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A rest area, travel plaza, rest stop, or service area is a public facility, located next to a large thoroughfare such as a highway, expressway, or freeway at which drivers and passengers can rest, eat, or refuel without exiting onto secondary roads. Other names include motorway service area, service station, rest and service area (RSA), resto, service plaza, and service centre. Facilities may include park-like areas, fuel stations, restrooms, restaurants, and dump and fill stations for recreational vehicles. A rest area or rest stop with limited or no public facility is a parking area or scenic area. Along some highways and roads are rest stops known as a wayside parks, roadside parks, or picnic areas. Rest areas are common in the United States, Canada, Australia, and parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The most basic rest areas have no facilities: they consist solely of an exit from the highway that leads to a roadway with paved shoulders, where drivers can rest, look at their maps, or use cell phones.
Many government-run rest areas tend to be located in remote and rural areas where there are practically no fast food or full-service restaurants, gas stations, motels, and other traveler services nearby. The locations of rest areas are usually marked by signs on the highway; for example, a sign may read, "Next Rest Stop 10 miles" or "Next Rest Area 25 km".
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