strange roadside attractions
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

The Weirdest Roadside Attraction in Every State

Dinosaurs. Witches. Britney. Together at last.

Note: We know COVID-19 is impacting travel plans right now. For a little inspiration, we’ll continue to share stories from our favorite places around the world so you can keep daydreaming about your next adventure.
Ready to take the “distance” part of “social distancing” to the next level? Check out our Best American Summer Road Trip Ideas for a look at the wildest and weirdest pit stops across the country. 

With RV convoys taking to the highways and road trips on everybody's mind, we're all slowly morphing into our parents -- and that means a renewed interest in stopping at every roadside dinosaur, free museum, and "worlds largest" random object. Thankfully, America's roadways deliver. 

But while the country is dotted with random nonsense, not all roadside attractions are created equal. For every Mystery Spot or trippy theme park there are hundreds of oversized cooking utensils and fossil farms waiting to lure you off the beaten path. These are the true gems, the paragons of off-highway kitsch and wonder. Point your compass in their direction, and your road trip automatically becomes more interesting. Or at least your camera roll will. 

Souvenir City
Souvenir City's highly intimidating entrance | Souvenir City


Souvenir City
Gulf Shores
Look, you're either the kind of person who immediately stops the car and sprints toward the gargantuan, warehouse-like gift shop with giant concrete shark's mouth -- a fixture of Gulf Shores since 1956 -- as its entrance, or you drive past without a second thought. If you're the latter, you're rewarded with an endless assault of tourist crap (think gator heads, beach clothes, fudge, and shells). If you're the former, you very likely clicked into the wrong article. -- Andy Kryza
MORE: Gulf Shores is one of our favorite beach towns in the country

Hammer Museum
Hammer Museum | RUBEN M RAMOS/Shutterstock


Hammer Museum
Like many of the following items on this list, you’ll find that the name of our favorite roadside attraction in Alaska is rather self-explanatory. This is a museum, and it is devoted to hammers. You’ll find around 2,000 of them on display at this roadside stop off Haines Highway -- one of our favorite scenic drives in the US -- some dating back to Roman times. There are other hammer museums in other cities, but this one was the first. And don't worry, it's pretty easy to find. “If you have any trouble finding us,” the museum’s website instructs, “just look for the 20 foot hammer out front.” -- Kastalia Medrano
MORE:  Check out Thrillist’s ultimate guide to Juneau

Rainbow Rock Shop
Rainbow Rock Shop | DCA88/Shutterstock


Rainbow Rock Shop
Route 66 isn’t what it used to be, but the roadside town of Holbrook maintains some of the highway’s magic appeal thanks to its unexpected collection of cement dinosaurs outside the Rainbow Rock Shop. The dinosaurs, some up to 25 feet tall, were built by the shop’s owner and cost a few cents to pose with. Strangely enough, these aren’t the only dinosaurs you’ll find in the town: others come from the International Petrified Forest and Painted Desert -- a now-defunct tourist attraction that offered access to some of the area’s petrified wood and fossils. -- Jamie Killin
MORE:  Arizona is also home to Petrified Forest National Park -- but check here first if you're planning to go

Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo
Hot Springs' famous merman | Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo


Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo
Hot Springs
It's not the pygmy goats and baby alligators that make this 117-year-old petting zoo such a gem, though their presence -- along with primates and wolves and the whole alligator feeding thing -- certainly makes it worth a stop. No, it's the merman that really lands it on this list. The leathery oddity straight out of an old tabloid looks like somebody stitched the bug-eyed head of a mustachioed gym teacher to a fish. That's… kind of it. And it's kind of incredible. -- AK
MORE:  Arkansas is also home to a Walmart museum

Winchester Mystery House
Spoiler alert: The "mystery" involves thousands of ghosts | Winchester Mystery House


Winchester Mystery House
San Jose
Apparently Sarah Winchester, heir to her family's firearms fortune, believed the ghosts of every single person killed by the company's then-innovative repeating rifle -- so, like, half the casualties of the Old West -- were haunting her. So she began construction on a mansion designed specifically to discombobulate the spirits. Think: hallways as narrow as you walk them. Stairways that lead to nowhere. Windows that overlook… other rooms. Decoy toilets everywhere. In all, it's 24,000 square feet and 160 rooms of ghost-thwarting madness, and one of America's most haunted attractions. Also, they have axe throwing in the stables, just for fun/to make things interesting if anyone, you know, gets possessed. -- AK
MORE:  California's just overflowing with haunted places

