The Coolest Pit Stops in Every State

Make the most of any road trip, literally, with this huge list of the coolest pit stops around America.

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Updated June 19, 2024
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It’s road trip season. And while the end destination may be a super cool campground in the mountains or a fabulous view of the ocean, getting there can be just as fun.

That is if you decide to really up your travel game and stop at any of the pit stops along the way known for creating really impressive experiences.

From odd to over-the-top, these are the coolest pit stops in every state (and definitely worth making a detour to explore).

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Alabama: Langham Farms (Bentonville)

Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Adobe organic vegetables and fruits

If you’re cruising down I-65, stop at Langham Farms. It’s the perfect location for Alabama's fresh produce. In addition to freshly picked produce, you can pick up some freshly baked bread and homemade jelly. You’ll have sandwiches and fresh fruit throughout your trip.

Alaska: Talkeetna Roadhouse (Talkeetna)

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When you’re ready to stop for a couple of hours for a meal and some hiking, check out Talkeetna Roadhouse.

This family-style destination offers hearty food and some of the best daily baked breads, pies, and cookies. Take a stroll and check out the history of the old building, which was built in 1917.

Arizona: Delgadillo’s Snow Cap (Seligman)

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You’ll see it as you drive along Route 66, with its true Americana-inspired exterior and that huge cone on the roof.

What you will find at this kitschy drive-in is really good burgers and a classic diner menu. Established in 1953, it’s the perfect place for a root beer float.

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Arkansas: Fouke Monster Mart (Fouke)

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As you travel down Interstate 49 between Texarkana and the Louisiana border, you’ll definitely want to take a detour to visit Fouke Monster Mart. It’s a convenience mart, but there’s a bit more to it than road food and bathrooms.

Everything in it is about the Fouke Monster (who looks to be a rabid cousin of Bigfoot) and the history of the local legend. Spend a few minutes exploring the tiny museum and the mural, or snap a selfie with the life-sized replica before you get back on the road.

California: Eddie World (Yermo)

JHVEPhoto/Adobe eddieworld in yermo

It bills itself as the largest gas station in the state, and Eddie World is a pretty fun spot to spend some time when you just can’t handle the car any longer.

There are plenty of treats, from jerky to ice cream, tons of souvenirs and travel accessories, and freshly made meals. The bathrooms are said to be the cleanest in the state, too.

Colorado: Tincup Pass (St. Elmo)

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You can definitely pick up some gas nearby, but we suggest a pitstop that incorporates an adventure. Tincup Pass is a two-hour trail (use a rented ATV) with some of the best off-roading experiences.

If you want a different type of adventure, you can also book one of the ghost town tours that happen in St. Elmo.

Connecticut: Earthplace (Westport)

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Earthplace is the perfect free destination for those who want to stretch their legs and perhaps get some education, too.

Since 1967, it’s been the ideal place to learn about nature and conservation. This 62-acre property has a fun playground and various animals to check out.

Delaware: Old Mill Crab House (Delmar)

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The giant crab on the building is sure to lure you in for a meal at the Old Mill Crab House.

The food is excellent, and the cocktails are some of the best in the region. At the same time, this is very much a kid-friendly, have-some-fun destination worthy of a stop.

Florida: The Venetian Pool (Coral Gables)

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The Venetian Pool is one of the oldest public swimming pools, having been established in 1924.

It’s a beautiful, Roman-like pool stop that’s rather affordable and perfect for cooling off. More than 820,000 gallons of water are filled every day, much of which comes from an underground aquifer. Waterfalls and grottos make this a fun trip.

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Georgia: The Whistle Stop Café (Juliette)

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If you’ve ever watched the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, then you know this destination already. The Whistle Stop Café is a small café and diner, perfect for a meal on your way through the region.

It gets a lot of attraction for its history in the movie, but the scratch-made food is a reason to stop on its own (and the competitive pricing, too!)

Hawaii: Black Sand Beach (Punaluu)

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Driving along the coast in Hawaii, you’ll come across some beautiful sights, and the Black Sand Beach is one of the most interesting.

It’s on the southeastern coast and is noted for its deep, lava-rich color. Serene and tranquil, this beach is a nice place to stop when you just need a nature break.

