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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Putting Our Recommendations to the Test

    If you read through these forums with any regularity, you'll recognize some of the following recurring themes:

    * Eat out of a cooler. It's healthier and cheaper.
    * Take frequent short breaks from driving to remain rested and alert.
    * There are many more things to experience than just a few 'must see' places.
    * Get off the Interstates and experience local America.

    Well, it's easy enough to talk in such generalities, but is it really possible? So, I decided to set myself a challenge. I would assume that I was going to drive each of the major cross-country Interstates from end to end and that I would want to stop every 2-3 hours at a venue that would offer the opportunity to have a picnic lunch from a cooler, take an invigorating hike, and experience some refreshing scenery. Furthermore, each stop would have to be within just a few miles of an exit so as not to just add miles to the trip and wear me out in my quest for rest. And, if at all possible, they should be free.

    It turned out that it was a painfully easy challenge. There are just so many resources out there: National, state and local parks; Wildlife refuges and forests; Historic sites and museums. There's nothing magical or unique about the lists that follow. It would be easy enough to find similar venues along all the other Interstates as well, or to find different sites along these routes that better met you own timing or interests. The real point is that any trip can be a series of pleasant 'Sunday' drives, rather than just a marathon slog down the highway with stops only to speak into the mouth of a clown.

    The stops are in west to east or north to south order as appropriate.

    N.B.: These lists are not meant to be exhaustive, exclusive, or eternal. While they get updated periodically, parks do close, websites are discontinued, and these particular sites may not fit with your tempo or interests. Most importantly, they show how easy it is to find something quite near to each and every Interstate pretty much every half hour or so along it. The ones listed here were each found with nothing more than a good atlas and/or a few minutes search on the web. Use them, but they should encourage you to find your own.


    Millersylvania State Park
    Molalla River State Park
    Stewart Park
    North Mountain Park
    Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
    Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
    Pacheco State Park
    Tule Elk State Natural Reserve
    Griffith Park

    Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
    South Mountain Park
    Saguaro National Park
    Shakesperare Ghost Town
    Franklin Mountains State Park
    Van Horn city park
    James Rooney Park
    Sonora Texas walking tour
    Friedrich Wilderness Park
    Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Reserve
    Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge
    Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge
    Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge
    Blackwater River State Park
    Lake Talquin State Park
    Osceola National Forest

    Helena National Forest
    Fleecer Mountain Wildlife Management Area
    Camas National Wildlife Refuge
    Caribou National Forest
    Utah Lake State Park
    Fremont Indian State Park
    Quail Creek State Park
    City View Park
    Mojave National Preserve
    San Bernardino National Forest

    Monahans Sandhills State Park
    Lake Colorado City State Park
    Lake Mineral Wells State Park
    Purtis Creek State Park
    Lake Bistineau State Park
    Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge
    Okatibbee State Wildlife Area
    Oak Mountain State Park
    Sweetwater Creek State Park
    Sumter National Forest

    Ferne Clyffe State Park
    Dunbar Cave State Park
    Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

    Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park
    Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
    Castlewood Canyon State Park
    Trinidad Lake State Park
    Fort Union National Monument
    Petroglyph National Monument
    Elephant Butte Lake State Park

    Atlanta State Park
    Lake Catherine State Park

    Fort Snelling State Park
    Beeds Lake State Park
    Nine Eagles State Park
    Ernie Miller Nature Center
    El Dorado State Park
    Arcadia Lake Parks
    Ray Roberts Lake State Park
    Waco Riverwalk
    Landa Park

    Mojave National Preserve
    Kingman City Parks
    Walnut Canyon National Monument
    Petrified Forest National Park
    Bluewater Lake State Park
    Villanueva State Park
    Texas Welcome Center
    McClellan Creek National Grassland
    Red Rock Canyon State Park
    Lake Eufaula State Park
    Lake Dardanelle State Park
    Cache River National Wildlife Refuge
    Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge
    Long Hunter State Park
    Chilhowee Park
    Lake James State Park
    Alamance Battleground
    Bentonville Battlefield

    Twin Bridges State Park
    Mark Twain National Forest

    Fairfield Lake State Park

    Edward R. Madigan State Fish & Wildlife Area
    Mastodon State Historic Site
    Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge
    George P Cossar State Park
    Homochitto National Forest

    New Harmony State Historic Site
    Falls of the Ohio State Park
    Daniel Boone National Forest
    New River Gorge
    Riverview Park / Rivanna Trail
    York River State Park

    Tippecanoe Battlefield Memorial
    Falls of the Ohio State Park
    Radnor Lake Natural Area and Wildlife Refuge
    Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
    Blount Cultural Park

    Green River State Park
    James M. Robb Colorado River State Park
    Loveland Pass
    Limon Wetlands
    Sherman Wildlife Area
    Wilson State Park
    Crestview Park - Shunga Trail
    Perry Memorial Conservation Area
    Reifsnider State Forest
    Carlyle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
    Glenns Valley Nature Park
    Buck Creek State Park
    Salt Fork State Park
    Laurel Hill State Park
    Greenbrier State Park

    South Higgins Lake State Park
    Seven Lakes State Park
    Van Buren State Park
    Big Bone Lick State Park
    Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
    Harrison Bay State Park
    Panola Mountain State Park
    Reed Bingham State Park
    Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
    Hillsborough River State Park
    Big Cypress National Preserve