Bishop Castle
Bishop Castle


Bishop Castle
A 160-foot-tall structure of stone and steel, Bishop Castle includes four towers, two catwalks, a ballroom, and a whole lot of wrought- iron railings and flourishes. It’s a bona fide castle, too, complete with drawbridge and fire-breathing dragon, all built by one man, Jim Bishop. You can walk the bridges between the towers, albeit at your own risk. Or just admire the decor, which ranges from hand-painted signs airing Jim’s personal views to an arm with an axe sticking out of the floor in the main hall. -- Cheryl Rodewig
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click to play video


PEZ Visitors Center
Yes, this one feels like kind of a cheat, since it's the Pez Factory and all. But this visitor's center is some next-level incredible, a 4,000-square-foot wonderland where you can peruse the world's most comprehensive collection of PEZ dispensers. Pop-culture characters from the past century leer at you with all-watching PEZ eyes as you traverse the kitschy, candy-colored wonderland packed with such wonders as a bench made of giant rolls of candy and the world's largest dispenser. It's a high-tech, high-camp exploration of one of America's most enduring candy brands. -- AK



Delaware’s Oddporium bills itself as a gallery of the peculiar and bizarre, and it lives up to its promise with a deliciously dark twist. Browse vintage electroshock therapy kits, embalming pumps, and jewelry tenderly handmade from bat skulls. One glass case displays torture -- er, medical -- devices, while another sports a collection of bones (from legally obtained species, they’re quick to point out). Not everything’s for sale, so you’re not walking out with that cyclops pig, but you might pick up a bat in a glass coffin that will look nice by your bed. Sweet dreams.-- CR

Discover Crystal River Florida
Discover Crystal River Florida


Monkey Island
Head to Florida’s Western coast, on the Homosassa River, and you will find Monkey Island. Naturally, your first question here is: Are there actual monkeys on Monkey Island? We are pleased to report there are. A family of spider monkeys has had the run of Monkey Island for decades. They used to live on the mainland, but kept escaping and being rude to tourists -- pickpocketing, biting, presumably a lot of poop-based vandalism. Thus, they now live on their lil monkey Alcatraz. Roll up to the Homosassa Resort and you can watch them while you enjoy food and drinks. Safely out of reach, the monkeys -- Ralph, Ebony, Eve, and Emily -- will in turn enjoy their own snacks while watching you. -- KM
MORE:  Somehow, watching monkeys isn't the weirdest thing you can do in a Florida bar

Doll's Head Trail
Doll's Head Trail


Doll’s Head Trail
Constitution Lakes Park has a unique history. The park was originally used as the site of the South River Brick Company but in the early 1900s when the company stopped digging massive holes in the ground to extract clay for bricks, nature ran its course and the holes started to fill with rainwater. And thus, the lakes were born. The story of the uh, interesting trail however, begins with Joel Slaton, a local carpenter, who in 2011 began finding discarded doll parts and other pieces of what others would consider “junk” throughout the trail area. Over the years, Slaton began arranging and building art displays with these abandoned scraps and voilà! Now you have an interactive art display full of muddy, creepy doll heads in the depths of a muggy patch of woods. -- Kristen Adaway
MORE: There are creepier things in Georgia than doll heads

Dole Plantation
Dole Plantation


Pineapple Garden Maze
You’ve probably seen at least a couple of corn or hay bale mazes in your life, the type that pop up around Halloween, but there are only a handful of botanical mazes in America that are fixtures yearound, of which the Pineapple Garden Maze is one. Reigning titleholder of “World’s Largest Botanical Maze” for the past decade, this Dole Plantation garden stretches across three acres and comprises some 14,000 plants. Wander inside the maze and see how long it takes you to reach its giant pineapple center. -- KM

Bordello Museum
Bordello Museum | D Guisinger/Flickr


Oasis Bordello Museum
Located in a quaint little mining town, the Oasis bordello actually operated up until 1988, meaning the artifacts in this downtown building (and its infinitely creepy basement) include old-timey dresses, gas lamps (so romantic!), antique guns, and, weirdly, some VHS tapes encased in glass. The tour includes trips to the rooms, where lists of johns' names are on display, which is… probably not really that great a look for mining magnates who are still alive.  -- AK
MORE: Headed east? Grab a bite in this tiny lake town.

