Sure, there are natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and Old Faithful, but for so many people, the real fun in traveling across this great country of ours is discovering the weird roadside attractions. Here are 10 weird but cool pieces of Americana that you can visit, made all the better when you’re elevated, too.
1. Finding Salvation on the roadside
Really, how does one describe Salvation Mountain? Located in the southwest of California, the visionary environment covers a hill, which has been painted with a whole lot of lead-free paint. You don’t need to be religious to enjoy a visit to Salvation Mountain, either.
2. The 39th
In 1976, Jimmy Carter had a landslide victory in his home state of Georgia for the presidential election, which saw every county in the state voting in his favor. Could it have something to do with the 13-foot tall peanut that has his iconic smile? Maybe. What is known is that the peanut is still in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, which is a unique piece of Americana.
3. The biggest
In case you ever wondered, you can find the world’s biggest ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas.
4. That’s the spirit
While Detroit is known for a lot of things, you might not know that it has a pretty cool monument, which is a large bronze statue called the Spirit of Detroit.
5. Remnants of the Motor City
Sure, it’s not as ancient as Stonehenge, but you can’t deny that Nebraska’s Carhenge isn’t cool. Best of all, occasionally, Carhenge is in the direct path of the total solar eclipse (with the next time taking place on August 21 of this year).
6. The space race
If you’re traveling on Route 66, as you enter Wilmington, Illinois, you’ll come across the Gemini Giant. The 30-foot tall statue, which was made in the Sixties, was made to celebrate the Gemini Space Program, becoming a local landmark that has since stood the test of time.
7. He’s no hipster
Of course, before there was the Gemini Giant, there was Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox. Still standing in Bemidji, Minnesota, the statues are icons that have made their way into popular culture (and have been seen in the likes of Fargo).
8. I’ll buy that for a dollar
If you’re heading through Montana, you have to stop in at Lincoln’s World Famous 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar, which has one of the world’s biggest collections of silver dollars. Besides being a bar, it also has a motel and casino, too. But that doesn’t mean you should try using any of those silver dollars on the wall in the slots!
9. Look, Mr. Frodo
While it looks like an Oliphaunt from Lord of the Rings, Lucy the Elephant is anything but, so don’t attempt to slide down her trunk like Legolas in The Return of the King. The six-story elephant, which resides in Margate City, New Jersey, is made of wood and tin sheeting, so it’s not up to the challenge.
10. It just doesn’t look wheel
The city of Dunseith, North Dakota, has the honor of having the world’s largest man-made turtle, which goes by the name of W’eel. Nobody can deny that, either.