    Wolf Run State Park
    Camp Creek State Park
    Stone Mountain State Park

    Washington Park
    Stonewall Resort State Park

    Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
    Tahoe National Forest
    Lake Tahoe State Park
    Rye Patch State Recreation Area
    Humboldt National Forest
    Timpie Springs Waterfowl Management Area
    Wasatch National Forest
    Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
    Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge
    Medicine Bow National Forest
    Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
    Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
    Lake Anita State Park
    Rock Creek State Park
    Lake Macbride State Park
    Matthiessen State Park and Starved Rock State Park
    Goose Lake Prairie State Park
    Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
    Pokagon State Park
    Resthaven Wildlife Area
    Cuyahoga Valley National Park
    Bald Eagle State Park
    Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

    Chenango Valley State Park
    Locust Lake State Park
    Antietam National Battlefield
    Hungry Mother State Park

    Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge
    Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
    Lucky Peak State Park
    Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge
    Hyrum State Park
    Clarence Fahnestock State Park

    Eno River State Park
    Crowders Mountain State Park
    Victoria Bryant State Park
    Tuskegee National Forest

    Ginkgo Petrified Forest/Wanapum Recreational Area
    Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge
    Idaho Panhandle National Forests
    Beavertail Hill State Park
    Missouri Headwaters State Park
    Lake Elmo State Park
    Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site
    Keyhole State Park
    Badlands National Park
    Ft. Pierre National Grassland
    Lake Vermillion Recreation Area
    Kilen Woods State Park
    Great River Bluffs State Park
    Governor Nelson State Park
    Grant Park
    Pokagon State Park
    Resthaven Wildlife Area
    Presque Isle State Park
    Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
    Old Erie Canal State Historic Park
    October Mountain State Forest

    Lake Elmo State Park
    Pirogue Island State Park
    Theodore Roosevelt National park (South Unt)
    Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge
    Buffalo River State Park
    Birch Lakes State Forest
    Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area
    Rocky Arbor State Park
    Illinois Beach State Park
    Grand Mere State Park
    Waterloo Recreation Area

    Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
    Ferry Beach State Park
    Borderland State Park
    Sherwood Island State Park
    Independence National Historical Park
    National Mall
    Petersburg National Battlefield
    Raven Rock State Park
    Santee National Wildlife Refuge
    Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
    Timucuan Ecological Preserve and Fort Caroline
    Canaveral National Seashore
    John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

    Trans-Canada Highway
    Paul Lake Provincial Park
    Mount Revelstoke National Park
    Yoho National Park
    Fish Creek Provincial Park
    Tillebrook Provincial Park
    Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
    Shamrock Regional Park
    Wascana Centre
    Moosomin Regional Park
    Spruce Woods Provincial Park
    Birds Hill Provincial Park
    Rushing River Provincial Park
    Aaron Provincial Park
    Sandbar Lake Provincial Park
    Silver Lake Provincial Park
    Kama Hills Nature Reserve
    Red Sucker Point Nature Reserve
    Lake Superior Provincial Park
    Batchawana Bay Provincial Park
    Chutes Provincial Park
    Mashkinonje Provincial Park
    Driftwood Provincial Park
    Gatineau Provincial Park
    Voyageur Provincial Park
    Yamaska Provincial Park
    Riviere-du-Loup Waterfall Park
    Grand Falls Gorge
    Mactaquac Provincial Park
    Tidal Bore Park
    Caribou Provincial Park
    Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-29-2016 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Added Highway(s); Updated Link(s)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A painfully easy challenge....

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Well, it's easy enough to talk in such generalities, but is it really possible?
    Rather an impressive list -- it is a good thing you have high-speed Internet or the acquisition of this list wouldn't have been that easy. Great resource listing! This is going into our "All Time" resources list.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default tip of the iceburg

    That's a great list, and the best part is that even that doesn't even start to scratch the surface. This list looks mostly at larger parks - or at least ones that are big enough to have a website.

    Almost every town, even small towns has a park where you can stop have a lunch and move around for a while. I've even found some Interstate Rest Areas that could easily be classified as Landmarks themselves. And of course the only way to find those hidden gems is just to get out there and look!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Bravo!!!!

    This is a great list, AZBuck. Kudos for posting it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Wow!

    That is a cool list. Thanks for putting that together.


  6. Default Cool!

    Nice list...

    Hmm.. want some more to add? I'm pretty familiar with I-5 and I-10 (the western part).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Sure -- add a way

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    Hmm.. want some more to add? I'm pretty familiar with I-5 and I-10 (the western part).
    You can post 'em here and I will move them into Buck's list or...


  8. Default thanks

    I'll be using this list soon on my summer trip.

    The only suggestion- put the area where each road is-- mid west, CA, FL, etc. I'm doing 10,000 miles and don't have memorized where each highway is.

    Thanks again!!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Interstate Numbering

    Buck used the "major cross country" Interstates, which end in the number 0 or 5. On the Interstate Numbering system, even numbered routes go east to west, with small numbers in the south and larger numbers in the north. Odd numbered routes run north and south, with smaller numbers starting in the west. For example, I-5 runs from Washington to California, while I-10 runs from Southern California to Florida. Interstates ending in 5 or 0, like the ones buck used, theoretically run from border to border or from coast to coast - although most of them actually fall a little short of those goals.

  10. Default I-81

    You really ought to do an I-81 list. It's a huge stretch of interstate with some gorgeous scenery and great places to stop.

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