Where’s That Roadside Attraction?

By: Bambi Turner
Image: MoreISO / iStock / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The family loaded up in the car, singing along to the radio on the way to some awesome destination to create beloved family memories ... What's not to love about the lure of the open road and the web of highways and byways connecting one city or town to another? Well, there's the boredom, for one. Sure, driving along in the family car means freedom, and it can come at a lower cost than splurging on airplane tickets, but don't let the allure of the classic road trip gloss over the fact that all that driving can be just plain boring. The monotony of the blacktop, combined with the short attention span of kids, can make being cooped up in the car on your way somewhere just plain miserable. 

Thank goodness for the roadside attraction. These venues, which are scattered all over the world, serve as the perfect distraction from the confines of that car or SUV you've been riding in for the last 400 miles. While some are educational, and others are worth going out of your way for, most are designed to be slightly offbeat, if not downright cheesy or campy, but totally in a good way. 

So buckle up and join us for a tour of some of the greatest roadside attractions seen 'round the country. Top travelers will be able to match most of them to the correct state—can you? Prove it with this quiz!

Visitors traveling along I-90 can swing through Mitchell, South Dakota to check out their very unique Corn Palace. Built in 1921, it consists of a Moorish-style building that attracts half a million visitors a year, according to the Palace's website. And no, it's not actually made of corn. It was built using traditional wood, steel and concrete but is decorated with murals made from corn and grains, which are remade each year with a new theme.

Jimmy Carter was a simple peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia before he became the 39th U.S. President. Today, a 13-foot statue of a smiling peanut stands in this Georgia city, serving as a curiosity for anyone passing along on State Route 280.

Built in 1930, the 40-foot-tall Hood Milk Bottle lay abandoned before it was placed next to the Boston Children's Museum in 1977. Now visitors to the museums can gawk at the red and white curiosity and even pick up a sweet treat from the ice cream parlor located within the bottle's base.

Halfway between Minneapolis and Milwaukee, drivers on I-90 might find their mouths watering as they pass through La Crosse, Wisconsin, the home of the world's largest six-pack. In the 1960s, brewer G. Heileman had the brilliant idea to paint their six white storage tanks to resemble a case of suds. The building's new owner decided to continue the tradition in the 21st century, rebranding the "cans" as La Crosse Lager. A 15-foot-tall King of Beer statue next to the attraction only adds to its appeal.

As you cross the border into South Carolina on I-95, you'll find yourself gazing up at a 200-foot-tall sombrero, which marks one of the campiest roadside attractions you'll ever see. At South of the Border, you can dine in a sombrero, buy Mexican-themed souvenirs or meet local mascot, Pedro. Even if you don't stop at this Dillon, SC attraction, you might enjoy the nearly 200 billboards that line the highway for miles in either direction, advertising South of the Border with lines like "You're always a wiener at Pedro's."

Norwegian folklore and "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" comes to life in Seattle, Washington thanks to the Fremont Troll. This 18-foot-tall sculpture features the head and shoulders of a troll rising out from the earth below the Aurora Ave Bridge, a VW Beetle crushed in one giant hand. Every autumn, locals celebrate Troll-o-ween to honor this beloved attraction.

The icy waters of the North Atlantic are some of the best in the world for lobster fishermen. In Sheridac, New Brunswick, a 35-foot-high, 16-foot-long structure that the town bill's as the world's largest lobster sits atop a concrete base to greet visitors. In place since 1989, the attraction is free and open to all, and you can even climb up on top to maximize selfie shots.

Apparently, the Official Center of the World lies in the Sonoran Desert in Southern California, just north of the Mexican border. Founded in 1986, the site consists of a church, a granite pyramid and the Museum of History in Granite, where historical information is carved onto granite slabs for posterity.

Just down the road from Atlantic City, Lucy the Elephant has been welcoming visitors to the beach town of Margate since 1881. Installed to attract tourists and promote local businesses, the 6-story elephant measures 65 feet high. For a small fee, you can climb to the top via a winding staircases inside the belly of the beast.

The town of North Pole, Alaska loves Santa Claus, as evidenced by street names like Saint Nicholas Drive and Santa Claus Lane. If you're passing through along Alaska Highway 2, stop by The Santa Claus House. It's really hard to miss it, thanks to the 42-foot-tall statue of St. Nick installed out front.

