I have been an avid vacationer in the Western United States for over 40 years. I love exploring and discovering new places.
Rest Areas on I-15
Traveling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas can be a nightmare, especially if you are headed out on a Friday night for a weekend of fun. The only way to compound that frightful experience is if you are plagued with irritable bowel syndrome, commonly referred to as IBS. Since I may or may not suffer from the effects of IBS, I may or may not have stopped in just about every toilet on the I-15. I may or may not have even been forced to use a deserted off-ramp a time or two, which if I did, I wouldn’t recommend nor would I admit to.
However, there is nothing worse than going in your pants, so if worse comes to worst, choose the off-ramp. As a disclaimer, beware of Highway Patrol though- it is against the law to leave a deposit anywhere but in a designated “restroom." As a side note, it is always a good idea to carry TP or baby wipes with you at all times, including times when you do find a true blue potty; you never know what you may find in one of those highway stalls.
Your Best and Worst Options
I would like to share what I like to call my list of best and worst options for restrooms on the I-15.
A general rule to follow is if you can find an In-N-Out restaurant, you most always are guaranteed a clean spot to rest, and a good fast meal too. Perhaps this list may give a new meaning to the “Out” in the name of the restaurant. Thankfully there are plenty of In-N-Out restaurants along the I-15 route. I have included a map so that, “rest” assured, you can find one. Make sure to look for that big neon sign offering you relief.
After the Top of Cajon Pass
Since there are plenty of potty options before the Cajon Pass, you can pretty much rest at ease that you will not encounter any difficulties if the need should arise. However, once you start the ascent up the hill your options become much more limited. If your stomach starts to rumble as you wind your way upward, you have two options when you reach the top. One is the Summit Inn; the other is a McDonald's not too far away. Believe me, choose the Summit Inn. I believe the Mcdonald's restroom, at the top of the Cajon Pass, is a step below the side of the road option.
Tanger Outlet Malls
If you can make it, you can go just a little past the Summit Inn to the In-N-Out and find a clean place to relax. Also, if In-N-Out seems a bit crowded for your taste, on the other side of the freeway is a Bob’s Big Boy whose facilities are remarkably clean too.
Victorville is your next bathroom option, and again In-N-Out is the best choice, but there are plenty of other places right off the freeway on the frontage road that you can choose from, you will have to take your chances, but most of the options are free and clean.
There is a stretch of road in between Victorville and Barstow that might make one with IBS become a little bit nervous, especially if they stopped to grab a meal in any of the previously mentioned roadside restaurants. Never fear relief can be had once again as you reach the Tanger Outlet Centers, better known as the Barstow Outlet Malls. The In-N-Out is extremely crowded here all the time, but because of the crowds, they seem to keep up on the maintenance of the potties. The Tanger Outlet Food Court has a really large bathroom facility that is clean and always restocked. The Outlets are a great place to find relief as they offer a ton of choices.
Hold On Until You Get to Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner
From the Tanger Outlet Center to Barstow is just a hop, skip, and a jump. If you have a problem from the Outlets to Barstow, get off at Main Street and go to the Barstow Station. It is always crowded and the restroom facilities are not the cleanest, but believe me, they are better than any other Barstow option. If you can hold on for a little while longer, just up the road is Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner in Yermo. This place is a totally fun place to stop, and the bathrooms are easily accessible and usually clean.
Skip Barker if You Can
When you are driving on the I-15 there is always the option to stop at the designated I-15 Rest Areas. There are only two that are available between Barstow and Las Vegas, so be warned. One is just before you get to Zzzyx Road, and is before you reach the town of Baker. The other one is after Baker, just before you get to Mountain Pass. They are usually clean, and a welcome sight if you are in need.
The only other place to stop before you hit Vegas is Baker. Pray the urge passes so that you don’t have to stop in Baker, but if you do, it is seriously a crapshoot, pick one of the chain restaurants on the main drag, and take your own TP.
Once you hit the California Nevada border you are home free. You have the Stateline Casinos to pick from and then it is seriously just around the next little bend to Vegas.
Last Minute Advice...
Have fun, be safe, and watch for those deserted roadside exits. Happy Hunting!