Posted in: Exploring Tennessee, Food, Rest Stop/Welcome Center/Visitor Center, Sightseeing

Word’s Largest Gas Station

We’re big fans of Buc-ee’s. They always have snacks, decent gas prices, and clean bathrooms. If you have never been to one, I suggest you stop at one on your travels. We even wait a little longer to stop so that we can go to a Buc-ee’s instead of another gas station. They pride themselves in their restrooms, and I have to say we’ve never been disappointed.

When we heard the largest Buc-ee’s was opening up right before our vacation and it was on the way, of course, we had to stop!

It looked like the other Buc-ee’s, but it was larger with a lot more store space and gas pumps. We found some fun souvenirs (a keychain $4.98, a Halloween cup $20, gifts, a buc-ee phone holder $9.98).

It can be a little tricky maneuvering with so many people coming in and out. The signs have you driving through the parking lot to get to the gas pumps, but if you take the next exit on the roundabout, it leads to the backside of the pumps. It had less traffic when we did it that way. There is a lot of parking along the sides of the building for when you want to go explore the store. The far side of the complex looked like it was still under construction, so it may get easier to drive when the other road is completely open.

It was fun to see and I enjoyed seeing the mural. It was busy, but it had also been opened only about a month when we went there. It is close to the highway, but it is not directly off of it.

Posted in: Exploring Ohio, Rest Stop/Welcome Center/Visitor Center

Finding A Place To Stop: An Ohio Rest Stop

If you travel any amount of distance, you have probably stopped at a rest stop for a break. Whether it’s a bathroom break, a chance to stretch your legs, grab a snack, let the dog out, or stop for the night, a nice rest stop can make a big difference in your drive. We stopped at so many rest stops during our RV trip, and even stayed overnight at some when the drive was too long. I never paid too much attention before the trip, but there can be a huge difference in the quality of rest stops! We’ve gone to ones that are simply toilets, nothing else there, nothing special. Then of course, you can find really nice ones where everything is new, super clean and bright. Florida’s Welcome Center/rest stop gave out masks and orange juice. Wyoming’s (near Cheyenne) had so many people stopping there, that Uber Eats delivered! (It was a nice stop too, not just due to food delivery.) New York’s Western NY Visitor Center had a little shop and a playground on the campus. Virginia’s Eastern Shore had a wildlife refuge and great walking trails.

Ohio’s have been a mix. On our way back home from Michigan, we stopped at one that was nice enough, but small and older. There were plenty of parking spots though. Between Wilmington and Lebanon, Ohio, on highway I-71, there are a pair of newer rest stops/welcome centers. They are located around mile marker 33.5 and are on either side of the highway, so there is both a northbound and south rest stop. There are bathrooms, vending machines, local tourist information. The southbound rest stop/welcome center has a fun Ohio sculpture that makes for a great photo op. It also has shaded picnic tables along the right side of the building. Along the backside there is a walking path; it isn’t very long, but it gives you a nice spot to stretch your legs and has a few benches along the path. There a is a dog poopbag station as well.

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The southbound rest stop has 20 RV/truck spots. The lanes seemed large enough for easy maneuverability. There were only a few lights in the parking lot, so it may be pretty dark at night if you are here for an overnight stop.

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Normally we only use rest stops when we travel; however, we have occasionally grabbed things for a picnic lunch and headed to a nearby rest stop. They can be great places to have a change in scenery, especially if it has a large open space to throw a ball, picnic tables, and even the hard-to-find playground.

INFORMATIONAL LINKS: has a list of Ohio rest stops (including the type of rest stop, amount of parking spaces)


Cheyenne’s Welcome Center

Florida’s Welcome Center

Western NY Visitor Center

Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge

What/Where is your favorite rest stop?

Posted in: Exploring New York, Rest Stop/Welcome Center/Visitor Center, Sightseeing

Western NY Visitor Center

The boys and I stopped here on a whim. We were on our way back from the Carousel Museum and wanted to check out the Visitor Center.

This one is a modern welcome center with electric charging stations, a covered area for motorcycles, a dog park, a playground, and even a food place inside the Visitor Center! They had paper NY state maps, as well as and electronic interactive map to find local attractions and activities. There was another interactive screen that had a New York trivia quiz.

There was truck/RV parking as well.

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Exploring Virginia, Hiking, Rest Stop/Welcome Center/Visitor Center, School, Sightseeing

Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge (Eastern Shore Virginia Welcome Center)

After crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (going north from Williamsburg to the Eastern Shore/Cape Charles), there is a Welcome Center. We were pretty early for our check-in time for our campground which wasn’t very far away, so I decided to pull in for a bathroom break. It was a pretty standard welcome center with local information, maps, and bathrooms. It had car parking and larger spots for trucks and RVs. The employees were nice and had a few suggestions.

The best part was an unassuming arch behind the welcome center. The arch leads to a path through the trees to the Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge (ESWR). There are some great trails there. One was the Butterfly Trail, which would be great when more things were in bloom, although we did see a couple along the way. We took the trail to a secondary parking lot, where we then took the Wildlife Loop. This loop led to a bunker and a huge gun (66 feet!), and an observation tower. Once at the top of the platform, you had some nice views of the Chesapeake.

