Strange Roadside Attractions From Every State

In addition to wide-open prairie, twisting coastal highways, and sun kissed mountain ranges, the United States has its fair share of oddities—really, really odd oddities, as it turns out. What better way to spend a road trip than discovering how bizarre our country (and some of its inhabitants) is?

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Alabama: Unclaimed Baggage Center

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Alabama: Unclaimed Baggage Center
© ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Known to many as the “land of lost luggage,” this stop in Scottsboro, Alabama sees about one million visitors from around the world every year. Covering more than a city block, visitors can purchase literally any item that has been packed in a suitcase that was never claimed by its owner or left on an airplane. It’s the only lost luggage store in the United States.

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Alaska: Igloo City

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Alaska: Igloo City
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This tourist attraction—located in Cantwell, Alaska—is especially odd because it never actually opened for business. The four-story, concrete hotel, (circa 1970) remains unfinished to this day because it failed to meet building codes. But tourists sure do love to pay it a visit—it can even be seen from airplanes cruising at a lofty 30,000 feet in the air.

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Arizona: The Thing

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Arizona: The Thing
Jamie Bernstein / Flickr

Creators of the hit movie “The Thing” take roadside advertisement to the next level along Interstate 10. The stretch of endless highway is lined not only by dry desert for miles, but with billboards advertising the mysterious “Thing” at exit 312.

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Arkansas: Christ of the Ozarks

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Arkansas: Christ of the Ozarks
© David R. Frazier Photolibrary, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Interestingly enough, this larger-than-life monumental Jesus is actually known for sort-of resembling a milk carton.

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California: Salvation Mountain

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: California: Salvation Mountain
© Andy Buchanan / Alamy Stock Photo

Located in Nilan, California—not too far from Slab City—lays a mini mountain, covered in paintings of colorful biblical messages like “God is Love.” The late Leonard King who lived on Salvation Mountain and continuously painted his messages on it from 1985 until the early 2000s created the man-made mountain.

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Colorado: UFO Watchtower

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Colorado: UFO Watchtower
© Jim West / Alamy Stock Photo

Finding a weird, alien-themed road stop is usually within a stone’s throw when it comes to the American Southwest. But the UFO Watchtower is pretty out-there. Finding herself in the middle of what many believers think to be a hub of galactic activity, Judy Messoline decided to turn her ranch into a campground with a UFO watchtower, which is open to the public.

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Connecticut: Cushing Brain Collection

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Connecticut: Cushing Brain Collection
techbint / Flickr

“Check out that diseased brain collection” is definitely not something you hear often. But around Yale’s medical school library in New Haven, Connecticut, it might be. Donated to Yale in 1939 in the name of Dr. Harvey Cushing, this collection of brains ridden with tumors and disease definitely earns a spot on the list.

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Delaware: Miles the Monster

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Delaware: Miles the Monster
hjhipster / Flickr

Think “The Hulk”—except stone grey, angular, and with glowing red eyes.

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Florida: Airstream Ranch

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Florida: Airstream Ranch
© Kelly Shannon Kelly / Alamy Stock Photo

Nothing says “America” like a good old, standing car formation that vaguely resembles Stonehenge. This collection of eight classic Airstreams alongside I-4, between Tampa and Orlando, looks more like the RVs were sent rocketing down from space, straight into the ground.

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Georgia: Georgia Guidestones

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Georgia: Georgia Guidestones
© Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

“Let these be guidestones to an age of reason,” reads from the tablet in the front of the Georgia Guidestones. This structure—a monument made up of several 19-foot granite stones, commissioned by an anonymous man in 1979—offers 10 post-apocalyptic messages of guidance, written in eight different languages. The perfect thing for a bit of light reading.

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Hawaii: World’s Longest Plant Maze

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Hawaii: World’s Longest Plant Maze
© Design Pics Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

If you have time to pay a visit to the Dole Plantation in Wahiawa, Hawaii, you’ll want to stop by the world’s biggest botanical maze—made up of 14,000 colorful Hawaiian plants, all in the shape of a giant pineapple.