Leaning Tower of Niles
Leaning Tower of Niles | Ken Lund/Flickr


Leaning Tower of Niles
While it's roughly half the rival of the famed Italian tower (94 feet to Pisa's 177-foot stature and a mere 7.4 feet off of vertical vs. Italy's 15-foot lean), the Midwestern version built in 1934 holds its own as a tourist attraction. Stop by while swinging over to the first franchised McDonald's in nearby Des Plaines and take all the "dad photos" of you pushing it over. -- Nicole Bruce

World's Largest Ball of Paint
World's Largest Ball of Paint | Stephen/Flickr


World's Biggest Ball of Paint
Once upon a time this was just a normal baseball... but more than four decades and 24,350 coats of paint later, it's a 4,200-pound ball of paint, and the world's largest at that. Does it look like a giant testicle? Kind of. Would it be a solid nuclear option when engaged in a life-or-death paintball grudge match? Definitely. -- AK

The Voyage Home Riverside History Center
The Voyage Home Riverside History Center


The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk
Did you know this Iowa town is the future birthplace of James T. Kirk, Captain of the USS Enterprise and the future's foremost lover of centuries-old Beastie Boys jams? His 23rd century DOB (March 22, 2228) is engraved on a stone monument located behind a hair salon at Riverside's Voyage Home Riverside History Center. While they first claimed the Starship Enterprise captain in 1985, the museum didn't open its doors until 2008. It's since become a hub for Star Trek collectibles, home-built exhibits, and alternate history disputes. -- NB
MORE:  Did you know Iowa has its own Great Lakes?

World's Largest Things, Incorporated
World's Largest Things, Incorporated


The World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things
How's this for meta: Erika Nelson dedicates her time to visiting big-ass roadside attractions -- think the world's largest bottle of ketchup -- then photographs them, goes home, and makes a miniature version to display at her little traveling museum of little versions of big things, which is open "by chance." It's one-stop shopping to see all of America's weirdest roadside oddities… kind of. -- AK
MORE:  Get the full story of this very meta treasure

Dinosaur World, Kentucky
Dinosaur World, Kentucky


Dinosaur World
Cave City
There is a longstanding tradition in my family: If you see a dinosaur on the side of the road, you stop immediately. Dinosaur World is one of the best collections of life-sized behemoths in the country, with hundreds of thunder lizards -- T-rexes, raptors, you name it -- scattered around a dog-friendly property. It's located near the stunning Mammoth Cave, so that means that of course there are woolly mammoths kids can climb on. And by kids I mean grown-ass men who annoy their families by making them stop at every dinosaur on the American roadside. -- AK

The Britney Spears Museum


Kentwood Historical & Cultural Museum
Britney Spears was once the world's biggest star – many of us watched her at her peak and throughout her highly-publicized downfall, subsequent comeback, and current indefinite hiatus. As true fans know, Britney's story began in a dusty town off I-55 near the Mississippi/Louisiana border. What many don't know is if you go there, you'll find a shrine to the princess of pop built inside an old funeral home. The unofficial Britney Spears museum is packed with memorabilia including calendars, dolls, life-sized cutouts and wings from her Femme Fatale tour. The most precious exhibit is her childhood bedroom, moved from her parents’ house up the road. -- Joel Balsam
MORE:  This ain't the only contender for weirdest museum in Louisiana

Wild Blueberry Land
Wild Blueberry Land


Wild Blueberry Land
Columbia Falls
Driving along US-1 in Columbia Falls, you will know you have come upon Wild Blueberry Land when you spot the giant blue geodesic dome designed to resemble half a giant blueberry. But we wouldn’t send you here if it was just a big blue circle to get out of your car and stare at and take a picture and then get back in your car and leave. This is a seven-acre, family-run blueberry-themed theme park. Everything is blue. You can learn about sustainable farming, play some mini golf, snack on some berries, and check out the offerings at the bakery tucked inside the dome. No prizes for guessing what varieties of baked goods are sold there. -- KM
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William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History


