With more than 3.5 million truck drivers across the United States, our highways are full of truck stops to serve not only truckers’ needs for diesel fuel, but also their needs for truck maintenance, food, showers, and even entertainment. From coast to coast, more than 7,000 truck stops serve truckers moving all kinds of freight.
To stay loaded on the road, many of these truckers use load boards, such as Internet Truckstop, now renamed Truckstop.com, and FreeFreightSearch.com, the world’s largest completely free load board. With easy access to Internet at truckstops, they can instantly browse through available loads and reach out to brokers and shippers online.
Finding The Nearest Truck Stop
So where is the closest truck stop you might be wondering. Internet searches can quickly identify the closest truck stop to you. Some drivers find that truck stops near rural areas are especially welcoming and friendly. In keeping with the typical truck driver salary, the fuel and amenities at a truck stop like Iowa 80 tend to be more economical and lower prices can draw in other customers as well.
Competition can be steep among the large chains, such as Travel Centers of America, with its 250 truck stops across the country. Some people have preferences for one chain or another, and others just want the closest truck stop.
What you can expect at a truck stop
All truck stops will provide a place to fuel up and a parking area to rest up. Even small truck stops – and whatever is the closest truck stop to my location – will have a little store for snacks and drinks along with a fast-food business or little café. Larger facilities will typically have truck stop showers, a convenience store, truck wash centers, and more than one restaurant or even a small food court with a few fast food chains represented. Some will have a video arcade area and a small theater for televisions and movies. In Louisiana, thanks to its unique state laws, you can find small casino game areas with slot machines.
The shopping areas at truck stops vary greatly, depending on the size, but the merchandise will invariably be geared for truckers’ needs. For instance, some stores will sell 12-volt DC products that can be plugged into the truck’s electrical system. You can buy toaster ovens, coffeemakers, television sets, and even frying pans for cooking on the road. Truck accessories, such as CB radios, will also be for sale along with audiobooks, video games, music CDs, and satellite radio receivers.
Top Ten Truck Stops
Because a trucker’s life is a difficult one, with hours alone on the road and the demands of staying alert every minute, truck stops fill the need to stretch your legs, rest your eyes, and socialize. Some truck stops have become famous for going above and beyond filling stations and have become destinations in their own right. Here’s a list of the top ten truck stops that have become favorites of truckers everywhere.
- Iowa 80 Truckstop, Walcott, Iowa: The world’s largest truckstop, Iowa 80 in eastern Iowa draws both truckers and tourists alike. The family-owned center founded in 1964 offers eight restaurants, a movie theater, workout room, laundry facilities, a huge 26,000-square-foot trucking museum, and more. Truckers can also visit the dentist, the barber, or the chiropractor at this giant trucking center.
- South of the Border Truckstop, Hamer, South Carolina: This fun tourist attraction and truck stop founded in 1949 features a golf course, amusement park, lodging, campsites, swimming pools, and even a wedding chapel.
- Jubitz Travel Center Truckstop, Portland, Oregon: With a 100-room hotel, a popular 24/7 restaurant serving home-cooked specialties, movie theater, chiropractor’s office, laundromat, and even a self-serve dog wash, the family-owned and operated Jubitz Travel Center has been a truckers’ favorite on the West Coast since 1952.
- Highlands Petro Truckstop, Racine, Wisconsin: This truckstop is a member of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers chain, the largest full-service travel center company in the United States. Like many other Petro Stopping Centers, the Racine truck stop has the company’s signature Iron Skillet restaurant, which has been recognized by truck drivers for its outstanding home-style cooking.
- Little America Truckstop, Flagstaff, Arizona: This vintage truck stop is noteworthy for its resort hotel experience. Truckers enjoy special room discounts and visit the Little America Grill, famous for its hamburgers.
- North Forty Truck Stop, Hollady, Tennessee: Founded in 1982, the North Forty Truck Stop is known for good food, ranging from a breakfast buffet open six hours a day to delicious fried pies with supper. Truckers can get massages, do laundry, take showers, and relax in the truck stop’s television room.
- Speedway Truckstop, Disputanta, Virginia: Part of the huge Speedway chain, this location offers a truck driver lounge and space for a hundred trucks.
- Morris Travel Center Truckstop, Morris, Illinois: The centerpiece of this truck stop is the 24/7 R Place restaurant, with its outstanding bakery and long reputation for excellent food. Truckers can relax on the center’s walking trails and do their laundry.
- Trails Travel Center Truckstop, Albert Lea, Minnesota: This Petro Stopping Center offers great food, a wide variety of truck maintenance services, an automated full-length platform CAT scale, Sunday chapel for travelers, and the region’s largest selection of whiskeys.
- Johnson’s Corner Truckstop, Loveland, Colorado: Founded in 1952, Johnson’s Corner has been recognized as having one of the “ten best breakfasts in the world” by Travel and Leisure magazine and one of the country’s “top truck stop restaurants” by the Food Network. This stop has all the usual amenities for truckers, but is famous for its cinnamon buns.