Types of rest areas
These rest area buildings are clean, modern and open 24 hours per day. They offer a drinking fountain, display case maps, travel displays, vending machines and public phones. Typically, these rest areas are located on sites of 15 to 30 acres. They feature picnic facilities, lighted walkways and lighted car, recreational vehicle and commercial truck parking lots. Class I facilities frequently include a children's play lot, pet exercise areas, artwork, regional and cultural interpretative information and scenic views. Twenty-nine of the MnDOT operated Class I rest areas are located on the Interstate System and 14 are on non-Interstate highways.
Travel Information Centers (TICs), Visitor Centers, and Regional Welcome Centers are Class I rest areas that offer expanded customer services and feature a staffed travel information counter. The TICs offer a broad range of statewide travel information while the Welcome Centers provide more regional travel information. Visitor Centers are partnership facilities with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that feature a staffed visitor counter and small gift shops.
MnDOT, in partnership with Explore Minnesota Tourism, operates six TICs on Interstate highways and four on non-Interstate highways. MnDOT presently and historically is involved with the development of Welcome Centers through partnerships with chambers of commerce, tourist and visitors bureaus, or other organizations that exist to promote tourism and economic development.
These smaller rest areas are usually on sites of five to 15 acres. They feature vault toilet facilities with separate facilities for men and women, picnic facilities, paved parking lots and other site amenities. They are seasonally operated.
MnDOT operates 24 Class II rest areas on non-Interstate highways.
Most of these rest areas are on sites ranging from one to five acres in size. They feature unisex vault or pit toilet facilities, picnic facilities, walkways and other site amenities. Some have paved parking lots, water wells and historic or interpretive displays. They are seasonally operated.
MnDOT operates 13 Class III rest areas on non-Interstate highways.
These are the most simple, yet most diverse facilities. They are often on sites of one to five acres. They do not have toilet facilities, but typically offer scenic views, historical markers, interpretive information or other points of interest. They are seasonally operated.
MnDOT operates more than 180 wayside rests on non-Interstate highways.