51 Roadside Attractions Across America That Are Worth a Detour

Spend a night at Nevada's Clown Motel ... if you dare.
Spend a night at Nevada's Clown Motel ... if you dare. / Josh Brasted/Getty Images

A cross-country road trip wouldn't be complete without making time for at least a few detours to witness such iconic bits of Americana as the world's largest ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas, or Foamhenge, a full-size Stonehenge replica made entirely of Styrofoam, in Centreville, Virginia. Next time you hit the road, be sure to check out our favorite roadside attractions in each state (plus Washington, D.C.).

1. Alabama // Self-Flushing Latrine

Location: Dauphin Island, Alabama

Soldiers stationed at Alabama's Fort Gaines during the Civil War enjoyed the rare luxury of dropping their waste into a special self-flushing latrine: Seated next to a few of their closest comrades, they would do their business, then let the tide from the Gulf of Mexico sweep everything away (which happened twice a day: once when the tide came in, and again when it went out). It's worth pulling over for—they have usable bathrooms, too—but if you're not on the road, you can take a virtual tour online. —Scott Beggs

2. Alaska // Adak National Forest

Adak National Forest's welcome (and good riddens) sign.
Adak National Forest's welcome (and good riddens) sign. / Paxson Woelber via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Ada Island, Alaska

At one point this "National Forest" boasted one whole tree. During WWII, U.S. Army General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr. initiated a tree-planting program to boost morale for soldiers stationed at the frigidly remote Alaskan outpost. Sadly, the pines were no match for the climate, and the coniferous population plummeted to one. Happily, a grove of 33 trees has managed to claw itself back from the brink, and you can now pose for a photo next to a cheeky sign that reads, "You are now entering and leaving the Adak National Forest." —SB

3. Arizona // Santa's Land

Rural Warrior Photography via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Santa Claus, Arizona

It's a ghost town. It's a winter wonderland. It's in the Mojave Desert. In 1937, real estate pro Nina Talbot founded this incongruously-themed town in an attempt attract land buyers, hoping that the chance to hang out with Santa Claus every day of the year would do the trick. It didn't, but the site itself—which is located on the original Route 66—became a popular tourist destination. Award-winning science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein even penned a story about the town, which has unfortunately now fallen into disrepair, creating a new curiosity: a graffiti-covered, rattlesnake-filled, Christmas-themed ghost town where an abandoned children's train sits in the blazing heat. —SB

4. Arkansas // Arkansas State Treasurer's Office

Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

What could be wackier than visiting a state treasurer's office? Sure, Arkansas has the not-at-all-creepy Burger Baths for Health sign, but they let you hold $500,000 in your hands at the Capitol Building. Because of historical corruption and the general shrewdness of Arkansans, the state decided to make it possible for citizens to make sure their tax money was in the vault (and not in the pockets of an official). It's now a popular stop for anyone who wants to know how heavy a half-million in cash is for themselves (spoiler alert: It weighs 16 pounds). —SB

5. California // Bigfoot Discovery Museum

Elizabeth K. Joseph via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Felton, California

You may not spot Bigfoot on your next California road trip, but you can at least learn about the cryptid's history in the state. Co-founders Michael Rugg and Paula Yarr opened the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 2004. At this small roadside attraction, you can examine purported Sasquatch evidence like footprint casts and the famous Patterson/Gimlin Film from 1967. Check out their sightings map before hunting for the creature in the nearby redwood forests—and don't forget to snap a picture with the 9-foot-tall Bigfoot statue outside. —Michele Debczak

6. Colorado // Cold War Horse

Location: Arvada, Colorado

Jeff Gipe's artistic tribute to the workers at the dangerous Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant takes the form of a horse in a hazmat suit, standing nobly with one hoof raised. It's a profoundly goofy image that's housing a deeper message about what the nuclear weapons plant did to the surrounding area. The absurdity makes the perfect subject for a photo op and for long, difficult contemplation about America's nuclear history. —SB

7. Connecticut // Barker Character, Comic, and Cartoon Museum

Location: Cheshire, Connecticut

A quick detour off Interstate 691 lets you enter a time capsule of childhood. More than 80,000 toys and trinkets fill the Barker Character, Comic, and Cartoon Museum (BCCCM). Gloria and Herbert Barker spent more than 40 years building this collection, which includes items from the late 1800s to today. Look around, and you’ll find everything from pop culture prints to vintage lunch boxes that will take you back to your elementary school cafeteria days. Every toy is important here—you’ll spot iconic characters perched next to obscure tchotchkes. —Kerry Wolfe

