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The 10 Best Rest Stops in the U.S.

Nothing ruins a road trip like dingy rest stop that makes everyone itch for a shower. Inversely, could a great rest stop save a road trip? These are 10 of the best rest stops and truck stops that can be found in the U.S.

1. The Iowa 80 Truck Stop

The world’s largest truck stop can be found off of I-80, on exit 284 in Walcott, Iowa. This stop has pretty much anything a road tripper might need. In addition to plenty of fast food restaurants, there’s a movie theatre, laundromat, showers, a trucking museum, and church services on Sundays. The 100,000 square foot stop currently sees around 5,000 people per day.

2. South of the Border

This stop is located off of I-95 in Dillon, South Carolina. Here, you can find six different restaurants, ranging from casual dining to a steakhouse. The Border, as it’s known for short, also has the largest indoor reptile exhibit in the United States, which is open every day. Plus, there’s Pedroland, an amusement park with a ferris wheel, carousel, bumper cards, mini golf, and an arcade. There’s also an inn and a campground if you need to stay the night.

3. Buc-ee’s

Jennifer Woodard Maderazo, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This chain is a Texas staple, with twenty-two locations in the state. They feature convenience stores with huge restrooms, tons of gas pumps, and delis. The New Braunfels location won Cintas’ 2012 America’s Best Restroom Award. The store is 68,000 square feet with 80 soda fountains and conveniently contains a total of 83 bathroom stalls.

4. Little America

At first glance, Little America (at Exit 198 off of I-40 in Flagstaff, Arizona) doesn’t even look like a rest stop. It’s a gorgeous 500-acre hotel with a golf course, swimming pool, fitness center, and business center. There’s also a travel center on the property with a gas station, and the convenience store is open 24/7, fully stocked with books, groceries, CDs, DVDs, and souvenirs. Plus, there’s the Little America Grill, which serves everything from rotisserie chicken to breakfast foods to 50 cent ice cream cones. It’s open until at least 10:30 every day.

5. R-Place Restaurant

If you’re hungry while passing Morris, Illinois on I-80, this is the place to stop. R-Place is a 24/7 eatery that serves baked goods and American cuisine. It also has its own food challenge! The restaurant serves a 2-pound hamburger—half of which is meat and the other half is cheese, bun, and two toppings of your choice. To win, you must eat the entire thing within one hour without leaving the table. R-Place's food is so popular, they even cater.

6. Sapp Bros

poulsbo, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

While travelling on I-80, you might come across a Sapp Bros. Travel Center. There are sixteen locations between Salt Lake City, Utah and Clearfield, Pennsylvania. In addition to being a rest stop, the company also provides 24-hour roadside service. Six Sapp Bros. locations have their most popular restaurant, Apple Barrel, which serves reasonably priced American cuisine.

7. Tamarack Tourist Information Center

Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use

Tamarack is located on Exit 45 off of I-77 and I-64 in Beckley, West Virginia. It has a standard food court and provides tourist information, but it also contains a fine arts gallery, a theater with live performances, a conference center, and stores selling local products. Half a million people stop at the center every year.

8. Jubitz Truck Stop and Travel Center

This stop, which FOX Travel Channel named the “World’s Classiest Truck Stop,” can be found off of I-5 in Portland, Oregon. The Portlander Inn is on the property with 100 rooms for those who are too tired to keep driving. For quicker visits, there’s a restaurant, convenience store, and 80-seat movie theater. Jubitz also has the Ponderosa Lounge with pool tables, TVs, dance lessons, video poker, and live music on weekends.

9. Bear Lake Rest Area and Overlook

According to The Travel Channel, this is the rest stop with the best view in the U.S. It is located off of Route 89 in Bear Lake, Utah, and it provides a great spot to check out Bear Lake and its surrounding mountains. Plus, there’s a hiking trail for those who want to see a little more. (Of course, there's also parking and bathrooms.)

10. Trail’s Travel Center

This center is off of I-35 in Albert Lea, Minnesota. In addition to a couple of fast food restaurants, there is a restaurant and a tavern with the largest whiskey selection in southern Minnesota. Truck drivers who stop there can find a movie theater, wi-fi, and church services on Sundays.

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11-Headed Buddha Statue to Be Revealed in Japan for First Time in 33 Years
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Buddha statues come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The various poses and hand gestures of the Buddha represent different virtues, and any items he happens to be holding—say, a lotus flower or a bowl—have some religious significance.

But not all Buddha relics are created equal, as evidenced by the reverence paid to one particularly holy statue in Japan. The 11-headed figure is so sacred that it has been hidden away for 33 years—until now. Lonely Planet reports that the Buddha statue will be revealed on April 23 during the Onsen Festival in Kinosaki Onsen, a coastal town along the Sea of Japan that’s famous for its hot springs. The statue is kept inside Onsen-ji Temple, a religious site which dates back to 738 CE.

Al altar inside Onsen-ji temple

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The big Buddha reveal, however, will be held elsewhere. For that, festivalgoers will need to ride a cable car to the top of Mount Taishi, where they’ll catch a glimpse of Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu, a name which means “11-faced goddess of compassion and mercy.” It will be hard to miss—at 7 feet tall, the statue would tower over most NBA players. Considered a natural treasure, it’s displayed in three-year blocks once every 33 years. So if you miss the initial reveal, you have until 2021 to catch a glimpse.

“The people of Kinosaki are very excited about this event, especially the younger generation," Jade Nunez, an international relations coordinator for the neighboring city of Toyooka, told Lonely Planet Travel News. "Those who are under 30 years old have never seen the statue in its entirety, so the event is especially important to them."

After paying their respects to the Buddha, festival attendees can take a dip in one of three hot spring bathhouses that will be free to use during the Onsen Festival.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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All National Parks Are Offering Free Admission on April 21
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Looking for something to do this weekend that's both outdoorsy and free? To kick off National Park Week, you can visit any one of the National Park Service's more than 400 parks on April 21, 2018 for free.

While the majority of the NPS's parks are free year-round, they'll be waiving admission fees to the more than 100 parks that normally require an entrance fee. Which means that you can pay a visit to the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, or Yellowstone National Parks without reaching for your wallet. The timing couldn't be better, as many of the country's most popular parks will be increasing their entrance fees beginning in June.

The National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, maintains 417 designated NPS areas that span more than 84 million acres across every state, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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