Refuel, kick back and relax at the nation's top service stations
If baseball is America’s national pastime, trucking must be the national profession. Every year, 3.5 million truck drivers transport 10 billion tons of freight along 47,000 miles of Interstate Highway. And none of it would be possible without truck stops.
They’re the landmarks circled on every truck driver’s map; the spots where weary wayfarers can rest, refuel and refresh. There’s nothing remarkable about most truck stops, but some offer genuinely detour-worthy distractions. Believe it or not, a few are full-blown tourist attractions!
Forget dime-a-dozen service stations; these are the most iconic truck stops of America. Keep on truckin’ for the top five.
The Top Five Truck Stops of America
1. Iowa 80 Truck Stop, Walcott, Iowa
The next time you’re road tripping through Iowa, do yourself a favor and check out the world-famous Iowa 80 Truck Stop. To find it, take exit 284 off Interstate 80. If the ginormous sign above the entrance doesn’t guide you from there, smells from half a dozen different restaurants will.
Inside, think Disneyland for truckers (minus the anthropomorphic talking trucks). There’s a movie theater, a retro arcade, and even a truck showroom/museum. Every summer the world’s best big rigs converge for an annual Truckers Jamboree. It’s the ultimate celebration of all-things trucking; everyone should experience it at least once.
Number of parking spaces: 900
Number of fuel lanes: 15
Number of private showers: 24
Fun fact: The truck stop gets through 775 rolls of toilet paper each month. That’s over 55 miles of paper!
2. South of the Border, Hamer, South Carolina
Nothing about this truck stop makes sense on paper. Its mascot is a 97-foot tall bandolero called Pedro; a sombrero-shaped nighttime observation deck “hovers in the sky like a neon UFO”; and it’s in South Carolina, thousands of miles away from Mexico.
But somehow, South of the Border sort of...works. Yeah, it’s as tacky as it sounds, but not in a tired ‘I Heart NY’ T-shirt-kind of way. The 350-acre complex houses an indoor reptile exhibit (surprisingly large), a family-oriented theme park (surprisingly fun) and six restaurants serving (surprisingly tasty) truck stop fare. One of the silliest truck stops of America, but also one of the most memorable.
Number of parking spaces: 79
Number of fuel lanes: 12
Number of private showers: 6
Fun fact: South of the Border donates part of their reptile exhibit ticket proceeds to the Crocodile Conservation Institute, which helps save crocodiles and their habitats.
3. Whiskey Pete’s Truck Stop, Primm, Nevada
Whiskey Pete sounds like a character from a Clint Eastwood film, but he actually opened one of prohibition-era Nevada’s most (in)famous speakeasies.
Nowadays, Whiskey Pete’s is anything but discreet. It sits just off the I-15 near the California-Nevada border, and there are more ways to unwind there than a ball of yarn in a washing machine. You can place a few bets at Pete’s Casino, swing by the Bonnie and Clyde death car exhibit, and head to a range of restaurants, all within walking distance.
For an affordable overnight stay, the truck stop motel is your best bet. Top tip: flash your commercial driving license (CDL) for a generous discount.
Number of parking spaces: 125
Number of fuel lanes: 10
Number of private showers: 7
Fun fact: Whiskey Pete always wanted to be buried standing up holding a bottle of bootleg. Years after his death, construction workers stumbled across his body in an unmarked grave. It was finally laid to rest in one of the caves where he was rumored to brew his moonshine.
4. Jubitz, Portland, Oregon
You only need to spend one night at the Jubitz Portlander Inn to see why FOX Travel voted it one of the “classiest” truck stops of America. Great customer care is on show everywhere, from the complimentary cable you get in king-sized bedrooms to the fresh sandwiches prepared daily at the nearby deli. They even celebrate Truck Driver Appreciation Day with prize giveaways and a BBQ.
All this comes courtesy of clued-in upper management and dedicated service staff who understand exactly what truckers want from a rest stop experience. Quite simply, Jubitz has everything you need to put work to one side and get comfortable during a long stretch on the road.
Number of parking spaces: 53
Number of fuel lanes: 9
Number of private showers: 11
Fun fact: The Ponderosa Lounge hosts all sorts of live music. From solo country acts to seasoned swing bands, sweets sounds are all but guaranteed - that is, unless you happen to visit on karaoke night!
5. Florida 595 Truck Stop, Davie, Florida
It’s hard to imagine that the Florida 595 Truck Stop didn’t exist ten years ago. Truck stop tycoon Gerald Brauser bought the empty 33-acre plot of land for $900,000 in 2009.
Now it’s America’s third largest service station, and a shining waypoint for all truckers on the I-595. If refueling is all you’re after, wait times are tiny (read: nonexistent) thanks to fuel lanes and parking spaces galore. Planning an overnight stay? Florida 595 will make you feel right at home. There’s a sports bar with $2 pints on tap; a diner with dollops of southeastern charm; and smiles all around from some of the friendliest staff you’ll ever meet.
And we haven’t even got to the best part, which is that truck parking fees max out at a very reasonable $20/per day. There’s a lot to like about this truck stop indeed…
Number of parking spaces: 450
Number of fuel lanes: 12
Number of private showers: 8
Fun fact: Florida 595 serves around 80,000 trucks per year and contributes more than 80 jobs to the local Davie economy.
Truck Stop Top Tips for Fleet Managers
Negotiate Diesel Discounts
Many independent truck stops go out of their way to encourage major haulers to use their services. A typical arrangement works like this; in exchange for requiring your drivers to refuel at their location(s), you’ll receive discounts on diesel fuel.
All but one of the truck stops featured here are independent (Iowa 80 is the only one that’s part of a chain). That means you stand to cut a good deal by reaching out to them directly.
Use Repair Services
You never know when your trucks will need servicing. Sure, fleet management systems can help you schedule vehicle maintenance; but not even the latest software can fix a flat tire.
Make sure your drivers refuel at places that can also do any vehicle maintenance. Use predictive maintenance software to slot oil changes and brake servicing seamlessly into their routes.
Get a Good Fuel Card
A quick scan of any truck stops of America website will tell you they accept “all major fuel cards”. What they actually mean is they’ll accept a fuel card only if they are partnered with that fuel card provider.
Luckily, the very best fuel card providers have partnerships which cover 95%+ of mainland service stations. For fuel card owners, this means lower payment processing fees than bank-issued cards and fuel discounts of up to 10 cents per gallon.
There are lots more benefits to owning a fuel card which you can read about in our roundup of the top five fuel card companies. Make sure you equip your fleet with the right one to qualify for the best possible prices at the pump.
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