The Ultimate Cross-Country Roadside Attraction Road Trip

(Load up the whole fam for the vacation you never knew you needed.)
the best places to visit when going on a road trip

The best part about road trips: the pit stops. But we don’t mean potty breaks and gassing up on more Funyons. We’re talking about the oodles of roadside attractions peppered all over this great land — real Americana kitsch, you know. ‘World’s Largest Thises’ and ‘Weirdest Thatses’ that help make every long journey all the more enjoyable, if only to stretch your legs and get a good photo in for your social media followers.

But what if there was a road trip that finally celebrated the roadside attractions themselves and made them the destinations. Well, there is. Right here. This carefully laid-out route was designed by a team of self-declared road warriors and oddity aficionados to make sure you find entertainment in every single state. And no matter where you start, the whole thing’s one big loopity loop that’ll take you right back to where you began.

So grab some salty snacks and a few killer mix tapes, and make sure your car insurance is paid up and plentiful—it’s time to get a move on.

1. Seattle Gum Wall (Seattle, WA)

the best places to visit when going on a road trip

Right outside of the Market Theater, under downtown Seattle’s Pike Place Market, is a sight that is both super impressive and super gross. The alleyway walls are decorated with layers upon layers (several inches thick in some spots) of ABC gum left by locals and tourists alike. In fact, when they cleaned the walls back in 2015, 2,350 pounds of gum were removed. Sanitizer, anyone?

2. World’s Largest Pig Hairball (St. Benedict, OR)

Finally, your search for the world’s largest pig hairball will be complete. It’s right in St. Benedict, Oregon at a Benedictine monastery, nestled among hundreds of years’ worth of Catholic memorabilia, right where you’d expect it. Good news, too: There are other smaller, though similarly impressive, pig hair balls to see, too.

3. Salvation Mountain (Calipatria, CA)

Full of color and some good old- fashioned positivity, Salvation Mountain (though actually only a hill) is one artist’s tribute to God. Covered with praises from born-again Christian Leonard Knight, the beautiful colors are made up of over 100,000 gallons of paint and took 30 years to paint before the artist passed away. That’s dedication, all right.

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4. Area 51 Alien Travel Center and Alien Cathouse Brothel (Amargosa Valley, NV)

Taking roadside service to a whole new level, this gem of a find is located right next to the old atomic test site. You can fill up your gas tank, grab a hatchback full alien-y souvenirs and take a few photos for the believers back home. Oh, and then there’s that other thing, too…

5. Hole N" The Rock (Moab, UT)

Set in the middle of Utah’s Canyon Country is a 5,000-square-foot cave home carved right into the sandstone. What was once an actual home featuring a 65-foot chimney, 14 rooms, and a deep bathtub built right into the rock is now a popular tourist attraction for the whole fam. Plus, there’s a petting zoo.

6. The Thing (Dragoon, AZ)

Along Arizona’s Highway 10, you’ll see hundreds (literally) of billboards advertising “The Thing.” The anticipation builds and builds as you drive deeper and deeper into the desert, making it nearly impossible to pass it up once you finally get there. But what is it? We’re not telling…

7. World’s Largest Pistachio (Alamogordo, NM)

Protein lovers rejoice! In Alamogordo, a 30-foot pistachio is waiting to lure you right in, all hungry from the road. The sculpture was created by McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch and Arena Blanca Winery to entice visitors to stop by for a much-needed break from the endless pavement. Careful on the pistachios before driving, though.

8. Cano’s Castle (Antonito, CO)

If you’ve ever built a tower out of aluminum cans, you know it’s no simple feat. But Donald “Cano” Espinoza knew it needed to be done. So he built a four-tower chateau almost entirely out of beer cans and metal scraps. It’s a sight that’s definitely worth seeing.

9. World’s Largest Ball of Twine (Cawker City, KS)

This huge ball of twine is the pinnacle of roadside attraction perfection. It’s big, it’s unnecessary, and it's just plain weird. And it’s all held together with town pride. In fact, when Darwin, Minnesota started battling over the claim to own the world’s largest twine ball, the town began crowdsourcing production to increase the mass and hold that trophy high.

10. The Blue Whale (Catoosa, OK)

What was once an enormous and incredible feature of a local water park (complete with slide) now sits abandoned. But through it all, the whale still smiles.

11. Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, TX)

Looking like some kind of post-apocalyptic art installation, the Cadillac Ranch consists of 10 Cadillacs buried engines down right in the middle of the desert and covered in bright graffiti. A great backdrop for senior pics, if you ask us.

