Tourists come from far and wide to take in the vastness of the Grand Canyon, the majestic snow-caps of the Rocky Mountains, the soaring architecture of Chicago, the glistening skyline of New York City, and the sleek styles of Rodeo Drive.
However, for as many seals as there are in the San Francisco Wharf (there's a lot) that make passersby stop to squeal with excitement (really, barking seals suntanning is pure joy), there's even more destinations that you wouldn't believe someone would go out of their way to get a glimpse of (or pay to see, for that matter).
You've heard of the world's largest ball of twine just off the interstate. But what about the world's largest chest of drawers? From a museum that is solely dedicated to bad art (but charges admission as though it was a fine gallery) to an unconventional motel with a doggy twist, we dug up twenty-five of the weirdest tourist attractions in America. Of course, our list wouldn't be complete without an enormous eating utensil and a mechanical ride that will make you do a double take.
Keep scrolling to see that the old adage of one man's junk is another man's treasure is alive and well in America. You can make a tourist attraction out of anything, and we've got the proof.
25 The World's Largest Chest Of Drawers Is Just An Exit Away
What could you possibly need a thirty-eight foot tall chest of US Colonial drawers for, you ask? Why, to hold gigantic socks, of course.
At the intersection of Westwood and Hamilton Streets in High Point, North Carolina (aka the Home Furnishings Capital of the World, according to Roadside America), sits the world's largest chest of drawers. What started out as a nod to the business in 1926 is now a roadside attraction rated as "major fun" by Roadside America.
24 The Price Is High, The Lines Are Long, And The Art Is Bad
The Museum of Modern Art. The Museum of Fine Art. The Museum of Bad Art. Wait. What?
Yep, MOBA (as it is commonly referred to) has been confusing people in Somerville, Massachusetts since 1994. According to Atlas Obscura, the first-ever piece was an awful painting found in a garbage can. That inspired a local gallery owner to look for more bad art, which he successfully found to the point that the collection now takes up two buildings.
According to the Museum's website, the art is so bad that it's good. You can see for yourself by paying the $5 admission charge.
23 Saddle Up For A Spin On An Unconventional Ride
You have no doubt either seen someone mount a mechanical bull and watched them fall off one second later after the first spin or done this yourself (no judgments).
The more family friendly version of this (typically) adult drinking game is the Pronto Pup ride in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Home to the original corn dog (so they say), Pronto Pup has a mechanical corn dog out front lovingly known as "Bucking Pup". According to Roadside America, you can saddle up the corn dog for just a quarter.
22 No Forking Way Could This Be Any Bigger
Sometimes a little healthy competition can be a good thing. For example, the biggest fork in America resides in Colorado because someone in that state wanted to make a bigger one than the previously-held record fork in Missouri. Bragging rights for the win.
According to Roadside America, the aluminum fork in Creede, Colorado at the Cascada Bar and Grill is forty feet long and weighs over six-hundred pounds. That's some heavy lifting just for one bite!
21 We've Gathered Here Today To Pay Our Last Respects
The Ben & Jerry's factory tour in Waterbury, Vermont includes a look at the machines (and people) that make the magic happen, free ice cream samples (obviously the best part), and a history lesson about the two guys that are the brains behind it all. The tour also includes a somber stroll through the Flavor Graveyard.
According to Atlas Obscura, the "dearly de-pinted" includes thirty-five flavors that just didn't reach the expected sales mark like White Russian, Turtle Soup, Fossil Fuel, and Wavy Gravy.
20 No Vacancy For Months On End At This Dog House
Sweet Willy might not fetch or greet you when you come home, but he will provide a cozy place to lay your head for a night or two.
The thirty foot tall beagle in Cottonwood, Idaho is actually a Bed & Breakfast. According to Atlas Obscura, it is known as Dog Bark Park Inn and was designed by a dog-loving couple. You'll have to wait awhile to snag a reservation and the price might be a little out of your road trip budget, but the opportunity to forever tell stories about the time you slept in a loft in the belly of a beagle is priceless.
19 A Tourist Haven And Resting Place For Forgotten Neon Signs
When Las Vegas hotels and other mainstays cease to exist (read: are imploded), a small piece of them remains. Not far from the Strip, abandoned neon signs that previously adorned these treasured buildings (rest in peace, Stardust) are preserved in a museum.
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum allows visitors to take an educational stroll through old Las Vegas. According to TripAdvisor, the oldest sign in the collection dates back to the 1930s.
Travelers rate the experience as excellent on TripAdvisor and recommend going at night to see the signs fully illuminated. Watch your step though, part of the ambiance is the broken glass and rusted metal.