8. Delaware // World's Largest Frying Pan

Heritage Art/Heritage Images/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Location: Georgetown, Delaware

Forged in 1950, this 10-foot-by-18-foot culinary marvel isn't just for show. It fried up an estimated 100 tons of chicken over a half-century at the Delmarva Chicken Festival. Retired in 1987 (and since eclipsed in size by other gigantic pans), it now resides at the Nutter D. Marvel Carriage Museum as the forerunner to America's interstate race to build the biggest cooking implement. —SB

9. Florida // Uncomfortable Fisherman

Location: Oak Hill, Florida

Outside Goodrich Seafood off U.S. 1, the statue of Captain J. Goodrich stands proudly, casting his gaze to fair seas and following winds while he straddles his ship's wheel. "Straddles" might be the wrong word, but he's definitely up on it. Consider his steering posture as you breathe in the salty air and inhale a crispy gator tail po' boy sandwich. —SB

10. Georgia // The Tree That Owns Itself

Boston Public Library, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Athens, Georgia

Sometime around 1832, William Jackson granted possession of his favorite oak tree to ... his favorite oak tree, "in consideration of the great love I bear this tree," according to the deed. He also gave it the small plot of land it was on. The autonomous entity stood shadily until 1942 when a wind storm knocked it over. The city's Junior Ladies Garden Club planted one of its seeds to replace the tree, so what you're visiting today is technically the heir to the tree that owns itself, continuing the long tradition in Athens of plant life owning land. —SB

11. Hawaii // 'Iolani Palace

gregobagel/Getty Images

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Built in 1800s, 'Iolani Palace was the royal home of the former rulers of Hawaii and is the only royal palace in the United States. In 1874, King Kalākaua tore down the original house on the land and build the palace. It would not be completed until 1882, but when it was, it had the latest modern necessities at the time, like indoor plumbing and electric lights. It remained the primary residence of the Hawaiian royal family until Queen Lili’uokalani was overthrown in a U.S. military-backed coup in 1893. She was imprisoned in the palace for eight months. The palace was later used as the state capitol building and housed several government agencies. In the 1960s, the palace was designated a National Historic Landmark. The first two floors and the basement are fully restored and open to the public (it also offers virtual tours). —Tasia Bass

12. Idaho // Betty the Washer Woman

Location: Boise, Idaho

In 1950, a large statue of a washerwoman topped the Maytag Laundry building, greeting all who drove down Vista Avenue. The building is now a restaurant, Cucina di Paolo, but the washerwoman is still there, sporting all kinds of outfits depending on the holiday, weather, and whims of the owners. Despite disappearing for 15 years, falling into disrepair, and being beheaded by vandals in 2019, the soapy scullery maid continues to toil on her perennial load of laundry come rain or shine. —SB

13. Illinois // Rockmen Guardians

Location: Rockford, Illinois

In the city of Rockford, Illinois, stand the Rockmen Guardians—12-foot-tall statues made of boulders and cement by artist Terese Agnew. Construction on the defenders was finished in the spring of 1988; each guardian holds his own unique pose, and the leader wields a mighty stone sword. To find these rockin' protectors, visitors should head south of Sinnissippi Park near the Rock River Recreation path. —TB

14. Indiana // World's Largest Ball of Paint

An absolute unit.
An absolute unit. / Steven Pierson, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Location: Alexandria, Indiana

Years after having fun adding layers upon layers of paint to a baseball in high school, Mike Carmichael decided to start another one with his wife, Glenda, and their 3-year-old son. On January 1, 1977, their son painted the first layer (blue), and the Carmichaels kept coating it until the ball grew so big they had to build a shed for it. These days, it tips the scales around 2.5 tons and boasts more than 27,000 layers of paint—and it’s still growing. If you’re headed to Alexandria, Indiana, you can make an appointment to paint a layer on the ball yourself. —Ellen Gutoskey

15. Iowa // World's Tallest Concrete Garden Gnome

A big friendly giant.
A big friendly giant. / Scott McLeod, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Ames, Iowa