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Idaho: World’s Biggest Beagle (Dog Bark Park Inn)

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Idaho: World’s Biggest Beagle (Dog Bark Park Inn)
Courtesy of Dog Bark Park Inn

Here in Cottonwood, Idaho, you can visit the world’s biggest beagle—and sleep in it, too!

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Illinois: Gold Pyramid House

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Illinois: Gold Pyramid House
Janet and Phil / Flickr

This six-story, 17,000-square-foot private home in Wadsworth, Illinois is plated in gold—and it’s surrounded by a moat.

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Indiana: Roofless Church

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Indiana: Roofless Church
© Don Smetzer / Alamy Stock Photo

At the nondenominational Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana, all are welcome to pray under cover of the sky, next to a domed structure. It also serves as a popular wedding destination.

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Iowa: The Hobo Museum

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Iowa: The Hobo Museum
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Since it opened in 1980, the Hobo Museum has come a long way in preserving the legacy of hoboes. It exists within an old converted town theater, and serves as an archive of all things created by hoboes of America (music, photographs, art, and more).

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Kansas: The World’s Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things

Kansas: The World’s Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things
© Vespasian / Alamy Stock Photo

The creator of this mobile collection of roadside attractions (which is, in fact, a roadside attraction in itself) does just what you would think: When Erika Nelson hears news of a “World’s Largest” roadside item, she visits it for photo documentation and creates a tiny replica out of various materials.

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Kentucky: Dinosaur World

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Kentucky: Dinosaur World
Peter Rivera / Flickr

When you spot the giant, larger-than-life T-Rex off of I-65, you know you’re close to Dinosaur World. Visitors will find massive, life-sized dinosaur replicas scattered throughout this park as they take a prehistoric stroll.

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Louisiana: The Gates of Guinee

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Louisiana: The Gates of Guinee
© Irene Abdou / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re looking for the gates to the voodoo underworld, Guinee, look no further than the French Quarter. It is believed that seven gates are scattered around the city.

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Maine: International Cryptozoology Museum

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Maine: International Cryptozoology Museum
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This unique museum unveils artifacts related to the study of hidden or unknown animals. Established by crypto-zoologist Loren Coleman, the museum is home to a collection of “cryptid” specimens—think Yetis, Bigfoot, sea serpents, and the like.

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Maryland: Ouija Board Headstone

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Maryland: Ouija Board Headstone
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It’s only fitting that the man who patented the Ouija Board, Elijah Bond, has a headstone that resembles exactly what he created.

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Massachusetts: The Witch House of Salem

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Massachusetts: The Witch House of Salem
© Hank Abernathy / Alamy Stock Photo

This is the last standing structure in Salem with direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

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Michigan: Hell, Michigan

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Michigan: Hell, Michigan
© ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

With a slogan like “Go to Hell…Michigan,” how could you not be curious? Established in 1838, this little town officially became “Hell” after the first settler began to pay farmers for their grain with whiskey.

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Minnesota: Spoonbridge and Cherry

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Minnesota: Spoonbridge and Cherry
© CC / Alamy Stock Photo

Located in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, this larger-than-life spoon provides a large dose of whimsy, with an even larger cherry on top. During the winter, when the spoon is covered in snow, the sculpture looks like a massive ice cream sundae.

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Mississippi: Touch the Hand of Elvis

Mississippi: Touch the Hand of Elvis
© Michael Ventura / Alamy Stock Photo

This bronze sculpture was created in Elvis’s hometown, Tupelo. Fans will often reach up to touch the hands of the King.

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Missouri: Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Missouri: Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail
nycscout / Flickr

Despite how it looks from the outside, this man-made mountain—just south of Weldon Spring, Missouri—encapsulates the remnants of the largest explosives factory in America, as well as a Cold War-era uranium refinery. Now, you can take a stroll over the 54-acre expanse of 1.48 million cubic yards of covered-up PCBs, mercury, asbestos, TNT, radioactive uranium, and radium.

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Montana: Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Montana: Garden of One Thousand Buddhas
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo

Surround yourself with more Buddhas than you’ve (probably) ever encountered in this international center for peace.

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Nebraska: Carhenge

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Nebraska: Carhenge
© Nick Suydam / Alamy Stock Photo

There’s something about vintage cars arranged in Stonehenge-like formations that really resonates with the American population. Carhenge, in Alliance, Nebraska, was created by Jim Reinders as a tribute to his father.