Idaho: The Dirty Shame Restaurant and Saloon (Garden Valley)

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The Dirty Shame Saloon is a fun location thanks to the live music and dancing. The food is a good way to make everyone happy (whether they want burgers or a good flat iron steak).

The location is rustic and everything you would expect from an off-the-highway destination.

Illinois: Pit Stop Corner Café (Joliet)

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Who says pit stops have to be old hot dogs and stale fries? At the Pit Stop Corner Café, you’ll find more of a homemade menu.

Play some games, have a few drinks, and relax in the cool air for a few hours.

Indiana: Petty Pit Stop (Terre Haute)

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Fresh food and an upbeat environment make the Petty Pit Shop a solid option for those days when you want to enjoy a healthy meal on the road.

It’s also a fantastic place for breakfast. Grab some coffee for the trip.

Iowa: Science Center of Iowa (Des Moines)

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Established in 1970, the Science Center of Iowa is an excellent choice for an afternoon out-of-the-car afternoon.

The science museum is a huge, 110,000-square-foot destination with numerous interactive exhibits to explore.

Kansas: Wildwood Adventure Park (Manhattan)

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Adventure from this height is really cool! That zipline at Wildwood Adventure Park could be the best experience of your trip.

There’s more to do on this 80-acre park, too, including tours throughout the rocky hillsides.

Kentucky: Baseball Bat (Louisville)

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When you just need to stretch your legs (and you love baseball), check out the Baseball Bat. It’s quite literally a huge bat, considered the world’s largest.

It’s an exact-scale replica of the Babe Ruth Louisville Slugger. You can just check out the bat or step into the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory to learn more.

Louisiana: McGuire’s Pit Stop (Harvey)

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Here’s a fun little destination that is worth checking out when you’re in the area. At McGuire’s Pit Stop, you’ll get to stop, relax, and check out all of the bikes that make this a cruise-in destination.

There’s a bike night each week, a MoPar cruise night, and always someone to talk to about the area.

Maine: Maine Wildlife Park (Gary)

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For a pit stop that involves bald eagles and moose, check out Maine Wildlife Park. It’s a rather low-key destination, so it's a good option for a quick stop.

The park is beautiful and natural, but you’ll find 20 species of wildlife lurking throughout it. There’s a fun store and some snacks to enjoy as well.

Maryland: Burley Oak Brewing Company (Berlin)

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Burley Oak Brewing Company is a rustic destination perfect for a quick drink and meal. If you like root beer and small-batch ales, this is the best location.

If you’re visiting on a Saturday, stop in for a tour of the brewery.

Massachusetts: Purgatory Chasm State Reservation (Sutton)

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For a bit of hiking off the beaten path, check out the Purgatory Chasm State Reservation. It’s a natural landmark you don’t want to miss.

You’ll walk through various forests and a number of rock formations. Even if you’ve never hiked before, it’s worth exploring this glacially-dug chasm.

Michigan: Vic’s Pit Stop (Flint)

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Vic’s Pit Stop is the perfect place for drinks and barbeque, though you’ll find the pizza pretty good as well. If you’re traveling across the state, make a stop here.

They're smoking everything right in the back. You can play some games and, if you visit on the right night, enjoy some live music, too.

Minnesota: Happy’s Drive-In (Onamia)

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The perfect, simple, fast-food-but-better destination in Minnesota is Happy’s Drive-In.

You can have lunch on the picnic tables (the sloppy joes are some of the best) and then enjoy some hard ice cream. There’s also a playground to help the kids burn off some energy for the next leg of the trip.

Mississippi: The Peacan House (McHenry)

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The Pecan House is a super-cool, family-owned, generational destination known for its candied pecans. They have other candy, too, but you won’t want anything else!

If you want a place to stop for a great cup of coffee and treats for the road (and perhaps a few gifts to take with you), visit this destination.

Missouri: Cooper’s Landing (Columbia)

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Cooper’s Landing sits right off the Louis and Clark trail. It’s a marina, campground, store, and entertainment venue all rolled into one. If you’re RVing across the state, stop here for a day along the river.

Cooper’s Landing Riverside Resort and Marina is noted for its blues and drinks, too. You’ll have no trouble finding a great meal to enjoy before you tuck in for the night.

