Is your family one of the many American families planning to take a road trip this year? Be sure to pack plenty of snacks, activities to entertain the kids and maybe even an old-school map. And while you’re still in the planning phase, consider allowing extra time for some unique sightseeing. It’s no fun to stay on the beaten path all the time, and there are interesting places to visit in every state.
If you need inspiration, check out these quaint, quirky and downright quizzical roadside attractions. There’s sure to be something that piques your sense of adventure.
Alabama: Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise
In 1915, the Mexican boll weevil destroyed Alabama’s cotton crops. Dedicated in 1919, this monument serves as a reminder of the citizens’ ability to overcome adversity. Still, it’s not every day you see a bug topping off a monument.
Alaska: Knotty Shop Mosquito in Salcha
The mosquito is known as Alaska’s unofficial state bird (the state boasts 35 species of the insect), so this larger-than-life woodcarving at a unique gift shop south of Fairbanks is appropriate. We do not want to think about how much it would itch to get a bite from a mosquito this size. You can see the bug’s lengthy stinger in this photo posted to the shop’s Facebook page.
Arizona: Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch in Picacho
In the desert between Tucson and Phoenix, off busy Interstate 10, you can pull over, stretch your legs and feed the ostriches, as well as the goats, deer and a few other critters. What do ostriches eat, you ask? While they typically eat roots, leaves and seeds, they are technically omnivores and have been known to eat small rodents, lizards, snakes and bugs.
Arkansas: Popeye Statue in Alma
Known as the Spinach Capital of the World, Alma celebrates with an annual Spinach Festival at which Popeye the Sailor would feel right at home. Toot toot!
California: Fallen Star at UCSD in San Diego
This permanent art installation at the University of California’s San Diego campus looks as though a little house fell from the sky — “The Wizard of Oz”-style — and landed on the roof of the school’s engineering building. Currently the house is closed to visitors, but when it reopens, expect to see a rooftop garden and panoramic views from the inside. Unexpected, right?
Colorado: World’s Largest Sticker Ball in Longmont
The ball, which is named Saul (naturally), entered the Guinness World Record book as the Largest Sticker Ball on National Sticker Day on Jan. 13, 2016. Saul can be found at Sticker Giant, a sticker company that specializes in custom stickers, in Longmont, which is about 35 miles north of Denver. You can find updates about Saul — like the one below — on the Sticker Giant Facebook page.
Connecticut: Giant Frogs on Spools in Windham
In June of 1754, the people of Windham, Connecticut, awoke to spooky sounds coming from the outskirts of town. Brave armed men began shooting toward the noise, only to find the landscape littered with frogs come morning. This “we can laugh about this later” incident is commemorated with giant frog statues set on a bridge in town. While the frogs serve as a reminder, the spools speak to the area’s history in textiles.
Delaware: Miles the Monster in Dover
This concrete giant welcomes (or scares off?) visitors to the Dover International Speedway, also home of the “Monster Mile.” The speedway has hosted all types of car races since it opened in the late ’60s, and Miles joined the scene in 2000.
Florida: Betsy the Lobster in Islamorada
The spiny lobster is a popular Florida Keys species, which — unlike its Maine cousin — has no claws. A sculptor crafted the oversized Betsy for a restaurant that went under before he could complete her, so she now sits for everyone to see alongside the Overseas Highway.
Georgia: Doll’s Head Trail in Atlanta
In an attempt to clean up trash left by flooding and people littering, this artsy and somewhat creepy trail came to be. Cast-offs have become art that intermingle with nature and stunning views in Constitution Lakes Park southeast of Atlanta.
Hawaii: World’s Largest Aloha Shirt in Honolulu
This size 400 XL shirt hangs at the Hilo Hattie store on Nimitz Highway in Honolulu. It took 26 yards of fabric to create the shirt, which could cover 13 sumo wrestlers.
Idaho: Statue of Liberty in Sandpoint
There is more to Idaho than spuds. Although not as tall as the real Lady Liberty, this replica of the famous statue stands at attention at Idaho’s largest lake, Lake Pend Oreille, in the northwestern part of the state.
Illinois: Leaning Tower of Niles in Niles
While the tilt of the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy was unintentional, this half-size replica’s lean was entirely planned.
The Leaning Tower of Niles, as it’s called, was built in the 1930s as part of a park for employees of the ILG Hot Air Electric Ventilating Company. The structure still stands today on grounds that have become a YMCA.
Indiana: Giant Leg Sundial in Lake Village
Sun Aura is a clothing-optional campground near the Kankakee River in the northwest part of the state. This leggy timepiece welcomes visitors to the resort.
