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The 30 Weirdest Roadside Attractions in America

Tiffany Hagler-Geard

by

Photo Editor

Tiffany Hagler-Geard has been shooting since 1995. Her images have been published on Sheknows, People, ABC News, the New York Post, Life Magazine and many other publications.

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Road trip!

#1/31:

Road trip!

Who says you have to go on a jaunt through Europe to have an incredible vacation? There are so many fascinating places right here in the good old U.S. of A. just waiting to be discovered. 

Summer is almost here and it's time to start planning your adventures, so we compiled a complete list of the strangest roadside attractions out there. Pack your bags and prepare to get weird (and awesome).

Originally published August 2016. Updated May 2017.

#2/31:

Hole N" the Rock, Utah

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Hole N" the Rock, Utah

 This unusual home, known fondly as "Hole N" The Rock," was built by Albert and Gladys Christensen. The entire house, fireplace and all, is carved into a rock in Utah's Canyonlands Country. Today, people can explore the house, shop at gift store and explore the trading post and general store.

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Wall Of Gum, Seattle and San Luis Obispo

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Wall Of Gum, Seattle and San Luis Obispo

 Both Seattle And San Luis Obispo have their own wall of gum. San Luis Obispo's Bubblegum Alley is 70 feet long and has two walls filled with gum along Higuera Street. It is believed that the gum tradition came from a rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and Cal Poly students in the 1950s. Seattle's Gum Wall, which is located under Park Place Market, began in the 1990s with people posting coins on the wall with the help of gum. It has since evolved to just gum.

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Ball Of Twine, Kansas

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Ball Of Twine, Kansas

 Located in Cawker City, Kansas, the "World's Largest Ball of Twine" was started by Frank Stoeber in 1953. Every August, there is a "twine-a-thon" where people get to add more twine to the piece.

#5/31:

Big Duck, New York

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Big Duck, New York

 Found on Long Island in Flanders, New York, the Big Duck stands at 20 feet tall and 30 feet long. It was built in 1931 by duck farmer Martin Maurer as a shop for him to sell ducks and eggs. Every year, on the third Wednesday in December, there is a Holiday Lighting of the Big Duck.

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Cabazon Dinosaurs, California

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Cabazon Dinosaurs, California

 Located in Cabazon, California, the Cabazon Dinosaurs were built by the manager of nearby Wheel Inn, Claude Bell. While there is still a small museum in the belly of Dinny, the large apatosaurus (and possibly the largest dinosaur in the entire U.S.), the Wheel Inn closed in 2013.

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Cadillac Ranch, Texas

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Cadillac Ranch, Texas

 Built in 1974 by a group called The Ant Farm from San Francisco, Cadillac Ranch can be found outside of Amarillo, Texas, along Route 66. The piece was secretly paid for by Stanley Marsh 3, a billionaire from Amarillo. Since then, tourists have visited the ranch and vandalized the cars, making Cadillac Ranch the collaborative art piece it is today.

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Carhenge, Nebraska

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Carhenge, Nebraska

 This attraction is located in Alliance, Nebraska and was built in 1987 by Jim Reinders. With the help of his family, Reinders built Carhenge in honor of his deceased father. The farmer and engineer used real cars to build the piece, including three foreign cars, all of which were later removed and replaced with American cars.

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Desert Of Maine

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Desert Of Maine

 In Freeport, Maine, you can find the Desert of Maine, an unusual piece of land in an otherwise lush state. According to legend, the Desert of Maine came about due to improper farming practices a few hundred years ago. Today, you enter through a gift shop and then can tour the dunes themselves or visit the Sand Museum.

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Jimmy Carter Peanut, Georgia

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Jimmy Carter Peanut, Georgia

 In Plains, Georgia, you can find the large Jimmy Carter Peanut  boasting the same large smile as its namesake. At 13 feet tall, the sculpture stands in front of Davis E-Z Shop.

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Hair Museum, Missouri

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Hair Museum, Missouri

 Leila's Hair Museum can be found in Independence, Missouri and is more impressive than you'd expect. Leila Cohoon, a former hairdresser, collects hair and presents it as pieces of art, such as paintings with real hair or woven designs. There is supposedly even hair from Abraham Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe. 

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Jolly Green Giant, Minnesota

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Jolly Green Giant, Minnesota

 It's kind of fitting that the Jolly Green Giant is located in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Built in 1979, the statue is now accompanied by the Jolly Green Giant Museum. Plus, citizens of Blue Earth celebrate the annual Green Days festival by putting snacks out at night and leaving large green footsteps for the morning.   

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Largest Pistachio, New Mexico

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Largest Pistachio, New Mexico

 Found in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the World's Largest Pistachio was built by Tim McGinn in 2008 to honor his father. It is located on McGinn's Pistachio Tree Ranch.

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Lucy The Elephant, New Jersey

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Lucy The Elephant, New Jersey

 Lucy the Elephant, found in Margate City, New Jersey, was built in 1881 by James V. Lafferty. The huge building has been a real estate office, a summer home and a tavern. Today, Lucy the Elephant is open for tours and even has a little gift shop.

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Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail, Missouri

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Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail, Missouri

 This artificial mountain was built over a pile of waste from years of housing an explosives factory and then a Cold War nuclear plant. Found in Weldon Spring, Missouri, the Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail now has stairs that you can climb to the summit, plus a nearby museum that talks about the remnants found underneath the trail.