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Nevada: The Clown Motel

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Nevada: The Clown Motel
Bethany / Flickr

Located on a stretch of the Nevada desert—right next to a century-old miner’s graveyard—sits the oh-so inviting Clown Motel. What about a motel decorated with dozens of smiling, glassy-eyed clowns in a desert doesn’t sound appealing? That being said, all are welcome.

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New Hampshire: Yankee Siege Catapult

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: New Hampshire: Yankee Siege Catapult
Eric Kilby / Flickr

If there’s one thing that the good people of Greenfield, New Hampshire love to do in the fall, it’s launching enormous pumpkins into the sky with this massive catapult (which actually resembles a giant medieval weapon). As of 2010, unfortunately, the Yankee Siege Catapult is out of commission—but it sure is cool to look at.

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New Jersey: Lucy the Elephant

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: New Jersey: Lucy the Elephant
© Janice Hazeldine / Alamy Stock Photo

Located in Margate, New Jersey, Lucy the Elephant just might be the coolest thing in the state. What’s not to love about a 134-year-old, 90-ton, 65-foot elephant made of tin and wood? You can even go inside the structure through a small spiral staircase to peruse a museum focused on the history of her creation.

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New Mexico: World’s largest pistachio

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: New Mexico: World’s largest pistachio
© Franck Fotos / Alamy Stock Photo

It’s safe to say that this larger-than-life pistachio is one of the more unique “World’s Largest” items found in the U.S. It’s only fitting that this giant nut is located near Pistachio Land. The giant pistachio stands 30-feet tall and is pretty realistic—but don’t be fooled. It’s concrete.

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New York: World’s Smallest Church

New York: World’s Smallest Church
Abbey Hambright / Flickr

The Cross Island Chapel (or chapel-ette, perhaps?) in Oneida, New York, is tiny. The small structure has enough room to accommodate a bride, groom, and minister—but don’t worry, the church is in the middle of a pond, so the wedding party can anchor on a boat nearby.

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North Carolina: The last Shell Oil Clamshell station

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: North Carolina: The last Shell Oil Clamshell station
© Bob Pardue - NC / Alamy Stock Photo

In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, you can ogle the last standing Shell Oil Clamshell station, from an era when Shell thought that selling gas from seashell-shaped stations was a good idea. Turns out, the clamshell shape doesn’t lend itself to much other than a clam. The station was abandoned in the 1950s.

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North Dakota: Enchanted Highway Sculptures

North Dakota: Enchanted Highway Sculptures
© Franck Fotos / Alamy Stock Photo

Driving through the open, flat prairie of North Dakota can be monotonous—but things start to get exciting along highway 21 (now the Enchanted Highway) when heading toward the small town of Regent. From giant metal deer and geese frozen in mid-flight to an alarmingly large grasshopper, Gary Greff made sure that no traveler would find themselves bored while driving down the enchanted highway.

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Ohio: Frozen Cleveland Lighthouse

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Ohio: Frozen Cleveland Lighthouse
Getty Images

Ever wondered what an empty lighthouse covered in hundreds of layers of ice looks like? Search no further than the Frozen Cleveland Lighthouse to discover this beautiful natural ice sculpture.

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Oklahoma: Totem Pole Park

Oklahoma: Totem Pole Park
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In 1938, local artist Ed Galloway began creating the first of 11 concrete totem poles, one of which became the world’s largest concrete totem pole, standing at 90 -eet. The structures eventually covered the expanse of 14 acres in what is now a public folk art garden and park.

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Oregon: Octopus Tree of Oregon

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Oregon: Octopus Tree of Oregon
© George Ostertag / Alamy Stock Photo

The reason behind the octopus-shape of this wild Spruce tree in Tillamook, Oregon is a complete mystery. People have speculated that it was natural forces, and others attribute it to Native Americans, who some believe shaped the tree’s cage-like structure. Either way, it’s cool to look at—be warned: there are no octopus here.

