We all know how road trips can get boring when you’re going for a long drive. Luckily, highways in the United States are filled with several amazing roadside attractions that will make the trip worthwhile. Some of these tourist spots might even be the reason why some people are driving around in the first place.
Of course, not all roadside attractions are weird art installations or strange tourist traps. For instance, Wall Drug Store, or simply Wall Drug, started out as a tiny pharmacy in Wall, South Dakota. The little store started getting more visitors after it began giving out free ice water to thirsty travelers. Wall Drug is now a shopping mall as well as a famed tourist attraction that draws in millions of visitors every year.
Here are eight other amazing US roadside attractions:
1. Lucy the Elephant (Margate, New Jersey)
Let’s start off with the oldest roadside attraction that you can still visit today. Lucy was built by James V. Lafferty out of wood and tin sheeting in 1881. The monument, which stands six stories high, was originally named Elephant Bazaar. Interestingly, Lucy announced it was running for president in celebration of its 135th birthday in 2016.
2. Unclaimed Baggage Center (Scottsboro, Alabama)
Have you ever lost your luggage on a flight in the past? There’s a huge possibility your bags ended up in this amazing retail store. The concept is pretty simple: The store sells items from unclaimed airline luggage at discounted prices. It’s a great idea since people come in droves every year. Perhaps some of them are just trying to find the luggage that they lost on a recent flight.
3. Carhenge (Alliance, Nebraska)
Can’t make it to England to admire Stonehenge? Head for Nebraska’s Carhenge, a replica of the stone monument that’s completely made out of vintage American automobiles. A man named Jim Reinders built Carhenge in 1987 in honor of the summer solstice. The tourist attraction recently made headlines when it became part of the path of totality of the solar eclipse in 2017.
4. Nicolas Cage’s Pyramid Tomb (New Orleans, Louisiana)
You can’t get more eccentric than this. Nicolas Cage has already purchased a mausoleum where he intends to be interred when he passes away. The tomb is shaped like a pyramid and is already inscribed with the words “Omnia Ab Uno” (“All From One”). You’ll find the mausoleum in New Orleans’ infamous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, just a few steps away from the final resting place of Marie Laveau, the famed Queen of Voodoo.
5. The Hobo Museum (Britt, Iowa)
Hobos might not be a popular thing these days yet Iowa’s Hobo Museum still pays tribute to the migrant workers who made a living during the Great Depression. The museum is actually a converted theater that was purchased by the Hobo Foundation and filled with amazing hobo memorabilia.
Not surprisingly, Britt is also home to the National Hobo Convention, which takes place every second weekend of every August.
6. The Octopus Tree (Tillamook, Oregon)
Oregon’s Octopus Tree is pretty hard to miss due to its unusual shape and sheer size. The spruce tree is believed to be about 300 years old and may have been deliberately shaped into place by the Native Americans. However, some say it simply earned its shape because of the unusual weather.
7. World’s Largest Collection Of World’s Smallest Versions Of World’s Largest Things (Lucas, Kansas)
Did you get all that? This traveling roadside attraction features miniature versions of several “World’s Largest” items. For example, there is a tiny version of the World’s Largest Ball of Twine (Cawker City, Kansas). Although the new version of WLCoWSVoWLTc is constantly traveling, you’ll be sure to find the first one still hanging out in Lucas.
8. Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard (Waterbury, Vermont)
Do you miss having a pint of Wavy Gravy or Turtle Soup? You will not be able to taste it again but you can still visit your favorite flavor in Waterbury. The Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard is quite close to a factory so you have the option to take a tour or just head in to pay your respects.
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