Road tripping across America can be an adventure. You might drive past a building shaped like a picnic basket, the largest pistachio statue in the world or even the world’s largest ball of twine.
Weeki Wachee mermaids
Attention, mermaid lovers: Weeki Wachee Springs is the destination of your dreams. Billed as the “only city of live mermaids,” the 60-year-old park is located about an hour north of Tampa, Florida.
Leaning Tower of Niles
So Italy might not be on your agenda, but you can still see the Leaning Tower of Niles if you find yourself in the Chicago area. Located in Niles, Illinois, this replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is half the size of the Italian original and about 15 minutes from O’Hare Airport.
Rhyolite Last Supper
A bit eerie out in the middle of the Mojave Desert, these ghostly figures in an art installment titled The Last Supper are a sight to behold. It’s part of the Goldwell Open Air Museum, which boasts an official address of “near the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada.”
Mike the Headless Chicken
Sure, your friends may brag about their trip to Bermuda or about seeing the Eiffel Tower on their vacation, but you’ll make everyone jealous if you snap a pic with Mike the Headless Chicken. The statue in Fruita, Colorado, pays homage to this amazing chicken, also known as Miracle Mike, who lived for 18 months after his head had been cut off. Definitely a can’t miss!
If you’re anywhere near Minnesota, head to Bemidji, where it’s hard to miss this 18-foot-tall statue of mythical lumberjack Paul Bunyan. And yes, of course Babe the Blue Ox is immortalized there as well.
Largest Frying Pan, Iowa
The Largest Frying Pan is located in Brandon, Iowa. It weighs 1,200 pounds and is 15 feet tall. It was meant to be the world’s largest frying pan, but unfortunately it was outdone by others such as the one in Washington, which is only 3 inches taller.
Center of the U.S.: Lebanon, Kansas
You heard right: Lebanon, Kansas, is the geographical center of the U.S. (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). It is the home of the U.S. Center Chapel, which can be found on K-191 Highway.
Corn Palace, South Dakota
The Corn Palace can be found in Mitchell, South Dakota. It was built in 1892 to honor South Dakota’s crops, and to entice settlers. Today, the Corn Palace serves as an auditorium and hosts Corn Palace Week, which marks the end of the harvest.
The Blue Whale, Oklahoma
In Catoosa, Oklahoma, you can visit the Blue Whale, an 80-foot diving platform and slide built by Hugh Davis in the 1970s. What started as a building for the family soon became part of Davis’s attraction, Nature’s Acres. Unfortunately, the attraction closed in 1988, but a few local citizens continue with paint upkeep. Today, you can gather at the nearby picnic benches.
World’s Largest Buffalo, North Dakota
The World’s Largest Buffalo can be found in Jamestown, North Dakota, and stands at 26 feet tall and 46 feet long. In 1959, local Harold Newman comissioned the concrete sculpture to entice people to visit the city. Around the statue, there is the Pioneer Village, the National Buffalo Museum and several herds of buffalo.
Basket Building Longaberger Company, Ohio
Found in Newark, Ohio, the world’s largest basket is not only a monument but also the headquarters for the Longaberger Basket Company. It is 160 times the size of a Longaberger basket, upon which the design is based.
World’s Largest Chest Of Drawers, North Carolina
High Point, North Carolina is known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World,” so it makes sense that it is the home of the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers. The building is now 38 feet tall, but when it was originally built in 1920, it was only 20 feet tall and was the “bureau of information.” The chest that inspired the building can be found in the nearby visitor information center.
Smallest Church, Georgia and New York
In both Georgia and New York, you can find some of the world’s smallest churches. The Smallest Church in Americais located in South Newport, Georgia, and houses 12 seats. It was built in 1949 by Mrs. Agnes Harper, but the small bell tower wasn’t added until 1998. The World’s Smallest Church is just outside of Syracuse, New York. Also known as the Cross Island Chapel, the church was built in 1989 and is said to have only had enough room for a minister and a couple getting married in 1990.
Shoe House: Hellam, Pennsylvania
In Hallam, Pennsylvania, you can find the 25 feet tall Shoe House. It was built in 1948 by Colonel Mahlon Nathaniel Haines, the “Shoe Wizard,” as a form of self-promotion for his shoe stores. Haines rented the house out as a weekend vacation spot, and today you can take tours.
