Not too many things are more adventurous — nor are more American — than a road trip. The open road, tasty snacks, the perfect playlist and a car full of friends or family make for a great American tradition. But what makes a road trip even better is pit stopping to see all the weird roadside attractions found throughout the U.S., and trust us, there are plenty out there.
So before you load up and pile into your car, be sure to map out which of these wacky roadside attractions you can take a detour for on the way to your first hotel room because you definitely want to see and take pictures with these large, colorful and just plain silly roadside attractions.
A line of 10 old Cadillacs were buried halfway, nose down, into the Texas dirt back in 1974 by a few artists and a millionaire. What was meant to be a temporary display has turned into a very vibrant tourist attraction. Bring your spray paint or whatever medium you prefer to use to leave your mark on these graffiti cars, and then take a picture with it because in a few hours, your artistic addition will be covered up by the next wave of road trippers.
Petrified Wood Gas Station
A man named E.F. Boydston built himself a gas station in 1927, and then he covered it with chunks of petrified wood 8 years later. That wood bug stuck because he proceeded to cover his café next door and motor court in petrified wood after. While the Petrified Wood Gas Station and café are still there, you can’t get gas at this pit stop. But you can see some petrified wood buildings and have lunch at the café.
The Beer Can House
John Milkovisch didn’t like mowing the lawn, so he made unique landscapes to cover his front and back yards. Once that project was done, he turned to his house and began adding aluminum siding made of beer cans. Today, more than 50,000 beer cans adorn his house and this quirky American roadside attraction. Drive by anytime to see the Beer Can House, but take a tour inside the house and meet its creator on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.
South Dakota has Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park, but it’s also home to the only corn palace in the world. The Corn Palace is a free attraction and is open year-round, but the best times to visit are between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Every year this palace is covered in giant murals made only from local corn, grains and grasses. When your driving takes you up North, stop among the farmlands and visit the corniest place in the U.S.
Enchanted Highway is a 32-mile stretch of road with various giant metal sculptures along the way, all facing north toward the oncoming interstate traffic. A couple of the sculptures you see during on this drive are a Covey of Pheasants, with a 60-feet-long rooster and a hen that’s 50 feet, and Fisherman’s Dream, which has metal fish leaping through a pond surface at 70 feet in the air.
Can’t make it to England to see Stonehenge? Don’t worry; America has the next best thing — Foamhenge! It isn’t the real deal and is made of Styrofoam instead of stones, but the artist who created Foamhenge made an exact replica and placed each “stone” in its accurate astronomical position. Recently moved from Natural Bridge, VA, Foamhenge is located at Cox Farms, a 116-acre family-run farm in Fairfax County.
The Farnham Colossi
The Farnham Colossi, also called the Land of Giants, was started by a couple of pack rats, George and Pam Farnham, who also like big things. After moving from the city out to a town in West Virginia with lots of space, they started ordering giant collectible statues. Today, you can stop and see a goliath-sized Muffler Man, beach dude, Santa Claus and more.
A road trip isn’t a road trip unless you stop to see the world’s largest something. Here are some worth making a pit stop for:
- Ball of Twine in Cawker City, KS
- Ball of Stamps in Boys Town, NE
- Baseball Bat in Louisville, KY
- Light Bulb in Edison, NJ
- Truck Stop in Walcott, IA
No matter where the road takes you on your next road trip, make sure it leads you to at least one of these wacky American roadside attractions. Drive safe!