Mount Rushmore is a national treasure — there’s just no arguing with that. And it’s no secret that the Statue of Liberty stands as an iconic symbol of the United States.
But there are also a lot of other, lesser-known monuments scattered across the country that are highly worthwhile for you to check out, too. With that in mind, here are eight interesting roadside attractions to check out on your next Great American Road trip!
World’s Largest Paul Bunyan
In Bemidji, Minnesota, you have the opportunity to take in a pair of legendary North American icons right before your very eyes.
An 18-foot-tall Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are conveniently located just off of Highway 197 in Paul Bunyan Park.
Take a selfie in front of the larger-than-life statues and reminisce on the tall tale of a powerful lumberjack and his friendly ox companion who traversed the great and wild wilderness of the continent.
Created by Ant Farm members Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels in 1974 as a public art installation, there is simply nothing that can match the unique visuals of the legendary Cadillac Ranch.
Located just outside of Amarillo, Texas, these 10 half-buried Cadillacs in a cow pasture running along Interstate 40 is an experience that you definitely don’t want to miss out on if the opportunity to visit arises.
Christ of the Ozarks
Situated on top of a steep ridge, the statue of Christ — which looks strikingly similar to the colossal landmark in Brazil — can be seen from everywhere in Eureka Springs. The Christ of the Ozarks has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in northwest Arkansas.
Made with 24 layers of white mortar and interlaced with steel that’s welded into Magnetic Mountain, Christ of the Ozarks stands at 65 and a half feet tall! It dominates the skyline of the city from ten to twenty miles away.
Alien Research Center
Maybe you’ve heard of Area 51 out in Nevada, but have you heard of the Alien Research Center in Rachel, Nevada? Well, if you’re heading to Las Vegas or Reno from California, this is your gateway to Area 51 and Groom Lake – aka “Dreamland.”
It’s one of the most seemingly random, but oddly fitting Nevada attractions. As you travel down Nevada State Route 375, also known as the Extraterrestrial Highway, you’ll find one of the weirdest landmarks you’ll ever encounter in western America, including a giant alien guarding the entrance, replicas of a flying saucer, and a museum filled with movie props and extraterrestrial paraphernalia.
Once you visit the Alien Research Center, you’ll never be able to drive through Nevada without thinking about that strange extraterrestrial attraction you stopped at.
World’s Largest Basket
If you happened to be passing through Newark, Ohio, a town approximately 40 miles outside of Columbus, Ohio, and weren’t aware in advance, you might think you’re hallucinating when you see a gigantic picnic basket peeking out on the horizon.
Well, it’s not a hallucination, but the former headquarters of The Longaberger Company. The seven-story building was built as a passion project by the company’s founder, Dave Longaberger, and designed to be 160 times larger than one of their Medium Market Baskets.
Sadly, the building closed its doors as a working office in 2016, but is now seeing a revival with periodic tours of the unique structure and plans to convert it into a luxury hotel within the coming years.
World’s Tallest Thermometer
Whether the temperature is hot or cold outside, taking in the absolutely surreal sight of the world’s tallest thermometer in Baker, California, is an extremely cool thing you can do year-round.
The landmark sign and functional thermometer is conveniently located approximately halfway between Los Angeles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, off of Interstate 15, stands 134 feet tall and weighs in at a mind-boggling 76,812 pounds.
It was built in 1991 to commemorate the record temperature recorded in nearby Death Valley, California, on July 10, 1913 of 134 degrees Fahrenheit. (Which is also the maximum temperature it displays.)
Lucy the Elephant
Constructed of wood and tin sheeting in 1881 by James V. Lafferty in Margate City, New Jersey, Lucy the Elephant is a much beloved, six-story tall structure that is sure to delight anyone who comes across it.
The whimsical, elephant-like structure, located just a few miles south of Atlantic City, New Jersey, was initially named “Elephant Bazaar” and originally constructed to promote real estate sales and tourism.
Over more than a century, its name, ownership and uses have shifted — it’s been utilized as a restaurant, business office, cottage and tavern. However, its legacy and appeal have only continued to grow.
World’s Largest Ball of Twine
A ball of twine is just fine and dandy in and of itself, but do you know what’s way better? The world’s largest ball of twine!
And that particular ball of twine can be found in Cawker City, Kansas. (Though there is an ongoing dispute with another ball of twine in Darwin, Minnesota, on how the title of “largest” is gauged.)
Started as a project by Frank Stoeber in 1953, and donated to Cawker City in 1961, the massive ball has grown exponentially over the decades. It’s sure to impress when seen up close and personal.