If you’re headed south this holiday season, make sure you’re taking the safest route! The last thing you need is to let snow and other bad weather put a damper on your trip. Here are some southern-headed routes that are usually well maintained in the winter accompanied by some reviews on great stops along the way! Travel safely this holiday season!
I-75 From Michigan To Florida
If you’re headed south from Michigan (where we are) or somewhere nearby, try to hit I-75 and stay on it as long as you can. If you’re heading to Florida you can stay on I-75 the entire way! It may be a longer route, but it’s easier to drive in the winter. I-75 doesn’t have many sharp twists and turns as some highways do. This is extremely helpful when driving on icy roads. Unlike other highways headed the same way, there’s minimal mountains to climbs so you won't have to worry about cliffs and steep drop-offs! If the weather gets really bad, you’ll find lots of places to stop and take refuge until things die down. Lastly, unlike some highways that go down to only one lane in each direction here and there, I-75 is a 2-lane highway in both directions all the way, giving you more room to navigate the road.
Where to Stop If Things Get Bad
When things get bad the best thing to do is just get off the road for a while. Let the storm die down, wait for plows/salt trucks, or wait for things to warm up a little so it’s not as icy. Here are some great places you can stop that have some really good reviews from visitors on sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Google.
Big Buck Brewery | Exit 282
Big Buck is one of Michigan’s most well-known breweries! Aside from 8 staple brews, they always have seasonal beers as well! In addition you’ll find a full wine list from vineyards around the world, vodkas from their distillery, and a full food menu with great dishes! The atmosphere in this brewery is nice as well, especially if you’re a hunter. There are a lot of taxidermied animals mounted on the walls! Reviews show that people love the drinks and food, however the service may be a bit slow. But if you’re waiting out a snowstorm, this may not be a big deal.
Prime Outlets | Exit 135
Here you can pull over, do some shopping, and even park your rig for the night! Prime Outlets in Birch Run, MI, has a ton of stores! Since this is an outlet mall, you can save a lot of money too. Located around the outlet mall are lots of restaurants, such as Applebee's, Bob Evans, and Culvers, where you can grab hot food! Reviews from others all point out that the selection at Prime Outlets is great and they offer wonderful prices!
Meijer | Exit 193
The Meijer in Toledo, OH, is a family-owned grocery store chain and is very nice! At Meijer it's one-stop shopping for groceries, home decor, clothing, toiletries, and more! Here you can pull off the interstate and hunker down for the night in their parking lot, all while picking up any supplies you may need! They even have a camping section so you can grab things you may need for later! People comment on the great pricing and selection as well as the friendly staff! You can even sign up for MPerks and clip digital coupons!
Texas Roadhouse | Exit 159
Nothing relaxes white knuckles better than a big, juicy steak! The Texas Roadhouse in Findlay, OH, offers up the best steaks around! If you’ve never been to one of these restaurants you need to make this stop either way. The atmosphere is fun and the staff is always friendly and helpful! Reviews of this particular location point out the relaxing atmosphere, stellar staff, and amazing food. There’s also a Walmart not too far away where you may be able to park for the night. Just be sure to check with management first!
Hickory River Smokehouse | Exit 68
Ready for some more great food? This little gem isn’t a big chain but they definitely have what it takes to satisfy your hunger and give you a place to ride out the storm! The people who reviewed Hickory River Smokehouse in Tipp City, OH, say that the food is amazing and while it is a smaller restaurant, it’s very clean and well kept. There’s also a shopping center not too far down the road where you might be able to find overnight parking.
Gold Star Chili | Exit 166
Chili is just what Mother Nature ordered when it’s snowing and cold! If the cold has followed you as far as Crittenden, KY, pull over and enjoy a bowl at Gold Star Chili! This is a smaller restaurant where you’ll find chili, Coney dogs, sandwiches, and more. The people who have reviewed this place have all said great things about the food, however a few have experienced sub-par service.
I-81/I-476/I-95 New York to Florida
New York is one place to escape in the winter! Not only is it cold there, it’s busy! If you’re headed south from New York to Florida, we have a route for you that will give you plenty of stops if you need them, and try to avoid hazardous areas as much as possible. To take this route, simply start off on I-81 and then you’re going to head over to I-95 via I-476 so you can avoid the mountains. If you continue on I-81 you’ll hit the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains and you don’t want to deal with those in a snowstorm. High elevation, steep hills to climb, and lots of deer and other wildlife just makes for a tough trip.
Where to Stop During Poor Weather
As you cruise down this lovely route you may find conditions that aren’t great for driving. This could include icy roads, accidents, or white-out conditions. To avoid these situations and let them pass, check out one of these places!
The Apollo Restaurant | I-85, Exit 45
The Apollo Restaurant in Watertown, NY, is a great place to hide out! This is a local restaurant that features Greek-American food. Visitors said that this place has great food and impeccable service! It’s also located near a lot of other restaurants as well as some shopping centers. This is a good location to try and find overnight parking!
Spectacular Fireworks USA
For the pyromaniac in you, there’s Spectacular Fireworks USA in New Milford, PA! Get your firepower for your next celebration while you ride out the storm. Those that have shopped here have amazing things to say! They all rave about the remarkable selection and fair prices. Some have even noted being able to find things here that they cannot find elsewhere.
Earl Bowl Lanes | I-476, Morwood Rd.
Bowling is a fun way to pass the time, and Earl Bowl Lanes in Earlington, PA, has got you covered! You can enjoy a game plus great music. People that have visited comment on its laid-back, relaxed atmosphere! Come here to have a good time!
