When planning your next great American road trip (or possibly your first great American road trip), you have no shortage of attractions to choose from. As much as the destination matters, you have a lot of interesting roadside attractions for your kids to roll their eyes through as you encourage them to bond with the family.
Just about every state has something you could choose to stop at, but with so many choices, it’s good to have an idea of where to start!
Winchester Mystery House – California
If you’re looking to get spiritual on your road trip, the Winchester Mystery House is full of spirits—supposedly. The widow of William Winchester, owner of the Winchester rifle company, once lived in this house and thought it was haunted by the spirits of every person who had ever been killed by a Winchester rifle.
Hole N’ The Rock – Utah
In case you have any doubts about what this attraction is going to be when you get there, it’s a hole in a giant rock. A hole that features a 5,000-square-foot home, a gift shop, and a zoo, but still a hole.
Frog Bridge – Connecticut
If you’re looking for a unique place to stretch your legs in Connecticut, Frog Bridge is a solid contender. It would be a regular old bridge if it weren’t for the four large copper frog statues.
The statues commemorate 1754 Battle of the Frogs, where a widespread death of frogs happened in Frog Pond, and it was so loud that the town thought the French were coming to kill the town residents.
Carhenge – Nebraska
Nebraska’s Carhenge is a pretty self-explanatory roadside attraction: take Stonehenge, and replicate it in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska, but build it out of metal structures that are shaped like various types of cars.
Bubblegum Alley – California
It’s about as gross as you would expect an alley full of decades-old bubblegum to be. The origin of the alley is a little murky, with some believing it started in the mid-1940s, whereas others claim it was the late 1950s. But by the 1970s, it was well-established as the place to put your chewing gum.
The Thing – Arizona
If you happen to be driving to Tucson, Arizona, from El Paso, Texas, you’re going to come across a whole lot of signs telling you to stop and check out the mystery Thing at Arizona’s roadside attraction.
The exhibit has a variety of items, including wood carvings of tortured souls, paintings, a buggy without a horse, and other things, eventually leading to The Thing itself.
World’s Biggest Ball Of Paint – Indiana
It started off as baseball in the town of Alexandria, Indiana, but after being covered in tens of thousands of layers of paint since it was started in 1977, it’d be pretty difficult for any pitcher to throw this ball to the plate.
Dog Bark Park Inn – Idaho
Located along Highway 95 in Cottonwood, Idaho, it’s pretty hard to miss a hotel that takes the shape of a giant beagle. Known as “Sweet Willy” by the residents, it is possible to book a night’s stay inside of Willy, or you can drive by on your way to wherever you’re going.
World’s Largest Rubber Stamp – Ohio
Out of all of Cleveland’s many tourist attractions and achievements, they can be most proud of the fact that they’re home to the world’s largest rubber stamp. The stamp, which reads “FREE,” is free to use as long as you bring your own ink and paper.
Doll’s Head Trail – Georgia
The trail in Atlanta, Georgia, is about as creepy as you’d expect “Doll’s Head Trail” to be, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can stop for a family hike as you’re driving through.
The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk – Iowa
If you’re a Star Trek fan, then Riverside, Iowa, should be a place to stop on your road trip because it’s the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk, and they’ve got a sign to commemorate that.
World’s Largest Fish – Wisconsin
Not only does it take the title of the world’s largest fish, but the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame’s sculpture is also the world’s largest fiberglass sculpture. The fish (a fearsome muskie) is over four stories tall and as long as a Boeing 757.
Salvation Mountain: Niland, California
Known as a “hillside visionary environment” started by a local resident in the California desert, Salvation Mountain started as an expression of Leonard Knight’s love for Jesus (which seems pretty evident). Knight spent years of his life painting and repainting the hill, using more than an estimated 100,000 gallons of donated paint.
The state once tried to declare it a hazardous waste site, and concerns were raised over paint toxicity, but Knight kept it alive.
Enchanted Highway – North Dakota
More than just a one-stop attraction, the Enchanted Highway is a 32-mile stretch of a two-lane highway in North Dakota that is decorated with the world’s largest collection of scrap metal sculptures.
Wild Blueberry Land – Maine
A family- and farmer-run attraction at the corner of Route 1 and 187 in Maine, Wild Blueberry Land is a tribute to the state’s iconic fruit. You’ve got blueberry fields, a museum, as well as a bakery, so all your needs are covered.
Cadillac Ranch – Texas
Normally, if you were driving along and found a row of cars buried nose-first in the sand along the highway, you’d be concerned, but if you’re near Amarillo, Texas, it might just be the Cadillac Ranch art installation.
Chicken Farmer Rock – New Hampshire
Less of an actual attraction and more of a side-of-the-road-sign to keep your eyes open for, the “chicken farmer i still love you” sign of New Hampshire does have a story behind it.
Initially, when it appeared, it was said to be painted by a shy boy who didn’t know how to tell a local chicken farmer’s daughter that he had feelings for her, and years later a local updated it to say “I still love you,” whereas before it just said, “I love you.”
The Spam Museum – Minnesota
This museum is exactly what you’d expect it to be based on the name, which—depending on your feelings about Spam—may or may not be considered a good thing. Even if you don’t like to eat it, maybe you want to learn about it? Oh also, it has free admission.
World’s Largest Ball of Twine – Kansas
Ladies and gentlemen, step right up to the largest ball of twine next time you’re in Kansas. There’s some contention around who actually has the largest ball on Earth, but the one in Cawker City is said to be the largest built by a community, with over 1.6 million feet of twine and an 11-foot-diameter.
In Darwin, Minnesota, though, you’ll find the largest ball rolled by a single person, which is about 12 feet in diameter.
The World’s Only Corn Palace – South Dakota
Depending on how often you drive through South Dakota, you could pay a visit to the World’s Only Corn Palace every year and never get bored because of the constantly changing design. The building is decorated with designs and murals made of corn and grains, which are reconstructed every year.
The Palace itself serves the community as an event space for concerts or sporting events too, as well as annual events like the Corn Palace Polka Festival.