12. Kliebert’s Turtle and Alligator Farm (Ponchatoula, LA)

Every 6-year-old in the car will freak out when they see the first billboard calling out this alligator farm. So give yourself some major points and pull over. Harvey Kliebert, patriarch of the family-owned business, hatched 250 gators when he was 20 years old back in 1957, some of which are still going strong.

13. Peavy’s Monster Mart (Fouke, AR)

Paying homage to the area’s rumored Boggy Creek Monster (kinda like a Sasquatch), this souvenir shop/convenience store is a fun site to visit, whether you believe the local legends or not.

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14. Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail and Museum (Weldon Spring, MO)

Nothing says family vacation quite like visiting a humongous pile of hazardous waste. This 75-foot tall pile of rubble is actually 1.5 million cubic yards of buried hazardous waste left over from an old uranium ore processing plant. And what better way to clean it all up than to just cover it up with rocks?

15. World’s Largest Baseball Bat (Louisville, KY)

And yep, you guessed it — it’s a Louisville Slugger. This 120-foot tall steel replica of Babe Ruth’s bat stands right outside the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, so it’s pretty hard to miss this one.

16. World’s Largest Cedar Bucket (Murfreesboro, TN)

Well, if you’ve ever wanted to see a 6-foot bucket made out of cedar, here’s your shot. FUN FACT: It can hold 1,566 gallons of water, milk, Sunny D, or any other liquid you can think of.

17. Mammy’s Cupboard (Natchez, MS)

Plan this stop early in the morning and you can eat your breakfast right inside this “unique” little greasy spoon restaurant.  MMMMmmm, MMM!

18. World’s Largest Brick (Montgomery, AL)

Because sure you’ve seen bricks before, but have you ever seen the LARGEST brick before? We didn’t think so.

19. World’s Largest Chicken Wing (Madeira Beach, FL)

Enough said.

20. Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue (Plains, GA)

In honor of history’s most famous peanut-farmer-turned-president, Jimmy Carter, this 13-footer was built during the 1976 presidential campaigns and later moved to Plains, GA, Jimmy’s hometown. NEXT!

21. Peachoid Water Tower (Gaffney, SC)

In the hometown of nobody’s favorite fake President, House of Cards’ Frank Underwood, is a 135-foot water tower shaped like a peach. Though, honestly, on the other side, it’s a bit more risqué.Cover the kids’ eyes.

22. World’s Largest Chest of Drawers (High Point, NC)

You could get out of the car and take a photo of this massive dresser. Or you could just slow down a bit, check it off your list, and keep rolling. Take a family vote.

23. Foamhenge (Centreville, VA)

Everybody knows England is far. So instead why not honor Stonehenge, one of England’s finest attractions, with a visit to Foamhenge, a less-heavy replica of the ancient Druidic playground. Pictures will pretty much look the same.

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24. Farnham Colossi-Land of Giants (Unger, WV)

Garden gnomes are so yesterday. You know what’s cool now, lawn giants. Oh look, here are some.

25. Lawyer’s Farm Transformers (Thurmont, MD)

Move over Autobots, the Junkbots are right here. Right next to the corn maze.

26. Fountain of Youth (Lewes, DE)

Welp, looks like someone did find it after all. Of course it’s all dried up, but still it can’t hurt to try and knock yourself back in time a few birthdays.

27. Lucy the Elephant (Margate City, NJ)

Standing 6 stories high, this fake elephant has been around since 1881 and is actually considered a National Historical Landmark. An incredible honor for fake elephants everywhere.

28. World’s Largest Jack-in-the-Box (Middletown, CT)

These things freak us out every time. And now someone made a really big one? This 600-pound clown head sits on top of a grain silo to lure the brave in to Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Center. Great, now we have the jack-in-the-box song in our head.

29. Fighting Seabee (North Kingstown, RI)

In honor of the United States Naval Construction Battalions, this fighting fix-it-all statue is definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen before — a sea-faring bee with a hammer, a gun, and a real can-do attitude.

30. The Paper House (Rockport, MA)

In 1922, what began as an experiment by someone who wanted to insulate his house with newspaper grew into an obsession where everything in the house was made of paper. Not the roof, floors, and frame, though — gotta follow city codes, you know.

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31. Redstone Rocket (Warren, NH)

100% real, this was one of America’s first ballistic missiles. Now it just sits there, complaining about the weather.

32. Lenny the Chocolate Moose (Scarborough, ME)

Made to be eye candy for tourists, Len Libby Candies near Portland created a 1,700-pound replica of Maine’s most well-known non-crustacean, a moose. Sure it’s fun to look at and dream about, but it’s probably a bit stale by now, it’s been sitting outside since ’97.

