Travel might be off the table for a lot of people right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan your next road trip. No matter if you are heading cross-country or just a few states over, one thing that can make or break your time in the car is a stop at a site that is so unforgettably bizarre the entire family will be talking about it for years. And, of course, it will make great photos for Instagram.
Sure, you’ll want to plan your longer stops and make sure you hit maybe a national park or two along the way, but these off-the-beaten path spots that were created to be a little bizarre and unusual can add a little variety to the trip. So even if you can’t get in the car now and hit the road to visit these right now, make sure that you add some of these spots to your ultimate road trip bucket list.
Seven Magic Mountains
Standing in the midst of the Las Vegas desert, is this brightly colored art installation. It is seven towers of vivid boulders stacked 30 feet high, which bring color to the dry landscape around it. It’s currently slated to be there until 2021.
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
Before you even step foot inside to see exactly how the famed wooden bats are made, you’ll be greeted by the world’s largest baseball bat, which is made of steel and stands 120 feet against the building. And for baseball fans, you’ll get to hold one of the actual bat that famed players like Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and Derek Jeter used.
There aren’t a ton of unique spots in Nebraska to stop and explore, so after driving through fields of corn for hours, you’ll want to make sure to pull over in Alliance to see this life-size replica of Stonehenge…made entirely out of old cars that have been painted gray. There are also some other car based sculptures. It’s free to visit.
A Christmas Story House
If watching A Christmas Story on repeat is a part of your families holiday tradition, a stop to the actual house from the movie is a must. The inside is exactly like the movie, with the leg lamp, the bar of soap and even the coveted BB gun. You can take a tour of the house, and even book and overnight stay. Just don’t shoot your eye out.
Pigeon Forge is known as the home to Dollywood, but make sure to visit the Titanic Museum. The building is shaped like the front half of the ship (iceberg and all) and inside you’ll see be immersed in treasures from the ship, see a replica of the grand stairway, and stick your hand in water the freezing temps of the Northern Atlantic.
World’s Largest Mailbox
The mailbox is only one of the nine Guinness World Records holding “largest things in the world” in Casey, Illinois. While you are there, you can also see the world’s largest wind chime, golf tee, knitting needles, wooden shoes, rocking chair, gavel, and pitch fork. If that’s not enough, head over to Niles, Illinois, to see a half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Desert of Maine
When you think of deserts, you think of places with hot climates, like Arizona…not Maine. But due to some poor farming skills, there is an actual desert that you can tour and camp at in the middle of the pine tree state.
Winchester Mystery House
If you’re a fan of unique architecture, this is a must-see. The stately mansion is a historic landmark in San Jose, California. Built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearm creator William Wirt Winchester. Sarah felt haunted by the spirits killed by Winchester rifles, and to keep them at bay, she had construction workers building around the clock for almost 40 years. The construction was so haphazard that there’s a door to nowhere and windows that look into other rooms.
You could go to Greece on your next trip, or you could just visit the full-scale replica of The Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Inside the building there is an art museum featuring a 42-foot statue of Athena, another replica of the Grecian original. Built in 1897 for the state’s Centennial Exposition.
Hole N” The Rock
This 5,000 square foot gift shop is carved inside a massive rock in Moab, Utah. You can pick up local souvenirs, visit the exotic zoo and take a tour of the home and museum that all lives inside this man-made masterpiece. You certainly won’t miss it, with its massive white lettering painted so you can see if from quite a distance.
This iconic art instillation was created in 1974, and features 10 Cadillacs that appear to be growing out of the ground. They’ve been covered in graffiti by visitors and if you bring your own paint, you are allowed to leave your mark on this free monument.
Created in 2005, in the middle of the isolated Valentine, Texas (not Marfa, like the name would make you think), this free-standing building was conceived as an art piece to look like a Prada store (and features goods from the fall collection of 2005). You can’t enter and shop, as its meant to be contemporary art and is a quirky site that is free to visit. If you are in Marathon, Texas, you might want to visit the similar smallest Target, another fascinating photo op.
Lucy the Elephant
This six-story elephant is actually a building you can go inside. Built in 1881, Lucy stands just south of Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk in Margate. She’s an example of novelty architecture and the oldest surviving roadside tourist attraction in America. You can visit her for free, but if you’d like to go inside and take a tour, there is a fee.
If your family is into mysterious spots, this limestone structure is for you. Under the cover of night, the diminutive Edward Leedskalnin carved this castle filled with large and heavy limestone sculptures, without the assistance of modern tools and technology from 1923 until 1951. How did he do it? No one is entirely sure, as he claimed he knew how the pyramids were built and used that, but he took the secret to his grave. There are daily tours of this bizarre and fascinating spot.
This brightly painted mountain in Niland, California, was designed by Leonard Knight as a tribute to God, with the big message “God Is Love” at the center. The mountain stands 50 feet tall and 150 feet across and is made of clay and painted with biblical messages.
The House on the Rock
If you read Neil Gaiman’s book American Gods, or saw the TV series, you got to a glimpse into the true oddity that is The House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It’s really hard to explain what you are in for when you take a trip to this house, because it is so unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. From the architectural marvel of the cantilevered infinity room to a the world’s largest indoor carousel to magical pipe organs to a 200 foot sea creature…every room in this house is an endless adventure.
Jolly Green Giant
If you’ve got fond memories of the Jolly Green Giant from TV commercials you watched as a kid, stopping in Blue Earth, Minnesota, is a must. Standing tall since 1978, is a 55 ½ foot-tall statue of the green guy looms over a park that is not far from the Green Giant company canning facility.
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