Virginians know it’s often a good idea to take the scenic route. Not only will you find yourself meandering down beautiful country roads, or stopping to say hello in a rural small town, but you’ll also have the opportunity to see some down-right bizarre roadside attractions. Truth be told, unless you’ve seen them in person, you might consider them too strange to be real.
1. Dinosaur Land (White Post)
Dinosaur Land has been in operation for over 50 years. This prehistoric exhibit was opened by Joseph Geraci, who was inspired by a similar attraction in Florida. The dino statues are eclectic and haven't changed much in the past few decades. There are, for example, 4 different t-rex statues, which all vary completely in style. This only adds to the park's allure and makes for some great photo ops.
2. Arm of Stonewall Jackson (Fredericksburg)
The fact that the arm of Stonewall Jackson has its own gravesite is a true testament to his impact on the Confederate troops. During the Battle of Chancellorsville, one of Jackson's men accidentally fired at his arm. Sadly, Stonewall did not live much longer after the incident. In 1998, the National Parks Service set out to preserve the area with a concrete slab and despite their best efforts, could not actually locate the arm. Chances are, it lies somewhere on site; however, no one knows the exact location.
3. World's Oldest Edible Ham (Smithfield)
The term "edible" might not apply so much any more, but you can certainly see the world's oldest ham in its casing at the Isle of Wight Museum in Smithfield. Smithfield is, of course, famous for its cured hams. The one on display dates back to 1902 and sits right next to the World's Oldest Peanut, from 1890. This small but informative museum will make for a memorable stop.
4. Foamhenge (Natural Bridge)
Foamhenge is perhaps one of the most remarkable roadside attractions in Virginia. Located in Natural Bridge, it is the creation of Mark Cline, an artist and creative visionary. Foamhenge is just one of the many exhibits in his repertoire, too. Foamhenge is the only American replica of stonehenge that exists, and it just as majestic as you might imagine.
5. Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge is one of the rarest natural formations in the state. Cedar Creek is responsible for carving out a gorge in the limestone, a process which occurred millions of years ago. The arch stands at 215 feet high and spans 90 feet in width.
6. Mount Trashmore (Virginia Beach)
Located in Virginia Beach, this is one of the most beautifully-converted landfills you'll come across. While the core of this 60-foot tall mountain may be trash, its outside is covered in lush grass and makes for a lovely picnic spot. There are also nearby playgrounds and walking trails for stretching your legs.
7. Giant Roller Skate (Bealton)
Bealton's giant roller skate is pretty self-explanatory, although you may be wondering how it came to be. This 10-foot roller skate was built in the 80s to mark the entrance of Hugo's Skateway, which is now Rollerworks Family Skating Center. Made of wood and plaster, this skate has definitely made it into more than a few photos of interstate travelers. (The skate is right off Highway 17 in Fauquier County).
8. Miniature Graceland (Roanoke)
Can't make it all the way to Memphis this year? Don't fret, because there's a Miniature Graceland right here in Virginia. Don and Kim Epperly of Roanoke show their love for the King with a miniature version of his famous home, built right in their front yard. It was started in 1980 and has deteriorated slightly since, but still makes for a marvelous stop along your route.
9. Route 11 Potato Chip Factory (Mount Jackson)
Since 1992, Route 11 has been producing the finest potato chips in the Shenandoah Valley. Visitors can tour the factory to learn how the chips are made. Word on the street is that free samples are offered, too! With its eccentric mascot, this potato chip factory is nothing short of unique.