35 American Roadside Attractions

Road trips are memorable and iconic. If you are down for a road trip check out these hilarious and interesting roadside attractions along the way. Take a break, stretch your legs and get your camera ready!

Arizona – The Thing

There is no shortage of Arizona billboards for The Thing, especially along the interstate. Arizona’s most “mysterious” roadside attraction is located off exit 322. With a name like “The Thing,” you just have to stop and see what it is all about. See all kinds of weird and wonderful things.

California – Cabazon Dinosaurs

Located in Cabazon, the Cabazon Dinosaurs were built by Claude Bell. There is a tiny museum in the belly of Dinny, the massive Apatosaurus. This just might be the largest dinosaur in the entire United States!

image.pngCalifornia – Bubble Gum Alley

San Luis Obispo’s Bubblegum Alley is 70 feet of mawed chewing gum. Two walls plastered with gum runs along Higuera Street. Legend has it the gum tradition came from a rivalry between two schools, San Luis Obispo High School and California Polytechnic State University, in the 1950s.

California – Salvation Mountain

Check out Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight began painting Bible verses on the mountain in 1985 in the Imperial Valley desert. Most of the paint Leonard used was donated by “Snowbirds.” Leonard died in 2014 at 82.

California – Slab City

Just east of San Diego, you can find Slab City, a free squatter’s campsite that was formerly a World War II base. Full timers live in their own handmade makeshift houses. You’ll be surprised to find a community library, clubs, and even a golf course.

Florida – Weeki Wachee Mermaids 

Weeki Wachee Springs is for Mermaid lovers everywhere. The park has been entertaining guests since the 1940s. As if mermaids weren’t enough you can also paddle down the Weeki Wachee River. The State Park is located about an hour north of Tampa, Florida.

Unknown.jpegGeorgia – Jimmy Carter Peanut 

Where can you find a gigantic peanut? Why Plains, Georgia of course!  The large Jimmy Carter Peanut is grinning as broadly as the former President himself. The 13 feet tall peanut stands in front of Davis E-Z Shop.

Georgia – Smallest Church

The Smallest Church in America is located in South Newport, Georgia. It seats 12. Mrs. Agnes Harper had the church built in 1949. The tiny bell tower was added later in 1998.

Iowa – Largest Frying Pan

Who expects to see a giant Frying Pan is Brandon, Iowa? Me neither! It weighs in at 1,200 pounds and stands 15 feet tall. It was an attempt at the world’s largest frying pan but was outdone by one in Washington, which turned out to be 3 inches taller.

Illinois – Leaning Tower of Niles

Italy may be on your bucket list but in the meantime, you can see the Leaning Tower of Niles. This American replica of the Italian Leaning Tower of Pisa is half the size of the original.

image.pngKansas – Center of the US in Lebanon 

That’s right! Lebanon, Kansas, is the geographical center of the U.S. (Okay, if you exclude Alaska and Hawaii). You can find it about two miles northwest of Lebanon, Kansas. Take US Highway 281 north 1 mile and turn west one mile on K-191. The technical center is about a half mile away in the center of a former hog farm, but nevermind that. Traditionally you are supposed to bring a memento to leave behind for others.

Kansas – Giant Ball fo Twine

The World’s Largest Ball of Twine can be found in Cawker City, Kansas. Frank Stoeber started the ball in 1953. Every August, there is a “twine-a-thon” during which people get to add more twine to the giant ball.

Massachusetts – Bridge of Flowers

Visit Shelburne Falls to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Bridge of Flowers. The former trolley bridge has been a garden since 1929. It features hundreds of in-season fragrant florals, trees, and shrubs from April through October. The master gardener is on site during peak weekends.

image.pngMaine – Desert

If you happen to be in Freeport, Maine, check out the Desert of Maine. This is a weird little landscape anomaly in an otherwise green state. Supposedly the Desert of Maine came about due to improper farming practices hundred years ago. Today, you enter through a gift shop, of course.

Minnesota – Jolly Green Giant

It’s just the kind of thing you would expect to find in Blue Earth Minnesota. Jolly Green Giant was built in 1979. While you are at it, visit the Jolly Green Giant Museum. The citizens of Blue Earth celebrate the annual Green Days festival by putting snacks out at night and leaving large green footsteps for the morning. Who needs gas station snacks when you can have snacks from a giant?

Minnesota – Paul Bunyan

Head to Bemidji, Minnesota where it’s hard to miss this 18-foot-tall statue of the iconic lumberjack Paul Bunyan (with Babe the Blue Ox of course!)

Missouri – Hair Museum

Independence, Missouri hosts Leila’s Hair Museum a former hairdresser, collects hair and presents it as pieces of art. There are paintings with real hair or woven designs. Supposedly there is even hair from Abraham Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe.

image.png

Missouri – Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail

What do you do with nuclear waste? Build a mountain over it of course! This man-made mountain is built over a pile of waste from an explosives factory and then a Cold War nuclear plant in Weldon Spring, Missouri. The Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail now boasts of stairs that you can climb to the summit. The nearby museum that explains all about the remnants buried underneath the trail.

