If you’ve ever taken a road trip in Southern California you already know that we have some interesting roadside attractions designed to make you look twice. We’ve gathered a few of our favorites to share here that we’ve encountered along the way while traveling through SoCal. Take a look for yourself and see which ones you recognize. I bet this will bring back some fond road trip memories.
1. Cabazon Dinosaurs
Recognize these dinosaurs from your childhood? I bet you stopped here a few times on a family road trip or two to see Dinny and Mr. Rex. The famous towering Cabazon Dinosaurs, weighing over 100 tons each, can be found at the Cabazon exit off the I-10.
2. Denny's -- Arcadia
If you've ever driven by this Denny's in Arcadia, it's likely the windmill on top made you take a second look. Although this isn't your typical roadside attraction, it's enough to make you scratch your head in wonder. So why is there a giant spinning windmill on top of this Denny's? This building was originally a Van de Kamp's restaurant dating back to 1967. Denny's kept the windmill at the request of the neighborhood to preserve its history. Make sure to snap a pic the next time you drive by as I bet you won't ever find another Denny's with a windmill on top.
3. Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch
If you've ever traveled along Route 66 in Barstow, chances are you passed Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch and didn't even know it. This wonderland of glass is a work of art. You'll find an eclectic mix of glass and bottles turned into artistic visions of trees. The best part of this place is the sound the bottles make on a windy day. It's music to the ears!
4. Tio's Tacos -- Riverside
In the town of Riverside you'll find this unexpected playground of art and whimsy surrounding Tio's Tacos. The bicycle teetering on top of the restaurant's roof will surely make you stop and take a second look. While you're exploring the eclectic grounds full of interesting recycled treasures make sure to stick around and order some tacos.
5. Lemon Grove
Want to take your photo in front of a giant lemon? You can have your chance in Lemon Grove in San Diego County where you will find the world's largest lemon.
6. Fallen Star -- UCSD
This tiny house perched atop the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering isn't a scene out of Wizard of Oz, but it sure looks like one. This is art, folks, and it is designed to get your attention. Perhaps this isn't your typicial roadside attraction, but it sure is enough to make you stop and want to take a look. "Fallen Star," created by artist Do Ho Suh, can be toured on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11 am and 2 pm.
7. Salvation Mountain
Located in Imperial County, this wildly colorful painted hill is known as Salvation Mountain. Declared a "folk art site worthy of preservation and protection" by the Folk Art Society of America and considered a unique and rare treasure in the area, it's definitely something you have to see to believe.
8. Center of the World -- Felicity
Did you know the center of the world is right here in Southern California? Just drive down I-8 and head to Felicity and you will find yourself standing at the center of the world. While you're here, take some time to tour the museums and soak up all sorts of history.
What a great way to break up a long drive across SoCal. Make sure to add these stops to your itinerary so you can see them in person the next time you hit the road for an extended trip. Any other roadside attractions you think should have made the list?