33. Giant Gorilla (Leicester, VT)

A giant gorilla hoisting up an old VW Beetle? Now you know you’re in Vermont. This head-turner stands tall right outside  — you guessed it — an auto dealership.

34. Cardiff Giant (Cooperstown, NY)

In one of the greatest hoaxes in American history, a man named George Hull hired someone to sculpt a big dude (10’ 4”) out of stone, which he then buried. Then, he hired someone else to dig a well and uncover the sculpture, declaring it as proof that giants once existed. Psh, they fell for one of the oldest ones in the book. Of course, when that’s over, you can always go visit the Baseball Hall of Fame just down the road, too.

35. The Largest Burger in the World (Clearfield, PA)

Ten pounds of beef. 25 slices of cheese. Tons of pickles. 17-inch bun. Um, yes please.

36. Giant Horseshoe Crab (Blanchester, OH)

68 feet of what? A horseshoe crab? In Ohio? Kids, careful of the tail.

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37. The (Former) World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan (Charlevoix, MI)

The game of roadside attractions is a competitive one, like we said with the twine balls of Kansas and Minnesota. Well in 1976, Charlevoix, Michigan used a 17,420-pound pan to make the world’s largest cherry pie. However, in ’87, neighboring town Traverse City ou-did the stunt and made an even bigger one. What’s Charlevoix supposed to do now, they already made the T-shirts.

38. World’s Largest Ball of Paint (Alexandria, IN)

World' Largest Ball of Paint - Indiana

Some people have just too much time on their hands. And in Alexandria, VA, what started off as a baseball has turned into a 4,200-pound ball of paint after 40 years and 24,350 coats of paint.

39. World’s Largest Catsup Bottle (Collinsville, IL)

Not ketchup. CATsup. And it’s allllll right here waiting for you…and a side of fries.

40. UFO Landing Port (Poland, WI)

Talk about rolling out the red carpet for aliens when they finally arrive (or again, maybe). We hope they’re like Mork, that guy was a hoot.

41. Paul Bunyan Statues (Everywhere, MN)

So the story goes that all of Minnesota’s thousands of lakes were made by a large lumberjack and his blue ox — Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. And since Minnesotans love their lakes so much, they honor Paul and Babe throughout the state with what seems like at least one statue of either or both in each city. Of course, if you have to pick just one, Brainerd is home to an entire amusement park centered around its giant talking statue.

42. Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan (Brandon, IA)

Biggest in Iowa, but not the world, apparently. Actually, there are six towns across the country that have frying pans they claim are the biggest. Regardless, this is Iowa’s biggest, and it can hold around 528 eggs and 88 pounds of bacon. So long, diet.

43. World’s Largest Ball of Stamps (Boys Town, NE)

Boy, we bet this really gives stamp collectors some serious cringe. This ball of stamps was created using 4,655,000 stamps and tips the scales at a whopping 600 pounds, and it might just be enough postage to send a postcard to your cousin in Alaska.

44. World’s Only Corn Palace (Mitchell, SD)

You say why build a palace out of corn, but Mitchell, South Dakota said why not. There’s actually a lot of beauty to this attraction, with artful walls created out of kernels of corn that must have taken some pretty extreme patience.

45. Enchanted Highway (Regent, ND)

Along an unnamed highway in a small North Dakota farming community, artist Gary Greff has created a series of massive sculptures, from grasshoppers to Teddy Roosevelt on his horse. It’s almost like a game where you check each one off your list as you pass by. First person to cross them all off wins.

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46. (Occasionally) Talking Penguin Statue (Cut Bank, MT)

Driving through Cut Bank, MT, it’s pretty tough to miss the giant penguin towering over you claiming the title of “Coldest Spot in the Nation.” And guess what else. It talks. Well, sometimes. Apparently it only works one in every ten tries. Still, totally worth it — it’s a giant penguin!

47. America’s Smallest Town (PhinDeli Town Buford, WY)

At one point, there were 2,000 people in Buford, WY. Then the railroad boom busted and the town eventually went down to one…lonely…citizen. However, he put the town up for  auction and a Vietnamese coffee company bought it and changed the name to incorporate the coffee’s name, making it ‘PhinDeli Town Buford.’ So that’s pretty strange.

48. Idaho Potato Museum (Blackfoot, ID)

It’s like they say, “When in Idaho…” You’ve got to stop by the Idaho Potato Museum at least to get a photo in front of the biggest spud you’ve ever seen. BYO butter, though.

Whaddya Say, Another Trip Around?

So that’s it, the loop is complete. And no matter where you started, you’re back home again with at least 48 great stories to share after soaking up all the glory this country has to offer — specifically speaking about the pig hairball. We hope you enjoyed this little course we created. Now go get some rest, you deserve it.

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