Montana: Pit Stop, Raceway Café & Black Brewery (Black Eagle)

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Perfect for a cocktail after a long day on the road, the Pit Stop, Raceway Café & Black Brewery are a must while you’re on the road out this way.

If you want to stop to catch a game, this is where to do it, too. Simple and straightforward, it’s known for its excellent fried chicken.

Nebraska: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Omaha)

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Need some time inside, at least for a few hours? Check out the Alaskan Adventure at the Henry Doorly Zoo or the Berniece Grewcock Butterfly and Insect Pavillion.

Voted the number one zoo in the country, it is large, with plenty to do (including a full aquarium), but it’s also the perfect place to relax when you need a break.

Nevada: Pink Canyon Trail (Overton)

jerzy/Adobe Cactus and pink canyon - Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Pastel Canyon Trail (often called Pink Canyon) is a mesmerizing drive. Drive through pink canyon walls along Mouse’s Tank Road.

It’s an out-and-back trail that takes less than 30 minutes to hike. This narrow canyon in the Valley of Fire State Park is perfect for selfies.

New Hampshire: The Common Man Roadside Café (New Hampton)

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The Common Man Roadside Café has perfect diner food and excellent coffee for long nighttime drives. There’s also a full bar for those not driving.

You can also stop by in the morning to enjoy a huge breakfast. If you can’t eat it there, take a slice of pie with you for the road.

New Jersey: Applegate Farm (Montclair)

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Applegate Farm is the simplest of pit stops. It’s the ice cream stand from the farm that you want to check out. The farm itself dates to the 1840s and continues to be operational.

The recipes are tried-and-true because the ice cream is some of the most sought-after in the region.

New Mexico: Laguna 66 Pit Stop (Laguna)

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For the best pit stop for gas and a fill-up of your stomach, check out Laguna 66 Pit Stop. They’re noted for their burgers and fries.

You’ll also find the best shakes and breakfast sandwiches here. There are a few different locations, but you’re looking for the original on Historic Route 66 for the best of the best.

New York: Kaaterskill Falls (Haines Falls)

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The Kaaterskill Falls is a fantastic two-stage waterfall well worth a slight detour if you’re traveling through the Catskills.

The hike to the falls is just off County Road 18 and is about 1.4 miles roundtrip. The 260-foot drop is mesmerizing.

North Carolina: Mamie’s Drive Inn (Laurel Hill)

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At Mamie’s Drive Inn, you’ll find a quaint destination with exceptional food. Good food, like burgers that are hand-pattied (their term) and onion rings, make this one of the best destinations for a quick bite to eat.

Add to that the nice outdoor seating (perfect for stretching your legs) and super-friendly service, and you have the ideal choice.

North Dakota: Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge (Kenmare)

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The Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent choice for a long walk, a relaxing view, and waterfowl watching.

The sloping trails are a nice, easy walk. You will likely see a number of birds here (there are more than 19,500 acres, and it has long been an essential bird migrating area).

Ohio: Jungle Jim’s International Market (Cincinnati)

Piman Khrutmuang/adobe woman driving shopping cart while doing grocery at store

There is nothing quite like Jungle Jim’s International Market. You have over 200,000 square feet of shopping to explore (this is more than a quick pit stop!) and every type of wine, international and domestic snacks, and any type of souvenirs you can imagine (maybe nothing or everything, but it’s hard to not find what you need here).

There are also in-store cooking demonstrations, massive seafood tanks, and good food (even a Kids Corner) for those who may be picky.

Oklahoma: Wanda J’s Next Generation Restaurant (Tulsa)

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A family-owned and operated destination that first opened its doors in 1974, Wanda J’s Next Generation Restaurant is a friendly, laid-back location with the perfect Southern cuisine.

This location’s food is satisfying, with a focus on comfort food classics for the region, such as homemade mac and cheese and catfish.

Oregon: Tillamook Creamery (Tillamook)

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The Tillamook Creamery is the destination to see if you love cheese (in all forms). Stop in for some good treats and take a self-guided tour.

If you're looking for something special, try the location’s famous Tillamook fried cheese curds or, if you want something sweet, the Hazelnut Salted Carmel ice cream.

Pennsylvania: Hameu Farm (Belleville)

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The Hameau Farm is a fantastic destination for those who want to learn about true cow farming. You won’t find a lot of tech here, but you will find natural beauty.

