20 Best American Roadside Attractions

Need a break from driving your truck? Spice up the long haul with a quick stop at some of these fun roadside attractions. Spending hour after hour looking at an identical stretch of pavement can get monotonous and mentally exhausting. Luckily, America is full of all types of interesting destinations that provide a much needed break for truck drivers who spend most of their time on the road. Across the country, drivers can enjoy the quirky, fascinating, and sometimes strange attractions spread out along the American roadways. Veer off the path and find hidden gems waiting to be enjoyed. Next time you’re making a long haul, consider stopping at one of these roadside attractions for a fun and relaxing experience.

  1. Cadillac Ranch
    Getty Images
    Getty Images
    • Outside of Amarillo, Texas you’ll find something strange growing out of the arid ground. The art installation, known as Cadillac Ranch, features 10 classic cars half buried nose first into the Texan desert. Developed by millionaire Stanley Marsh III, these cars have been an iconic roadside attraction since 1974. Located in a cow pasture not far from Interstate 40 and Route 66, visitors are encouraged to come visit the cars and add their own spray paint tag.
  2. Biosphere 2
    • Located in Oracle, Arizona at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, this glass facility can be considered a work of modern art. With space-themed designs, Biosphere 2 teaches visitors about the past and future of our planet. It also has the Phoenix Mars Lander exhibit, which holds the spacecraft that landed on Mars in 2008. Considered by Time-Life Books as one of the 50 “wonders of the world,” Biosphere 2 is a must see for anybody driving though Arizona.
  3. General Sherman Tree
    • Measuring 275 feet off the ground and making up 52,000 cubic feet in total, the General Sherman Tree stands as the world’s largest tree by volume. The tree got its name in 1879 from James Wolverton, a naturalist who had served among Sherman’s Union troops. The tree sits in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, which is full of beautiful scenery and vast expanses of wilderness. Take a detour off U.S. Highways 180 and 198 in southeastern California and enjoy the tranquility of the giant redwoods.
  4. Grotto of the Redemption
    roadside_grottoredemption
    Getty Images
    • Though built by Pastor Paul Dobberstein as a shrine to the Virgin Mary, this awe-inspiring monument made entirely of agates, geodes and semiprecious stones can be appreciated by anyone. As the world’s largest collection of minerals and petrified material, the Grotto of the Redemption has a geological value of roughly $4 million. Located in West Bend, Iowa, this football field sized shrine is definitely worth the visit. In fact, over 30,000 pilgrims make their way to West Bend each year to see the structure.
  5. London Bridge (Arizona)
    • It may be difficult to believe but the real London Bridge is not in London, it’s in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Seriously, the very same bridge that was built in 1831 and sat astride the Thames was relocated to America. By the mid-20th century, the bridge could no longer handle the load of London’s traffic and got auctioned off to an Arizona oil baron. The bridge was purchased for $2,460,000 and it cost another $7 million to have dismantled and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City in 1971. This mind-boggling structure is considered the world’s largest antique by Guinness World Records. If you’re ever in Arizona, be sure to take a stroll on this 950-ft.-long piece of history.
  6. The Lost Sea (Tennessee)
    • Discover America’s largest underground lake in Sweetwater, Tennessee. Explore the giant caves 140 feet below ground, take a glass bottom boat ride across “The Lost Sea,” and view the rare collections of cave formations accompanied with 20,000 year old jaguar tracks. “The Lost Sea” is a place for the whole family to enjoy and learn more about the natural wonders of the world. Not to mention, the temperature inside the caves is a consistent 58 degrees, so whether you want to escape from a hot summer day, or a cold winter, “The Lost Sea” is an ideal pit stop.
  7. Mystery Spot (Santa Cruz)
    • The Mystery Spot provides interesting road side attraction that will leave you intrigued for miles to come. Stuck just off the road in the redwood forests of Santa Cruz, California, this 150 ft. diameter plot of land features a slanted shed full of strange, mind boggling entertainment. Visitors can witness variations in gravity, such as an object rolling up a plank rather than down it, and are left wondering whether the site is full of paranormal activity or optical illusions. Stop at the Mystery Spot and enjoy some puzzling brain teasers.
  8. Oldest Bob’s Big Boy (Burbank, CA)
    Getty Images
    Getty Images
    • Enjoy a flashback to the past with a nostalgic visit to the oldest Bob’s Big Boy located in Burbank, California. The diner sits just off the Ventura Freeway and features classic 1950s coffee shop architecture such as an oversized roof, curved windows, and a 70 feet tall neon sign. Drive up for “car hop” service on the weekends and check out the classic car show in the parking lot every Friday night. Travel back with a trip to the historic restaurant once visited by The Beatles.
  9. World’s Largest Ball of Twine (Cawker City, Kansas)
    • The giant ball of twine is a testament to the strength of community. Located in Cawker City, Kansas, the ball was started by a local farmer in 1953 but soon became a project for the entire 500-person township. Everybody in the community began donating excess twine for the ball and it continues to grow every August at the “twine-a-thon” where all are welcome to add more twine. The last official count measured the yarn as equivalent to more than 7.8 million feet unraveled with a circumference of 40 feet. Stop in “downtown” Cawker City off U.S. Highway 24 to behold this strange yet impressive attraction.