Salvation Mountain and Slab City, California
In Niland, California, just east of San Diego, you can find Slab City, a free campsite that used to be a World War II base. Today some people even live here in their own makeshift homes. They have a community library, clubs and a golf course. One sight to see is Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight began painting the mountain in 1985 with Biblical verses. He continues to paint and even lives in a truck near the three-story mountain.
Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail And Museum, Missouri
This artificial mountain was built over a pile of waste from years of housing an explosives factory and then a Cold War nuclear plant. Found in Weldon Spring, Missouri, the Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail now has stairs that you can climb to the summit, plus a nearby museum that talks about the remnants found underneath the trail.
Lucy The Elephant, New Jersey
Lucy the Elephant, found in Margate City, New Jersey, was built in 1881 by James V. Lafferty. The huge building has been a real estate office, a summer home and a tavern. Today, Lucy the Elephant is open for tours and even has a little gift shop.
Largest Pistachio, New Mexico
Found in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the World’s Largest Pistachio was built by Tim McGinn in 2008 to honor his father. It is located on McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch.
Jolly Green Giant, Minnesota
It’s kind of fitting that the Jolly Green Giant is located in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Built in 1979, the statue is now accompanied by the Jolly Green Giant Museum. Plus, citizens of Blue Earth celebrate the annual Green Days festival by putting snacks out at night and leaving large green footsteps for the morning.
Hair Museum, Missouri
Leila’s Hair Museum can be found in Independence, Missouri and is more impressive than you’d expect. Leila Cohoon, a former hairdresser, collects hair and presents it as pieces of art, such as paintings with real hair or woven designs. There is supposedly even hair from Abraham Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe.
Jimmy Carter Peanut, Georgia
In Plains, Georgia, you can find the large Jimmy Carter Peanut boasting the same large smile as its namesake. At 13 feet tall, the sculpture stands in front of Davis E-Z Shop.
Desert Of Maine
In Freeport, Maine, you can find the Desert of Maine, an unusual piece of land in an otherwise lush state. According to legend, the Desert of Maine came about due to improper farming practices a few hundred years ago. Today, you enter through a gift shop and then can tour the dunes themselves or visit the Sand Museum.
This attraction is located in Alliance, Nebraska and was built in 1987 by Jim Reinders. With the help of his family, Reinders built Carhenge in honor of his deceased father. The farmer and engineer used real cars to build the piece, including three foreign cars, all of which were later removed and replaced with American cars.
Cadillac Ranch, Texas
Built in 1974 by a group called The Ant Farm from San Francisco, Cadillac Ranch can be found outside of Amarillo, Texas, along Route 66. The piece was secretly paid for by Stanley Marsh 3, a billionaire from Amarillo. Since then, tourists have visited the ranch and vandalized the cars, making Cadillac Ranch the collaborative art piece it is today.
Cabazon Dinosaurs, California
Located in Cabazon, California, the Cabazon Dinosaurs were built by the manager of nearby Wheel Inn, Claude Bell. While there is still a small museum in the belly of Dinny, the large apatosaurus (and possibly the largest dinosaur in the entire U.S.), the Wheel Inn closed in 2013.
Big Duck, New York
Found on Long Island in Flanders, New York, the Big Duck stands at 20 feet tall and 30 feet long. It was built in 1931 by duck farmer Martin Maurer as a shop for him to sell ducks and eggs. Every year, on the third Wednesday in December, there is a Holiday Lighting of the Big Duck.
Ball Of Twine, Kansas
Located in Cawker City, Kansas, the”World’s Largest Ball of Twine” was started by Frank Stoeber in 1953. Every August, there is a “twine-a-thon” where people get to add more twine to the piece.
Wall Of Gum, Seattle and San Luis Obispo
Both Seattle And San Luis Obispo have their own wall of gum. San Luis Obispo’s Bubblegum Alley is 70 feet long and has two walls filled with gum along Higuera Street. It is believed that the gum tradition came from a rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and Cal Poly students in the 1950s. Seattle’s Gum Wall, which is located under Park Place Market, began in the 1990s with people posting coins on the wall with the help of gum. It has since evolved to just gum.
Hole N” the Rock, Utah
This unusual home, known fondly as”Hole N” The Rock,” was built by Albert and Gladys Christensen. The entire house, fireplace and all, is carved into a rock in Utah’s Canyonlands Country. Today, people can explore the house, shop at gift store and explore the trading post and general store.