Meet Elwood, a friendly-faced, 15-foot-tall gnome who dwells in Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa. Though he’s not the tallest gnome in the world—there’s an 18-foot-tall statue in Poland—he does hold the distinction of being the tallest concrete garden gnome, a title he stripped from New York’s Gnome Chomsky. —EG

16. Kansas // Gigantic Replica of Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers

Van Gogh would probably have some thoughts.
Van Gogh would probably have some thoughts. / Nick Varvel, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Goodland, Kansas

You don’t need to worry about parking to enjoy Goodland, Kansas’s replica of one of Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers: It’s 32 feet tall, 24 feet wide, and mounted on an 80-foot-tall steel easel. In other words, you can see it from the highway. As for why Goodland is paying homage to the famed Dutch painter, it’s less about him and more about the sunflowers—not only is Kansas nicknamed “the Sunflower State,” but Goodland itself is home to lots of sunflower fields. —EG

17. Kentucky // Kentucky's Stonehenge

Location: Munfordville, Kentucky

Octogenarian Chester Fryer may no longer be the mayor of Munfordville, Kentucky, but he still oversees some special property there: Kentucky’s Stonehenge, which he constructed about 20 years ago. Though it’s not an exact replica of the real Stonehenge, Fryer did take care to arrange the rocks so that light and shadow still put on a special show come solstice time. The attraction is free to visit all day every day (just don't climb on the rocks). —EG

18. Louisiana // Mardi Gras World

They're more scared of you than you are of them.
They're more scared of you than you are of them. / ScubaBear68, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

You don’t have to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras to get a little taste of the festivities: Mardi Gras World, the world’s largest float manufacturer, is open for tours seven days a week. Founded by designer Blaine Kern in 1947, the company creates more than 500 floats for Mardi Gras every year. The tour ($22 for adults; $14 for kids) not only provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the artists bring the floats to life, but it also gives visitors some illuminating details about New Orleans’s long history of celebrating the holiday. —EG

19. Maine // Umbrella Cover Museum

Location: Peaks Island, Maine

When most people find a random umbrella cover stashed in their closet, they chuck it in the trash. Nancy 3. Hoffman, however, had a different idea: After discovering an assortment of umbrella covers in her home, she began collecting other sheaths to form the world’s only exhibition of its kind. Now, Hoffman’s collection boasts more than 2000 items from 71 countries—a world record. If you take one of her guided tours, you’ll be treated to a rendition of "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella," the museum’s theme song. You can reach the museum via a short ferry from Portland, Maine. —KW

20. Maryland // William McKinley's Coffee Break Monument

Location: Sharpsburg, Maryland

Future U.S. president William McKinley served in the Ohio infantry at the Battle of Antietam—and he also served coffee and warm snacks to the weary soldiers during what would become the bloodiest skirmish of the Civil War. This monument, within Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, commemorates McKinley's time as a brave barista. —Kat Long

21. Massachusetts // Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast

Kirkikis/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Fall River, Massachusetts

The infamous Massachusetts home where Lizzie Borden allegedly murdered her father and stepmother reopened as the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast in 1996. Visitors can tour the house, participate in a ghost tour that takes them to several supposedly haunted locations near the home, or even get married on the premises. Spend the night and enjoy a breakfast the next day—just like the Bordens did that fateful morning. For the true crime-obsessed, this is hallowed ground. —TB

22. Michigan // Dinosaur Gardens Prehistoric Zoo

Dinosaur Gardens Zoo in Ossineke, Michigan.
Dinosaur Gardens Zoo in Ossineke, Michigan. / Library of Congress // Public Domain

Location: Ossineke, Michigan

In the mood to walk amongst some Triceratops? Then check out Michigan's Dinosaur Gardens. Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year, this prehistoric park features 40 acres of dinosaur fun. You can play mini golf or enjoy some ice cream while being surrounded by more than two dozen sculptures of prehistoric creatures, many of which were created by sculptor Paul Domke between 1935 and 1967. The highlight is a 60,000-pound Brontosaurus that measures in at more than 80 feet long. —TB

23. Minnesota // R.W. Lindholm Service Station

Lindholm Service Station in Cloquet, Minnesota.
Lindholm Service Station in Cloquet, Minnesota. / McGhiever, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Location: Cloquet, Minnesota

If you're in need of gas or a restroom break and happen to be near the corner of Highway 33 and Cloquet Avenue in Cloquet, Minnesota, you'll have the awesome opportunity to fuel up at the only operational service station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The gas station, which was part of Wright's utopian Broadacre City concept, has a cantilevered copper roof and a glass observation deck on the second story, where you can excitedly watch other customers fuel up. It is also probably the only gas station in the United States with a big sign celebrating its architect. —SB

24. Mississippi // Bailey's Scratching Post

Location: Lucedale, Mississippi

This quirky itch-relieving post was installed outside an insurance office as an advertising gimmick in 1939, then made its way to the front of the Coffee Pot restaurant, where countless patrons used its serrated services over the years. That list includes a few famous names like Gene Autry, Kirk Douglas, and Ronald Reagan. While the Coffee Pot no longer exists, Bailey's Scratching Post now occupies its own permanent spot on the street. If you're going to scratch your back after a long drive, you might as well use the same post as the former leader of the free world. —SB

25. Missouri // World's Largest Roll of Toilet Paper

Location: Branson, Missouri

Visiting the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Branson has become a popular gag in road-trip movies, but it's not the only gigantic novelty item in town. Make it a two-ply double-feature by visiting a million square feet of Charmin toilet paper. This roll measures in at 9.73 feet in diameter and is the equivalent of 95,000 regular rolls. According to Ripley's Believe It or Not, it should last the average person around 1900 years. —SB

26. Montana // Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana.
The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana. / Montanabw, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Location: Arlee, Montana

This beautiful retreat may change your perception of Montana. The Ewam Sang-ngag Ling Garden of One Thousand Buddhas rests in Jocko Valley, where it invites visitors to relax, contemplate the meaning of life, and count to see if there really are 1000 statues. More than just a restful tourist spot, the center hosts classes and festivals, too. —SB

27. Nebraska // Kool-Aid Man's Footprints in Cement

A glimpse at the Kool-Aid exhibit at the Hastings Museum.
A glimpse at the Kool-Aid exhibit at the Hastings Museum. / Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Hastings, Nebraska

Hastings is the birthplace of Kool-Aid and the large anthropomorphic pitcher who surprises and/or terrifies children by crashing through walls and shouting "Oh yeah!" Celebrate the legacy of the soft drink at a special exhibit at the Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History. While there, you can gaze upon the footprints the Kool-Aid Man set in cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theater in 2000. You can also question why the Kool-Aid Man has his own happy face on the bottom of his shoes. —SB

28. Nevada // Clown Motel

Josh Brasted/Getty Images

Location: Tonopah, Nevada

Travelers who have coulrophobia, or a fear of clowns, may want to skip this attraction. Located in a remote part of the Nevada desert, the Clown Motel is a shrine to red-nosed creatures who have haunted many a person's nightmares. If you can make it past the giant clown cutouts decorating the facade, you'll be greeted by hundreds of vintage clown dolls and artworks inside. And in case it wasn't creepy enough, the motel is located next to a century-old miners’ graveyard. —MD

29. New Hampshire // Betty and Barney Hill Alien Abduction Gas Station

Shannon Leigh O'Neil

Location: Lincoln, New Hampshire

On the edge of the White Mountain National Forest, motorists on Route 3 north of Lincoln, New Hampshire, will come upon what looks like an ordinary Irving Express gas station. But inside the convenience store are printed posters and displays commemorating the alleged 1961 alien abduction of local couple Betty and Barney Hill, one of the first such abduction claims to gain national media attention. A historical marker just up the road indicates the exact location of the mysterious incident. —KL

30. New Jersey // Lucy the Elephant

Location: Margate City, New Jersey

For whatever reason, New Jersey has a proud tradition of sky-high roadside attractions. The state is home to The World’s Largest Lightbulb in the town of Edison; around 60 miles south, in Shamong, is a 25-foot-tall fiberglass gorilla named Mighty Joe in a gas station parking lot along Route 206. But the Garden State’s most venerable piece of roadside kitsch has to be Lucy the Elephant, a six-story-tall elephant icon that has stood in Margate City (right outside of Atlantic City) since 1881. Guided tours reveal that Lucy is surprisingly spacious inside—so much so that the elephant was temporarily turned into an Airbnb in 2020. —Jason Serafino

31. New Mexico // World's Largest Pistachio

jo_beets, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Alamagordo, New Mexico

Pistachioland in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is hard to miss. Outside the nut farm and gift shop sits a 30-foot-tall pistachio statue (say that five times fast) attracting visitors to the site. After the farm's original founder Tom McGinnis passed away, his son Tim had the landmark constructed in 2008 to honor his dad. Tourists coming to admire the giant pistachio can head to McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch and Winery Gift Shop to pick up some gourmet candy, popcorn, and nuts for the road. —MD

32. New York // The Cardiff Giant

The Cardiff Giant at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown.
The Cardiff Giant at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown. / Martin Lewison, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Location: Cooperstown, New York

Here lies one of America’s greatest hoaxes. On October 16, 1869, two well-diggers found a startling surprise buried on a farm just outside Syracuse, New York. There, they uncovered the 10-foot-tall petrified body of a giant—or so people thought. Locals and tourists alike poured into the area to marvel at their discovery. Some speculated the man was an enormous Indigenous person who had been petrified long ago, while others suspected it was a statue built by French Jesuits. The reality, however, was a bit more disappointing. The so-called “Cardiff Giant” was no more than a hoax planned by businessman George Hull, who hatched the plot after arguing with a minister about a biblical passage that mentioned giants once roaming Earth. Hull, an atheist, had the enormous effigy secretly constructed and buried on a relative’s farm. He and his accomplice raked in a decent chunk of cash by charging people to see the giant before it was exposed as a hoax. Today, the effigy lies in the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown. —KW

33. North Carolina // Road to Nowhere

John_Brueske/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Bryson City, North Carolina

In 1941, the Tennessee Valley Authority built the hydroelectic Fontana Dam in conjunction with the Aluminum Company of America and its main client, the War Department. To ease the minds of all the families losing their homes to the newly flooded land, the parties agreed to build a road connecting Bryson City and Deals Gap. But after decades and only about seven miles of roadway built, the crew discovered that continuing the project would release acid into the water table, so they stopped. The Department of the Interior eventually paid a $52 million settlement on what is now a surreal, calm, haunting, dead end highway (that you can get directions to on Google Maps). —SB

34. North Dakota // The Woodchipper from Fargo

The Fargo-Moorhead Visitor’s Center is home to the woodchipper from Fargo (1996).
The Fargo-Moorhead Visitor’s Center is home to the woodchipper from Fargo (1996). / Visit Fargo-Moorhead

Location: Fargo, North Dakota

There is no shortage of fantastic roadside attractions to hit on a drive through North Dakota, including the World’s Largest Buffalo Monument (in Jamestown), the geographical center of North America (in Rugby—though that particular title has been disputed), and Tommy the Turtle, the largest turtle in the world riding the largest snowboard in the world (in Bottineau), among others. But cinephiles will want to make sure they put the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor’s Center on their itinerary; here, they can see the woodchipper from the Coen Brothers’ film Fargo (complete with leg sticking out) and a celebrity walk of fame featuring the handprints of famous folks. —EMC

35. Ohio // Hartman Rock Garden

Location: Springfield, Ohio

The meticulous beauty of Springfield, Ohio’s Hartman Rock Garden wasn’t a part of some grand plan—it was simply the creation of a man named Ben Hartman, a molder who lost his job during the Great Depression in 1932. The idea was to build a new fishing pond out in his backyard, but the self-taught artist just kept adding to it over the next seven years, crafting cathedrals, castles, villages, fountains, and fauna from hundreds of thousands of stones. Today, you can take a tour through the garden, which is still located on Hartman’s former property. —JS

36. Oklahoma // First Girl Scout Cookie Sale Statue

Location: Muskogee, Oklahoma

Girl Scouts have been selling cookies since 1917, and the very first sale took place in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Local schoolteacher Marion D. Brown organized the Muskogee Girl Scout troop's cookie sale as a service project to raise money for care packages for World War I soldiers. A bronze statue honoring the event now stands outside the Three Rivers Museum. —KL

37. Oregon // Mill Ends Park

The World's Smallest Park is a big attraction.
The World's Smallest Park is a big attraction. / mike krzeszak, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Portland, Oregon

Keeping Portland weird is easy when it's home to the world's smallest recognized public park. A traffic median built in 1946 that went unused was later embraced by Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan, who filled the hole meant for a traffic light with flowers and created a whole backstory for it, in which he dubbed it "the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland." The space, a mere 452 square inches, was named an official park in 1976. —JR

38. Pennsylvania // Haines Shoe House

The Haines Shoe House is a good place to kick it.
The Haines Shoe House is a good place to kick it. / Lorie Shaull, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Location: Hallam, Pennsylvania

Like something out of a fairy tale—or a demented giant cobbler—comes this building shaped like a shoe in Hallam, Pennsylvania. The property was built by businessman/philanthropist Mahlon Haines, who wanted to promote his chain of shoe stores (and ensure his legacy) by erecting a home resembling one of his bestselling boots. Completed in 1949, it now houses Haines shoe ephemera and even has a dog house ... shaped like a shoe, naturally. It's closed November though March, so beat feet to it while you can. —JR

39. Rhode Island // Mystery Tower of Newport

The Mystery Tower of Newport will keep you guessing.
The Mystery Tower of Newport will keep you guessing. / Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Location: Newport, Rhode Island

Indulge your archaeological interests with a visit to this peculiar tower in Newport that has no definitive origin. Some believe it was placed there by Vikings; others believe the Knights Templar are responsible. (The local museum, meanwhile, claims it's the base of a windmill, but there are no records to prove it.) Consider stopping by at night, when the tower is lit and its ancient secrets take on an eerie aesthetic. —JR

40. South Carolina // Alligator Adventure

Alligator Adventure promises a one-of-a-kind experience.
Alligator Adventure promises a one-of-a-kind experience. / Rain0975, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Atlantic Beach, South Carolina

If the closest you've ever gotten to seeing a real-life alligator is via the Discovery Channel, you're missing out. At Alligator Adventure, visitors can get up close—but not too close—and personal with more than 750 alligators. The standout reptile is Utan, King of the Crocs, a part-salt water, part-Siamese crocodile that reportedly clocks in at more than 18 feet long. Feeding time is a sight to behold.

41. South Dakota // Wall Drug

Just another day at Wall Drug.
Just another day at Wall Drug. / Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Wall, South Dakota

What can you see at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota? What can't you see? The tourist mall was the brainchild of Ted Hustead, who opened a humble drug store in 1931 and attracted tourists with promises of free ice water. Hustead also advertised Wall Drug on billboards—not just in South Dakota, but across the country. When his son, Bill, took over in the 1970s, he expanded the store to live up to its reputation: The property now features everything from a mini-Mount Rushmore to a giant T. rex. Animatronic cowboys greet visitors. And yes, somewhere in there is a tiny but functioning pharmacy. —JR

42. Tennessee // A. Schwab General Store

La Citta Vita, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Location: Memphis, Tennessee

Sam Schwab, owner of A. Schwab General Store, used to display shoes outside his shop in the early 1900s—until someone pilfered a pair. He started putting out single shoes, but that still didn't deter thieves from stealing just one. Finally, he came up with a solution that he assumed would stop the stealing and catch the original culprit: He put out the stolen shoe's matching mate as bait for the thief. After all, they'd need the other shoe, right? Wrong. The bait shoe still resides in the shop waiting for the most patient thief of all time to come snag it a century later. —SB

43. Texas // Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch in Texas.
Cadillac Ranch in Texas. / Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

Location: Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch is a classic piece of roadside Americana. In 1974, helium magnate Stanley Marsh 3 teamed up with the San Francisco art collective The Ant Farm to build this public art installation in Amarillo, Texas. It features 10 Cadillacs half-buried in a cow pasture with their trunks sticking in the air. The bodies are decorated with colorful graffiti, and visitors are encouraged to leave marks of their own to the ever-changing sculptures. (It's what inspired the Cadillac Range in Pixar's Cars.) Cadillac Ranch is free to visit and is open 24 hours a day. —MD

44. Utah // Silver Queen Mine Miniature Golf

Location: Monticello, Utah

Monticello Mercantile is a hardware store hiding a very cool secret: its own black light mini golf course. Designed and operated by Liesel Francom (who also creates gingerbread houses for display in the hardware store), the mining-themed Silver Queen Mine Miniature Golf course has neon-painted carts, tunnels, and tracks throughout the course. It took Francom more than 300 hours of painting under black light in her laundry room to create its nine wall murals. —SB

45. Vermont // The World's Tallest Filing Cabinet

Good luck trying to file anything in those top drawers.
Good luck trying to file anything in those top drawers. / Ggglover, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Location: Burlington, Vermont

