25 American Roadside Attractions You Have To See To Believe

3/25/14 2:58PM EST

25 Roadside Attractions You Have To See To Believe 25 American Roadside Attractions You Have To See To Believe

Image via Flickr/ Tim Lee

Vacations are a relaxing escape from everyday life, whether you’re visiting family or exploring a new place. While touring around New York City or staring in amazement across the Grand Canyon are both great options, you might be looking for something a bit more… interesting. If you’re able to road trip to your destination, or if you rent a car once you arrive, check out some of these places that are so unique, you have to see them to believe them!

1. Beverly Cleary Tributes in Grant Park, Portland, OR.

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Image via Flickr/ DarkEmerald

Grant Park in Portland, Oregon, was the setting for many of Beverly Cleary’s famous children’s books. To pay tribute to the beloved author, fans in the area raised money and built three statues – Henry Huggins, his dog Ribsy, and Ramona Quimby herself frolic around a fountain.

2. Fremont Troll, Seattle, WA.

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Image via Flickr/ Tim Lee

If you’re not expecting anything out of the ordinary as you drive under the Aurora Avenue bridge in Seattle, Washington, you’ll probably find yourself caught off guard when you realize a massive troll is staring into your car!

3. Gum Alley, San Luis Obispo, CA and Seattle, WA.

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Image via Flickr/ Daniel Kuperman

There are a few Gum Alley locations across the country, but the most famous are in San Luis Obispo, California and Seattle, Washington. These are brick alleys that, for some unknown reason, have been totally covered with chewed gum! This unique graffiti is actually an attractive art form – many people make beautiful pictures from their leftover gum. Another plus is that the alleys don’t stink – they smell a bit minty and fruity!

4. Grape Day Park, Escondido, CA.

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Image via Flickr/ Genevieve Prentice

Children’s parks can be extremely beautiful and innovative, and this one in Escondido, California is no exception. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a grape-themed park! There is a big bunch of grapes for a slide, “twigs” for climbing, and a leaf to lounge on.

5. Life-sized Monopoly Board, San Jose, CA.

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Image via Flickr/ HarshLight

This life-sized Momopoly board is in Guadalupe River Park in San Jose, California. You can walk around the board and take photos of your favorite squares, just don’t get sent to jail! Bring your own dice – though there is a pair of monster-sized dice off to the side, they’re bolted down and not able to be tossed around to play.

6. Neon Boneyard, Las Vegas, NV.

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Image via Flickr/ mcdexx

The strip in Las Vegas is known for its neon, but what happens when the neon burns out? It goes to the neon boneyard, and you can take a tour! There are countless neon signs in the boneyard, some grouped by theme, and some just strewn about. You can be accompanied by a guide, or listen to an audio tour at your own pace.

7. Bedrock City, Valle, AZ.

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Image via Flickr/ mlhradio

Just a short detour from the Grand Canyon, Bedrock City in Valle, Arizona is worth the stop no matter how old you are! The attraction is old and fading, but it’s still so cool to feel like you’re walking right into a cartoon! You can climb up a brontosaurus and slide down his tail, have your picture taken inside the jail, or admire the town’s stone-age technology of massive TVs and phones made of dinosaur tusks.

8. POPS, Oklahoma City, OK.

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Image via Flickr/ Muy Yum

POPS is a store that sells nothing but soda pop! The store is made entirely of glass, so as you pull off the road you can see the wide variety of glass bottle drinks. On the shelves, the bottles are arranged by colors. The coolers in the back have the bottles arranged by flavors – and you aren’t limited in this regard! There are traditional soda flavors, orange, grape, raspberry, but also unique flavors you might not want to try, like Monster Mucus and Kitty Piddle.

9. Eiffel Tower Replica, Paris, TN.

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Image via Flickr/ Kathleen Tyler Conklin

You don’t have to board an international flight to say you’ve been to Paris! Head to Paris, TN, about two hours northeast of Memphis. The town doesn’t just share a name with that famous romantic city, it also has a 70’ replica of the Eiffel Tower!

10. Microphone Bicycle Rack, Nashville, TN.

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Image via Flickr/ Larry Darling

Nashville, Tennessee is a music city, and it proudly displays this fact any way it can! The microphone bicycle rack has a large, old-fashioned microphone standing tall beside a curly cord, which is where the bikes can be parked and locked. This attraction is, appropriately, located in a traffic circle near the city’s famous Music Row.

11. World’s Largest Hairball, Garden City, KS.

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Image via Kordite

Who can resist a sign that boasts the “World’s Largest” anything? Garden City, Kansas claims to have the world’s largest hairball – and no one has challenged their claim yet! The hairball was found in the stomach of a slaughtered cow, and then weighed 55 pounds because it was wet. Now it has dried and is lighter, but is still 38 inches around!

12. Oldest Bar in the US, New Orleans, LA.

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Image via Flickr/ Katie/King

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was a pub built between 1722 and 1732 on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was used by pirate Jean Lafitte as a front for his smuggling business in 1772 – 1791. Interestingly, the bar has electricity but uses it for things other than electric lights – the pub is lit by candles!