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet | I-95, Exit 85
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Aberdeen, MD, is a great place to stop and shop! They stock close-out items, excess inventory, and even salvage goods! You can find all kinds of really neat stuff at amazing prices! This includes grocery items, housewares, small appliances, clothing, and much more! Ollie’s visitors love the prices and say the staff is great to work with!
Bistro L’Hermitage | I-95, Exit 160
If you’re in the mood for French cuisine, then head over to Bistro L’Hermitage in Woodbridge, VA! Now, this place isn’t cheap (as most French cuisine isn't), but it’s well worth it. In fact, that is just what the reviews have to say about this place! It’s also located in an area where you can do some shopping and probably find some overnight parking.
I-90/I-25 Montana to New Mexico
Escape the cold that blows through Montana and the surrounding areas with a trip down to New Mexico! Following I-90 to I-25 and then staying on I-25 will get you where you’re headed. It conveniently keeps you just outside of the Bighorn Mountain Range that runs through Wyoming and stays just east of the Rockies as well. This way you can avoid an elevation change and coming across any larger animals that could serious damage your vehicle in the event of a collision. Now, we just need to find you places to stop when the weather gets nasty!
Winter Hideouts on I-90 & I-25
Just in case you didn’t read any of the above, and why would you if you’re in the Montana area, we want to stress again that pulling over when the weather gets bad is a must. It’s better to be late than to not reach your destination at all! So, when you feel the wind picking up, the roads getting icy, or the snow coming down so thick you can’t see, here are some places where you can safely ride out the storm!
Dragon Wall Restaurant | I-90, Exit 25
If you’re up for some great Chinese food, Dragon Wall Restaurant in Sheridan, WY, is a prime stop! Not only do people say the food is unbelievable, but they love the low prices too! Just across the street is a Walmart where you may be able to score some overnight parking (ask the management first!).
Downtown Aquarium | I-25, Exit 212B
Check out the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, CO! See all kinds of sea life, enjoy the 4-D theater, and have a bite to eat at the restaurant. They even have a mermaid show and a tiger! Reviewers say you’ll find helpful employees, a great selection of exhibits, and delicious food!
Western Museum of Mining and Industry | I-25, Exit 156
Take in some history while the snow does its thing at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry! Located in Colorado Springs, CO, this museum is a great place to spend the day. Learn about our country's mining history and stay warm too! Those that have visited say this is a wonderful place to take your family or just wander for the day!
I-5 Washington to California
It’s no secret that Washington state and surrounding areas are cold in the winter. Plenty of people are looking to escape the cold and head down to California. You can hop on I-5 and head all the way down! While you will hit some mountains on the way down, this route avoids the majority of the high elevation and there are not a lot of sharp twists and turns!
Where To Stop on I-5
When you’re looking to escape the cold, there’s no avoiding driving through it to get out of it. If it gets too bad and you need to stop, here are some places to spend some time! Remember, no deadline is worth your safety, so always stop if it gets too slippery or if visibility gets low.
South Sound Center | Exit 108
Shopping can always cure the winter blues! South Sound Center in Lacey, WA, is a great place to stop if you’re meeting rough weather! You’ll find plenty of stores to keep you occupied and you may even be able to score some overnight parking if it looks like it’s going to be a while before the weather lets up. Those who have shopped here say there is a nice collection of stores and that the plaza itself is very convenient.
Lava Java | Exit 14
If you love coffee you have to stop at Lava Java! The coffee will warm you up physically while the atmosphere will warm your soul! Found in Ridgeford, WA, you’ll be amazed at the coffee here. Reviewers rave about the coffee, the environment, and the staff. The only complaint is slower-than-average service. But if you’re hiding out from a storm, then speed may not be an issue for you!
World Of Speed USA | Exit 286
Stop off in Wilsonville, OR, for some history on the automotive industry! World of Speed USA is a museum dedicated to cars! You’ll enjoy exhibits, simulators, workshops, and more! This is a great place to make a stop and those who have been here agree! They all say the staff is amazingly friendly, there’s a great gift shop, and the exhibits are wonderful!
Oregon Barbecue Company | Exit 234B
Make a pit stop in Albany, OR, and check out Oregon Barbecue Company! This place has incredible food! It’s small but well worth checking out! You’ll find pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and much more! People who visit say that it’s the best food around with great service!
Unique Lee Yours | Exit, 61
Feel like getting crafty? Stop into Unique Lee Yours in Grants Pass, OR, where you can learn and participate in needlepoint and cross-stitch! This is a great place to hunker down for a while when you want to get off the road. They have classes, charts, threads, fabrics, and more! Reviewers love the owner who seems to not only give great customer service but offers friendship as well.
Klub Klondike | Exit 704
If you could use some home-cooked food and a drink or two stop into Klub Klondike in Lakehead, CA! This is a small club where you can feel right at home and enjoy some drinks and live entertainment. Visitors love the drinks and the atmosphere and most say you really need to stop here!
NorCal Indoor Sports | Exit 53B
Talk about a fun place to pass the time! Hit up NorCal Indoor Sports in Woodland, CA, where you can get lost in excitement! They offer indoor batting cages, soccer, volleyball, inline hockey, bubble soccer, and public skating! People who have spent time here say they love the friendly and helpful staff, had a ton of fun playing bubble soccer, and adore the indoor batting cages.
These routes should help you make it south safely and offer plenty of safe places to stop in snowy areas. Take some photos along your adventure and share them below! Did you find a great place along one of these routes you want to share? Let us know!