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Salvation Mountain and Slab City, California

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Salvation Mountain and Slab City, California

 In Niland, California, just east of San Diego, you can find Slab City, a free campsite that used to be a World War II base. Today some people even live here in their own makeshift homes. They have a community library, clubs and a golf course. One sight to see is Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight began painting the mountain in 1985 with Biblical verses. He continues to paint and even lives in a truck near the three-story mountain. 

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Shoe House: Hellam, Pennsylvania

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Shoe House: Hellam, Pennsylvania

 In Hallam, Pennsylvania, you can find the 25 feet tall Shoe House. It was built in 1948 by Colonel Mahlon Nathaniel Haines, the "Shoe Wizard," as a form of self-promotion for his shoe stores. Haines rented the house out as a weekend vacation spot, and today you can take tours.

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Smallest Church, Georgia and New York

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Smallest Church, Georgia and New York

 In both Georgia and New York, you can find some of the world's smallest churches. The Smallest Church in America is located in South Newport, Georgia, and houses 12 seats. It was built in 1949 by Mrs. Agnes Harper, but the small bell tower wasn't added until 1998. The World's Smallest Church is just outside of Syracuse, New York. Also known as the Cross Island Chapel, the church was built in 1989 and is said to have only had enough room for a minister and a couple getting married in 1990.

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World's Largest Chest, North Carolina

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World's Largest Chest, North Carolina

 High Point, North Carolina is known as the "Home Furnishings Capital of the World," so it makes sense that it is the home of the World's Largest Chest of Drawers. The building is now 38 feet tall, but when it was originally built in 1920, it was only 20 feet tall and was the "bureau of information." The chest that inspired the building can be found in the nearby visitor information center.

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Basket Building Longaberger Company, Ohio

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Basket Building Longaberger Company, Ohio

Found in Newark, Ohio, the world's largest basket is not only a monument but also the headquarters for the Longaberger Basket Company. It is 160 times the size of a Longaberger basket, upon which the design is based.

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World's Largest Buffalo, North Dakota

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World's Largest Buffalo, North Dakota

 The World's Largest Buffalo can be found in Jamestown, North Dakota, and stands at 26 feet tall and 46 feet long. In 1959, local Harold Newman comissioned the concrete sculpture to entice people to visit the city. Around the statue, there is the Pioneer Village, the National Buffalo Museum and several herds of buffalo.

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The Blue Whale, Oklahoma

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The Blue Whale, Oklahoma

 In Catoosa, Oklahoma, you can visit the Blue Whale, an 80-foot diving platform and slide built by Hugh Davis in the 1970s. What started as a building for the family soon became part of Davis's attraction, Nature's Acres. Unfortunately, the attraction closed in 1988, but a few local citizens continue with paint upkeep. Today, you can gather at the nearby picnic benches.

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Corn Palace, South Dakota

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Corn Palace, South Dakota

 The Corn Palace can be found in Mitchell, South Dakota. It was built in 1892 to honor South Dakota's crops, and to entice settlers. Today, the Corn Palace serves as an auditorium and hosts Corn Palace Week, which marks the end of the harvest.

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Center of the U.S.: Lebanon, Kansas

#24/31:

Center of the U.S.: Lebanon, Kansas

 You heard right: Lebanon, Kansas, is the geographical center of the U.S. (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). It is the home of the U.S. Center Chapel, which can be found on K-191 Highway.

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Largest Frying Pan, Iowa

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Largest Frying Pan, Iowa

 The Largest Frying Pan is located in Brandon, Iowa. It weighs 1,200 pounds and is 15 feet tall. It was meant to be the world's largest frying pan, but unfortunately it was outdone by others such as the one in Washington, which is only 3 inches taller. 

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Paul Bunyan, Minnesota

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Paul Bunyan, Minnesota

If you're anywhere near Minnesota, head to Bemidji, where it's hard to miss this 18-foot-tall statue of mythical lumberjack Paul Bunyan. And yes, of course Babe the Blue Ox is immortalized there as well.

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Mike the Headless Chicken, Colorado

#27/31:

Mike the Headless Chicken, Colorado

Sure, your friends may brag about their trip to Bermuda or about seeing the Eiffel Tower on their vacation, but you'll make everyone jealous if you snap a pic with Mike the Headless Chicken. The statue in Fruita, Colorado, pays homage to this amazing chicken, also known as Miracle Mike, who lived for 18 months after his head had been cut off. Definitely a can't miss!

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Rhyolite Last Supper, Nevada

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Rhyolite Last Supper, Nevada

A bit eerie out in the middle of the Mojave Desert, these ghostly figures in an art installment titled The Last Supper are a sight to behold. It's part of the Goldwell Open Air Museum, which boasts an official address of "near the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada." 

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Leaning Tower of Niles, Chicago

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Leaning Tower of Niles, Chicago

So Italy might not be on your agenda, but you can still see the Leaning Tower of Niles if you find yourself in the Chicago area. Located in Niles, Illinois, this replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is half the size of the Italian original and about 15 minutes from O'Hare Airport.

#31/31:

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From Corn Palace to a giant blue whale, plan the ultimate road trip!

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