13. Foamhenge, Natural Bridge, VA.

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Image via Flickr/ Robert Kimberly

Mark Cline has built many sculptures for tourist attractions, but one of his most famous, and most accurate, is a replica of Stonehenge – made completely out of foam! Though it’s not really rock, this replica is still an impressive site to behold as you hike up the small hill. To add to the strangeness, there is a wizard watching over the whole scene.

14. Lunch Box Museum, Columbus, GA.

The Lunch Box Museum is housed in the back of an antique mall and boasts over 2,000 metal lunch boxes and 1,700 Thermoses. The collection has a lot of original lunch boxes, but if you can find a duplicate than the owner will let you buy or trade it. Just be careful what you pick out – the lunch boxes range in price from $10 to several hundred!

15. Birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous, Akron, OH.

Have you ever thought about when and how Alcoholics Anonymous was formed? Dr. Bob and Anne Smith lived in Akron, Ohio when they founded Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. The house is a fairly unremarkable 2-story wood frame home, but it is visited by thousands of people who have benefited from AA. There is a memorial stone in the front yard distinguishing the house from its neighbors.

16. Drive-In Church, Cocoa Beach, FL.

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Image via Flickr/ Tricia

Who has time to go to church while on vacation? In Cocoa Beach, Florida, you don’t have to worry about how long the service might last. There is a drive-in church with a free service for anyone who has a car – just pull into the parking lot and listen on your radio!

17. Upside-Down Building, Orlando, FL.

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Image via Flickr/ Mel

Wonderworks is a science/nature exploratory museum, so it’s not really interesting by itself, but you don’t have to go inside to be amused! The building is made upside-down, so it looks like it’s resting on the point of its roof in the middle of an Orlando block. There’s even an upside-down UPS drop box at the museum’s “entrance” up in the air!

18. Giant Crash Test Dummy, Glen Burnie, MD.

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Image via Flickr/ Heath_Bar

Going to the DMV might be more fun if there was a fascinating attraction standing on its lawn! In Glen Burnie, Maryland, there is a 34’ tall, yellow crash test dummy standing in front of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Headquarters. The statue was put in place in 2012 to be a photo opportunity that will help promote traffic safety.

19. Museum of Outdated Technology, Rockville, MD.

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Image via Flickr/ rebecca64

In Rockville, Maryland, there is a cleverly named Museum of Outdated Technology… get it? MOOT! Another interesting twist is that this attraction actually isn’t a museum, it’s a collection of retro technology housed inside of a thrift store! Definitely worth a visit.

20. Springsteen Guitar, Belmar, NJ.

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Image via Flickr/ Mike Rastiello

In Belmar, New Jersey, at the corner of 10th Avenue and E Street (sound familiar?), there is an eight-foot tall replica of Bruce Springsteen’s Fender Esquire guitar. The statue is one of the more recent additions to this list, as it was built in 2011 on the front lawn of the public library.

21. Colossal Head of FDR, Roosevelt, NJ.


Roosevelt, New Jersey was a town founded during the Depression as a farm community for unemployed New Yorkers. Apparently naming their city “Roosevelt” didn’t seem like a big enough tribute to their heroic president, so the townspeople erected an enormous bust of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s head and display it prominently in the middle of an amphitheater.

22. Wigwam Motel, Rialto, CA, Holbrook, AZ, and Cave City, KY.

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Image via Flickr/ Don Barrett

There used to be Wigwam Motels along Route 66 across the country, but now only three remain. They’re historical landmarks, though the wigwams have been repainted to keep that classic look. Most wigwams still boast 50s style tile in the bathrooms, and don’t have modern accommodations, but are quaint and comfortable.

23. Big Mosquito, Kasilof, AK.

Many roadside attractions are all about the photo opportunities, and the big mosquito in Kasilof, Alaska does not disappoint. It’s a big metal mosquito with evil eyes, at the intersection of Highway 1 and Harlie Avenue. There’s even a bench next to the mosquito so you can pose any way you like, though the most popular option seems to be standing so the mosquito looks like it’s biting your butt.

24. The Brain Museum, Buffalo, NY.

This museum, officially named the Museum of Neuroanatomy, hosts dozens of human brains, lined up in rows, floating in jars. It was inspired by a doctor who saw a brain museum in Denmark, then spent thirty years teaching himself to dissect and display human brains (donated to the University of Buffalo’s School of Medicine) so he could open a museum of his own. The brains are displayed just so people can see what they look like, though there are problem brains like those that had tumors, an aneurysm, or Alzheimer’s.

25. Haunted House of Wax, Niagara Falls, NY.


There are museums featuring wax figures across the country, but are any of them too scary for visitors? The Haunted House of Wax on the American side of Niagara Falls in New York was apparently too realistic! It opened in 2002 and boasted animatronic displays, but the movements, screams, and smoke made the wax figures too scary! As a result, most displays don’t move anymore, which makes the museum a little more cheesy than frightening, but still worth a visit.

 
 
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