Montana – Mermaids

The most unique feature of the Sip ‘n Dip Tiki Lounge is the glass wall between the bar and the swimming pool. Watch swimmers under water while you enjoy your adult beverage. There are even mermaids. Who knew there were mermaids in a landlocked state!

Nebraska – Carhenge

Carhendge is located in Alliance, Nebraska, and is the handiwork of Jim Reinders and his family. Reinders built Carhenge in honor of his deceased dad. The farmer and engineer used real cars to build the piece.

image.png

Nevada – Last Supper

There are ghostly figures in an art installment titled The Last Supper out in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It’s part of the Goldwell Open Air Museum and close to the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada.

Nevada – Aliens

GGet out of Vegas and take a day trip along the Extraterrestrial Highway. Visit the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel. Make sure to gas up ahead of time for the 2 hour and 15-minute drive. There are no gas stations in Rachel. You’ll see plenty of Joshua trees, roadrunners, and tumbleweeds along the way. Be on the lookout for UFO activity. At Little A’Le’Inn, grab a bite to eat while you dig through the alien souvenirs. By the way, Area 51 is stil off limits.

New Jersey – Lucy the Elephant 

Lucy the Elephant can be found in Margate City, New Jersey. It was built in 1881 by James V. Lafferty. The building has been a real estate office, a summer home, and even a tavern. Take a tour of Lucy the Elephant and visit its tiny gift shop.

New Mexico – World’s Largest Pistachio 

The World’s Largest Pistachio is in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The nut was built by Tim McGinn in 2008 to honor his father. It is located on McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch.

image.pngNew York – Big Duck

Flanders, Long Island, New York, is home to Big Duck. It stands at 20 feet tall and 30 feet long. It was built in 1931 by duck farmer Martin Maurer as a place for him to sell eggs and ducks. On the third Wednesday of December, there is the annual lighting of the Big Duck.

New York – World’s Smallest Church

The World’s Smallest Church is just outside Syracuse, New York. Also known as the Cross Island Chapel, the church was built in 1989 and is said to have only had enough room for a minister and the wedding couple.

North Carolina – World’s Largest Chest of Drawers

High Point, North Carolina, is known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World,” so why wouldn’t they be the home of the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers? The building is 38 feet tall, but when it was first built in 1920, it only stood 20 feet tall. Its humble beginnings started out as the “bureau of information.” The chest that inspired the building can be found in the visitor information center.

North Dakota – World’s Largest Buffalo

The World’s Largest Buffalo is located in Jamestown, North Dakota. It stands at 26 feet tall and 46 feet long. In 1959 Harold Newman commissioned the concrete sculpture to entice people to visit the town. Nearby there is also a pioneer village, the National Buffalo Museum, and herds of buffalo.

image.pngPennsylvania – Shoe House

Hallam, Pennsylvania is home to the 25-foot-tall Shoe House. It was built in 1948 by Colonel Mahlon Nathaniel Haines as a promotion for his shoe stores. Today you can tour this unique structure.

South Dakota – Corn Palace

You’ll find the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Built in 1892 the Corn Palace was to honor South Dakota’s crops and to entice settlers to stay. Today, the Corn Palace is an auditorium and plays host to Corn Palace Week, which marks the end of the harvest.

South Dakota – Jackalopes

What does South Dakota have besides Mount Rushmore? Wall Drug Store! This road trip icon has been around since 1931. You can’t beat this collection of kitsch! Wall Drug Store is jammed full of every kind of souvenirs, road trip snacks and weird attractions to keep your family entertained. Jackalope sightings are a sure thing.

Texas – Cadillac Ranch

In 1974, three artists from San Francisco came together to put together an art installation known as Cadillac Ranch. It can be found outside Amarillo, Texas, along Route 66. Various artists and vandals have added their own artwork to the cars making it a weird piece.

image.pngUtah – Hole N’ the Rock

Built by Albert and Gladys Christensen, the Hole N” the Rock, the entire house is carved into a rock in Utah’s Canyonlands Country. Stop in and explore the house, shop at the various gift stores. This gives a whole new meaning to “Build it, and they will come.”

Utah – Olympic Park

Just outside Salt Lake City, visitors can be an Olympian for a day at Utah Olympic Park. Go ziplining or hike on up to the site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Parking is free, and guests have complimentary access to several museums, nature trails and even a discovery zone for kids. Try the scenic Nordic lift in the summer and fall or get an adrenaline rush riding down the Comet Bobsled in the winter.

Washington – Seattle’s Gum Wall

Seattle’s Gum Wall is located under Park Place Market. It started in 1990s with people sticking coins to the wall with gum. Since then it has evolved to wall full of chewing bum.

What roadside attractions should we see in your state? Share with us in the comments below!

Advertisements