Bottom Right: ESWR Visitor Center and stamp post.

There is a Visitor Center (and its own parking lot) as well, but it was currently closed. However, outside the Visitor Center, they had some informational pamphlets about birds, as well as stamps for passport/stamp books, if you collect those. There was no paper there for the stamps however, so you may want to bring your own.


  • TICKETS: Free. COVID Restrictions: masks, social distancing, ESWR Visitor Center and Fishermans Island closed.
  • HOURS: Dawn to Dusk
  • PARKING: Yes (at Eastern Shore Welcome Center and at ESWR Visitor Center)
  • BATHROOM: Yes (use the one at the Eastern Shore Welcome Center, not the closed ESWR Visitor Center)
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-3 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Campground Review, Exploring Florida, Rest Stop/Welcome Center/Visitor Center, Sightseeing

Florida’s Welcome Center and A Stone’s Throw RV Park

The drive from New Orleans to Florida was pretty long. The panhandle always seems small on the map; I think because it is so thin compared to the rest of Florida, my brain tells me it’s smaller, but it took a long time to drive!

We average stopping every 3-4 hours for diesel and/or bathroom breaks. Some of the truck stop bathrooms lately have been rough, so we stopped at the Florida Welcome Center on I-10 near Pensacola, Florida. It was huge! The boys got a kick out of the plane by the parking lot. Nick loves turtles and was happy to find the turtle sculpture by the doors.

There were vending machines that sold both drinks and candy and the Sun Pass for the toll roads. You could activate your pass at another machine. It did take several minutes to go through all the screens and to get the pass activated.

We then went into the main room. They had an astronaut suit behind the desk, along with free grapefruit and orange juice. We all tried the orange juice. The side wall was covered in tourist information and was broken up into the sections of Florida for ease of use. There was a kid’s corner with a cartoon playing on the TV. The front desk had welcome bags already made up with maps, some of the information pamphlets, and a set of masks!

We decided to stop near Tallahassee for the night. We were tired and had been on the road for almost 10 hours. We stayed at A Stone’s Throw RV Park. It was very conveniently located with quick access on and off the highway. They did have bathrooms and an entertainment room (looked like a pool table). The park offered pull-throughs with full hook-ups and WiFi, but we were tired and planned on leaving early, so we only hooked up the electric. The spaces were tight together and so were some of the turns on the interior road. I was glad it wasn’t completely full as it would have made some of it challenging to move in a large rig.

We didn’t get a lot of pictures, as we arrived when it was dark and left when the sun was just coming up.

When we booked online, you could pick your spot and it would show how long the site was. We managed to get one that fit both the RV and the truck. The site wasn’t level, so we did have to disconnect to raise the front. However, the site was long enough that if it had been level, we could have stayed connected up. It wasn’t bad for around $30/night for full hook-ups, but I think it is more of a stay a night or two kind of place. There was some noise from the highways and some frogs.

Posted in: Car Ride Games, Exploring Wyoming, Rest Stop/Welcome Center/Visitor Center

Moving Day and Boondocking

On the road again. Our app said it was 12 hours to our next stop, so we were going to break it into two days of driving. One of the first rest stops had a Rattlesnake Area sign. We didn’t stay there long. Wyoming was pretty desolate in terms of rest stops. I would say 3/4 of the rest stops were closed on our path. If you are driving through soon, stop when you see gas and bathrooms when you can, because there were incredibly long stretches between available stops.

We had bought a bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans on Friday and played “Name That Jelly Bean” a couple times during the car ride. Ben was the game show host and tossed a jelly bean to a person. They had to guess the flavor of the jelly bean. If you got the flavor right, you got to go again. As the game progressed, Ben became more strict with the names of the jelly beans.

We tried going through Cheyenne, WY for food and to stretch our legs before calling it a night. There were several neat looking spots, but no place really big enough for us to park while we were towing the RV. We had called several Walmarts, BassPro, Cabela’s, and even Mendard’s, but none of them near us offered overnight parking. Most cited city ordinances.

We finally found a Welcome Center/Rest stop outside of Cheyenne. It was located off of 25 (5611 High Plains Road, Cheyenne, WY). It was a really large welcome center. Although we arrived after the lobby closed, the bathrooms were still open. There is an RV dump station, a pet exercise area (with poop bags), WiFi in the lobby, and 20ish parking spots for trucks/RVs. There is also a car parking lot. There is a walking trail around the outside area, and a nice flat area by the RV/truck parking where we had a picnic dinner. The rest stop also maps available. To make it easier for guests after hours, they had envelopes made up by the doors that contained a Wyoming Travel Guide, Highway Map, and a Road Trip Guide.

Welcome Center/Rest Stop

Originally, it was going to be a boring peanut butter sandwich dinner since we were unable to stop in Cheyenne. However, Uber Eats delivered there! It was amazing to have hot food delivered to the rest stop.

The rest stop was brightly lit and felt safe. We all had pretty good night’s sleep for heading out for our next campground.

Settled In For The Night

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Buc-ee's Sevierville, TN

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