Iowa: Statue of Isis in West Branch
This bronze, 7-foot-tall, veiled statue named for the Egyptian goddess of life (not the terrorist group of the same name) was given to Herbert Hoover by the people of Belgium as a token of thanks following WWI.
Kansas: World’s Largest Souvenir Plate in Lucas
You know those kitschy plates your grandma collected? Kansas has one that is 14 feet in diameter. It was made from a “retired” satellite dish.
Kentucky: Colonel Sanders Wax Statue in Louisville
Tourists who stop by the Louisville Visitor Center can snap photos with the KFC founder … or at least his lifelike wax model. He’s even holding a wax bucket of chicken.
Louisiana: Abita Mystery House in Abita Springs
Also known as the UCM (you-see-em) Museum, this diminutive building stores thousands of homemade inventions, folk art pieces and other found items. Be sure to check out the Swamp Ghost and the Bassigator!
Maine: Big Easy Chair in Kittery
After vandals damaged the popular 12-foot wooden and fiberglass sculpture, the community rallied to repair and rebuild the popular landmark. Why not stop and sit for a spell?
Maryland: RCA Dog in Baltimore
You probably recognize “Nipper the Dog” and his cocked head from Radio Corporation of America (RCA) ads. The 18-foot statue originally sat atop the RCA building in the 1950s. Today, he and his phonograph sit atop the Maryland Historical Society Museum in Baltimore.
Massachusetts: Huge Baby Heads in Boston
A pair of 10-foot, bronze baby heads — one awake and one seemingly asleep — flanks a fountain on the lawn of the Fenway entrance lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts, symbolizing day and night.
Michigan: Einstein Playing Frisbee in Kalamazoo
Even geniuses need breaks. This welded steel statue is installed near the main entrance to the building that houses the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences building on Western Michigan University’s Parkview Campus. The school’s Facebook page posted this photo of the gleaming statue in 2014.
Minnesota: Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth
If you hear a “Ho, ho, ho!” while traveling across I-90 in southern Minnesota, it’s not Santa Claus. This 55-foot-tall statue stands in a park and invites people to visit the nearby Green Giant Museum.
Mississippi: Devil’s Crossroads in Clarksdale
Legend has it that on this spot, aspiring bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil himself in exchange for guitar-playing fortune and fame. The talented musician died mysteriously at the age of 27.
Missouri: The Awakening in Chesterfield
This partially-buried, massive aluminum sculpture appears to be a metal giant arising from the earth. Measuring 70 feet in length and 17 feet at its tallest point, the sculpture is located near the city’s Central Park. Check out this beautiful image of the sculpture that was posted to the City of Chesterfield’s Facebook page.
Montana: The Vortex and House of Mystery in Columbia Falls
Some say the Montana Vortex is a quantum or gravitational anomaly defying the laws of physics and nature. Others state that it is a hoax using optical illusions. You can decide for yourself when you visit.
Nebraska: Carhenge in Alliance
A modern replica of Stonehenge, Carhenge is actually a circle of cars painted stone-gray located in northwestern Nebraska. Check out the adjacent Car Art Preserve while you’re there.
Nevada: Goldwell Open Air Museum near Rhyolite
Advertised as “Art where it seemingly shouldn’t be,” this 15-acre outdoor art installation beckons visitors near the ghost town of Rhyolite. It is a project of an artist residency program in the nearby Red Barn Art Center.
New Hampshire: USS Albacore in Portsmouth
Originally a research submarine designed by the Navy in the ’50s to test experimental features, the USS Albacore is now a museum. As you take a self-guided tour, recorded audio tells you about features and life aboard a submarine.
New Jersey: World’s Largest Light Bulb in Edison
Situated on a 36-acre state park, the 117-foot Edison Memorial Tower is topped with a 13-foot-8-inch-high lightbulb made of Pyrex glass segments. Visitors are encouraged to visit the tower and museum. You can see the lightbulb glowing brightly on a dark winter’s evening in this Facebook photo.
New Mexico: Roadrunner in Las Cruces
On a hill overlooking Interstate 10 stands a 20-foot-tall bird made from scrap metal and other castoffs salvaged from the city dump. In fact, its belly is mostly comprised of old white shoes.
New York: Cross Island Chapel in Oneida
There are some tiny churches across the country, but this one takes the cake. With a floor area of less than 30 square feet, the chapel sits on a wooden deck in the middle of a pond and seats only two people. Naturally, this tiny chapel is a draw for those visiting upstate New York, like Instagram user @perch_pond.
North Carolina: The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson
An eye-catching marriage of science and art awaits you at this unusual roadside attraction. Nearing retirement, farm machinery repairman Vollis Simpson began constructing the animated 40-feet-50-inches-tall sculptures and continued until his death at the age of 94. His field is now a park and museum. Check out the park’s Facebook page for updates and photos, like this picture of some whirligigs that was posted in 2020.
