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Roadside attractions have been a staple of American culture since the dawn of the road trip. From quirky sculptures to larger-than-life landmarks, these roadside marvels transport us into a whimsical wonderland, perfect for striking that picture-perfect Instagram pose. So, buckle up, grab your camera and get ready to explore these extraordinary sites that will not only add a splash of color to your IG or TikTok feed, but create unforgettable memories.
Straddling the border of South and North Carolina, South of the Border is a vibrant and lively roadside attraction that’s been beckoning travelers on I-95 since 1949. The quirky oasis, once ranked number 8 in Travel & Leisure Magazine’s 2016 Kitschiest Roadside Attraction list, is filled with an assortment of neon signs, wildly painted animal statues, kitschy souvenirs and Mexican-themed sculptures that promise an Instagram feed bursting with color and character. The 104-foot-tall mascot, Pedro, is certainly the star—aside from, well, the largest indoor reptile display in the U.S.
A must-visit for art and automobile enthusiasts alike, Cadillac Ranch is a striking and surreal installation featuring ten half-buried, graffiti-covered Cadillac cars. Created in 1974 by a group of artists known as the Ant Farm, this vibrant open-air museum is meant to celebrate the spirit of the American West and invites visitors to leave their own graffiti, making it a constantly evolving canvas for memorable Instagram snapshots.
Step up to the plate at the world's largest baseball bat, a towering 120-foot sculpture standing proudly outside the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. The Big Bat, as it is known, is an exact-scale replica of the bat that Babe Ruth used. Get a shot of yourself here in your favorite team’s gear and be sure to tag them in your post.
Who doesn’t want their photo taken next to a 10-foot-tall tater? Prepare for a spud-tacular experience at the Idaho Potato Museum, a quirky ode to the state's most famous crop. Uncover the history of potato farming through fascinating exhibits and, of course, don't forget to snap a photo with the giant potato sculpture outside—for adding a touch of humor to your Insta feed.
Just off U.S. Highway 24, in downtown Cawker City, Kansas, a giant ball of twine awaits your arrival. Measuring 41.42 feet in circumference and weighing in at an estimated 19,973 pounds, this impressive creation was begun by a farmer named Frank Stoeber in 1953—and it continues to grow to this day! Every August, the city holds an annual “twine-a-thon” where visitors and members of the community are invited to contribute their own strings to the record-setting sisal twine ball.
Art meets automotive in this whimsical art installation located in the high plains of Nebraska. Inspired by the iconic Stonehenge in England, this quirky roadside attraction was created by Jim Reinders 1987. Comprising 39 vintage American cars, painted in a gray hue to mimic the ancient stones, Carhenge’s captivating and unconventional design make a great backdrop for an epic photo.
Blink and you’ll miss it. Carrabelle's pint-sized police station, only 3 feet wide and 4 feet deep, started life as a telephone booth. The tiny structure was then transformed into a one-of-a-kind police station back in the 1960s, and despite its small size, served as a fully functional outpost for local law enforcement. Make sure you don’t break any laws when getting your perfect photo.
One of the most recognizable attractions along Route 66, the Blue Whale was built in 1972 by Hugh S. Davis as a surprise anniversary gift for his wife, Zelta. In early years, visitors could swim in the pond surrounding the 80-foot-long, 20-foot-tall concrete sculpture. The Blue Whale is still run by the Davis family today and is open daily to the public. Stop by and snap a shot of this iconic landmark, evoking memories of the bygone days of roadside Americana.
Standing an impressive six stories tall, Lucy the Elephant was built in 1881, making it the oldest surviving roadside tourist attraction in America and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can explore the interior of this magnificent pachyderm, learn about its storied history and climb the spiral staircase up to her howdah, or saddle, to take get shots of the breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding coastline.
At 80-feet-tall, the World’s Largest Tire looms large over the Detroit suburb of Allen Park, Michigan. Originally designed as a massive Ferris wheel for the 1964 New York World's Fair, this gigantic tire later found its permanent home in 1966. Owned by the Michelin Tire Company, it serves as a reminder of Michigan's deep-rooted automotive heritage. The tire was put up for sale on eBay in 2003, but did not sell.