Rest areas

Rest areas | Waysides | Clean | Comments | Lost items | History | Other states

Rest area

Rest areas

Located on the Interstate highway system and other major four-lane highways and are open year round. Wisconsin has 30 rest areas, with amenities such as:

  • Clean restroom facilities
  • Car and truck parking
  • Drinking water
  • Handicap accessibility
  • Picnic areas
  • Road maps and other traveler information
  • Weather information at most locations
  • Places to walk your pet
  • Snacks and drinks from the vending services at most locations
  • Recycling areas
  • Wisconsin Historical Marker plaques commemorating historical facts and events

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Waysides

Wisconsin has waysides which are open during summer months (usually open seasonally from late May to mid-September), generally located on two-lane highways, are more rustic in nature, located in scenic locations, and feature:

  • Parking
  • Toilet facilities
  • Drinking water
  • Picnic areas on a smaller scale
  • Recycling areas at some locations

Keeping our rest areas clean

Please use the trash containers and recycling bins and help keep Wisconsin's rest areas and waysides clean.

Rest Area Maintenance program - 30 years - 1987-2017   

A comprehensive team of people work cooperatively behind the scenes to keep our rest areas and waysides clean, safe and in good working order:

  • Local Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP), through the Rest Area Maintenance (RAM) program, provide the day-to-day maintenance at each rest area and some waysides. The CRPs provide employment for nearly 400 people with disabilities who might otherwise have limited employment opportunities.
  • Rehabilitation For Wisconsin (RFW), a private non-profit organization, is responsible for direction of the CRPs at each rest area.
  • Counties are responsible for snow plowing at rest areas and waysides and the maintenance of some waysides.
  • WisDOT's Bureau of Highway Maintenance is responsible for overseeing the state-wide rest area and wayside operation.

Comments

We welcome your comments and suggestions for improvements. Please be sure to include:

  • Which rest area and/or wayside you visited
  • Date and time you were there
  • What you liked or didn't like

Lost and found

For lost items, call or contact Rehabilitation for Wisconsin.

Historical marker   

History

"Early roadside rest areas consisted of rural school grounds and country churchyards with their two little "houses" in back.

In Wisconsin, by 1920, curves were built to eliminate sharp road corners. Local garden clubs, with the American Legion and Auxiliary, began to beautify many of the resulting triangles with flowers and shrubs. Motorists used these places to relax and picnic.

In 1931 the Wisconsin Legislature authorized highway beautification, and later the familiar waysides – small roadside parks at first, and for many years, with no water or sanitation.

In 1940, garden and women’s clubs, the Legion, the Wisconsin Friends of Our Native Landscape and others organized the Wisconsin Roadside Council, joined by the County Highway and County Boards Associations, to aid the State Highway Commission in roadside development and increasing and improving waysides.

Through such initiatives Wisconsin gained the experience to become one of the very first states to provide these modern, full-facility I-Road rest areas you now enjoy approximately every 50 miles."

Wisconsin Historical Marker plaques, commemorating historical facts and events are located on-site at many rest areas and waysides.

For a complete list of official Wisconsin Historical Markers, visit the Wisconsin State Historical Society website.

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Rest areas in nearby states: