The Strangest Roadside Attractions in the United States
Nothing says “American summer” like a road trip. And the best way to pass time in the car is by visiting fun spots along the way. Here are the strangest roadside attractions in the U.S. You may find you have as much fun uncovering America’s oddities as you have at your destination!
1. Alabama: Unclaimed Baggage Center
Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff people leave behind when they lose their luggage? Apparently it goes to Alabama. Airlines try to find the owners of unclaimed bags for three months. After that, the Unclaimed Baggage Center buys the luggage from them. It gets shipped to the facility where the items are sorted, laundered, and sold to more than 1 million annual visitors. You can buy everything from shoes to fine jewelry; over 7,000 items are added daily.
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2. Colorado: UFO Watchtower
After watching her favorite show, The X-Files, for years, Judy Messoline realized her Hooper, Colorado ranch sits in the middle of what UFO believers consider a galactic hub in the San Luis Valley. You can camp on her ranch for $15, or you can drive in and look at the sky through the UFO watchtower for $5 per car. So far, there have been 90 sightings.
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3. Idaho: World’s Biggest Beagle
If your next road trip includes Idaho, you must visit Dog Bark Park Inn, AKA the world’s biggest beagle. The inn only sleeps four and is open from April through October, so book your stay ahead of time. You’ll enjoy a private deck, complimentary breakfast, and superb views. If you can’t stay the night, then stretch your legs and visit the artist’s studio where the owners feature their chainsaw artwork.
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4. Illinois: Gold Pyramid House
If you can’t visit Egypt, the gold pyramid house in Wadsworth, Illinois may be the next best thing. Built in 1977 as a private residence, this 17,000-square-foot house is six stories tall and surrounded by a moat. House tours include a personal story of growing up there and a lesson on ancient Egypt. Make sure to take a picture with the tallest Rameses structure in the world.
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5. Kentucky: Dinosaur World
The Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky features hundreds of life-size models of prehistoric dinosaurs, plus interactive outdoor exhibits. The park is dog-friendly, and you can bring your own food and drinks in coolers. Dinosaur World is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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6. Massachusetts: The Witch House of Salem
We all know the Salem witch trials were horrible, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. If you’re driving by Salem, Massachusetts, you’ll want to stop at the Witch House of Salem, the last standing structure with direct ties to the witch trials of 1692. The house’s owner, Judge Jonathan Corwin, served on the court that which sent 19 women to their deaths after they refused to admit to practicing witchcraft.
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7. North Carolina: The Last Shell Oil Clam
Revisit a time when gas was cheap and sold in … clamshells? Clearly, the idea didn’t last for long; the last Shell oil clam in the U.S. closed in the 1950s. It housed a mower repair business until the ’80s. Now, it’s empty, but travelers still visit this clam located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
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8. Washington: Wild Horses Monument
If you’re near Vantage, Washington and want to hike, then consider a trek to see Wild Horses Monument, officially called “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies.” This monument features 15 life-size galloping horses. You can get a good look at it from a distance, but if you decide to hike to see the horses up close, you’ll also get spectacular views of the Columbia River.
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9. South Dakota: Wall Drug
If you seek a bonafide tourist trap, look no further than Wall Drug in South Dakota. What began as a little drugstore in the middle of nowhere — it attracted drivers with free water in the ’30s — now sees up to 20,000 visitors a day. The city of Wall is a gateway to Badlands National Park. So Wall Drug is the perfect place to grab a snack before you visit the park.
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10. Utah: Hole N” the Rock
If you road-trip through Southwest Utah, look for Hole N” the Rock. (You can’t miss the giant sign). Open year-round, this manmade marvel is a 5,000-square-foot home that’s nearly a century old. It also features a zoo of exotic animals, including bison, camels, and zebra. The museum houses antique tools and mining equipment.
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11. Virginia: Foamhenge
If you squint, you may think you’re at Stonehenge when you visit Foamhenge. Originally built in 2004 in Natural Bridge, Virginia, the monument was moved in 2017 to its permanent location at Cox Farms. It sits on private property, so hours are limited. During the spring and summer, you can visit Foamhenge from 12–2 pm on Saturdays.
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12. Vermont: Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
Ever wonder what happens to ice-cream flavors when they get pulled off shelves? Ben and Jerry’s flavor graveyard in Waterbury, Vermont is where the company honors their “dearly de-pinted” flavors. Here’s a fun twist: Ben and Jerry’s occasionally resurrects failed flavors. You can vote for the one you want to bring back online. (Make sure to get tickets for the ice-cream factory tour, too.)
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13. Maine: International Cryptozoology Museum
Whether you’re a Bigfoot believer or not, you’ll enjoy the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. This nonprofit is the only cryptozoology museum in the world. (Cryptozoology is the study of hidden animals.) Exhibits feature evidence of the existence of creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, along with hundreds of strange items.
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14. Wisconsin: Chatty Belle, the World’s Largest Talking Cow
You’ll see a lot of cows on your road trip, but have you seen the world’s largest talking cow, Chatty Belle? If not, it’s time to plan a trip through Neillsville, Wisconsin. Chatty Belle has held the title since her debut in 1967. She stands a whopping 16 feet tall and is 20 feet long. Visitors can put a quarter in the speaker box next to hear Chatty’s pro-dairy speech.
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15. Wyoming: Fossil Cabin
The sign next to Fossil Cabin at Como Bluff says “believe it or not,” so we’ll choose to believe this cabin really is made of dinosaur fossils. It’s also the oldest building in Wyoming. Builder Thomas Boylan used 5,796 fossilized dinosaur bones he found in the area to make the 102,166-pound cabin in the 1930s. The building served as a gas station and museum until the ’70s. Now it’s for sale, so its future is uncertain.