore, Utah;
- Leavenworth, Indiana.
Oldest Truck Stops
The first of all truck stops in America opened in 1928 along Route 66 in McLean, Illinois. Nowadays it is named The Dixie Truckers Home and is newly remodeled. It is open 365 days a year, 24/7.
Located on U.S. Route 67 at the Missouri/Arkansas border, it was opened in 1930. It is still in operation, meaning you can still visit it and feel like getting 100 years back.
Constructed on US Highway 30 in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1965. These Bosselman Travel Centers have quite a versatile range of services to offer. This includes several top restaurants, like Subway, Little Caesars Pizza, Krispy Krunchy Chicken, and several others. If you need to fuel up your vehicles, you can choose from gasoline, diesel, and ethanol blend fuels. The facility also has a Tesla Supercharger station and some additional amenities like Cat Scales, laundry, hot showers, video games, truck wash, check cashing, and even Western Union.
Truck Stop of America
The oldest truck stop chain changed its name to Travel Center of America in the late 1990s. Truck Stop of America opened in 1972 as the first of the six locations. Petro Truck Stops Organization was founded in 1975. Excellent service, a wide range of fuels, great amenities, and delicious food are still provided nowadays.
Worst Truck Stops
However, not all the truck stops are particularly good and there are some you would like to avoid. Here we have compiled a list of truck places that carry the name of the worst truck stop in the United States by their visitors. It was based on reviews found on the Internet, but please be aware that those are just personal opinions and should not necessarily match yours.
So, various truck drivers left negative reviews about the following places:
- Pilot in Mahwah, NJ;
- Petro in Bordentown, NJ;
- Love's in Fife, WA;
- Pilot in Denver on I-70;
- Bliss Country Store and Travel Center in Bliss, Idaho;
- Petro Serve USA in Valley City, North Dakota;
- TA Express in Edgerton, Kansas.
These stops seem to provide lower quality services: there are often not enough free parking places, and no fresh food or hot water in showers.
Truck stops are important for all drivers in their everyday rides. They provide overnight parking, an opportunity to buy food and fuel, and everything to make a stop more comfortable.
The first truck stops were opened in the 1920s in the United States, and now its number has exceeded 2,000. A lot of truck stops provide excellent service, and a wide range of fuel, food, and entertainment facilities for their visitors. Nevertheless, many truck stops have become notoriously famous.
Before planning your ride, you have to keep in mind that you also need to plan the truck stops where you will take a rest. Knowing the best truck stop chains and places might help you to get a purely positive experience.
So if you are interested and want to see all those enchanting places with your own eyes, we propose you apply for a job with HMD Trucking and take a ride together.
If you're a fan of life on the road, be sure to check out our article on the top trucker movies that perfectly capture the spirit of the open highway.