There are many reasons solo travelers, couples, families, and adventures take road trips. Whether it’s to get away from it all, grow closer together, or see things you’d never see during everyday life, road trips bring you face-to-face with some of the most beautiful sights and weirdest things you’ll ever see. Here are 13 of the weirdest roadside attractions in the US. While road tripping, it’s often the undiscovered path that makes the most memorable moments on and off the road.
01 Mitchell Corn Palace, South Dakota
Any drive through the Midwest will bring you face-to-face with cornstalks taller than you can imagine. The Mitchell Corn Palace in South Dakota celebrates all things corn—starting with this prairie town in the middle of nowhere. This “palace” looks like something straight out of Russia, built in 1892 to showcase South Dakota’s bountiful harvests. Touring celebrities and one of the world’s largest bird feeders await road-trippers who visit.
One of the World’s Largest Rubber Band Balls, Florida
Many of us at some point have created a rubber band ball. Most of us lose interest after getting it to the size of a golf ball, but the Guinness World Records holder for World’s Largest Rubber Band Ball kept going, and kept going he did. Joel Waul’s rubber band ball measured in at 9,032 pounds in November 2008. More than 700,000 rubber bands were used coming in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Nicknamed “Megaton,” this 6’7” rubber band ball will leave you in awe during this pit stop—the ball can be found at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Orlando.
One of the Largest Rubber Stamps, Ohio
If you’ve ever wielded a rubber stamp, you know how fun it can be to stamp things randomly in front of you. Now, imagine, standing up close and personal with a giant rubber stamp. In 1985, Standard Oil of Ohio commissioned the 28’ tall, 48’ long “free” rubber stamp from artist Claes Oldenburg. Located near downtown Cleveland’s harbor, this sculpture is one of the largest rubber stamps in the world.
Hat ‘n’ Boots, Washington
In 1954, a gas station named Premium Tex south of Seattle hosted a 19’ tall, 44’ wide, bright cowboy hat. It covered the station’s offices and convenience store, while a pair of equally tall cowboy boots housed the men’s and women’s bathrooms. The goal of Premium Tex was simple—to create and open a western warehouse and destination. Alas, the gas station closed in 1988 before that happened and the local city council raised funds to preserve the giant cowboy boots and hat well into the future. The restoration of both was completed in 2010 and travelers now stand in awe at this road trip treasure in Oxbow Park, Seattle.
Uncle Sam is an iconic figure, coming to life in posters, literature, television, and more. There are several larger-than-life Uncle Sam statues across America, but the one on the Ohio/Michigan border might eclipse them all. This Uncle Sam figure originally came from Toledo, Ohio, and has been relocated along stretches of US 23 over the years to come to rest to its current location in Ottawa Lake. Whether you drive by this Uncle Sam or stop to stare up at its majesty, you’ll be left in patriotic awe after seeing it.
There are wonders of the world, and then there are wonders of Kansas. If you’ve ever road tripped through Kansas, you may feel like there’s nothing much to do but get from point A to point B, but that’s not true! Ask anybody who lives in Kansas about the ball of twine, and they’ll talk your ear off. Started in 1953 by Frank Stoeber and his family, this ball of twine continued to grow over the years. Neighbors, visitors, and others around town helped contribute, and the tradition has continued throughout the years. At 17,400+ pounds and 40 feet in circumference, you won’t see twine the same after stopping to see this wonder of The Sunflower State.
Crosses are found across the US, and you’ll come across them in the oddest places. Drive along Texas long enough, and you’ll come across the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ or The Groom Cross as locals call it. At nineteen stories high, you’ll see this on a bright day from up to 20 miles away. Created from 2.5 million pounds of steel by an anonymous Texas millionaire, it’s free to the public to look up at from the road, pray at the base of, or drive past it. It lit up at night, so you’ll never miss this when road tripping.
Who doesn’t love baskets? Whether it’s of the picnic variety or simply storing things, everyone’s drawn to a cute wicker basket—and large ones, too! The largest one, to be exact. Situated in Newark, Ohio, you’ll find one of the world’s biggest baskets; the seven-story basket once served as Longaberger Basket Company headquarters. Many companies often create opulent, over the top icons to represent their brands. If you’re a fan of the oddities on the road, driving to one of the world’s largest baskets is a must.
If you love fishing and road tripping, a stop at the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is right up your alley. The fiberglass sculpture at this location is four stories tall and about as long as a Boeing 757. It’s a Muskie, a fearsome fish that’s both been a blessing and curse for freshwater fishers. Since the 1970s, this museum has kept track of freshwater fishing records across America. If you’re in Wisconsin and you love fishing, consider a stop to stare into the face of a sculpture so large, if it were alive, it could swallow a bus.