18 If The Shoe Fits, Grab A Buddy And Sit On It
LL Bean is a sacred store in Freeport, Maine. And, as a rite of passage, everyone in Freeport needs to have a photo with the giant boot in front of the flagship store.
According to Roadside America, the Bean boot is a whopping sixteen feet tall, complete with a rubber sole just like a real pair. As a Bean bonus, visitors can now see a pair of mock boots after the second sixteen-foot boot was stolen a few decades ago and mysteriously returned earlier this year.
17 Dinosaurs Survived Extinction At This Attraction
Amid the palm trees and desert climate of Palm Springs, two long necks can clearly be seen from the highway peaking curiously toward passing cars. Upon closer inspection, the long necks belong to a pair of dinosaurs.
According to Roadside America, the dinos were built just off Interstate 10 by a dinosaur-aficionado and local businessman in the 1980s. They have been attracting visitors ever since.
Wander the prehistoric grounds for free or cough up some cash to explore the museum inside Dinny the Dinosaur's stomach.
16 Billboards Are So Last Year In This Tiny Town
Excuse the Wizard of Oz reference, but you will know you're not in Kansas anymore when the over-sized Van Gogh painting is no longer visible in your rear view mirror.
As you pass through Goodland, Kansas, your eyes will be drawn to a beautiful work of art. Where any other town would have an advertising billboard, the citizens of Goodland raised the $150,000 necessary to commission a replica of Van Gogh's famous sunflower painting.
According to Roadside America, the easel the painting sits on is made of steel, weighs 45,000 pounds, and is eighty feet tall. The painting itself is nearly eight-hundred square feet, making Goodland home to one of the best (and largest) welcome signs.
15 Tall Tales And A Taller Blue Ox On Display
If you thought a live stream of the pandas at the San Diego Zoo was fascinating, wait until you view the cameras pointed at an 18 foot tall, two ton statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji, Minnesota. Spoiler alert: they don't move.
According to the New York Times, Minnesotans hold a special place in their heart for Paul and Babe. So special, in fact, that the pair are memorialized in some way in nearly every town in the state. The police even wear a patch in their honor.
So, the next time you're in Bemidji (or Brainerd or Akeley), take a moment to give our favorite lumberjack a little wave.
14 The Giant jackalope At Wall's One Stop Shop
What was once just a pharmacy in the small town of Wall, South Dakota has burgeoned into a sprawling mall and an oasis for the imagination.
Wall Drug sits in a town of only about 900 people, the majority of which work at the shop. Despite its small size, according to Roadside America, the town receives nearly one million visitors per year. Everyone that comes is eager to stroll the grounds of Wall Drug to do their souvenir shopping and take a picture atop the giant jackalope.
13 I Know Why The Caged Tourist Sings
One man's mission to bring business back to the small town of Casey, Illinois ended up doing much more than that.
After years of hard work, tourists are now veering off the path to see enormous replicas of everyday things like wind chimes, a rocking chair, an ear of corn, and a mailbox. A crowd favorite is the walk-in bird cage, complete with a swing for that perfect photo of a tourist looking like a canary.
According to Roadtripper, the locals can even take part in workshops to learn how the replicas were crafted and try their own hand at woodworking, pipe fitting, and steel cutting.
12 The Grass Is Always Greener And The Coffee Always Hotter On The Other Side
The aptly named The Coffee Pot has been posing for pictures since its construction in 1927. Even though the coffee isn't flowing anymore, Roadside America still rates it as worth a detour to its destination in Bedford, Pennsylvania.
The Coffee Pot is one of the last remaining pieces of an architectural style known as programmatic architecture in which buildings were designed based on what was to be sold inside (think along the lines of a big cowboy hat shaped building for a hat shop or a building shaped like a bowl of chili if the inside was a diner).
11 The Golden Arches Speak To Passersby
Even locals will tell you there isn't much to do in Sunbury, Ohio, but you've got to make it there at least once on your way to Columbus to try to figure out why there is Ronald McDonald statue in the middle of a field.
According to Cleveland Scene, nobody seems to know the reason. Whatever it may be, your vacation photos can include a full happy meal set complete with a smiling hamburger and french fries.
10 A Chance To Sit With A Popcorn Legend
We owe it to the King of Popcorn for our favorite movie time snack. Thanks to the ingenuity of a group of people in Valparaiso, Indiana, we can sit next to him as we think about that buttery goodness.
