We could have easily listed 100+ destinations, one funkier than the next. Because oh boy, there’s a lot of weird stuff out there! But we tried to keep it short and sweet. This is our take on some of the most weird roadside attractions in the USA, attractions that are still standing today. PSA: there’s a lot of car-themed spots featured on the list.
1. The Shoe Tree – Middlegate, Nevada
Middlegate is home to a mysterious “Shoe Tree” full of hundreds of pairs of shoes. Travelers toss their old footwear onto the branches, adding their own touch to the already existing “art”. Legend has it a couple arguing on their wedding night started fighting only to end up throwing their shoes up in the air. Regardless of the origin story, it’s a fun attraction if you happen to be in the area.
2. Muffler Man – various spots
Keep an eye out for the iconic Muffler Man statues that dot the American landscape. These towering fiberglass figures, often holding oversized objects, have become roadside landmarks. What started as an oversized Paul Bunyan holding an ax, derived into the current Muffler Man, with the giant being used to promote various businesses.
3. Salem Sue – New Salem, North Dakota
Spot Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein cow statue, grazing in the North Dakota prairie. This dairy queen of the prairie stands proudly, providing a unique photo opportunity if there’s any takers. The purpose: to honor the local dairy industry.
4. World’s Largest Pistachio – Alamogordo, New Mexico
Keep an eye out for this nutty moment – a massive sculpture standing proudly in the New Mexico desert. Tim McGinn’ father founded the pistachio farm and this was Tim’s way of saying thanks to his father.
5. Car Forest – Goldfield, Nevada
Goldfield is home to the Car Forest, an art installation featuring old cars buried nose-down in the desert. It’s a surreal sight for sure, especially if you don’t have it marked on the map and you happen to stumble across it.
6. The Enchanted Highway – Regent, North Dakota
Take a drive along the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota, where you’ll find a series of colossal metal sculptures, including the likes of giant grasshoppers and pheasants spread across 32-mile (51 km).
7. VW Slug Bug Ranch – Panhandle, Texas
Another car-themed display, the VW Slug Bug Ranch features a row of Volkswagen Beetles half-buried in the Texas soil. Full of graffiti and rust, this is a sight for quirky minds that has unfortunately closed for good.
8. Barstow Station – Barstow, California
Check this out if you want to experience some train car diner delight. Barstow Station is a rest stop featuring a collection of retired train cars that were turned into restaurants and shops. It’s fun and a good homage to the golden age of rail travel.
9. World’s Largest Teapot – Chester, West Virginia
Chester is home to the biggest teapot in the world, a towering structure that once served as a quirky roadside tea museum. While the museum is closed, the teapot still stands tall. So just snap and go.
10. The Ave Maria Grotto – Cullman, Alabama
Explore the Ave Maria Grotto, where a Benedictine monk started creating miniature replicas of famous religious structures from around the world. His work was then continued and now it’s home to 125 miniature reproductions.
11. The Unclaimed Baggage Center – Scottsboro, Alabama
The Unclaimed Baggage Center is a retail store located in Scottsboro in Jackson County, Alabama. The store’s concept is the reselling of lost or unclaimed airline luggage. Over a million customers visit the 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) store each year to browse through some of the 7,000 items added each day.
Stop by this hotspot, a store that sells items from lost luggage. It’s a treasure trove of a ton of things, from self care items to laptops.
12. Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, Texas
Imagine a row of ten Cadillacs buried nose-first in the Texas desert. Cadillac Ranch is an art installation that encourages visitors to graffiti the cars, creating an ever-changing display.
13. World’s Largest Ball of Twine – Cawker City, Kansas
Cawker City proudly displays this one, a fun creation that began in 1953 and continues to grow. You can make your own contribution and add to the existing girth.
14. Salvation Mountain – Niland, California
Salvation Mountain is a technicolor folk art masterpiece in the California desert. Created by Leonard Knight, the mountain is decorated with religious messages and vibrant paint, making it a visually stunning and unique roadside attraction.
15. Carhenge – Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge is America’s answer to Stonehenge, made entirely from vintage cars arranged in the same layout as the iconic English monument. It’s a huge pop culture icon so if you’re in the area go for a look-see.
16. The Blue Whale – Catoosa, Oklahoma
In Catoosa you’ll find a giant blue whale beside Route 66. This roadside behemoth was originally a surprise anniversary gift and has since become a beloved landmark and photo op.
Recommended reading next: 21 Weird Conventions: Strange Hobbies Bringing People Together
17. The Hammer Museum – Haines, Alaska
Yes, a museum devoted entirely to hammers, 2k of them, to be more precise. Admission is free and no need to book in advance, just pop in, or hammer in.
That’s all the weird roadside attractions in the USA for today. If you know of more please share them in the comments. Have a good one!