The William P Didusch Center For Urologic History
Linthicum Heights
Have you ever wondered what sorts of medical tools man has jammed up his penis through the years? Curious if people used to make dildos out of whale bones with secret compartments to hold pipe tobacco? WELL YOU'RE IN LUCK! The national urology museum can show you all of these things and more: Victorian anti-masturbation devices, medical samples, other household items dudes have pushed up their peehole. It's a damn good time, and it's FREE! If you're peckish after your visit, visit the Cracker Barrel right across the street. -- Allison Robicelli

Paper House
Paper House | Daderot/Wikimedia Commons


The Paper House
In 1922, Ellis Stenman wanted to see if he could insulate his summer house with newspaper. Somehow, the experiment turned into a full-fledged obsession, and he ended up using 100,000 newspapers to actually build it -- at least everything but the roof, floors, and frame. This also might serve as an antidote to the whole "print is dead" thing… maybe it just needs to pivot to construction products. -- AK
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World's Largest Working Chainsaw
World's Largest Working Chainsaw |


Da Yoopers Tourist Trap
"Yooper" is Michigan slang for a person who lives in the state's pristine and isolated Upper Peninsula. Da Yoopers is a novelty band formed by actual Yoopers who sing about fishing and cars in goofy accents that may or may not be fake. And Da Yoopers Tourist Trap is an ode to both UP life and tacky, slightly funny shit. There's a ton of folk art, including the world's largest working chainsaw, a tableau of beer-drinking deer hanging out in a man-hunting lodge, lots of outhouses, and a gift shop with a large section dedicated to the hilarity of farting. There's nothing quite like it. That's probably a good thing, but good luck not stopping. -- AK
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SPAM Museum
SPAM Museum


The SPAM Museum
Minnesota is home to the world's biggest Paul Bunyan statue, a massive Jolly Green Giant, and a ball of twine so massive that Weird Al penned an entire song about it. So it's really saying something to call this surprisingly gorgeous, ultra-modern ode to America's most misunderstood mystery meat the state's best roadside attraction. Within its walls, you'll find out the history of SPAM, including its massive cultural cache in island diasporas. You will be tempted to buy an ironic t-shirt or register as a SPAMbassador. And you will definitely be tempted to purchase a can of pumpkin spice SPAM. As a bonus, the town of Austin is full of restaurants that make their own SPAM specialties, just in case you didn't get your fill in the museum. -- AK

Margaret's Grocery
Margaret's Grocery | Peter Burka/Flickr


Margaret’s Grocery
People have been working to save Margaret’s Grocery & Market for years. More singular than odd, the iconic roadside stop off US Highway 61 is possibly the most distinctive grocery store you’ll ever see, its aesthetic a blend of folk art and Byzantine Empire. Desperately in need of restoration, Margaret’s Grocery is currently closed for repairs, its future uncertain. But just because you can’t buy anything inside doesn’t mean the place is any less mesmerizing to look at, and this is just one of those things you want to see before you die, or before it’s gone, whichever comes first. You can look at the ongoing fundraising efforts to restore Margaret’s Grocery here. -- KM

Precious Moments Chapel and Gift Shoppe
Precious Moments Chapel and Gift Shoppe


Precious Moments Chapel
Just off the highway in southwest Missouri the sweet figurines of Precious Moments beckon from their very own compound. But rather than the collectible-sized moppets you may remember from grandma’s cabinet -- or perhaps your nightmares -- these cherubs are fully child-sized, depicting everything from anime-eyed clowns to a 9/11 fireman sporting a single tear (try going to sleep now). Former janitor, artist, and inventor of the Christian dolls Samuel J. Butcher conceived of the handsome Precious Moments Park as a space to pay homage to God. The manicured gardens, cafe, visitors center, and gift shop (of course) are worth perusing but it’s the Chapel that’s the main draw: 5,000 square feet nodding to the Sistine Chapel, with stained glass and 84 murals depicting Bible stories, hand-painted by Butcher himself. -- Vanita Salisbury

