The Best Rest Areas In New York
Have you ever experienced late night travel on New York State Thruway and experienced only fast food joint offerings as nourishment? Well, New York state is making efforts to modernize and expand their rest areas, which may offer better options in future.
New travel plazas are sprouting across the state. But which are the best?
1. Clifton Park Rest Area
This recently rebuilt rest area provides northbound traffic on Interstate 87 (also known as the Northway). Featuring large bathrooms, a state police substation and lots of tourist brochures about Saratoga Springs area tourism. While not an ideal rest stop for long stays or food offerings, it does provide a clean place to take a quick text break or have lunch break.
Clifton Park Welcome Center serves not only as a rest area but also as an information and visitor center. Visitors can learn about local attractions such as Saratoga Racecourse and Lake George from this LEED-certified building that boasts regional elements that reflect its adventure-rich history.
While truckers and highway officials share a mutual goal of keeping drivers alert on the road, there can be differences of opinion on how best to reach that objective. Safety advocates might take issue with truck stop owners' orders that compel truckers out of parking spots after too long, even though this practice violates federal rules on parking space allocation.
Some states require police officers to rouse truckers from public rest areas even when they have not exceeded the maximum daily driving time limit legally allowed for that day, Krammes says. Regardless, rest area forum produced "a rich set of recommendations" which all involved parties could use as starting points in finding solutions that meet their particular needs.
2. The Adirondacks Welcome Center
The Adirondack Welcome Center, situated between Exits 17 and 18 on the Northway in Queensbury is a magnificent new rest stop. This LEED-certified travel plaza provides public restrooms, public vending machines featuring products from across New York State and region, I LOVE NY interactive kiosks, an Adirondack floor map, an outdoor children's play area with zip line as well as public restrooms for guests. In addition, New York Department of Environmental Conservation recently installed a boat inspection and washing station there to combat spread of invasive species.
There is also an outdoor seating area, pet comfort area, free Wi-Fi, electric car charging stations and picnic tables at this plaza. As its centerpiece stands a 9-foot-tall balsam fir from River Bend Christmas Tree Farm in Lake Luzerne - making this tree unique to New York state rest areas and the only one of its kind in America!
New York recently began an ambitious $450 million renovation of 27 service plazas across its 27 counties, employing several of the most beloved fast food and casual dining chains -- from Chick-fil-A, which recently faced backlash due to its donations against LGBTQ causes, New York-born Shake Shack, Panera Bread and Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts -- as tenants in these plazas.
3. Western New York Welcome Center
Recently, many of New York State's Thruway rest areas underwent a revamp by the Thruway Authority. Instead of including outdated restaurants like McDonald's in their service plazas, such as old favorites like Chick-fil-A and Dominos Pizza that had long been present there; popular chains included Shake Shack from New York as well as fast-casual staples Panda Express and more recently Southern favorite Chick-fil-A (which was controversially added into certain rest areas) and fast-casual staple Panda Express.
At present, several Thruway rest areas offer no dining options whatsoever while others only provide limited restaurant choices (such as one Popeyes that has caused much criticism). But that does not imply that travel plazas are wastes of money; indeed, the newly constructed Western New York Welcome Center is truly stunning and worth stopping at!
This Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rest stop serves as an entranceway to world-class attractions and historic sites in the area. Inside is the Taste NY Market which offers travelers fresh made breakfast and lunch items--such as soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts made using ingredients sourced locally--using local growers and producers' produce. They also offer grab-and-go snacks, craft beverages and locally made products for purchase.
Outdoors, you will discover a path through history, a Great Lakes shipwreck-themed playground and tables for picnicking or spreading out maps. Additional facilities here include public restrooms, kiosks, three electric car charging stations and an artifact wall - it is even pet-friendly!
4. Mohawk Valley Welcome Center
This stop along the Thruway west of Albany is truly special; it serves more like an exhibit hall for its local area than your typical rest stop. They have tons of information about its history and culture; you can walk directly up to an operating lock on the Erie Canal for photographs; there's even an outdoor climbing park for kids! In addition, there are vending machines with Taste NY products (such as maple syrup and drinkable yogurt), maps, brass plaques honoring prominent individuals from this region as well as charging stations and pet comfort areas!
The Welcome Center itself is LEED-certified, celebrating this adventure-filled region. Featuring information kiosks featuring popular destinations in Adirondacks and Finger Lakes to the north; wineries and craft breweries to the south; as well as Taste NY vending machines offering fresh wraps and sandwiches made on site - its LEED certification sets it apart!
The Mohawk Valley Welcome Center is open all year-round, located along Interstate 81 between exits 28 and 29 in Fultonville and Canajoharie and costing 4.5 million to expand. However, its construction was funded from state general fund instead of toll money collected via toll gates. Now featuring more digitized kiosks that promote tourism to promote state industry growth as well as Erie Canal-themed play equipment to allow kids to burn off some steam; Path Through History for historical sites of regional significance; as well as three electric vehicle charging stations - its construction was funded solely from state general fund!