North Dakota: The Enchanted Highway in Regent
This 32-mile stretch of highway is guarded by multiple massive sculptures made of scrap metal. Designs include deer, pheasants and even Teddy Roosevelt.
Ohio: Longaberger Basket Building in Newark
This seven-story building shaped like a picnic basket was originally the headquarters for the famous basket-making company. With the Longaberger company in tough form, the building had been on the market for a few years and finally sold to a new owner in January 2018.
Oklahoma: Bumblebee and Optimus Prime in Stillwater
A Stillwater body shop has a unique form of security — a life-size Transformer replica stands at each of its two locations. You can see the statues in these photos posted to the body shop’s Facebook page in 2020.
Oregon: Harvey the Rabbit in Aloha
This bug-eyed bunny was the trademark attraction of the Harvey Marine company for decades (whether he encouraged you to buy a boat or gave you nightmares is a matter of perspective). As of 2018, the company closed down, but the beloved bunny statue continues to stand tall, delighting locals and tourists alike. You can keep up with Harvey on his Facebook page.
Pennsylvania: Oversized Quarter Near Everett
Located on the lawn of the Down River Golf Course east of Everett on Lincoln Highway stands a massive quarter. Students at the Bedford County Technical Center made the coin, which weighs nearly one ton. The Facebook page 2 PA Traveling Girls captured some pictures of the coin and posted them in 2021.
Rhode Island: Gun Totem in Providence
Artist Boris Bally created this concrete pillar using 2,000 guns, which were part of a government gun buy-back program.
South Carolina: Man Walking Alligator on Hilton Head Island
The sculpted man walking with an alligator on Pope Avenue is Sea Pines founder Charles E. Fraser, who was known for his conservation efforts when developing the island. A photo posted to the Facebook page HHIslandLife shows the statue of the man and gator strolling next to each other.
South Dakota: Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose
This little-known roadside attraction boasts the works of self-taught South Dakota artist Wayne Porter. The 50+ sculptures are completely touchable and the park is pet-friendly as well. You can see some of the sculptures in these photos posted to the sculpture park’s Facebook page in 2021.
Tennessee: Titanic Replica in Pigeon Forge
If you have ever wanted to reenact Jack’s “I’m the king of the world!” scene from the movie, this may be your chance. This tour-able museum features artifacts from the film and much more.
Texas: Eiffel Tower Replica in Paris
If you have always dreamed of standing in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower but France is out of your budget, just head to northeast Texas. The 65-foot tower even has a red, 10-foot-diameter cowboy hat on top, y’all. You can’t miss it!
Utah: Up House in Herriman
You will be tempted to go buy a big bunch of helium balloons when you see this adorable home near Salt Lake City. While tours are no longer available, the owners are happy for visitors to shoot selfies from outside. You can see how the Disney-fied house gets decked out for each holiday, like in this photo from Halloween 2021, on the Real UP House Facebook page.
Vermont: Granite Zipper in Barre
This public art installation uses the area’s own famous stone, known as Barre gray granite. The 74-foot-long sculpture makes it seem as though the earth is opening. Check out the zipper, with greenery growing inside the unzipped part, in this photo from the Vermont Granite Museum Facebook page.
Virginia: Big Cootie Bug at Shenandoah Caverns
There are numerous reasons to visit the caverns, but even if you don’t have time for the complete tour, you can stop by and see the oversized Cootie bug. The colorful bug is featured in this photo that was posted to the Shenandoah Caverns Facebook page.
Washington: Marsh’s Free Museum in Long Beach
In operation since 1935, this “curiosity shop” boasts the world’s best saltwater taffy, as well as Jake the Alligator Man and many other oddities. Jake is the subject of many social media updates, like this post on the museum’s Facebook page.
West Virginia: Mothman in Point Pleasant
The story goes that back in 1966, men in black hunted a flying, red-eyed creature in this small West Virginia town. Visit the Mothman statue and nearby museum to find out more about this mysterious occurrence.
Wisconsin: Fred Smith’s Concrete Park in Phillips
After retiring from his job as a lumberjack back in 1948, Fred Smith began making concrete sculptures until his death in 1964. The Northern Wisconsin park displaying his work is open for self-guided tours year-round. The sculptures are large and impressive, as you can see in this photo posted to the Wisconsin Concrete Park Facebook page.
Wyoming: Elkhorn Arch in Afton
A unique archway stretches across Main Street in downtown Afton. Constructed in 1958, it contains more than 3,000 wapiti antlers.