Our RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers know how much we love bringing you Off The Beaten Path reports and other great stops, which is why I thought this one would be great, too — 10 weird roadside attractions!
Many of the attractions on this list are open year-round, so they will make a good stop whether making end-of-year plans or looking ahead to next year. The folks at TravelTrivia.com put the list together, and I posted it below.
Not to be outdone, however, check out 10 of our favorite past RV Lifestyle Off The Beaten Path reports at the end of the list!
Hole N” The Rock, Moab, Utah
Albert and Gladys Christensen carved a 5,000-square-foot home out of a huge rock on Utah's sandstone canyonland. The 14-room house still wasn’t complete when Albert passed away in 1957. Still, Gladys continued to develop the property, eventually opening an on-site gift shop and offering tours of the home.
Gladys passed away in 1974, but Hole N” The Rock has remained a roadside attraction for travelers along U.S. Route 191. Visitors can admire Albert's artwork and Gladys' doll collection while exploring the home's interior.
Additionally, the stop offers a petting zoo, a General Store, and shop for locally made Native American crafts at the Trading Post. Further, be sure to check out Lyle Nichols' sculpted works of art.
Leila's Hair Museum, Independence, Missouri
Leila's Hair Museum is home to an eclectic collection of wreaths and jewelry crafted with — what else? — human hair. In short, Owner Leila Cohoon aims to preserve antique hair art in all its forms, and her museum off Route 78 in Independence, Missouri, is a testament to her commitment. The museum features more than 600 hair wreaths and 2,000 pieces of hair jewelry.
In a nutshell, hair art is delicately fixed onto mat board material and tucked into gold frames. Hair wreaths can highlight a family history, often containing the hair of multiple family members intricately woven together. Some brooches contain locks of hair from lovers, complete with engraved sentiments. Meanwhile, neckpieces adorned with scenes painted with the beloved’s pulverized hair serve as memorials.
Dinosaur Kingdom II, Natural Bridge, Virginia
Dinosaur Kingdom II, located off Lee Highway in Natural Bridge, offers nothing short of a wacky alternate universe where the Civil War Era collides with the Mesozoic Era.
Dinosaur Kingdom II was created by renowned artist and theme park developer Mark Cline. It offers an unconventional yet entertaining blend of history and science. Where else can you see Stonewall Jackson battle a spinosaurus and dozens of other statues — some of them moving, complete with sound effects — that reenact a reimagined Civil War? The roadside attraction is open year-round, rain or shine.
Jimmy Carter Peanut, Plains, Georgia
The world’s second-largest peanut structure (the largest is also in Georgia) greets travelers to President Jimmy Carter's hometown. The history is simple: the 13-foot peanut was built by the Democratic Party as a campaign gimmick during the 1976 election.
To give the monument personality, a toothy smile was added to the peanut. In that year’s election, Carter took the lead in all of Georgia’s counties and eventually defeated Gerald Ford. Today, visitors often stop to pose with the Jimmy Carter Smiling Peanut when they drive along State Route 45 in Plains.
By the way, be sure to check out our previous report from the area's Peanut Festival!
The Enchanted Highway, Regent, North Dakota
Looking to drive through otherworldly landscapes? Check out North Dakota's Enchanted Highway — a 32-mile stretch of road that connects I-94 to the small town of Regent. It’s lined with several enormous metal artworks sculpted by local artist Gary Greff.
The sculptures have one primary purpose: entice travelers to get off the highway and visit Regent.
Greff's first giant artwork, Tin Family, was erected in 1990. Over the past three decades, Greff has continued crafting the charming, surreal sculptures, attracting visitors from all over. Each sculpture is a celebration of North Dakota. For example, one installation features 60-foot pheasants.
Don’t miss the sculpture titled “Geese in Flight,” which is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest outdoor sculpture in the world. At 90 feet above the freeway exit, it’s a must-see attraction for anyone in the area. Check out the video below that we made last year when we visited the area!
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
No, you’re now seeing things when driving along this stretch of I-40 — that is a row of 10 Cadillacs sticking out of the dirt like dominoes.
