At times when hitting the road, especially as a solo traveler, you find yourself having to make stops for a stretch break or even a short nap. However so many times this can be a difficultly decision to make as to where in regards to safety. Texas, however is welcoming motorists and travelers like myself in a way unlike any other state as they have opened Safety Stop Rest Areas.
Designed to set the stigma of creepy stops to the wayside, safety stops are well lit, provide security staff on many occasions and are fully covered by cameras. Not to mention they have large facilities designed for families stopping along the way including large bathrooms, playground, picnic areas, extended parking spaces and storm shelters, yep storm shelters.
I originally found one of these locations during summer of last year, I was returning to North Texas from the coast and noticed a large rest stop, perfect for a stretch break. But when I went in I noticed this was unlike any stop I had previously encountered. A small museum focused on telling the story of the area, storm shelters provided safe haven for those escaping from Hurricane conditions and outdoor open spaces abounded making it feel more like a park than a roadside stop.
I was so fascinated by the stop that I had to look into it, only to realize that Texas was blazing the path on making travel a bit more safe for people like myself.
Anyone who has driven across the huge state might take note of just how long it takes to navigate from border to border. I have found that just leaving the state takes longer from my midpoint home from driving completely across so many other states. But this is where the safety stops come into play, those coaxed by the road into a highway hypnosis of sorts previously would be forced to stop at chain stores, parking toward the rear or dimly lit roadside stops to seek rest. These stops changed everything!
Not only do these stops have many improved comforts, making for a more accommodating stop for solo travelers or families they also in many instances have free wifi available and in some cases a boosted cell reception service to aid motorists attempting to flee from weather. Weather conditions are posted or streamed at these stops and in areas which face hurricanes or tornadoes many times security staff is available or on call to help with evacuations.
No two safety stops are the same, each reflects the area they are constructed within to allow a traveling history of differing counties and communities. Many focus on industries popular to the area to allow a glimpse into the ever changing geography of the Lone Star State. Several include hiking trails to allow those stopping to adventure and check out the landscape of the area or find their own bit of peace along the bustling travel schedule.
Since my original discovery of these unique stops I have seen and stopped at a handful. I look forward now to those longer drives across the bleak spaces knowing that amidst the mundane and less populated areas that I will soon find something of interest just waiting to be discovered.