22 Quirky Roadside Attractions That Will Remind You How Weird America Is
America is a patchwork of attractions and experiences, with each state and region home to its own unique color, culture, and roadside attractions. For proof of this, simply look at the various roadside attractions found across the U.S. of A. From larger-than-life landmarks and monoliths to staggering sculptures and showpieces, America’s roadside attractions are as varied as they are extraordinary. Here are 22 quirky roadside attractions that will remind you just how weird — and wonderful — America really is.
Editor’s note: This Bucket List originally listed a Wigwam Village in Kentucky that doesn’t align with what we’re seeking to do at OnlyInYourState; that is, promote places and experiences for everyone, that are in no way offensive, exclusive, or alienating.
While all of these roadside attractions can be considered a bit quirky, there’s so much more beyond their initial shock value. Each of these attractions tells a story — some of American triumph and tragedy; others, fables passed down through generations; and some stand to represent big cultural moments and events in our county’s history. These roadside attractions are wholly, wonderfully American, and worth exploring on your next bucket list adventure!
What are some of the most bizarre roadside attractions in the US?
Americans, it seems, have a thing for Paul Bunyan. We get it; the lumberjack is quite legendary, but in the U.S., he’s a larger-than-life legend… quite literally! In addition to the Paul Bunyan statue in Minnesota (see above), there’s a massive Paul Bunyan statue on the streets of Portland. At 31 feet tall, Mr. B most definitely stands out as one of the state’s more bizarre roadside attractions; however, in a state known for keeping it weird, Portlanders happily accept this massive monolith as part of the town scenery. But that’s not the only place in the West where you’ll find him; standing tall and in full view of Highway 101 in Northern California, Paul Bunyan and his faithful blue ox, Babe, are the first thing visitors see when stopping at Trees of Mystery in Klamath. Standing 49-feet tall, the current Paul Bunyan statue was constructed all the way back in 1961! However, it took them a few tries to get it right. The first statue was made from papier mache and only lasted a year before Paul’s head melted during a winter rain. And over on the East Coast, Paul Bunyan has been keeping a watchful eye over the good folks of Bangor, Maine, for decades. Gifted to the good people of Maine by a group of builders from NYC on the occasion of their 125th anniversary, the statue has been a prominent feature of Bass Park in Bangor since 1959.
What are some must-visit roadside attractions *and* road trips in America?
They don’t call ’em “roadside attractions” for nothing; these unique sites are found along some of the country’s most amazing road trips, giving beleaguered road warriors a fun reason to stop and enjoy the scenery. The American Discovery Trail is an epic coast-to-coast journey that absolutely belongs on any adventurer’s bucket list. It’s 6,800 miles of continuous, multi-use trails that stretch from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware to Pt. Reyes National Seashore in California, with numerous points of interest (and yes, roadside attractions) in between.