They also offer rugged cabins without electricity and the opportunity to milk a cow if you like. On the way, you’ll likely see the Belle of Saint Mary’s, a massive 13-foot-tall fiberglass cow. You can stop and take photos.

Rhode Island: The Cliff Walk (Newport)

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The Cliff Walk is the perfect stop when you want to get your toes wet and see the force of the ocean. You’ll see the ocean, note the stunning mansions along the coastline, and take in the salt air.

It’s a 3.5-mile public access walkway right along the shore, and it is the ideal choice for those looking for a nice cool hike on a hot day.

South Carolina: Nostalgic Station (Laurens)

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It’s name says it all. At Nostalgic Station, you’ll find strange, interesting, and super cool memorabilia. It is a restored gas station with some of the best signs and cars of the mid-1950s.

This landmark and historical destination isn’t very big (perfect for an hour of stretching), but if you love Betty Boop or remember the days of the Blues Brothers, you’ll want to stop in.

South Dakota: Good Earth State Park Visitors Center (Sioux Falls)

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Good Earth State Park Visitors Center is worth a couple of hours of your time exploring this natural and culturally significant destination.

If you have bikes, go for a ride here or do some early-morning fishing before you set out on the road.

Tennessee: The Parthenon (Nashville)

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The Parthenon in Nashville is a full-scale replica of what you would find in Athens (and it is super cool to walk through and imagine the history of humankind).

The Greek Revival architecture throughout is impressive, especially since it was built in 1897.

Texas: Giant Fire Hydrant (Beaumont)

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Everything in Texas is big, and that applies to the Giant Fire Hydrant in the center of town in Beaumont.

This is a 24-foot-tall Dalmatian fire hydrant — and it works. It’s worth a stop for some photos.

Utah: Grafton Ghost Town (Zion National Park)

MelissaMN/Adobe ghost town of grafton utah

If you’re heading out to Utah for natural exploration, stop in at the Grafton Ghost Town near Zion National Park.

The town hasn’t been occupied since the 1940s, and it certainly offers some exceptional experiences (and some eerie ones, too). You’ll have to take a self-guided tour to explore it all.

Vermont: Hen of the Wood (Burlington)

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At Hen of the Wood, you’ll find a fantastic restaurant with a woodsy, laid-back feel. This location, which is right near the Hotel Vermont, is a popular choice for those looking for good food and a bit of quiet relaxation.

It’s a bit more elevated than other pit stops out there, but everyone should dine every once in a while on vibrant, thoughtfully-sourced food.

Virginia: Powell Valley Overlook (Big Stone Gap)

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As you’re trekking across the countryside, make a stop at the Powell Valley Scenic Overlook (it’s just off the northbound lanes on US Route 23).

There’s nothing to do but marvel at the beauty of Virginia’s countryside, and that in itself is beautiful. Look at the farms, homes, and even the church off in the distance.

Washington: Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum (Everett)

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In Everett, stop into the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum, especially if you like military history and aircraft.

The nonprofit organization is all about preserving rare military tanks, airplanes, and the overall knowledge of the 1900s’ military movements.

West Virginia: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (Harpers Ferry)

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Here’s a fantastic gem to visit when you’re driving through West Virginia. The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is right at the convergence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. There’s an incredible amount of history here.

Take a few hours to explore the hikes here or bike it. You’ll definitely want to spend a few minutes at John Brown’s Fort, too.

Wisconsin: Al Johnson's Goats on the Roof (Sister Bay)

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You read that name right. At Al Johnson's Goats on the Roof, you’ll actually encounter a Swedish Restaurant noted for its sod rooftop.

This log cabin destination offers very good, authentic Swedish food, and yes, there are goats that sometimes munch off the roof.

Wyoming: Shell Falls (Shell)

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Shell Falls is about 21 miles southwest of Burgess Junction and is well worth a detour. This beautiful waterfall in the Bighorn National Forest is a stunning display.

The Shell Falls Interpretive Site is available for observation most days of the week during the summer.

Bottom line

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A pit stop could be anything, from a quick dinner to a roadside attraction that gets you out of the car long enough to wonder where you are. These pit stops are sure to be worthy of a bit of a detour and will definitely step up your travel game, especially for those looking for something really memorable to explore. Just be sure to bring you favorite travel credit card with you.

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