When today’s tourists hit the road, big cities steal most of the attention. Here are 150 alternative attractions.
150 Unique Attractions in the USA You Must Visit
When today’s tourists hit the road, big cities across the country have a habit of stealing most of the attention. But what about all the small-town curiosities that go otherwise overlooked without a quick turn off the highway? If you’re preparing to move across the country, take an epic road trip, or just escape the rush of the big city, it’s time to check out what the less-trodden path has to offer.
Head as far east as possible to watch the sunrise at the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Maine. Trek down to Ka Lae, Hawai’i to claim that you’ve gone as far south as one can go in the United States. Explore endless caves, caverns, mines, and grottos for a hike, swim, or even an afternoon of underground ice skating. And while major monuments like the Statue of Liberty and Disney World offer plenty of adventure, make sure not to miss the one-of-a-kind curiosities along the way.
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In the rural small town of Seale, Alabama sits the Museum of Wonder—home to the world’s first drive-thru museum. This modern-day antique museum is filled with unusual uniquites like the world’s largest gallstone and Sasquatch’s actual footprint. Take a quick stop off HWY 431 to see this museum of curiosities and perhaps buy a piece of weird art.
On the more western side of Alabama, there is the Jemison-Van de-Graaff Mansion full of the history of early southern life. The free 1-2 hour tour is an immersive learning experience about Tuscaloosa and the famous Van de Graaff family.
Just an hour from the Jemison Van de Graaff mansion and 30 miles from Birmingham in Montevallo is the peculiar Orr Park. Orr Park is chock-full of playgrounds, walking trails and sports fields, but the most interesting feature is the Tinglewood carvings.
After a storm in 1993 which destroyed much of the park, Mr. Tim Tingle spent hours bringing the dead trees “back to life” by carving faces and animals into 30+ dead trees throughout the park. If you are in Montevalle in September, there’s even a Tinglewood Festival where visitors can listen to live music, marvel at the classic car show, watch live carvings and even B.Y.O.K. (Bring Your Own Knife) to do a wood carving yourself!
There are only a small handful of states where you can hike across one of the area’s largest roadside glaciers. Break out your snow boots, parka, and sense of adventure to take on Matanuska Glacier, located just two hours from Anchorage in the town of Sutton. Head up for a scenic day hike or get cozy in one of the local Tundra Rose Guest cottages a stone’s throw away. We recommend spending at least two hours there. Note that unguided tours are $30 in the summer and $100 guided in the winter.
Hoping to strike gold? Take a glimpse into what it may have been like for miners during the great gold rush at Independence Mine in Palmer. For just a $5 parking fee, spend half a day exploring the mine, its surrounding buildings, and even the miner’s mess hall. Outdoor enthusiasts can take off into the surrounding trails for hiking and biking.
Just north of the Candian border, check out 8,000-year old glyphs on the sides of coastline rocks on Petroglyph Beach. You’ll have bragging rights after taking the beachside stroll, since the carvings are some of the oldest concentrated glyphs in the world. It’s free to visit and provides a lovely afternoon adventure for one to three hours.
Some dining experiences are not for the faint of heart. Take an elevator the equivalent of 21 stories to reach Caverns Grotto, an underground restaurant in a 345-million-year-old series of caves. Before or after lunch, explore the Grand Canyon Caverns that surround the small restaurant. Pair it up with your day trip to the Grand Canyon itself.
Spend a one-of-a-kind evening in a genuine vintage roadside motel with a bit of Native American inspiration. The Wigwam Village Motel offers a fully equipped motel room inside a white and red teepee. This makes an excellent stop along a road trip, especially since it’s under $100 a night for two double beds or one queen room.
Spending the day driving from Tucson to Phoenix? Just about halfway along your trip on route 10, stop off at Casa Grande Neon Sign Park for some iconic roadside attraction photos. Wait until the sun goes down to see the lights flipped on for a taste of history and quite a beautiful collection of lights. The park is free but has a suggested donation.
Nicknamed the Land of Opportunity, Arkansas has its pick of natural wonders and road trip must-sees. Start your trip with a visit to Onyx Cave in Eureka Springs. Visitors have explored this stunning show cave since the 19th century, checking out the stalactites and stalagmites in all their breathtaking formations. Prices range between $3.50 and $7.50—though you can also spend a bit of time in the cave’s gift shop.
On the west side of the state, join Arkansas residents at one of the most beloved spots for outdoor fun, Crater of Diamonds State Park. Explore trails or pitch your tent for a night at one of the attached campsites. Don’t forget to head into the crater itself to check out where the largest diamond in the US was unearthed and to even keep any diamonds you find for yourself! Kids cost $6 while adults cost $10 for admission.
Right at the junction of 96 and 22, snap a photo of the Giant Budweiser Can painted on the side of a farm silo. If it were filled with the famous brew, it would hold an impressive 8,734,902 fluid ounces of beer. Take a few minutes to grab a photo of the silo on your journey across the state.
Take the family out to the coast of La Jolla to explore the tunnels of an old bootlegger at Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave. Visitors can walk down 145 stairs into the epic cave with water views along the way. The whole experience only takes about 15 minutes and costs between $5 and $7 depending on your age. Finish off the trip by grabbing a gift at the attached cave store.
Bird waters, naturalists, and adventurous spirits alike should check out Mono Lake on their next trip to the area around Yosemite National Park. The southern natural reserve costs just $3 to enter but it’s free to swim in the summer. Eye-catching rock formations and diverse bird populations make this a stunning spot to spend a sunny day.
Spending the week driving along the Big Sur coast? Don’t miss the breathtaking McWay Falls, an 800-foot fall overlooking a beach. It only takes a bit of hiking to reach the most stunning views, and the park entrance fee is $10 for the visit. While you can spot the falls from the highway, the best views are spotted on foot.
Return to the calming gifts of nature on an afternoon getaway at Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Just a short drive off Route 40, spend just $20 for a dip in the naturally hot water or simply take in the beauty of the surrounding mountains. Make a weekend out of it by staying at the attached lodging and booking a massage.
The state is packed with endless caves, mountain peaks, and other natural wonders. Rifle Mountain Ice Caves form between December and February.
There are four caves to explore throughout the park, each with its only unique ice formation against the rocks. You’ll only pay $5 to enter and can explore the caves for the entire day.
Making its way into local history is Cano’s Castle, four towers made almost entirely of beer cans. The towers act as a thank you from the builder for his life being spared during the Vietnam War. Add this to your drive-by roadside attraction list if you’re heading up 285.
Early American enthusiasts should not pass through Connecticut without a hike through the Gungywamp in Groton. This collection of stone structures are believed to date back to the Paleo and Native American era. Pay $15 for a guided tour and explore the leftover foundations, cellars, and barns left after hundreds of years.
On a rainy New England day, take the kids over to the Pez Factory and Visitor Center in Orange. Not only are the tickets $5 and under, but you get a $2 credit to spend toward your favorite Pez flavor and iconic dispenser. Explore how the famous candy gets made and packaged or check out some colorful Pez sculptures.
Burger lovers are required to make a pilgrimage to what the Library of Congress calls the “birthplace of the hamburger.” Louis’ Lunch sits right in the heart of New Haven in an old rustic spot that serves the original burger itself for only $7. Grab a soda and a slice of pie while you’re there.
It was only in 2004 that a Revolutionary War shipwreck washed up on the shores of Delaware’s Roosevelt Inlet in Lewes. It’s believed that the ship went down back in 1772 but needed centuries of storms to finally bring it back to land. Venture out to check out the ill-fated ship right off the state’s eastern coast.
Of all the spots to see in historic Wilmington, DE, be sure to spend a moment of respect at The Crying Giant, the local 9/11 memorial. Hosted by the Delaware Art Museum, this 10-foot sculpture was created by artist Tom Otterness. While there is admission to the museum, the outdoor sculpture park is free.
If you swing into Northern Delaware in warmer months, stop at the Mt. Cuba Center for its stunning botanical gardens. Admission ranges from $8 to $15 but pay a bit extra for a garden enthusiast’s walk or a guided tour. The gardens surround a 1930’s manor and provide an excellent way to take in the beauty of the region for a few hours.
While it’s natural to think of all the theme parks and beaches Florida has to offer, make sure you don’t miss its hidden natural attractions and vintage restaurants. Just off the southeastern coast sits the Blowing Rocks Preserve in Jupiter, Florida. The area provides a peaceful natural sanctuary to spend a quiet afternoon after a long drive down the coast.
If you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of rare sea turtles. The park gets its name for the 50-foot plumes of water that shoot up into the air when they hit the rocks.
There are few outdoor adventure activities you can’t do in the stunning Rainbow Springs State Park. Kayak, camp, or simply wander through the phenomenal trails alongside the sky blue water. While it’s just $2 to get in, expect additional prices for rentals and some activities.
Take a step back in time at Angel’s Diner if your travels take you to Palatka in the northern region of the state. As the state’s oldest diner, order your burger and fries inside a metal train car right on the banks of the St. Johns River. If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, opt for their all-day breakfast.
Take a spooky step back in time as you head down 278 through Greensboro. The Old Gaol prison shows what life was like for doomed criminals in the early 19th century. The oldest masonry jail of the state has original cells, walls, and even a gallows trap door. Explore the historical landmark for free for about a half-hour.
Tucked in the small town of Cornelia in the northern half of Georgia, you’ll find nearly 30,000 Elvis-related items tucked into a Loudermilk Boarding House. Elvis enthusiasts can’t miss this off-the-beaten-path museum, especially if you’re passing through on the first Saturday of August during the Elvis festival. Check out both the 1908 boarding house and Elvis memorabilia for free.
Not sure where to turn off of route 54? Check out quite the unique front yard in Turin covered in an ever-changing set of scenes re-enacted by Barbie dolls. You’ll catch everything from major sporting events to rallies and cultural events like the royal wedding. Barbie beach regularly gets an update from its creative owners and only takes a bit 10 minutes to check out by car.
The natural wonders found on each Hawaiian island are truly endless, but which ones are easy to check out on a coast-to-coast road trip? If your plane lands on Oahu, explore the gardens of the Dole Plantation Gardens in Wahiawa, closer to the north shore of the island. Check out some of the most popular tropical fruits of the region as well as the stunning landscaping, water elements, and native species on the property. Adults currently cost $8.25, children 4-12 cost $6.25, while Kama’aina/Military cost $7.25
Not far off Route 360 on Maui you’ll find the iconic Hana Lava Tube at the end of the famous Road to Hana. Take a close-up look at hardened lava as it stopped in place to form a perfect tunnel for exploring and wondering at its beauty. The sight only costs $12.50 for anyone five and over.
Reaching the southernmost point of the US not only gives you bragging rights, but is also a stunning sight. Ka Lae sits at the button of the Big Island and even beats out the lowest continental US spot at the bottom of the Florida Keys. Take a break from the crowds of tourists, snap some photos, and enjoy the wild sea and wind on this eye-catching coast.
When you think Idaho, there’s a solid chance you think potatoes. But do you think potato hotel? Stay inside a large one-bedroom hotel unit shaped just like the state’s favorite crop. The potato itself traveled around the country on the back of a truck for years, but now sits in Boise where you can spend a cozy night for around $250.
If you need to pull off route 90 for a break from the car, don’t miss this historic haven in Post Rock Falls. Treaty Rock offers trails, stunning vegetation, and a picnic area near where historians believe the treaty was signed between Frederick Post and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Check out the preserved spot where Post and the Native American tribe were believed to mark the event on a rock wall.
In the bottom-eastern corner of the state, Geyser Park in Soda Springs is a sight to see, especially when you need to break up a long drive up route 15. Back in 1937, a drilling accident tapped into an underground pool that now sends up a deluge of water 100 feet into the air once every hour on the hour. Oregon Trail enthusiasts may also enjoy the spot due to its significance in the cross-country journey.
If you’re headed to Chicago from the southern part of the state, call ahead to book a visit with the famous goats at Goat Tower Farm. This spot makes a fun break for kids and adult goat-lovers alike, especially as the creatures climb the tall winding tower from bottom to top. The tower sits on a property in Windsor, Illinois, just off of Wolf Creek State Park.
For under $10 a head for both children and adults, check out one of the most unique zoos in the region at Wildlife Prairie Park in Hanna City. You’ll spot everything from wolves and cougars to otters and elk. With over 60 species to check off your list, spend a couple of hours exploring the park or even take a guided adventure trek on a bus.
As you explore the nearly 4,000 acres of Shawnee National Forest, aim for Burden Falls in Pope County. While you can catch one of the falls from the parking lot, head into the switchback trails to view the rest. The trip works as a quick stop off of 145, but it’s best to spend a day enjoying the many miles of trails to catch breathtaking falls and surrounding forest.
Rarely does an area have a scenic waterfall right in the center of town. If your journey takes you through Williamsport, Indiana, stop for a break at Williamsport Falls. As the tallest waterfall in the state, the 90-foot drop makes for quite the view after grabbing some lunch nearby. Explore the walking trail to stretch your legs and take some great shots with the falls.
For the next stop on your trip, imagine a flea market that extends the length of 30 football fields. The largest in the state, the Shipshewana Flea Market offers everything from artwork to local produce. Wednesday mornings even offer live auctions. If you’re on the hunt for something rare and unique from the area, this makes a great stopping point right off route 20.
Artwork comes in all forms, and in Alexandria, you can check out a piece over 40 years in the making. The world’s largest ball of paint now weighs over 2.5 tons. Its owner and his family have added tens of thousands of layers of paint since 1977 when the project began. Not only is it free to visit, but you can call ahead to make an appointment to add your own layer.
Since you’ll never run out of beautiful scenery in the Hawkeye State, you’re best off finding the best spots to take it all in. The Iowa Falls Swinging Bridge dates back to 1897 and underwent restorations for the next 100 years. While the bridge does wobble a bit, it is now safe to cross over the Iowa river and catch a wide glimpse of the surrounding park.
Who would have thought that beneath the cornfield of Iowa sits caves filled with precious stones? Crystal Lake Cave sits right off of route 52 in Dubuque, welcoming curious geologists from around the country. Not only is this an excellent adventure for you and the kids, but you even bring home a sparkling souvenir from the cavern itself. Adults cost $20 while kids are much less at $8 for those 4-11. Children under four visit for free.
Why not top off your road trip with a road-themed stop? The Museum of Traffic Control contains everything from retired signs to a miniature village. Explore the history of traffic signs, roads, and railways, as well as over 100 functioning traffic lights.
Want to snap an iconic shot as you drive through northern Kansas? Head just a few miles off the highway and you’ll find yourself at the very center of the United States. A flag, stone mount, and a small chapel mark the spot, and the scenery makes it a beautiful place to have a picnic at the center of it all.
Just off of Route 54, you’ll find a story of resilience and rebirth in an unexpected place. The Big Well Museum and Visitor’s Center used to simply mark the spot as the world’s largest hand-dug well. Nowadays, you’ll also find an interactive museum that showcases how the town rebuilt after an EF5 tornado leveled the town in 2007. Tickets cost between $6 to $8 and you can spend about an hour exploring the museum.
If you happen to stroll in downtown Wichita by the Westar Power Building, be sure to keep your eye on the storm drains. A local artist installed an often-missed piece of art beneath the grate—The Wichita Troll. It’s easy to miss during the day, but you’re likely to spot its presence in the evening when it takes on a green glow as the sun goes down.
Sometimes the most beautiful spots in the world take a bit of adventure to get there. Hop in a paddleboat to traverse the narrow caves of Grayson Lake. You will come upon the stunning Grotto Falls deep within the stone, a spot only reachable by the paddle trail. Spend at least half a day exploring the park if you find yourself in eastern Kentucky.
Right on the border of Kentucky and Indiana, revel in a bit of history by visiting the USS Sachem ruins on Taylor Creek.
The ship had quite a career—setting out in both World Wars and a long list of cultural events back in the US. In its final days, the ship made an appearance in a Madonna music video before it decayed into the ghost ship it is today. The ship is free to visit and can be accessed by kayak.
It’s hard to think about Kentucky without thinking about bourbon. Visit one of the most well-known distilleries in the country, Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretta. Not only are the premises a beautiful spot to spend a relaxing day, but you can tour the premises for between $15 and $25.
Finding the best food in the state will likely cross your mind the moment you enter Louisiana, so you might as well stop at one of the state’s oldest. Lea’s Lunchroom in Lecompte is said to be where Bonnie and Clyde shared a meal. The spot is known for its world-famous pies and has been serving up meals since the late 1920s.
In an area filled with unique curiosities, the Abita Mystery House is not to be skipped. The roadside attraction in Abita features thousands of found-art objects, from plastic fish to small interactive villages. Any visitor over five pays just $5. Explore the small museum after a trip to the quaint downtown and well-known local brewery.
Brush up on your Louisiana history and its political past at the Louisiana Political Museum in Winnfield. The museum traces back through the state complex past, offering significant objects and exhibits for each of its major political figures. There is no charge to enter the museum. Plan to spend a couple of hours exploring what it has to offer.
Just feet from the easternmost point of the continental US sits the West Quoddy Lighthouse in Lubec Maine. Not only is the 19th-Century lighthouse an architectural landmark, but visitors can catch incredible sunrises off the coast in the early hours. If you stop by on the weekend in the summer, you may be able to catch a tour or one of the area’s many festivals.
Few guess that you could spend a weekend camping in a real desert right in the heart of Maine.
Desert of Maine in Freeport offers a long list of curious sites to see, including a gemstone village, a sand-buried house, and many winding hiking trails. You can also spend a night or two in their official campgrounds. Visitors pay between $12 and $16 for entry.
Head out to Columbia Falls for all things blueberries! Since the 19th century, Wild Blueberry Land has farmed over 200 acres of the state’s most iconic fruit. Explore the farm, visit the blueberry museum, and even snap a photo with the world’s largest blueberry. When it’s open, be sure to visit the bakery for berry-packed treats.
If you’re cutting through the center of the state and hope to show off a roadside mystery to the kids, take the scenic route through Burkittsville, Maryland to check out Spook Hill. Cut across West Main Street/Gapland Road until you spot a red barn on the side of the road. Locals and visitors a lot are said to feel their car being pulled backwards up the hill when they put their car in neutral. The reason why? No one’s quite sure.
Duck hunters and art enthusiasts alike will love a quick stop by the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. The museum teaches visitors about the background of the hand-carved decoy and its roots in American folk history. Explore exhibits explaining the history of the Susquehanna and the essential act of waterfowling in the area.
On your way out to the Chesapeake Bay region, take a small side trip of route 234 in Clements to catch a glimpse of Giant Spongebob. The massive structure waves to drivers as it stands outside Bowles Farm. If you’re in the mood for a stop in the summer or fall, check out their annual corn maze.
Take a moment to marvel at an architectural wonder off the beaten path in Rockport, MA. The Paper House is exactly as it sounds—a house and nearly all its furniture are made entirely from newspaper. The cost to explore the home is only one or two dollars for children and adults. Rockport sits right at the tip of Halibut State Park, a natural beauty of its own worth visiting.
Right off Exit 1 of 395, visit one of the most stunning lakes in the state set right in Webster. The lake gained its popularity not only for its beauty, but also for having the longest name—a whopping 45 letters—as Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The name comes from an Algonquin language and means, a “lake divided by islands.”
If you find yourself heading out to the Cape in late May or early June, take a moment to catch Bulb River in Sandwich, Mass. Just as Mother’s Day arrives, 35,000 hyacinths and over 1,500 yellow daffodils bloom into a “river” of color. The stunning sight is hosted by the Heritage Museum and Gardens.
Just off the northeastern tip of the mitten, spend a few hours exploring the Arcadia Dunes of the CS Mott Nature Preserve. This unique trail is specially designed for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and offers nearly four miles of path to discover. Whether meandering through the woods and along the coast, catch a glimpse of Lake Michigan as you venture through the dunes.
Enjoy crystal-clear waters from a natural limestone spring while boating or hiking in Palms Book State Park. Hop on an observation raft to watch the beauty at the bottom of the springs during a guided tour. The active spring contains flowing clouds of sand, ancient tree trunks, and schools of trout. The park is ideal for both kids and adults to spend at least half a day while exploring Michigan’s peninsula.
Just miles from the Canadian border, visitors can trek up a notoriously steep road to catch some of the best panoramic views of Lake Superior. Crisp Point Lighthouse sits in Vermillion, Michigan and offers both lighthouse tours and a gift shop. You can even snag a shirt that says you survived the climb to the top of the cliff!
Just 90 minutes outside of Minneapolis, spend a sunny day traversing miles of stunning hiking trails before coming upon Minneopa Falls. These eight-foot-wide falls plummet forty feet into the water below. Well-designed surrounding trails and bridges allow you to catch some truly stunning views and photos of this famous waterway.
If you’re heading south of route 90, take a short excursion to Niagara Cave in the town of Harmony. Brave adventurers can head a mile underground through narrow grottos, stunning limestone formations, and a range of natural streams and waterfalls. You can also check out fossils from hundreds of millions of years ago. Adult passes cost $20, while teenagers are $12. Children between the ages of three and 12 visit for free.
Spam lovers from around the country should stop for an afternoon at the Spam Museum—a full visitors center for this famous processed meat. The stylish exhibit mirrors a vintage shopping center and walks you around the world to see how spam has made an impact since its creation in the mid-20th century. You’ll find this free roadside stop right off of route 90 in Austin, Minnesota.
Civil War history is spread throughout the south, but you’ll find some of the most important battlefields and landmarks in Mississippi. Vicksburg National Military Park offers tours, history, and re-enactments of this decisive battle that tips the scales toward the inevitable union victory. Families pay $20 per car load for up to a week of exploration while individuals on foot cost $10.
Take a short trip off route 55 into Crystal Springs to explore the natural wonders of Chautauqua Park. This is an ideal place to take a break for a picnic or explore walking and hiking trails to catch some scenic views. Check out the website on your journey in case you’re there to catch a local festival or farmer’s market.
A trip to Mississippi wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Elvis’ birthplace. The two-room home still sits nearly as it did when he was born back in 1935. Explore a historic exhibit of The King’s life as well as its history, local childhood church, and local trails he likely walked as a kid. Prices range from $3 to $19 based on age and the number of exhibits you hope to explore.
Stretching over 1,000 long and 75 feet high, The Pinnacles is just one of the modern limestone carvings in the park’s volcanic field. Two streams carved out these incredibly unique formations over 300 million years. It’s free to enter the park and check out the rare formation and is a beautiful spot to check out if you find yourself driving up Highway 63.
What’s a road trip without a few stops at some bizarre record-breaking items. The World’s Largest Fork sits right in the heart of Springfield, Missouri, at an impressive 35 feet and 11 tons. Not only is the spot ideal for foodies looking to snap an image for their social media, but it also sits in the center of a great city packed with restaurants, arts, and culture.
Just south of St. Louis, spent a one-of-a-kind afternoon sipping wines inside the Saltpeter Caves at Cave Vineyard and Distillery. Book a private tasting for between $25 for you and a group of between 10 and 20 people. In addition to their wines, the vineyard brews a range of beers and distills its own spirits.
Buddhists and those looking for a peaceful place to rest can visit the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana. The monument reaches 750-feet wide and represents the thousand buddhas believed to have been born throughout this religious age. It is free to enter and takes about an hour to explore. The final number is still in progress, but when complete, it is expected to get a visit from the Dalai Lama himself.
If you’re on the hunt for something a bit abnormal, head south from Glacier National Park to the Montana Vortex. The site itself is marked by a slanted shack that creates a bizarre optical illusion that can make you feel as if the laws of gravity do not apply. Children under five and under visit for free, and tickets for teens and adults range from $8 to $12.
It took the owner of Jim’s Horn House six decades to collect this unique collection of stray horns from the forests surrounding his home. Visitors can stop in for a tour of the eclectic accumulation and now reaches up to 16,000 antlers. Call or email the owner to check for the tour availability as you pass by the Three Forks area.
Visitors will discover an incredibly unique mixture of items and local flora and fauna at the Fort Kearney Museum. Take a glass-bottom boat ride with the owner on a sandpit lake to spot freshwater jellyfish and massive catfish. You can also check out the display of Samurai suits and Egyptian mummies, all preserved inside this roadside stop.
Curious about the natural history of the great Cornhusker State? The Ashfall Fossil Beds at University of Nebraska’s State Museum is an active dig site that you can visit with the whole family. Explore the current research site and check out the findings in the connected museum. All children and adults over three cost $7.50 for admission.
Whether you’ve seen the real Stonehenge or not, CarHenge in Alliance, Nebraska is certainly worth a stop. This impressive sculpture was built with 38 rescued cars from local farms and dumps. Its diameter exactly matches the real Henge in the UK but can be viewed right off of route 87 in the western panhandle of the state.
Whether you’re headed to Area 51 for an alien sighting or just happen to be passing through, Little A’Le’Inn is worth a stop for some food and a night’s stay. This little roadside food stop can provide ample information about the area’s UFO sightings. The movie studio 20th-Century Fox even buried a time capsule here set to open in 2050.
Just miles from the western coast of the state, Pyramid Lake gets its name for the pyramid-like rock formation from limestone tufa formations. The lake and formations are all set within Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation and legend has it that the pyramid is haunted by evil spirits that haunt visitors with the sound of baby cries at night.
After making the rounds across the US, the real Bonnie and Clyde car now sits on display inside a casino in Primm, Nevada. History buffs can look at the actual car the two fugitives used before the two were killed by authorities in 1934. Stop by the famous automobile for a great photo opportunity when driving through town.
29. New Hampshire
History buffs will know a thing or two about the Battle of Bennington back in 1777. Fort Stark State Historical Site marks the site of the former military facility named for the general in the famous battle. Set right on the eastern edge of the peninsula in New Castle, this makes for a great afternoon outing for the family or history enthusiast.
Every retiree needs a hobby, and the two owners of the Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff found the right one for them.
In the basement of a Portsmouth home, you’ll find a massive array of creatively constructed miniature kits depicting scenes of figurines and trains. Visiting the small home museum is free and easy to swing into for a bit when taking a break off route 95.
The power of water over millions of years has created some of the most breathtaking formations in the country. The Basin is a well-known favorite of naturalists throughout New Hampshire as well as throughout history. Dating back to the Ice Age, this 30-foot wide hole of swirling water is considered a glacial pothole of sorts. Visit for an afternoon or as you pass by the town of Lincoln.
30. New Jersey
Right on the banks of the Delaware, take a break from tubing, kayaking, or even a brisk hike for some lunch from the Famous River Hotdog Man. You cannot technically call this a riverside restaurant since diners need to wade into the river itself to get a hotdog. If you sign up to tube with the local company, receive a meal package for this unique dining spot.
Early Native Americans worshipped a unique spot set in the woods of Montville Township. Tripod Rock at Pyramid Mountain Park offers a glimpse into the past power of glacial movement. The massive boulder balances perfectly on two smaller stones, giving them an uncanny appearance that it is locked in time. Visit the stone on a walk through the park throughout the day.
Next time you head up to the far northwestern tip of Jersey at the end of the summer, be sure to take a stroll through the Sunflower Maze in Sandyston. The farm charges $10 to explore the maze, take pictures, and take in the stunning sites of the area. This is also a popular spot for proposals and engagement photos.
31. New Mexico
Explore the beauty of the area’s unique natural forces that formed the unique stone structures, pinnacles, and spires after millions of years in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness area. As part of the badlands in the Four Corners Region, stop for at least an hour to explore a landscape unlike any other in the country. There is no cost to explore the park and the area is accessible off of route 371.
Tinkertown in Sandia Park offers a true walk through time with sculptures, salvaged items, and eclectic collections dating back to the 1960s. Started as an extensive hobby, the collection eventually caught the eye of those passing by and now acts as a popular spot to pull over for a look when driving along route 536. Spend an hour there after grabbing some lunch nearby. Admission costs $6 for adults and $3 for kids as old as 16.
Of all the endless canyons and parks in New Mexico, it may be easy to overlook the stunning San Lorenzo Canyon. The area provides unmatched hiking trails and a place to pitch a tent for the night. While there are no restrooms or drinking water on-site, it does make for a great adventure when heading up route 25.
32. New York
A trip to the Adirondacks isn’t complete without a scenic hike around one of the area’s many waterfalls. Split Rock Falls offers a break from the crowds as well as hiking and swimming around several stunning cascades and pools. The park is free to enter and provides a stunning place to rest in the warmer weather.
Every small town in the Finger Lakes has its locally famous ice cream shop.
Donnelly’s Ice Cream Shop in Saranac Lake is the place to bring the whole family at the end of a big day of hiking and swimming. The shop offers new flavors every day and the soft serve comes right from the milk of the farm’s cows.
Of all the “world’s largest” items, the kaleidoscope may be one of the most beautiful. Risley Flats Farm in the Catskills transformed its silo into a massive kaleidoscope for visitors to peer up at the sky. Enjoy the breathtaking colors with a musical score composed for the viewing experience. A look through the kaleidoscope costs $5 for all visitors.
33. North Carolina
Visiting a winery on scenic grounds is one thing, but what about enjoying it all in the company of llamas? Divine Llama Vineyards offers the chance to trek a couple of miles among these friendly creatures as well as try some homemade wines inside the tasting room. Be sure to schedule a trek with the llamas beforehand. The experience at Divine Llama costs $50.
Coffee and tea lovers will feel right at home in the House of Mugs in Collettsville, North Carolina. Everything from the site’s cabin to its lengthy fence is now covered in over 20,000 mugs. If you can find a spot, add your own mug to the epic collection to join in on a part of history. While it’s free to visit the museum, the owners welcome donations.
Last but not least, drive through Winston-Salem to catch a glimpse of the final remaining vintage Shell clamshell gas station. You may no longer be able to fill up your tank, but you can explore the curious indoor architecture of the shell as well as its history. The roadside stop is free to visit and makes an excellent photo opp along your journey.
34. North Dakota
Built with a whopping 60 tons of concrete, nowhere else can find a larger or heavier buffalo statue. The World’s Largest Buffalo sits just a few minutes off of route 94 in Jamestown, North Dakota. Elmer Peterson built the statue in 1959 and the site has maintained its popularity ever since. In 2010, the massive buffalo was finally named Dakota Thunder.
Thrill seekers and true outdoor enthusiasts make a pilgrimage to Pembina Gorge State Park for its endless supply of cliffs, waterways, and intense hiking trails. The 2,800 acres of protected lands make for endless days of exploration. Visitors pay $8 to enter and $50 to rent a kayak. It’s important to note that the park department closes the area after heavy rainfall.
Whether you’re driving north or south on route 1, you may catch a glimpse of a curious-looking structure in the town of Nekoma. Known as the Pyramid of North Dakota, the structure is actually the remnants of a failed military building designed to shoot down enemy missiles. The project halted after officials realized the extreme cost and poor design of the building. While you cannot enter the area, you can snap a photo from the road.
When you come across the Field of Giant Corn Cobs in Dublin, Ohio, you may be convinced that you’re seeing things. But the 109 human-sized corn cob statues do stand in honor of the inventor of hybrid corn, Sam Frantz. The artists used three different molds to create the collection of corn statues, each of which represents a real hybrid.
If the name of Coolville, Ohio, doesn’t pull you in first, a small hidden gem off the beaten path might.
The Healing Chapel provides a very small place for quiet prayer and meditation. The small white church sits off of route 33 and welcomes individuals and small groups to gather when they need a break from the busy world. This local favorite has even been the site for some very small weddings.
Avid adventures can spend a day diving, camping, and snorkeling at the Gilboa Quarry in Ottawa, Ohio. The family-run scuba company connected to the quarry offers divers a chance to explore the area’s unique plant and fish life. Take a dive for $32 a day plus the cost of snorkel, tank, and gear rental.
Cool off in the hottest Oklahoma summer months with a dip at Turner Falls Park. Not only can you swim around a 77-foot waterfall, but the area offers unmatched opportunities for stunning waterfalls. Entry into the park ranges from $6 to $12 depending on your age. Spend an afternoon swimming or pitch a tent on the campgrounds to spend a night by the falls.
When traveling down the famous route 66, answer your ice cream craving by stopping off at This Old Gas Station in Commerce, Oklahoma. Still designed like the vintage gas station it once was, you can now grab a cone or a cup of your favorite flavor and spend a much-needed break from the road. It’s important to note that this adorable ice cream stand is currently cash only.
Donned the “Car of the Future” in 1959, the Bubble Top Cars now sit on display in Afton. The designer transformed a Ford Thunderbird into what he imagined cars to look like decades from then. While the museum owner did make over 300 models, the cars themselves never took off, but they are still a sight to see for a glimpse into the past.
The Oregon State Hospital made history when it was used as the site of the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Its history, however, goes far beyond its filming days. The museum now covers the history of the hospital itself, including some of its patients, doctors, and famous stories from inside its walls. Tickets for adults are $7 while students can tour the museum for $6.
If you’re on the lookout for an adventurous afternoon, descended into the mile-long lava tube in Deschutes National Forest. The cave was discovered in the late 19th Century and has provided tours to visitors willing to make the long descent into the stunning tubes. The park charges just $5 per car or fees for several sizes of tour vans. You can also rent several light sources to safely move through the tunnels.
Now a historical state landmark, the Mohawk Restaurant in Crescent is a famous spot for grabbing a homestyle meal. The inside of the restaurant features unique decor, including a wide range of taxidermy. Stop by for lunch when heading down route 97 in the southern half of the state.
A popular spot for locals and weddings alike, the Malcolm Gross Rose Garden makes an excellent stopping point when heading through Allentown, PA. Gardeners and rose experts will enjoy the wide array of varieties that bloom between June and early July. You can also get out of the car to stretch your legs on the mile-long walking trail.
Living in a shoe may sound like something out of a nursery rhyme, but in York, PA, it’s a reality. The Haines Shoe House is currently occupied by a young couple excited to welcome those hoping to snap a photo or try some of their ice cream. You can also request a guided tour for about $5 per adult or at a group rate.
Built in 1908, the Reading Pagoda is a breathtaking spot to tour and spend an afternoon looking at the surrounding scenery. This Japanese-inspired building has seven stories and sits over 600 feet over the town of Reading. The building itself is bolted to the side of the mountain, perching safely above the city. Spend over an hour exploring the pagoda for just $5.
39. Rhode Island
Stand at the highest point in the state by climbing the beginner-friendly trail that stretches less than a half a mile to its peak. Known as Jerimoth Hill, the climb reaches the height of 812 feet and is easily accessible by foot, even with your favorite four-legged friend. You’ll find the base of the trail right off of route 101 in Foster, NH and the whole walk should only take about 15 minutes.
As one of the top tourist areas of the state, be sure to capture a photo at the famous Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island. Follow the more than 100 steps down to the sand for one of the most stunning views in the area. You’ll need a ferry to reach the island, which currently costs between $7.30 and $18.60 depending on your age.
Just as the sun begins to set, head out to catch the final hours of sunlight from the Watch Hill Lighthouse in Westerly. The lighthouse has guided ships since 1745 and now welcomes guests for a tour and visit to its history museum. Be sure to check the opening hours of the lighthouse as they vary by day and season.
40. South Carolina
If you’re headed through Laurens, SC, be sure to check out the vintage-styled Nostalgic Filling Station. The station plays 50s and 60s hits and hosts vintage car gatherings to relive the traditions of the past. Be sure to take a tour to see all the spot’s iconic memorabilia and decor including Elvis, Betty Boop, and Marilyn Monroe statues.
In the northwestern tip of the state, head off of route 107 for an easy day of outdoor fun at King Creek Falls. The park offers easy hiking trails, swimming, and plenty of spots to capture photos of the breathtaking falls. There is no cost to spend a day at the park and you can complete the trail in less than one hour if you’re just stopping by on your journey.
Stop by for a refreshing—and possibly healing—drink of water at God’s Acre Healing Springs. Located in Blackville, the site was said to have healed ailing British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Today, locals and visitors can still fill up water bottles for a drink of their own. The springs are free to visit and to collect fresh water.
41. South Dakota
Deadwood, South Dakota may have an ominous name, but don’t let it fool you. This gold-rush town now enjoys a quaint downtown and a rather raucous winery. Sick N Twisted Brewery and Naughti Wines puts a playful slant on the traditional winery experience. The stop intends to take the snooty energy out of wine tastings—and flights are only $6!
If you’re heading across the center of the state, you may spot something that looks stolen right out of the Natural History Museum. Skeleton Man Walking is a statue of a human walking its pet dinosaur, but only includes the bones. The statue sits right off of Highway 90, just before a classic Old West town where you can rent costumes and live out your 19th-Century fantasies.
You wouldn’t have the crops of South Dakota without the power of the tractor. Pay homage to this historic machine by stopping by the Tractor Museum in Kimball. Learn a thing or two about the history of farming and its most important equipment through the ages. Spend about an hour here when taking a break from driving. The museum is free with a suggested donation.
Whiskey lovers cannot drive through the state without scheduling a trip to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. See where the famous spirit gets made as well as its roots in the region. Enjoy a tour for $20 a person or a full meal at the attached restaurant for $135. Afterward, spend the afternoon exploring the historic town of Lynchburg.
Escape the rush of Nashville city life by heading west for the day toward Cummins Falls State Park.
With nearly 300 acres to explore, make your way toward the display of waterfalls where you can marvel in its beauty and go for a swim. The waterfall is one of the state’s tallest sitting at 75 feet. The current day pass will run you $6.59 for the day.
You may not have realized how many varieties of salt and pepper shakes exist in this world until visiting a museum dedicated to this tabletop necessity. The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg shows off over 20,000 statuettes, from a burger and fries to the U.S. presidents. A stop by the museum will only cost adults $3 and children get in for free.
Anyone who passes through the city of Amarillo is required to snap a shot of Cadillac Ranch. The art installation features 10 classic Cadillacs buried half in the sand and covered in graffiti. If inclined, visitors are even welcome to add their own graffiti to the ever-changing works of art. The sculpture is free to visit and sits several miles west of the city.
If you’re overwhelmed by all there is to see in the vast state of Texas, start with a dive into a natural wonder not far from Route 45.
The Blue Lagoon in Huntsville has water as clear as a tropical island and invites divers and swimmers for between $7 and $$26. Even if you’re not in the mood for a dip, the lagoon makes a lovely stop for a relaxing afternoon by a body of sky-blue water.
Beat the Texas heat by making a reservation to tour or take a swim in a traditional swimming hole. Jacob’s Well Natural Area provides a small spot to cool off in natural spring water. As the second-largest underwater cave in Texas, the visit is both refreshing and unique. While children under 4 visit for free, adults cost between $5 and $9.
When driving through the epic mountain ranges of Utah, you’re bound to come across some unique wonders of nature to explore. Explore one of the popular and eye-catching areas of Zion National Park by visiting The Narrows. As the name suggests, the trail cuts through 2,000-foot rock walls on either side, making this an ideal spot to check out the unique geological makeup of the park. Be sure to spring waterproof shoes, as hikers do spend time pushing through waters during the rainy season. Each vehicle pays $35 during the season or $20 per individual for those on foot.
Homestead Crater sits nestled within the Wasatch Mountains, welcoming visitors and scuba divers to take a dip in the underground crater of water. Not only is the unique setting quite beautiful, but it is the only warm-water scuba destination in the continental US. Prices to dive range from $13 to $27.
If Pixar’s Up melted your heart, be sure to pass by the iconic Up House that started an adventure with the help of some colorful balloons. While the inside of the house does match the movie’s depiction, the home is a private property on the market for a lucky local. But you can swing by for free along an adventure of your own so keep Herriman on your list for your next Utah road trip.
A trip to Waterbury isn’t complete without a stop for some scoops of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. However, take a walk behind the store to check out a more macabre treat at Flavor Graveyard. To honor all the ice cream varieties of the past, the famous ice cream pair designed a graveyard featuring headstones for flavors like Wavy Gravy and Sugar Plum.
Dorset has a rich history for its success as a mining town, particularly due to its colorful marble deposits. While the area is much quieter these days, ice skaters will find a one-of-a-kind opportunity underground at the Freedlyville Quarry. The unique rock and ice formations allow skaters to coast through the quarry during one of Vermont’s chilly winters. In the warmer months, hike through the quarry for stunning views of the area.
As you make your way through the Green Mountain region of Vermont, head west off Route 100 to check out Texas Falls. This glacial pothole was formed 12,000 years ago and now sends water plummeting down into the pool below. Hike through the area to catch the great views of the falls or spend an afternoon picnicking in the area.
At the end of a winding road through Buckingham, Virginia, you’ll find a place that welcomes visitors from all beliefs and backgrounds to come together. The LOTUS—Light of Truth Universal Shrine—formed in the 1980s to encourage peace among the different religions and belief systems of the world. The temple is free to visit and ideal for an afternoon of quiet meditation and community.
Dinosaur lovers can take a quick side trip off of route 81 when heading through the northeast corner of the state. Dinosaur Land may have begun as a small installation dedicated to a local min-gold location, but now offers fields of massive statues of dinosaurs and other favorites like King Kong. Stop by for free with the kids or pop into the gift shop for a souvenir.
While many associate the deep south with the origins of country music, its roots belong in Bristol, as explained by the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. If you’re driving through the area in the second week of September, be sure to stay a night to catch the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion that hosts over 100 bands in Downtown Bristol. The museum itself takes about two hours to explore and costs between $13 and $17.
Take a hike through a fairy-tale forest in the Hall of Mosses in Olympic National Park. The 200-foot path offers endless oaks wrapped in verdant green moss hanging and clinging to the ground and branches. You will need a park pass to enter which costs $15 per person, $30 per car, or $25 per motorcycle. You will also find a small visitors center with basic amenities for before and after the hike.
Up in the northern tip of the state, follow all Ladder Creek Falls for a stunning view of the area’s gorges. In addition to the trails and falls, enjoy a 15-minute light show each evening which is accompanied by music orchestrated for the spectacle. There is no fee for exploring the park and traversing the trail around the falls should take about an hour.
Next time you’re passing through Tacoma, pay a visit to a nearly century-old restaurant that began as a dream in the original owner’s mind. Bob’s Java Jive is a 25-foot tall coffee pot that now serves diner favorites but began as a favorite coffee spot. The restaurant even attracts bands for live music and acts as an eclectic cultural hub for the area.
48. West Virginia
Catch one of the most beautiful waterways in the state by hiking through Blackwater Falls State Park. The most famous spot in the area is known as Элакала, or Elakala Falls. After a short hike through the park, come across cascading water through the go
Street art says a lot about the energy of a city, and the mural entitled “Power” in Charleston does just that.
Made up of thousands of colorful squares, the art installation intends to depict the complexities of power in our world and even our art. Visit Power when walking along the corner of Jacob and Lewis Streets.
If you’re one for roadside curiosities, then you may be pulled in by Ansted’s Mystery Hole off of Route 60. While no one can say what happens once tourists climb down into the hole itself—since cameras and cell phones are not allowed—visitors report odd natural occurrences that seem to defy gravity. Believers and skeptics alike will enjoy the iconic roadside mystery at least for a souvenir.
True adventurers at heart can head off the northern coast of the state to explore the Apostle Island Sea Caves. Take a boat out to the small island to explore the bare caves in the summer or the ice-adorned caverns when the temperature drops. The sea caves sit on the edge of Lake Superior despite their name and cost $5 to explore.
You can’t drive through Wisconsin without cheese on the mind.
As one of the state’s largest exports, the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha is a must-stop when driving up Route 41. Don’t be fooled by the name—the stop offers far more than cheese. You can leave with a full bag of cheese, meats, desserts, and even some Cheese Castle t-shirts.
While you’re in the mood for fine foods of the area, swing over to the National Mustard Museum in downtown Middleton. The museum popped up in the 1980s when a local decided to begin collecting the nation’s assortment of mustards to put them on display for condiment enthusiasts. You’ll find nearly 700 mustards from around the country and around the world, as well as many for purchase in the gift shop.
Right in the center of the northern border of the state, visitors can climb to the summit of Medicine Mountain to catch a glimpse of Bighorn Medicine Wheel. The ancient Native American structure was used to predict astrological events and still sits intact to this day. The wheel of stones sits 80 feet across and includes 28 spokes from the center. It is free to visit the wheel and takes about an hour to climb to the summit.
We only know of three springs in the world that appear to “breathe,” and Wyoming has one of them. The Intermittent Spring in Afton flows for about 18 minutes before stopping for 18 minutes. Hike up the edge of the trail to catch the natural ebb and flow of the water, especially in the late summer when the spring is most active.
While the majority of known dinosaur bones in the country sit on display in a museum, some are sitting in the walls of a cabin in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Known as the Fossil Bone Cabin, it is believed that the original designer used bones from a nearby dig site to build his home over 80 years ago. The home is now a private residence, but you can catch a glimpse of the curious site if you’re heading along Route 287.
Theme parks, major museums, and famous restaurants in the big city are hard to turn down. But the small-town wonders across the country offer something for everyone, whether you’re wading through a stream for a hot dog or climbing down into a cave for a once-in-a-lifetime swim.