10 Roadside Attractions Not to Miss on the Long Haul
There’s more to life than driving, sleeping, and eating, right? Of course you want to be as efficient as possible on the road so you can get back home and enjoy your home time, but don’t forget to stop and smell the roses when you’re driving. You don’t have to travel far for on-the-road entertainment. There are plenty of historical, bizarre, and picturesque roadside attractions that are only a short detour from your route. These attractions aren’t as well-known as major landmarks, which is exactly why you should make a point of seeing them. The attractions below take you from New England, down the coast, through the Midwest, up through the Rocky Mountains, through California, and down to the South.
Cardiff Giant in Cooperstown, New York
In a bizarre social experiment, George Hull built a stone giant in 1868. He came to this idea after reading about “giants in the Earth” in Genesis 6:4. When workers dug the state up in 1869, civic boosters and religious groups defended the stone statue as real. Hull quickly earned $30,000 charging people to see it. This statue is 10 feet tall and is housed in Cooperstown, New York. Go take a look, it’s a great roadside attraction for truckers!
Mummies of the Insane in Philippi, West Virginia
It’s odd to think about how morally ambivalent people have been (and still are) in the name of science. This exhibit is proof of that. In 1888, Graham Hamrick purchased two female corpses from the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane. He used a homemade embalming concoction to preserve them, a process he had successfully carried out with snakes, vegetables, and a human head. These mummies are still on display today and remarkably well-preserved.
David Rice Atchison Statue in Plattsburg, Missouri
In the history of the United States, exactly one president has served for only one day. What a legacy to leave behind. Per the chain of command outlined in the U.S. Constitution, James K. Polk was to be succeeded by Zachary Taylor. Taylor refused to swear in on a Sunday, leaving Atchison president for one day. Take a look at this statue and thank the guy for taking one for the team.
Chief Crazy Horse Memorial in Crazy Horse, South Dakota
Everyone knows about Mount Rushmore, just a stone’s throw from the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, so skip it and just check out this memorial. It is enormous. It features the head of Chief Crazy Horse carved into a mountainside, and it is larger than all of Mount Rushmore combined. It is currently 88 feet tall and work is ongoing, so who knows how much will be done by the time you get there?
Bannack Ghost Town in Dillon, Montana
Old towns are unexplainably interesting. Everyone gets a shiver up their spine walking through an abandoned town with dilapidated buildings. Bannack Ghost Town is a well-preserved mining town located in Montana. The town features a school house, churches, and according to legend, plenty of ghosts. The town is known for its gallows, where dozens of people hanged over a period of seven months.
Shoshone Ice Caves in Shoshone, Idaho
Doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter—these ice caves are still freezing. Regardless of the outside temperature, the temperature within these caves remains a chilly 30 degrees. As you walk in, you’ll see statues of cavemen, a statue of a dinosaur, and a statue of Chief Wasakie. There’s a gift shop, too, so grab something for the family!
Grants Pass Caveman in Grants Pass, Oregon
Guarding Grants Pass, this caveman has stood his ground for over 45 years. He is 17 feet tall, perched on a large rock. Stop and take a picture with this hulking giant so you can always remember Grants Pass.
Museum of International Propaganda in San Rafael, California
One of the ongoing themes in this series is that history is strange. A quick stop in this museum will confirm that. Displays range the entire 20th century, highlighting the visual communication methods used to keep entire populaces in line. In the museum, you’ll find Society, North Korean, American, Chinese, and Nazi Germany propaganda.
Living Ghost Town in Oatman, Arizona
If you want to see the real Old West, a stop in Oatman is required. This living ghost town is just off I-40. As you walk through, you’ll see donkeys, actors in fake gunfights, and plenty of little shops.
Storyland in New Orleans, Louisiana
Looking to spend some time outdoors? Make a stop in New Orleans. Storyland features dozens of statutes and play areas with popular storybook characters, from Old King Cole to Snow White. Local mythology brings some New Orleans flair to the display.
Every state has little-known attractions that make for great pictures and memories. Don’t be afraid to live on the wild side and explore a bit.