This 38-drawer-tall installment in Burlington, Vermont, was constructed in 2002 by an artist named Bren Alvarez. Its proper title is File Under So. Co., Waiting for…, and Alvarez came up with the idea as a response to the long bureaucratic delays hampering the construction of the Southern Connector project, a bypass into downtown Burlington that was decades behind schedule. The drawers themselves are held together by steel rods that run through the entire 40-foot-high structure. —JS

46. Virginia // Hollensbury Spite House

It's hard to miss the Hollensbury Spite House.
It's hard to miss the Hollensbury Spite House. / Ian Stedman, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Just down the block from the farmer's market where George Washington once sold his veggies, there's a tiny, bright blue home squished between the other row houses. The house was no architectural accident: In 1830, John Hollensbury became so fed up with the noise made by horse-drawn carts and loiterers in the alley between his houses that he built the 7-foot-wide house to block the path. The 325-square-foot claustrophobia machine is fully furnished like a typical house, but it's privately owned and not open to tourists. Fortunately, the facade is really all you need for an amazing photo. —SB

47. Washington // Leavenworth

Downtown Leavenworth, Washington.
Downtown Leavenworth, Washington. / drmartinis/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Location: Leavenworth, Washington

If you're looking to escape into a Bavarian-style village without leaving the U.S., then Leavenworth, Washington, is the perfect spot. Following the decline of the mining and logging industry in the 1960s, government officials decided to turn the town into a destination, mimicking the picturesque look of Bavaria, Germany. While taking a leisurely stroll is a great way to enjoy the town, there are also a host of other activities (such as shopping, agritourism, and bird watching) and events to enjoy. —TB

48. Washington, D.C. // The Exorcist Stairs

The Exorcist steps.
The Exorcist steps. / Dmitry K, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Location: Washington, D.C.

In one of the most memorable scenes in the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) leaps out of a window and tumbles down a steep, narrow staircase to his death. The scene was filmed on location in the district's Georgetown neighborhood, and the 72 vertiginous steps are still as creepy—and as popular a tourist attraction—as ever. In 2015, Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled a plaque marking the site as an official historical landmark. —KL

49. West Virginia // Flatwoods Monster Sign

Location: Flatwoods, West Virginia

September 12, 1952, is a date that lives in infamy for the residents of Flatwoods, West Virginia. That evening, a group of people saw a light flash across the sky; it appeared to crash on a nearby farm. When they went to investigate, they saw what a newspaper later reported was “a 10-foot monster with a blood-red body and a green face that seemed to glow” and had what appeared to be claw-like hands. Terrified, they ran—and told whoever they could about the encounter. The story made headlines around the country, and the Air Force even opened an investigation.

The Flatwoods Monster—or Green Monster, as it came to be known—may have made one more appearance the next day, terrorizing a family in a car, but it hasn’t been seen since. Today, tourists can stop off and take a photo of the town sign, which declares Flatwoods “home of the Green Monster,” pose in front of a mural depicting the event, sit in chairs that look like the monster, or hit up the museum devoted to the creature. And, of course, there's some excellent merch. —EMC

50. Wisconsin // Sputnik Crash Site

A small, easy-to-miss marker.
A small, easy-to-miss marker. / Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Manitowoc, Wisconsin

If there are no cars coming, you can stand over the brass ring in the middle of U.S. 10 North (just above Park Street) commemorating where Korabl-Sputnik 1 landed in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, in 1962. Nothing about the ring would tell you what it's there for (and there's part of a white traffic stripe covering it), but there are plaques nearby celebrating the abrupt arrival of the 20-pount chunk of Soviet satellite. Plus, the town goes all out each year on September 6 with a “wacky tacky” festival, so plan your road trip accordingly. —SB

51. Wyoming // Old Trail Town

Location: Cody, Wyoming

Travelers looking to experience a slice of the Wild West should stop at Old Trail Town, the brainchild of the late Bob Edgar. The archaeologist's love for Old West structures spurred the attraction: Those buildings tended to disappear—they were either demolished, went down in flames, or were left to rot—so he decided to acquire some and preserve them. Edgar moved them to the site of what would eventually become Old Trail Town (the process involved disassembling the buildings and then putting them back together on site) and opened the attraction with five buildings in 1967. Today, the town has 27 structures, among them the River’s Saloon, an 1888 building with bullet holes in the walls; the Hole in the Wall Cabin, which was built in 1883 and housed Butch Cassidy and other outlaws; and the Coffin School, an 1884 building that got its name from the fact that a man died of gangrene inside. —EMC