  10. World’s Largest Baseball Bat
    • A stop in Louisville, Kentucky will get you up close to the world’s largest baseball bat. Leaning against the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, the bat is an enlarged replica of one used by Babe Ruth in the 1920s and is made out of carbon steel. The giant bat has been around since 1995, weighing 68,000 pounds and measuring 120 feet tall. Along with viewing the oversized slugger, take a guided factory tour and see what’s behind the country’s most iconic baseball bat company.
  11. World’s Largest Truck Stop
    Getty Images
    Getty Images
    • Though it started like any modest truck stop when it was opened for business in 1965, Iowa 80 has since grown into the world’s largest. Packing in a 300-seat restaurant that includes a 50-foot salad bar, a movie theater, a Laundromat, a barber, a dentist, a game room, an embroidery center, a drivers’ den (complete with a fireplace and private showers), the Truckomat truck wash along with a variety of fast food eateries, the Iowa 80 is the ultimate destination for any truck driver. Just outside of Walcott, Iowa off exit 284 on Interstate 80, this truck stop is hard to miss and has served over 64 million customers in its 45 years of business.
  12. World’s Largest Light Bulb
    • Edison, New Jersey is the proper home of the Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower which hold the world’s largest incandescent light bulb. Sitting atop the tower, the 13-foot tall bulb is meant to represent Edison’s most famous invention. The tower stands on the site of Menlo Park laboratory where Edison perfected the first commercially practical light bulb, making it a great place to both site-see and learn about one of the greatest inventors of our time.
  13. Benewah Milk Bottles
    • The two giant milk bottles are located just off Interstate 90 West in Spokane, Washington. One bottle can be seen from the freeway and the other is inside the town. These oversized milk bottle buildings are home to Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle, a café famous for award winning milkshakes. Try the popular lemon-custard or huckleberry milkshakes and relax in front the famous bottles that appeared in the 1993 Johnny Depp movie Benny and Joon.
  14. Hole n’ the Rock
    • Carved out of sandstone, this cave in Moab, Utah houses 14 furnished rooms for the public to relax in and enjoy. A staggering 50,000 feet of stone was removed in the excavation, making for an awe-inspiring experience when one walks inside. There is also a petting zoo right outside that will keep the kids busy. The Hole n’ the Rock is a popular road side destination and is a beautiful testament to human ingenuity that everyone can enjoy.
  15. Enchanted Highway
    Photo by Carrie Bitner
    Photo by Carrie Bitner
    • The 32-mile stretch of highway in Regent, North Dakota boasts the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures, creating an enchanting experience for anyone who drives by. Witness the massive work of artist Gary Greff by stopping to admire his “Geese in Flight” sculptures made entirely of scrap metal. There are seven sculptures that make up this this unexpectedly intriguing stretch of road so be sure to stop and take a look.
  16. Cabazon Dinosaurs
    • If you’re driving south on Interstate 10 towards Palm Springs, California, you might notice a giant T-Rex staring you down. If so, don’t be alarmed. It’s not Jurassic Park, it’s actually the World’s Biggest Dinosaur museum in Cabazon. The dinosaurs have become famous through various Coke commercials and Hollywood films. Be sure to check out the museum located inside the T-Rex and try out the fossil dig to see what you can find. Fun for the whole family, the Cabazon dinosaurs are an enlightening and relaxing break from the road.
  17. Kennedy Space Center
    • Explore the mysteries of the universe at the Kennedy Space Center off Interstate 95 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. As a functioning space station sending unmanned missions around the solar system, the Kennedy Space Center is as good as a roadside attraction gets. Take the kids for “Lunch with an Astronaut,” see where rockets and robots are built, practice flying on simulators, look at moon rocks and admire an original Saturn V rocket from the Apollo lunar missions.
  18. U-505 Submarine
    • Step inside a piece of history with a visit to the U-505 Submarine in Chicago. Captured by Allied forced in World War II off the coast of West Africa, this German U-boat is now on exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Located off Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, this submarine holds two Enigma machines that helped the Allies unlock Axis codes and win the war. Take the onboard tour and walk through the crew quarters, aim your sights with the torpedo bay, and visit the command station to get a feel for driving a submarine.
  19. Shoe Tree
    Getty Images
    Getty Images
    • On U.S. Highway 50 near Middlegate, Nevada there is a roadside attraction that keeps growing. It is easy to miss so be on the lookout for the Shoe Tree. Just on the side of the road is a large tree covered with footwear of all kinds thrown up onto the branches by locals and tourists over the years. Highway 50 is often called “the loneliest road in America,” but the Shoe Tree is a fun example of human imagination and provides drivers with a taste of the social interaction they might be missing out on.
  20. Graceland
    • Get a tour of the King’s shrine narrated by Lisa Marie Presley with a visit to Graceland. Elvis Presley’s Memphis home is full of old school intrigue and rock-n-roll history. Check out the trophy room filled with gold and platinum records, view the extravagant stage costumes on display, admire the car museum, and awe at the custom jets; not to mention the famous Jungle Room and vintage furniture. Few places scream rock-n-roll like this southern mansion. Resting between Interstate 55 and Interstate 40, Graceland is a roadside stop to remember.