Havre Beneath the Streets Tour


Havre Beneath the Streets
OK, this is a little outside the box for a state littered with cool roadside fossil museums and whatnot, but there are only so many dinosaurs and ghost towns we can write about, and seldom is a roadside attraction actually under the road. There's basically an entire city underneath the town of Havre, a series of underground tunnels that houses the preserved remains of a Chinese laundry, opium dens, and even a bordello. And since this is a West, the saloon still stands too. It's basically a living museum of a boomtown past, one that's slightly creepy and endlessly fascinating. -- AK
MORE:  Above ground, Montana's got a hell of a mermaid bar

Nebraska Rest Area
Nebraska Rest Area | CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock


Nebraska Rest Area
Box Butte-Wright-Lake Election Precinct
There’s a well-known roadside attraction along US Highway 87 known as Carhenge, which is like Stonehenge but with cars. It’s lovely! Definitely stop and see it. But keep driving just a couple of miles North up the 87 and you will come to the actual roadside attraction I’m here to tell you about, which is the Nebraska Rest Area. The WifI is free. The toilet is non-flushing. That's it. Enjoy. -- KM

Goldwell Open Air Museum
Goldwell Open Air Museum | VIKVAD/Shutterstock


Goldwell Open Air Museum
Words like "ghost" and "death" are particularly appropriate to use in any description of Goldwell, located near the eastern edge of Death Valley. Now exceedingly well-documented on Instagram, the open-air museum is a quirky sculpture park in the middle of the Amargosa Desert -- specifically known for the ghoulish, shrouded figures staged in a reinterpretation of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. Belgian artist Charles Albert Szulaski launched the museum with these plaster figures in 1984. He followed his Last Supper up with two more pieces featuring the same haunting figures, though only one, Ghost Rider (featuring a shrouded figure with a bicycle), still stands. Other European artists followed his lead, and today, there are seven sculptures on display in the middle of this eerie, godforsaken desert. -- Nicole Rupersberg
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Chicken Farmer Rock
Chicken Farmer Rock | NH Department of Transportation

New Hampshire

Chicken Farmer Rock
The story of Chicken Farmer Rock is as follows: At some point in the ’70s or ’80s, the words “CHICKEN FARMER, I LOVE YOU” were painted on a rock by the side of the road in the small town of Newbury. Legend holds that this was the work of a boy too shy to confess his crush on a girl living on a chicken farm there to her face. The rock became a local treasure, and its message remained there, lightly maintained by Newbury residents, until around 15 years ago when one of these anonymous restorations updated the message to “CHICKEN FARMER, I STILL LOVE YOU.” In 2011, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation responded to some horrible person’s complaint about the art and painted over it. The rock’s unnamed custodians, though, didn’t take long to paint it back. -- KM

Lucy the Elephant
Lucy the Elephant

New Jersey

Lucy the Elephant
Margate City
There are infinite roadside attractions in America, but one of them was the first and it was Lucy (no relation to Lucy, the first human ancestor remains ever discovered). Built in 1881, this six-story elephant resides in Margate City. She has survived lightning strikes, Hurricane Sandy, being converted into various restaurants and taverns and summer homes, and one (1) vanity presidential run. She’s a National Historic Landmark, and most importantly is much more than simply something that’s fun to look at -- you can climb up the spiral staircase inside her leg and take in the view from upstairs. -- KM
MORE:This New Jersey sculpture garden is continuing Lucy's public-art legacy

Roswell Welcome Sign
Roswell Welcome Sign | Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

New Mexico

Basically everything in Roswell
Is it fair to call an entire town a roadside attraction? Probably not. But the sheer number of alien-related shit populating the streets of Roswell makes it unavoidable. There are makeshift spaceships you can tour. Straight-up UFO "museums." A fake-ass alien autopsy site. Gift shops galore. If there are actual aliens tucked away in Roswell, they pulled the ingenious move of hiding in plain sight, surrounded by every kind of gaudy, over-the-top kitsch as possible. Well played, Martians. -- AK

