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Another 5,000 Miles Later: Rest Areas Along I-80 and I-76

By Jenn

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T@b parked at an Ohio rest area
T@b parked at an Ohio rest area

When nature calls or you just need to stretch, the rest areas along interstate highways are a welcome sight for weary travelers. I am just wrapping up another trip and wanted to share some feedback about rest areas along I-80 and I -76 between Pittsburgh and Colorado.

I-76 in Colorado

When making that diagonal swath trek from Denver to Ogallala to pick up I-80, you traverse Colorado via I-76. This is a fairly desolate stretch once you leave the Denver metro area, filled with sprawling farm land and rolling prairies. There are a handful of rest stops along the way, however.  They feature clean facilities, plenty of parking for RVs, and some offer dump stations and free WiFi, as well. I stopped at the Julesburg welcome center to make a sandwich for lunch and to take a break from driving. Julesburg had a dump station, free Wifi, including an indoor sitting area for it, covered picnic areas (Teepees!) and tourist information about every part of the state. The facilities were spotless and the welcome center truly, made you feel welcome. Being a heavy tourist state, Colorado gets an A+ for its rest areas. For details about the services available at all rest areas in Colorado, click here.

I-80 in Nebraska

The Cornhusker state’s rest areas were OK. They were not great and not terrible. They were a little dated and parking felt crowded. Otherwise, they were clean, had sheltered picnic areas, and some offer play areas for children. Nebraska gets a solid B rating for their rest areas. The facilities were clean and I felt safe at the Nebraska rest areas. Click here to read more about Nebraska rest areas.

I-80 in Iowa

Iowa comes in right ahead of Nebraska for their rest areas. The Iowa rest area parking lots were a little more spacious, some have RV dump stations, and most have free WiFi. Picnic shelters and play areas are also common at Iowa rest areas. Cleanliness and safety were consistent at the Iowa rest areas. Their rest areas are nicely spaced out across the state, too.  Iowa earned a solid B+ for their rest areas. Click here to read about the amenities at Iowa rest areas.

I-80 in Illinois

Illinois rest areas fell somewhere between Iowa and Indiana in terms of quality. Parking was somewhat limited and I do not recall either WiFi or RV amenities, but the facilities were relatively clean. Illinois earns a B- for their facilities. Read more about Illinois rest areas, here.

I-80 in Indiana

Indiana has some work to do to improve their dated facilities. Their rest areas offer ample parking but their facilities did not feel safe or clean to me. I did not notice RV amenities or WiFi at their facilities. Indiana has earned a D rating for their rest areas. I had a stranger approach me at an Indiana rest area that made me feel unsafe. Click here to read more about Indiana rest areas.

I-80 in Ohio

The Buckeye state has outstanding rest areas. Every other rest area along I-80 has RV facilities, including electric hook-ups for overnight parking ($20.) Dump stations and potable water are available at no cost at every other rest area. They offer pay showers, as well. Many of the rest areas offer WiFi. The Ohio facilities are large, clean, and very well spaced out. Ohio has an earned an A+ rating. Click here to read more about Ohio rest areas on I-80.