In the heart of High Point, North Carolina—a city with a long history of furniture production—sits a huge chest of drawers. It dwarfs the homes and businesses located nearby and comes complete with a pair of socks hanging out of one drawer. If you're cruising along I-74, stop in High Point to take a selfie with this giant bureau.

Interstate 90 through South Dakota is packed full of roadside attractions to lure visitors traveling to the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood and Sturgis. The tiny town of Wall has just 800 residents, but 2 million people stop at the famous Wall Drug each year, according to the New York Times. This once-small-town pharmacy offers free ice water and five-cent coffee, plus an enormous shopping area ... but beware of jackalopes!

What began as a small diner carved into the rock face in the 1940s has turned into a Utah tourist attraction that draws 500 visitors a day, according to Country Living. Hole N" the Rock, and yes, that's the correct spelling, consists of 14 rooms cut out of rock by a single family. While it's no longer occupied, you can take a tour or visit the petting zoo set up outside where State Highway 191 meets 491.

The original Randy's Donuts, a drive-up bakery with a 32-foot-diameter donut on the roof, is located where La Cienaga Blvd meets the 405 in Los Angeles, California near LAX. They sell 60 varieties of donuts at this establishment, which has appeared in films like "2012" and "Iron Man 2."

Since 1975, the 150-foot-long Dippy the Dinosaur has been greeting travelers passing through Cabazon, California along I-10, which connects L.A. and Phoenix. He was joined by the 65-foot tall Mr. Rex in the '80s. While you can still stop by and visits the dinos if you're in the area, be aware that the site got a new owner in the '90s, and signs throughout the creationist-themed attraction now include information about animals and evolution that conflict with generally accepted science.

Where Highway 6 meets Highway 95 in southern Nevada, you'll find a treasure known as the Clown Motel. Decorated with hundreds of clowns, this attraction that Travel and Leisure once called the "world's creepiest motel" is about halfway between Vegas and Reno. Oh, and it looks out over an old cemetery, just in case the whole clown thing wasn't scary enough on its own.

Built in 1972 along old Route 66, the Blue Whale is an attraction located in Catoosa, Oklahoma. Once a swimming dock for the nearby pond, it closed in 1988, but it has since been restored and you can visit the site for free if you're ever in the area—or if you really like whales and want to take a road trip.

The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory has been building baseball bats since 1884. Today, visitors to this Kentucky town can tale in the world's largest baseball bat, which at 120 feet tall, dwarfs the five-story building it leans against. There's also a limestone glove nearby which weighs a whopping 17 tons.

Since 1974, Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas has been drawing in the crowds. The attraction consists of ten brightly painted Cadillacs buried in a way that makes them stand up in the air. For a grittier version of this attraction, head to Alliance, Nebraska and visit Carhenge, a Stonehenge-like structure made of cars that have been painted gray to resemble stone.

The International Crytozoology Museum can be found off I-295 along the Fore River in Portland, Maine. Dedicated to cryptids—animals that may or may not have ever existed—this place features displays dedicated to mermaids, sea serpents, Bigfoot and other mysterious beings. And yes, they even have hair and fecal samples of dubious origins.

Roadside attractions aren't only found in the U.S. If you're ever visiting the Swiss Alps, swing by Vevey, Switzerland and take in the world's largest fork, which measures 26 feet long and 4 feet wide. If you want to complete your cutlery tour, stop by Minneapolis, Minnesota to view Spoonbridge and Cherry, which features a massive metal spoon complete with a cherry on top.

The town of Blackpool in North West England claims to have the world's largest disco ball, and while their 20-foot-diameter attraction is impressive, the Guinness Book of World Records give the largest disco ball title to one found on the Isle of Wigt in Southern England. Built for an event called Bestival, the ball is a whopping 33 feet in diameter, putting even the funkiest disco balls to shame.

Just 125 miles south of Minneapolis lies Blue Earth, Minnesota, a tiny town that attracts I-90 travelers hoping to catch a glimpse of the Jolly Green Giant. Built by a local radio station in 1979, the advertising icon is linked to the Green Giant Company, a business that has been helping Americans eat their veggies since 1903.

France can do zany roadside attractions just as well as the U.S. when they try. For proof, look to Woinic, a steel-framed boar that overlooks Autoroute A34 near Saulces-Monclin. Weighing in at 50 tons, he has been entertaining travelers to this part of Northern France since 2008.

