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American roadside attractions Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Travel

One of the best ways to see America is by car. The United States is such a big country and there is so much to see, like major cities, national parks, and natural wonders, but there are also some really crazy a quirky things to see out there too. These odd monuments, statues, and buildings are often called “roadside attractions” and they are the theme of this blog post.

Image by Brian on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by Brian on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0. A picture of Salvation Mountain.

Roadside attractions are usually advertised on billboards and signs trying to get people to stop, spend some money, see the local town, or at least take a picture by the attraction.  There is almost always something odd about the roadside attractions, either its size, what it is made of, its message…something.

Some of my favorite types of roadside attractions are the ones that say they are “the world’s largest something.” Even if you can’t make your own road trip through America anytime soon, I thought you might enjoy knowing about some of the weird and fun places out there waiting for you.

Salvation Mountain
Above is a colorful man-made mountain in California that is covered with bright paintings and messages (that are mostly religious in nature). This was the personal art project of one man from 1985 to the early 2000s. Other people now maintain it for others to come and see.

Image by Samir Luther on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by Samir Luther on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Carhenge
You’ve probably heard of Stonehenge, but what about Carhenge? In the state of Nebraska, you can find a replica of Stonehenge made out of cars! The creator of this artwork dedicated it to his father – hopefully his father liked cars.

Image by jo_beets on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by jo_beets on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The World’s Largest Pistachio
I hope you like nuts, because this is one big nut. The world’s largest pistachio can be found in New Mexico were I guess they grow a fair amount of nuts. This giant pistachio is 30-feet tall and made to look like a roasted pistachio with the nut poking out of the shell.

Image by JDAC on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by JDAC on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The World’s Largest Ball of Twine


The state of Kansas is home to the world’s largest ball of twine (twine is type of strong thread often used outdoors/on farms). This ball of twine was started in 1953 and it has been growing ever since. You can even send your own twine to add to it if you want. It weighs over 19,000 pounds!

Image by Jim on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by Jim on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

South of the Border
If you are driving south on the East Coast of the United States you will see signs for this restaurant, gas station, motel, and amusement park for hours before you arrive. The term ‘south of the border’ usually applies to the border between the United States and Mexico, as Mexico is south of the US border. In this case the name applies to this huge complex that sits just south of the state line from North Carolina into South Carolina.

Image by Jeffrey Beall on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by Jeffrey Beall on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fossil Cabin
It is hard to believe, but there is actually a cabin (a small house) built out of real dinosaur bones in the state of Wyoming. This cabin was built in 1932 from bones found nearby. The bones were used to make the cabin walls, just like stones might be used.

Image by Jim McIntosh on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by Jim McIntosh on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Lucy the Elephant

Lucy the Elephant in New Jersey claims to be the world’s largest fake elephant. She is getting pretty old, too. She was built back in 1881. Lucy is six stories tall, and was once home to real estate office and pub. Now she is open to visitors who want to climb inside and look around.

Image by Bret Haskins on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by Bret Haskins on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Corn Palace
If you have a lot of extra corn, one thing you could do with it is build a palace and that is exactly what happened in one South Dakota town. The corn palace is covered in corncobs and corn kernels. In many places on the walls of the building the corn is artistically arranged into pictures or murals.

I hope this very short list of the many, many roadside attractions in America has wet your appetite for more of the odd and unusual things you might see driving across this big beautiful and crazy country.

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About the Author:Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.