America's Strangest Roadside Attractions

Still weird, still large: The kitschy and off-the-beaten path icons from classic American road trips of yesteryear

Want to see dinosaurs, the "world's largest ball of twine" (which you can even add to), a six-story elephant, Cadillacs half-buried in the desert or a blue whale in Oklahoma? Who doesn't? It can all be found along America's highways and byways. Roadside attractions have long been a part of the American travel experience. So hit the road and check out these 10 of the more interesting ones:

Cabazon Dinosaurs
The Cabazon Dinosaurs in California. (©JIim06/Wikimedia Commons)

CABAZON DINOSAURS: "The World's Biggest Dinosaurs attraction in Cabazon ..." makes you wonder how many dinosaur attractions there are in Cabazon, California. "Jurassic World" it is not, but it does feature a T-Rex museum, a dinosaur garden and a robotic dinosaur.

"The World's Largest Ball of Twine" in Cawker City Kansas
"The World's Largest Ball of Twine" in Cawker City, Kansas. (©Heather Paul/Flickr Creative Commons)

WORLD'S LARGEST BALL OF TWINE: Cawker City, Kansas, boasts having the world's largest ball of twine. Frank Stoeber started the ball in 1953. In four years, it weighed 5,000 pounds and stood 8 feet high. Each August, a "twine-a-thon" is held, and additional twine is added by visitors and residents. So check it out and go add some twine.

Cadilac Ranch
Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas (©Richie Diesterheft/Wikimedia Commons)

CADILLAC RANCH: Cadillac Ranch is a public-art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas. It consists of what were older running, used or junk Cadillacs, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. One has to wonder whether planting old Cadillacs will make new ones grow.

"The World's Largest Catsup Bottle"
"The World's Largest Catsup Bottle" in Collincville, Illinois (©Tristan Denyer/Wikimedia Commons)

WORLD'S LARGEST BOTTLE OF CATSUP: The water tower in Collinsville, Illinois, even has an official fan club. The 170-foot-tall water tower was built in 1949 by the W.E. Caldwell Co. for the G.S. Suppiger catsup bottling plant. In 2002, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Now, where's the 10,000-gallon bowl of fries?

Foamhenge in Natural Bridge, Virginia
Foamhenge in Natural Bridge, Virginia (Schumin Web/Wikimedia Commons)

FOAMHENGE:  In Natural Bridge, Virginia, is a full-size replica of Stonehenge, made entirely out of foam. The structure was created by Mark Cline, of Enchanted Castle Studio. Foamhenge “appeared” on April Fool’s Day 2004. Does something like this make the aliens who built Stonhenge jealous? 

"World's Largest Chest of Drawers" in High Point, North Carolina
"World's Largest Chest of Drawers" in High Point, North Carolina (©Cmalaspina/Wikimedia Commons)

WORLD'S LARGEST CHEST OF DRAWERS: This 38-foot-tall structure in High Point, North Carolina, serves as a reminder of the furniture-making industry that is the heart of the town. Two "socks" even stick out of one drawer. Now, where is that XXXXXXXXXXXXL Rolling Stones T-shirt?

New Jersey's Lucy the Elephant
Lucy the Elephant in New Jersey (©Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)

LUCY THE ELEPHANT: This six-story elephant in New Jersey offers views of the Atlantic City skyline, the Atlantic Ocean and the town of Margate. Hannibal never would have been defeated had his elephants been Lucy's size.

The Mitchell Corn Palace in South Dakota
The Mitchell Corn Palace in South Dakota (©Michael Barera/Wikimedia Commons)

THE MITCHELL CORN PALACE: In addition to its annual redecorating, this year, parts of the Palace—which is as advertised: made of corn—will be under construction. The Corn Palace will get new interactive exhibits and a new design for “South Dakota’s 125th.” A good movie better be playing somewhere if the palace ever catches fire. There will be a lot of popcorn to consume. 

The Big Blue Whale in Oklahoma
The Big Blue Whale in Oklahoma (©Carol M. Highsmith/Wikimedia Commons)

THE BIG BLUE WHALE: This big, smiling whale that once served as a waterpark in Catoosa, Oklahoma, is a famous icon on historic Route 66. Built in 1972, the attraction was closed in 1988, but restoration efforts have been ongoing. Stop on your way to take a picture with "Ol' Blue." The whale must be lonely, though, considering the lack of a whale population in Oklahoma.

Salvation Mountain
Salvation Mountain (©taylorandyumi/Wikimedia Commons)

SALVATION MOUNTAIN: In Imperial County, California, Leonard Knight constructed Salvation Mountain using hay bales and adobe. It is so big however, that he had to construct "trees" to help hold it up. He added more supports and more hay bales covered with adobe all the while painting and repainting with bright colors that visitors bring until his death last year. It includes biblical and religious scripture such as the Lord's Prayer, John 3:16, and the Sinner's Prayer, but also includes flowers, trees, waterfalls, suns, bluebirds and other objects. The Bible speaks of moving mountains, but Knight took it a step further and built one.