Good News, Bad News: Asheville’s I-26 Rest Areas Are Closing, Here’s What You Can Do About It

By D. Lanier Shook                       February 27, 2020

The highway rest area is an awesome life-saver. Literally. How many exhausted drivers have pulled off and collapsed at a rest area? How many drivers who suddenly regret the 64 ounce Big Gulp fervently thanked God when they saw a Rest Area? Well, there’s good news and bad news for drivers traveling on Interstate 26 south of Asheville. But you are not helpless.

The bad news. The rest areas between Exits 40 and 44 are closing. But the good news is that you can do something about it. Here’s the secret the locals know: where to stop.

The nightmare situation

Its 2:30 in the morning and you just crossed the French Broad River south of Asheville. You’re listening to Coast to Coast on WWNC when your bladder reminds you of the three ice teas you had in Johnson City. (This is a family-friendly blog here, folks.) In the reverse, you’ve passed Hendersonville heading north when the reminder arrives. What are you gonna do?

If you hadn’t read this article you’re gonna panic, but plan on the rest area. Then you’re gonna pull off at the next exit. Bad idea unless you know what you’re doing. Fortunately I have the solution. Here’s what’s open all night in the area.

Exit 40: There is a Wal Mart Super Center on Airport Road north of I-26 and it is open 24 hours.

Exit 44: The Mountain Energy Truck Stop is south of I-26 and it’s open 24 hours also.

If you’re exhausted I’d recommend the Wal Mart at Exit 40 to sleep in the parking lot. Of course, if you’re completely zonked out don’t wait till then. Driving sleepy is no joke.

The really good news is that the NC DOT is going to give us super rest areas when they reopen. You can find out more by clicking here to read their press release. I mean these are gonna be as good as nearly any out there.


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