Orville Redenbacher made a name for himself in Valparaiso after he pitched the idea of popped corn. A statue of him (a little too lifelike if you ask us) sits on a bench in Lincoln Park. There's plenty of room for two, so everyone cozies up to Orville for a snapshot.
However, there is no mention of popcorn anywhere near the statue (due to the likeness of his image being purchased by a company, according to Roadside America) so you'll just have to look for the bronze guy and maybe help other tourists locate him, too.
9 There Once Was A Troll Under A Bridge That Everyone Wanted To See
Underneath a dark bridge in Seattle, Washington lives a Volkswagen car-crushing, hubcap-for-an-eyeball staring troll. The eighteen-foot Fremont Troll was sculpted on Halloween in 1990 and has been the epicenter of folklore ever since.
According to Roadside America, weird things have been happening in the vicinity of the Fremont Troll from its beginning. So, go at your own risk to get your photo next to the troll (or dare your friends to go and then spook them).
8 It's All Fun And Games At South Of The Border
South of the Border is not actually south of the border you're thinking of. Rather, it's a rest stop turned kitschy amusement park and hotel in Dillon, South Carolina. You can, however, still enjoy a stopover in the shade of a giant sombrero or dine on the South Carolinian version of Mexican food.
According to Roadside America, South of the Border also offers one of the best selections of fireworks in the whole state. You know, if you want to liven up your road trip.
7 If You See The Giant Buffalo, You're Headed In The Right Direction
When a new interstate was being built in Jamestown, North Dakota, construction crews had to work around the world's largest buffalo that had already staked a claim on the land.
According to Roadside America, the concrete buffalo weighs sixty tons, is twenty-six feet tall, and measures forty-six feet long. On its fiftieth birthday, the buffalo was named Dakota Thunder and he is the unofficial welcome to the town of Jamestown.
6 Good Fortunes Come To Those That Ask
The 1988 Tom Hanks movie, "Big", centers on a thirteen year old boy that makes a wish on a fortune telling machine to grow up. A wish that he realizes was granted when he wakes up the next day as an adult. The machine, known as Zoltar, sprang into popular culture after the release of the film.
Though there are many replicas, according to Lohud the original from the film was located at Playland, an amusement park in Rye, New York. You won't be able to catch it there still, but we can almost guarantee any amusement park will have a Zoltar that can at least listen to your wishes.
5 A Cold Destination For Travelers That's Just Right For A Penguin
Visitors to Cut Bank, Montana are often there only as a stopping point on the way to Glacier National Park. Those staying at the Glacier Gateway Inn can meet a twenty-seven foot tall, ten-thousand pound penguin. The penguin sits atop a concrete block boasting Cut Bank as the Coldest Spot in the Nation (not confirmed, but totally possible hence the glaciers).
According to Roadside America, the penguin also talks. That is, when his mechanical pieces aren't frozen.
4 Motorists Jump For Joy At The Sight Of Lucy
Weighing in at ninety tons, only one elephant could be the world's largest and she just happens to live in Margate City, New Jersey.
Lucy the Elephant was constructed in 1881 and is designated as a National Historic Landmark, meaning she will greet visitors to Margate City for the foreseeable future. She was first utilized as a real estate office and then a tavern, but is now simply a lovable tourist attraction. According to Roadside America, visitors that ascend the full six stories inside Lucy (via a spiral staircase in her hind leg) will have sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean.
3 A Photo Op With Lady Liberty
There's plenty to do in New York City to fill any length of itinerary, but there's something about a commercialized candy that keeps tourists flooding through the doors of M&M World near Times Square.
According to City Guide, visitors to the store can personalize their own bag of M&Ms after taking inspiration from a two-story wall filled with the tiny chocolates. However, the main feature is the green M&M dressed as the Statue of Liberty - a close second for anyone that isn't able to make the trip out to see the real Lady Liberty.
2 Spread Your Wings And Fly
Driving through the plains of Texas, you will come across Iraan, a small town with a big following.
According to Texas Pecos Trail, Iraan is home to Alley Oop Park and Fantasyland. It is essentially a life-size recreation of a 1930s comic strip called Alley Oop, drawn by a local geologist. The central feature at Alley Oop Park is the sixty-five foot long dinosaur slide, sure to satisfy at least one of your Texas bucket list items.
1 Add The Largest Land Of Miniatures To Your Bucket List
Driving her van across the country, Erika Nelson finds and photographs the world's largest roadside attractions. Then, she gets to work making a tiny replica of those things and adds them to her mobile museum known as the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things. The collection includes miniatures of many of the things referenced throughout this article. According to Atlas Obscura, when the van isn't on the go, it is parked in Lucas, Kansas for all to see.