Secret Caverns
Secret Caverns

New York

Secret Caverns
Howes Cave
Privately owned caves are a vastly under-appreciated roadside mainstay, probably because getting strangers to go underground on your mysterious rural property is a hard sell. Secret Caverns counters it with some outstanding billboard hucksterism, its psychedelic, goofy, and entrancing signage beckoning you through the wilds of Upstate to a rad, hand-painted building near Howes Cave. Enter through a door that looks like a bat's mouth, then descend into the Earth to discover a 100-foot underground waterfall, dome roofs, and more natural wonders. It's a place where psychedelic folk art meets trippy natural art, with the added bonus of vintage arcade games to play after you gaze at the stalactites. -- AK
MORE:  This isn't even the most beautiful place in Upstate

World's Largest Chest Of Drawers
World's Largest Chest Of Drawers

North Carolina

World's Largest Chest of Drawers
High Point
Oh, you didn't know that High Point was the Home Furnishings Capital of the World? Well, this 38 foot dresser is here to remind you. It was built in 1926, making it very desirable to colossal antiques collectors, and comes complete with two gigantic socks. Unfortunately, the world's biggest pair of underpants is in Egypt. -- AK

Enchanted Highway
Enchanted Highway | Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty

North Dakota

The Enchanted Highway
Driving across the flat North Dakota prairies can be pretty monotonous, so the towering, whimsical sculptures along a 32-mile stretch of Highway 21 (now the Enchanted Highway) between Regent and Gladstone can seem to come out of nowhere. Metal sculptor and retired school teacher Gary Greff's metal works -- from giant metal deer and a huge grasshopper to a complex underwater world -- pop up every few miles along the empty road to keep you from zoning out on the open road. -- NB
MORE: Hop off the highway for a taste North Dakota's emergent beer scene



Yeah, Ohio has traditional roadside attractions like weird museums, giant robots, and the Goodyear gosh-darn blimp. But if you want to get a genuinely weird experience, look no further than the BibleWalk. We generally stayed away from non-Precious Moments-related religious stuff, but BibleWalk is our exception. This is not, mind you, something marketed as weird: your snickering will not be appreciated. But if you can control yourself, you'll be treated to the Madame Tussaud's of Biblical tableaus, a wax museum dedicated to martyrs, Reformation, and other pious figures. The fact that many of the wax figures appear to be actual repurposed celebrity effigies -- look, kids, it's Clark Gable and Liz Taylor -- gives it a surreal, slightly hilarious edge, one whose mileage will definitely vary depending on your disposition or feelings about wax figures, fire, and brimstone. -- AK

Blue Whale
Blue Whale


The Blue Whale
A giant, friendly whale in the middle of a landlocked state is, in and of itself, odd. But the story of the ocean titan dipping halfway into a pond makes it even more strange/wonderful. Built as a gift from husband to wife, the whale became the centerpiece of a larger roadside attraction, The Animal Reptile Kingdom, which itself was built to resemble Noah's Ark. As the couple grew old, the attraction was abandoned, with the ark falling into disrepair. But the whale remains vibrant. Yes, this sounds like the setup for a Scooby-Doo mystery -- as abandoned amusement areas are wont to -- but it's actually a very charming site to see along Route 66, where its presence has perplexed drivers for four decades. -- AK

Enchanted Forest
The Enchanted Forest | Jeremy Thompson


Enchanted Forest
Part slightly aloof amusement park, part folk-art fantasia, Enchanted Forest sits tucked into the evergreen branches alongside Oregon's I-5, right next to Salem. For generations, local artist Roger Tofte's surreal, slightly skewed handmade attraction -- well, handmade except the ride mechanics, which would be... dangerous -- has drawn families and naturopathically enhanced adults with such landmarks as a castle, a forest dotted with foreboding fairytale characters, miniature villages, rides, and an gigantic witch's head whose mouth doubles as an entrance to a slide. And for the psychedelically inclined, it's a riotous journey down a very different kind of rabbit hole. -- AK
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Winber Trolley Graveyard
Winber Trolley Graveyard | bill baker/Flickr