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Pennsylvania: Shoe House

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Pennsylvania: Shoe House
© Phil Taplin / Alamy Stock Photo

A very wealthy shoe-enthusiast built this boot-shaped house in 1948. Once serving as an over-the-top advertisement for Haines Shoe Company, the giant boot is now open for tours.

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Rhode Island: The Big Blue Bug

Rhode Island: The Big Blue Bug
sandwich / Flickr

Located in plain site right along I-95, road-trippers don’t even need to stop for the experience that is the Big Blue Bug. The bug serves as a mascot for Big Blue Bug Solutions, and welcomes all who pass through Providence.

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South Carolina: South of the Border

South Carolina: South of the Border
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Advertisements leading up to this road side experience off of I-95 include signs that say things like, “You never sausage a place!” The stop offers restaurants, gas stations, a motel, and an amusement park. Its mascot—a giant sombrero-wearing caricature of a Mexican man—is known to be politically incorrect, but is impossible to miss while crossing the border from North Carolina to South Carolina.

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South Dakota: Wall Drug

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: South Dakota: Wall Drug
Iris / Flickr

Wall Drug is the epitome of tourist traps and weird America, boasting over 80 years of inviting travelers in with giant billboards advertising kitschy attractions, restaurants, and stores (think giant dinosaur, life-size cowboy statues, western wear, and Wild West-style apothecary shoppe). One of the biggest draws? Free ice water.

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Tennessee: Peabody Memphis Duck March

Tennessee: Peabody Memphis Duck March
Opacity / Flickr

The Peabody Memphis Hotel Duck March began in 1933 and is now a famous tradition at this iconic Tennessee hotel. Everyday at 11am and 5pm, five North America mallards march (read: waddle) up a red carpet at the hotel lobby fountain to pay a visit to hotel guests.

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Texas: Prada Marfa store

Texas: Prada Marfa store
© Luc Novovitch / Alamy Stock Photo

Two Berlin-based artists, Elmgreen and Dragset, created this permanent sculpture installation located along U.S. 90 near Valentine, Texas in 2005. The idea was that the sculpture would resemble a real Prada store—but in the middle of the dessert, with the hopes that it would eventually deteriorate into the Earth. To discourage vandals from stealing the expensive products, all bags are bottomless and all shoes are right-footed.

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Utah: Hole in the Rock

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Utah: Hole in the Rock
© David Wall / Alamy Stock Photo

There’s a 5,000-square-foot home carved directly into a rock along Highway 191 in Utah—and all visitors are welcome.

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Vermont: Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Vermont: Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
© Franck Fotos / Alamy Stock Photo

Here, you can pay your respects to the ice cream flavors that just couldn’t make it to the shelf.

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Virginia: Foamhenge

Virginia: Foamhenge
© Richard Ellis / Alamy Stock Photo

In Natural Bridge, Virginia, there is a full-sized replica of Stonehenge, made entirely out of styrofoam. So if you can’t make it to England, fear not. Foamhenge is here.

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Washington: Wild Metal Horses Monument

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Washington: Wild Metal Horses Monument
© Septemberlegs / Alamy Stock Photo

Above the Columbia River, a majestic stampede of 15 wild metal horses runs along a ridge in Vantage, Washington, as a memorial to the horses that once inhabited the area.

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West Virginia: Mothman Statue

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: West Virginia: Mothman Statue
Jimmy Emerson / Flickr

In Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the legend of Mothman lives on as a giant red-eyed sculpture.

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Wisconsin: Chatty Belle, World’s Largest Talking Cow

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Wisconsin: Chatty Belle, World’s Largest Talking Cow
la vaca vegetariana / Flickr

Built for the World’s Fair in Neillsville, Wisconsin, The World’s Largest Talking Cow used to be able to tell visitors about fun Wisconsin dairy facts. Unfortunately, Chatty Belle’s voice box no longer operates correctly.

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Wyoming: Fossil Cabin

Weirdest Roadside Attractions: Wyoming: Fossil Cabin
© Franck Fotos / Alamy Stock Photo

With a sign outside the building that says “Believe it or not,” this tourist attraction is hard to miss. Built way back in 1932, this roadside cabin was constructed from real dinosaur bones, found at the nearby Como Bluff just outside of Medicine Bow, Wyoming.

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