Every year since 1953, the town of Cawker City in Kansas has held an annual Twine-a-thon, inviting locals to add to their twine ball, which they advertise as the world's largest. Travelers hoping to spot the largest twine ball wound by one person, however, should head for Darwin, Minnesota, which has a 12-foot-diameter ball made by a single resident between 1950 and 1979.

Built to welcome visitors to a now-defunct theme park in 1966, Christ of the Ozarks towers 65 feet over the city of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Featured in season three of "True Detective," the statue's other claim to fame is that one of its designers also worked on Mt. Rushmore.

Southwest of London in Surrey, England, you can view the 23-foot-tall gleaming silver statue known as The Martian. Installed in 1998 to mark the 100th anniversary of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds," the attraction is complete with long, spindly legs, tentacles and bacteria, which should be familiar to anyone who has read the book.

The world's largest truck stop is situated on I-80 in Walcott, Iowa. It has parking for 800 big rigs, and drivers can have a bite, see a dentist, get a haircut or wash themselves, their laundry or their truck. Every year, the site plays host to the Trucker's Jamboree, featuring the Trucker Olympics.

Built in 1831, the 1,000-foot long London Bridge spanning the Thames River was starting to sink by the '60s, so the British government sold it to a buyer in the U.S. Since 1971, the granite bridge has been in use in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, a lake town on the Arizona-California border.

If a UFO ever does visit Earth, let's hope it heads for Bowman, South Carolina. Here, in one unassuming backyard near State Route 178, you'll find a UFO Welcome Center. Complete with not one, but two UFOs, the attraction is open to the public, and its creator even lives in one of the vessels when the weather cooperates.

Drivers along I-15 in Baker, California are greeted by a thermometer soaring 134 feet over the surrounding desert landscape. This height was chosen specifically because it's the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth, in nearby Death Valley on July 10, 1913, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. And yes, there is a gift shop at the base.

Northwest of Wichita, Kansas off of Highway 18 lies the town of Lucas, Kansas. It's here where artist Erika Nelson creates miniature versions of the world's largest items, from ketchup bottles to thermometers and everything in between. Her collection can be viewed at a museum on Main Street, which opened in 2017.

Since the '60s, rumors around Point Pleasant, West Virginia have told the tale of a mothman who terrorized the locals. The story became a film called "The Mothman Prophecies," as well as a 12-foot steel statue, complete with gleaming red eyes. You can view this creation where Route 62 meets Route 35 along the Ohio River.

The seven-story office building along Route 16 near Columbus, Ohio was meant to house the bustling operations of the Longaberger Basket Company—which explains why the building is shaped like a giant basket. Sadly, the company went out of business by 2018, leaving this fine example of mimetic architecture ready for a new owner.

Since 1976, visitors to Philadelphia's City Hall have been greeted by the site of a giant steel clothespin sculpture, but it's not the only one around. A similar clothespin, this one made of wood, pinches a mound of grass and dirt in a park near Liege in Chaudfontaine, Belgium.

P.T. Barnum would have been proud ... Along a stretch of I-10 in Arizona between El Paso and Tucson, countless yellow billboards urge travelers to stop and see The Thing, a Mystery of the Desert. Once housed in a simple shed, this classic attraction got a major upgrade in 2018 when it was placed into a specially built Thing Museum. And no, we're not going to spoil the surprise by telling you what it is.

Along Highway 43 in Alberta, Canada lies the tiny town of Beaverlodge. To commemorate their 75th anniversary in 2004, the town installed a massive beaver, weighing in at 1,500 pounds and sitting on a 1,500 pound log. The critter measures 18 feet long and 10 feet high, while the log is 20 feet long and 5 feet high, according to the town's website.

Statues of folk hero Paul Bunyon can be found all over the U.S. One of the oldest is the 18-foot-tall figure installed in 1937 in Bemidji, Minnesota, which comes complete with a sculpture of Bunyon's pal Babe. One of the tallest ones, which was featured in the novel "It," is the 31-foot creation in Bangor, Maine.

Two hours from California's Joshua Tree National Park lies a curious desert creation known as Salvation Mountain. This man-made mountain of clay and earth, painted with Bible verses and religious imagery, measures 50 feet high and is spread over a 150-foot area of Niland, California.

On Vancouver Island in Duncan, British Columbia, hockey fans can take a gander at the world's largest hockey stick. Measuring 205 in length, it was built for an '86 Exposition before it was installed in front of a Duncan ice rink. The largest freestanding hockey stick lies across the border in Eveleth, MN and measures 110 feet long.

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