Vintage Electric Streetcar Company
Journey into Pennsylvania’s coal country and you may come upon the small town of Windber. There lies the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company, more commonly known as the Windber Trolley Graveyard. It contains 14 long-decommissioned trolley cars, trucked into the Pennsylvania woods by a trolley enthusiast Ed Metka. This means the scrapyard is private property -- don’t try to find it on your own, but do email to set up a tour ($30). -- KM

The Fantastic Umbrella Factory
The Fantastic Umbrella Factory

Rhode Island

The Fantastic Umbrella Factory
The Fantastic Umbrella Factory does not have just umbrellas. The Fantastic Umbrella Factory has everything. A regionally beloved bazaar and the shopping experience to end all shopping experiences, this outpost of US Highway 1 is a collection of five stores where you can pick up every conceivable type of artisanal wares -- lots of them local -- from plant baskets to blown glass to vintage eyeglasses to drums to organic vegetables growing around the premises. There is also a bamboo forest, a seasonally open cafe, and a petting zoo (goats, emus, chickens, ducks). -- KM

Tea-rific Teapot Museum
Tea-rific Teapot Museum

South Carolina

Tearificteapot Museum
Some folks collect buttons. Others collect postcards. But then there’s the elite few of us who have an entire collection of teapots. Tearificteapot Museum in Elloree is essentially the teapot headquarters of the United States, just judging by how many pots the place is filled with (over 5,000!). General admission is $6 for adults and $12 if you want a tour, actual tea to drink, and other cool goodies. -- KA

Wall Drug Store
Wall Drug Store | YuniqueB/Shutterstock

South Dakota

Wall Drug
Wall Drug is the roadside attraction to end all roadside attractions rising out of the prehistoric landscape preceding the Badlands. It's a city-sized paragon of Western kitsch. A necessary pitstop in the middle of capital-N Nowhere. An actual drug store, where you can get a prescription filled and also see a gigantic animatronic dinosaur or cowboy band, peruse Native American art, eat an open-face turkey sandwich, play in a shooting gallery, or snap a photo with a jackalope. You can't miss it: Not only because it's massive, but because you'll see hundreds of hand-painted signs across multiple states, luring tourists in with the promise of free ice water and $.05 coffee (the ice water's great, BTW, the coffee not so much). And even if you wish to avoid it, you kind of can't: At the intersection of East and West, North and South, it's one of the last places to get gas for a while, regardless of where you're going. Just grab a "where the heck is Wall Drug" bumper sticker, eat a donut, and soak in the Americana -- AK
MORE:  While in SoDak, don't skip the Corn Palace

Titanic Museum Attraction
Titanic Museum Attraction


Titanic Museum Attraction
Pigeon Forge
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it was like to board the RMS Titanic -- y’know... before its tragic final journey -- you’re in luck. Yes, I know, Pigeon Forge is for tourists, but the Titanic Museum Attraction is something you truly have to see with your own eyes. According to its website, it is the “world’s largest Titanic museum attraction.” The interior and exterior of the museum look just like the actual ship so you’ll get all the bang for your $27. You’ll walk through real-life replicas of the corridors, rooms, and even the Grand Staircase while imagining you're a millionaire in 1912. Eh… before 2:20am, of course. Speaking of passengers, everyone who enters the ship receives a boarding pass of someone who actually boarded or worked on the real Titanic -- all of whom are deceased. Not creepy at all, right? -- KA

Public Glass Restrooms on the Square in Sulphur Springs Texas
Public Glass Restrooms on the Square in Sulphur Springs Texas


Glass-Walled Public Toilets
Sulphur Springs
Drive into the small town of Sulphur Springs and you might have the good fortune of making a pit stop at the only see-through public toilets in America. Don’t worry, though, you can definitely use them -- they’re only see-through in one direction, i.e. you can see everyone going about their business outside but no one can see you, on the inside, doing yours. -- KM