Known as Cadillac Ranch, this unique attraction was built in 1974 when an eccentric millionaire teamed up with an art collective called The Ant Farm. It’s the inspiration for several other auto-based art pieces, such as Nebraska's Carhenge.
The exhibitions at Cadillac Ranch are interactive and consistently evolve. Additionally, visitors to Cadillac Ranch are actively encouraged to add their own creative touches to the graffiti that already covers the vehicles.
Wild Blueberry Land, Columbia Falls, Maine
Located between Route 1 and Route 187, Wild Blueberry Land features delightful blue sculptures and a giant blueberry-shaped building — all surrounded by the area's lush farmland.
Visit the museum and gift shop, or learn all about the history of the blueberry. There's no shortage of delicious blueberry foods on sale — pies, jams, sauces, ice cream, bread, and candy.
Be aware that this is a seasonal operation (from mid-June through early October), though the beautiful landscape and unique sculptures are worth a visit at any time of the year. This is one of the more charming — and idyllic — roadside attractions in America.
Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho
Dog Bark Park is located along Route 95 in northern Idaho.
It’s home to the world's two biggest beagles, Sweet Willy and Toby. Twelve-foot-tall Toby is impressive enough, but Sweet Willy is the real star: His official name is the Dog Bark Park Inn, and he is a literal bed-and-breakfast that just happens to be shaped like a giant beagle.
The park includes an artist's studio, gift shop, and incredible views of the surrounding countryside and is run by husband and wife artists Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin. Sullivan and Conklin also their own wood carvings at their gift shop. Visitors can find whimsical little sculptures carved in the shape of bears, cats, fish, and, of course, dogs.
International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine
Sasquatch, the Jersey Devil, the Montauk Monster, and sea serpents are just some of the mysterious creatures you can learn about at the International Cryptozoology Museum. It is dedicated to the study of “hidden” or otherwise unknown animals, and the museum is currently the only one of its kind in the world.
Located off I-295 in Portland, Maine, the museum features a large range of exhibits with cryptids, fossils, and artifacts from cryptozoological expeditions. Opened by Loren Coleman in 2003, the museum began with a small collection of artifacts from Coleman’s home. The overall hope is that the museum can help spark young people's interest in fields such as zoology, biology, and anthropology.
Petrified Wood Park, Lemmon, South Dakota
Located along an entire city block in Lemmon, just off U.S. Route 12, The Petrified Wood Park is a sight to behold.
Built in the early 1930s, the site contains eerie, tree-like structures that are made entirely of petrified wood. The one-of-a-kind park also includes a waterfall, castle, and wishing well — all made of petrified wood.
Petrified Wood Park also houses two museums. The Petrified Wood Park Museum is particularly striking, crafted from (what else?) petrified wood and decked out with a host of intimidating spires along the outer walls. The museum contains a fascinating array of local antiques inside: kerosene lamps, buffalo heads, a replica bread wagon, and even a miniature petrified wood house.
The second museum is a bit smaller and features documents and news articles about the history of the roadside attraction. It’s also home to the park's gift shop that sells souvenir shirts, postcards, and samples of petrified wood. Be sure to check out the full report on the park from the RV Lifestyle.
Other great roadside attractions
In addition to the 10 above, here are 10 other unique attractions that the RV Lifestyle previously has covered:
- RV Road Trip: 10 Best Museums in the United States [PLUS 9 More!]
- A fabulously fun off the beaten path visit to Storybook Land, SD
- Bats You Gotta See Now Off the Beaten Path in Florida
- Off the Beaten Path: Asheville’s Pinball Museum
- Off the Beaten Path: Homestead National Monument
- Off the Beaten Path: Old Asylum in Michigan
- Off the Beaten Path: The Biscuit Museum of Terre Haute
- Off the Beaten Path: Mermaids in Great Falls
- Off the Beaten Path: The Great Ohio Donut Trail
- An Off the Beaten Path Encounter with Paint Ball Mike
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