A woman driving a camper van RV down the highway looking for a place to stop.

Are Truck Stops Better Than Interstate Rest Stops for a Quick RV Stop?

A quick RV stop can take longer than you’d like if you don’t choose your location wisely. You’ll want to consider what you need from a stop to avoid taking longer than necessary. Truck stops and interstate rest stops are two familiar places for RVers to take a break during travel days. So are truck stops better than interstate rest stops for a quick layover?

Today, we compare truck and interstate rest stops to see which is best. What you learn may change where you go the next time you need a respite.

A woman driving a camper van RV down the highway looking for a place to stop.

What Are Truck Stops?

Truck stops are service centers near interstates and highways. They offer various fuel types but are appealing options for semi trucks as they provide fuel lanes for large vehicles. In addition to truck lanes, they also offer standard fuel pumps for passenger vehicles.

Many truck stops offer services and amenities that truckers rely on to stay comfortable while traveling. You can usually grab food, do laundry, and take a shower at these locations. Whether you need to use the restroom, fill up on fuel, or restock food, it’s easy to see why these are appealing options for RVers.

What Are Interstate Rest Stops?

Rest stops are another popular option for RVers looking for a break. The state manages these locations, and they sit off the interstate.

They typically offer little more than restrooms and a place to rest. It’s not uncommon to find picnic tables or walking paths to help you relax or stretch your legs.

Driving across Texas is a big undertaking. Thankfully, Texas has many comfortable rest stops to break up your journey.

Benefits of Truck Stops for Quick RV Stops

An Abundance of Fuel Pumps

There are a few benefits to choosing truck stops. If you need to fill up on fuel, there are typically many fuel pumps available, whether you need gas or diesel fuel.

Those with diesel engines can use the truck lanes, typically for semi-trucks. However, unless you have an Open Roads membership, you’ll likely need to go inside to prepay for fuel.

Fuel pumps at truck stops make gassing up large RVs a breeze.

Many Restrooms

In addition to fuel pumps, there’s often no shortage of restrooms at truck stops. Your entire family can quickly use the bathroom. If you want to make your stay brief, you can send in family members while you fill up on fuel. However, many Rvers who can access their RV’s restroom will use it rather than the truck stop’s restroom. At least this way, you know it’s clean!

Great Food Options

Truck stops are also excellent places to get food. You’ll often see fast food restaurants alongside the travel centers. The more significant travel centers will have multiple fast food options. However, you can also find a location to park your RV to prepare and enjoy your lunch before returning to the road. Ensure you park out of the way of other parking lot traffic.

Room to Maneuver

Lastly, truck stops are usually very easy to navigate. Builders consider that massive semis must come and go from the location. Entrances are often very wide. You can get in to take your break and then go back on the road incredibly smoothly, even in an RV.

As more and more places restrict overnight parking, Love’s is doing the opposite.

Cons of Truck Stops for Quick RV Stops

While there are many good reasons to stay at a truck stop, they’re not always the best places to visit. Some locations can be busy and have high traffic. It’s hard to see how active a truck stop is until you get off the interstate, and by the time you realize that it’s going to be a mess, it’s too late.

You’ll likely pay a premium price at a truck stop if you need to purchase fuel. If you’re a diesel driver, you can join a program like the Open Roads network to help save money when filling up your tank. Depending on how much fuel you’re using, the savings can make a membership worth considering.

However, you may pay a much higher price without a discount program membership than at a regular gas station. 

Benefits of Interstate Rest Stops for Quick RV Stops

Interstate rest stops may not offer all that truck stops do, but there are several reasons you might want to consider them.

Easy On and Off from the Interstate

Rest stops are generally much more accessible to get on and off the interstate. Instead of navigating traffic, you use the off and on ramps. RVs typically follow the “truck/trailer” signs for parking, so you won’t have to worry about watching for smaller vehicles quickly moving through a parking lot.

An aerial view of on and off ramps for a rest stop on both sides of the interstate.

State Maintained

As the state maintains rest stops, workers will often clean them multiple times daily. You won’t have to worry about a messy or disgusting restroom at a rest stop. However, you can still use your RV’s bathroom when available. 

Cons of Interstate Rest Stops for Quick RV Stops

Rest stops aren’t perfect, and there are a couple of imperfections you’ll need to remember. First, parking can be very limited in some locations. Depending on when you stop, you might be unable to find a place to park and have to continue to another site. There can be 30 to 50+ miles between rest stops, which can be frustrating if you need to halt immediately.

If you plan to stay overnight at a rest area, follow these tips!

While rest stops offer bathrooms, they generally don’t have ideal food options. You may find some vending machines, but you’ll rarely find hot food. Unless you want a carbonated beverage and a bag of chips for your next meal, you may want to plan for your meals if you break at a rest stop.

Truck Stops or Interstate Rest Stops for Your Next RV Stop?

When making a quick RV stop, you need to know what you need. If you need fuel, you will have few options other than a truck stop. However, if you only need to use the restroom or stretch your legs, rest stops can be more convenient and efficient.

When making your travel itinerary, factor in when you’ll need to get fuel, eat meals, and use the restroom. This can help you to make your RV stops brief.

Do you prefer taking breaks at truck or rest stops? 

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