Hole N' The Rock
Hole N' The Rock


Hole N” The Rock
You’re driving down US Highway 191, thinking vaguely of finding a place to pull over and stretch, maybe get some snacks, when you see, in the distance: a massive red rock face with blazing white detailing. You drive closer. “HOLE N” THE ROCK”. Is it … literally a hole in the rock? It is, kinda, yes. Hole N” The Rock is a 5,000-square-foot home carved into the rock where you’ll also find a trading post, general store, art collection, and petting zoo -- camels, zebras, albino raccoons…  you are wondering whether you can feed them, yes you can. “WE ARE NOT YOUR DESTINATION:” explains/yells the Hole N” The Rock website, “WE ARE AN AMAZING STOP ALONG THE WAY.” -- KM
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The Museum of Everyday Life
The Museum of Everyday Life | Kyle Clark/Facebook


The Museum of Everyday Life
This tiny roadside museum in Glover, in northeastern Vermont, is dedicated to the mundane and the familiar. To the sorts of objects that don’t often make it into museums, or at least not before several centuries have passed. Pencils. Scissors. Toothbrushes. Keys. But not everything here is static -- there are intermittent puppet shows and other live performances, and sometimes guided tours. The museum is self-serve. Make your donations at the door; turn off the lights when you leave. -- KM
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Dinosaur Land
Dinosaur Land | Tess Dixon/Flickr


Dinosaur Land
White Post
Seventy-five miles outside of Washington, DC lies a prehistoric oasis worth the detour -- Dinosaur Land. What originally began as a small gift shop has transformed into a massive park scattered with over 50 towering, handmade dinosaur statues. If you weren't a dinosaur expert before, you'll leave the park a genius: there's just about every species, from lumbering Stegosaurus to the creepy, meat-eating Coelophysis (the lizard-like guys who terrorized everyone during Jurassic Park). I'm partial to the kind of derpy-looking T-rex, who stands next to the long-necked, plant-eating Apatosaurus in a way that makes it seem like they're just gossiping. Open every month except January and February, with admission starting at $6. -- Kalina Newman

Marsh's Free Museum
Jake the Alligator Man | Imhavingfun42/Wikimedia Commons


Marsh's Free Museum
Long Beach
Spend enough time in the Pacific Northwest and Twin Peaks starts to look like a documentary. So it makes perfect sense that an idyllic ocean town is as well known for its boardwalks as it is for the mummified gator/human creature that has become the town's mascot. That humanoid is Jake the Alligator Man, a star of the Weekly World News who resides at Marsh's Free Museum, a sprawling peculiarium filled ceiling to floor with weirdness and kitsch. Here, you can find seashells and kites, two-headed calves and jarred tapeworms, and vintage baseball games. Here, a celebrity sighting is all but guaranteed. It just so happens that said celebrity is a ghoulish reptilian nightmare. 
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Mystery Hole
Mystery Hole | Matt/Flickr

West Virginia

Mystery Hole
Near New River Gorge in Fayetteville -- another of our fave scenic drives -- lies Mystery Hole. What will you see here? That depends on you. Some report seeing objects roll uphill instead of down. Some find furniture balanced in ways that furniture should not be able to balance. Gravity, it seems, does its own thing here. Mystery Hole is open May through October. Guided tours cost $7.50, and be sure to leave your phone and all electronic devices in your car -- they are forbidden during the tour, and if you’re caught with one you won’t get a refund. -- KM

Upside Down White House
Upside Down White House | aaronmjr/Flickr


Upside-Down White House
Wisconsin Dells
Just like the real White House, you'll need a guide to take you through the Top Secret Inc. house resting on its roof in the Wisconsin Dells, a city itself that could well be considered one big-ass tourist trap. And only then will you begin to uncover the mysterious conspiracy, which will just be the start of explaining why the world stands on its head. The thing could well be an apt metaphor for our current political climate. But sometimes, an upside-down monument is just an upside-down monument. -- NB
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The World’s Largest Elk Horn Arch
The World’s Largest Elk Horn Arch | david__jones/Flickr


The World’s Largest Elk Horn Arch
Afton is a tiny town in middle-of-nowhere Wyoming -- otherwise known as “Wyoming" -- but the little hamlet south of Jackson has a hell of a unique centerpiece. Assembled from the antlers of more than 3,000 elk, the town’s elk horn arch stretches across four lanes of the sleepy town’s road, weighing in at a whopping 15 tons. That’s enough antlers to decorate every hunting lodge in Wyoming and still have leftovers to decorate dozens of hip “New American” restaurants in bigger cities. -- AK
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