10 Best American Roadside Attractions

1. CADILLAC RANCH 

Outside the Texas town of Amarillo—mentioned prominently in the song “Route 66”—is this way-out art project. The brainchild of several San Francisco hippies, it’s a series of 10 spray-painted Cadillacs buried grill-first in a pasture.

2. ELMER’S BOTTLE TREE RANCH 

In the desert town Oro Grande, California, this forest of metal and glass was a labor of love by artist Elmer Long. More than 200 metal trees hold bottles of every imaginable shape, size, and color. Long has passed on, but visitors still stop by to snap pics of the amazing sight. 

3. ENCHANTED HIGHWAY 

If you’re near Regent, North Dakota, locals will steer you to this 32-mile stretch of road north of town lined with metal sculptures. Massive pheasants dash across the plain, huge grasshoppers nibble on leaves, and trout leap from imaginary streams. The gift shop in Regent sells miniature versions of the larger-than-life sculptures. 

4. JIMMY CARTER PEANUT 

Inspired by the toothy grin of the country’s 39th president, this giant smiling peanut is one display in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. Made from chicken wire covered with polyurethane foam, it’s proved to be a remarkably durable attraction in the middle of peanut country. 

5. WILD HORSE MONUMENT 

These 15 stallions gallop across to the top of a high plateau near Vantage, Washington. Although road signs call it the Wild Horse Monument, the real name of artist David Govedare’s still-unfinished masterpiece is “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies.” 

6. CARHENGE 

England’s prehistoric circle of standing stones is faithfully recreated in Alliance, Nebraska, except for the fact that here it’s made from vintage automobiles. Just as at the original, thousands of believers congregate here whenever there’s a solar eclipse.

7. BLUE WHALE 

Rising out of its own little lake near Catoosa, Oklahoma, the Blue Whale is one of the region’s most whimsical sights. Built-in the 1970s as an anniversary present, it’s taken on a life of its own as a tourist attraction.

8. PAUL BUNYON AND BABE THE BLUE OX 

In the middle of the 20th century, huge statues popped up all over the Midwest to catch the eye of passing motorists. Bemidji, Minnesota, is home to the larger-than-life lumberjack and his oddly colored animal companion, built to attract tourists to the logging town. 

9. COCAINE BEAR 

We swear this is a true story: Back in 1985, a black bear in the Chattahoochee National Forest became a local hero after ingesting $15 million of cocaine that a drug dealer had jettisoned from an airplane. It died, but it was stuffed and put on display at Lexington’s Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall. 

10. WORLD’S LARGEST GARDEN GNOME 

Iowa State University in Ames is home to this colorful fellow, who measures 15 feet tall if you count his pointy red cap. He seems right at home in Reiman Gardens. If you’re in Upstate New York, the second largest, nicknamed Gnome Chomsky, is on display in the town of Kerhonkson.

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