Very strange places: 23 sights in America, puzzling
America is a country of attractions and experiences, each state and region has its own unique flavor, culture and memorable places. And all of them are as varied as they are unusual. Edition Only in Your State collected 23 bizarre landmarks that will remind you how strange and wonderful America really is.
Salvation Mountain - Slab City, California
In the remote wilderness of Southern California lies one of America's most unique roadside attractions, Salvation Mountain. This colorful art installation was created by Leonard Knight to convey the idea that "God loves everyone". It is made of raw clay and covered with thousands of gallons of colorful paint, decorated with Christian frescoes, messages and images. It took Knight over 20 years to make this work, and this is a truly breathtaking place.
Bubblegum Alley - San Luis Obispo, California
One of Southern California's quirkiest attractions, Bubblegum Alley is exactly what it sounds like: an alley lined with bubblegum graffiti. The lane is 70 feet (21 m) long, 15 feet (4,5 m) high, and covered in a seemingly endless amount of chewing gum. The tradition of "decorating" this alley with chewing gum began in the early 1970s, and the amount of chewing gum covering the wall is currently unknown.
Dog Bark Inn Cottonwood, Idaho
Dog lovers will love this fun and functional roadside attraction in Cottonwood, Idaho. The Dog Bark Park Inn is located just off Highway 95. Rooms at this quaint B&B are appropriately decorated with dog-themed décor and literature for a delightful experience. If you don't want to stay overnight, you should stop to just admire the building against the backdrop of the picturesque prairie. Among other things, you will find a gift shop on site.
World's Largest Elkhorn Arch - Afton, Wyoming
Only in Wyoming will you find the world's largest elk antler arch overlooking downtown. In the small town of Afton, visitors are in for a big surprise: a colossal arch made entirely of horns. The arch was built in 1958 from discarded elk antlers collected by the townspeople, and locals are still involved in maintaining the huge arch. Over 3000 horns have been woven together to form the superb exhibit, and there are two other smaller arches on either side of the four-lane road it runs on.
Enchanted Highway - Regent, North Dakota
On the Enchanted Highway, you'll find metal sculptures depicting local culture, including the installations Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again and The World's Largest Tin Family. This collection of the world's largest scrap metal sculptures was created by Gary Greff to keep small towns like Regent from dying. And with the crowds that flock to this attraction every year, mission accomplished. Here you will find a special shop that sells mini sculpture souvenirs of this amazingly strange roadside attraction.
Mount Rushmore - Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota
Majestic and mighty, full of pomp and circumstance, Mount Rushmore is an American treasure and certainly one of South Dakota's proudest claims to fame. It is also arguably the largest and most famous landmark in the world. Mount Rushmore, with the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, is the world's largest sculpture, each bust approximately 60 feet (18,2 m) high, carved from granite. Originally created to attract tourists to South Dakota, today the iconic roadside attraction attracts three million visitors annually.
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Wall Drug Store - Wall, South Dakota
While South Dakota is best known for its natural features (and man-made monolith), the Wall Drug Store is largely an unofficial attraction. This pharmacy, which began in 1931 as a place to get free cold water, is now a popular attraction. Here you can eat and drink a cup of coffee for only five cents, and you can buy the most kitschy souvenirs, such as figurines, bumper stickers, shot glasses and cowboy boots.
Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox Statues - Bemidji, MN
Did you know that the second most photographed national statue in the country (after Mount Rushmore) is in Bemidji, Minnesota. This is Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox. Built in 1937, Bunyan stood alone for two years until a 1939-foot blue bull was added to it in 10.
Jolly Green Giant - Blue Airs, Minnesota
This 8000-pound (3,6 t) 55-foot (16,7 m) giant is considered the local superman. And this is the largest Jolly Green Giant statue in the world. You can admire this cheerful green guy in the park of the same name. The statue was built in 1979 with permission from Green Giant. Like many of America's quirky roadside attractions, this unique statue was built with local businesses' money to draw attention to the city. Decades later, the giant continues to do its job.
Hole N'The Rock - Moab, Utah
Hole N' The Rock is one of the weirdest places you'll ever visit. This 5000 square foot home is literally carved into a giant rock. Hole N' The Rock was once a real home. The cave-like dwelling belonged to the Christensen family. For 465 years, the family has been digging for themselves a cozy place in the living rock. The house opened for tours in the 20s and has been drawing crowds ever since.
Flintstones Bedrock City - Coconino County, Arizona
Fans of the classic cartoon "The Flintstones" can visit the real Bedrock City. The city first opened in the 1970s. It is a 30-acre (12 ha) ride dedicated to all things Flintstones, complete with artificial stone age buildings, cartoon decor, and a brontosaurus slide for kids. The attraction closed in 2015, but was purchased by the Raptor Ranch in Arizona, which has fully preserved the tourist attraction for people to visit.
Rainbow Rock - Holbrook, Arizona
A sleepy town on Route 66 with just over 5000 permanent residents, Holbrook is known for its historic village of Wigwam, but it's not the only roadside attraction in this town. On the sidewalks in downtown Holbrook, prehistoric creatures crowd. Dinosaurs have lived here since 2007, when the International Petrified Forest and Desert Exhibition closed. These huge creatures were taken to local stores and other local businesses, where they have remained ever since. However, some of the dinosaurs, such as those in front of the Rainbow Rock Shop, did not come from the exhibit; rather, they were built in order to attract tourists. The plan clearly worked, as visitors don't hesitate to donate money to get a photo with extinct herbivores.
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Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
One of America's proudest inventions is the automobile, and at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, the iconic Caddy is on display in a wonderfully colorful art installation. The exhibition was conceived by a local billionaire. He sought to create an art installation that would shock and attract travelers, so he teamed up with a group of San Francisco artists to create what is now known as the Cadillac Ranch. Over time, this installation has evolved into a collaborative dynamic facility where visitors paint luxury cars with colorful graffiti.
Prada Marfa - Valentine, Texas
In the middle of the desert in Marfa, Texas, there is a real Prada store. Situated on a desert stretch of Highway 90, this roadside attraction is as mysterious as it is intriguing. It just beckons road-weary travelers to stop and explore. When you do, you'll find that this store is nothing more than a mirage in the desert, with no inventory or staff, and you can't even get inside. In fact, there is Prada's fall 2005 collection, donated by Miuccia Prada herself.
Carhenge Alliance, Nebraska
A collection of vintage American cars painted gray to mimic the historic English landmark, Carhenge is a truly breathtaking sight. It's also one of the more daring roadside attractions, which might be more suitable for a roadside attraction than a collection of real cars.
The world's largest ball of twine - Coker City, Kansas
There is debate about whether the giant ball of twine in Coker City is the largest in the world (there is another huge ball in Darwin, Minnesota). In 1974, Frank Stowber created the 11-foot (3,5 m) ball of twine. After his passing, Coker City built a gazebo where a Twine-a-thon is held every August and more twine is added. What makes this attraction so amazing is that it is a living, breathing piece of art that continues to grow and evolve over time.
World's Largest Basket - Newark, Ohio
In Newark, there is a seven-story 180-square-foot (000 sq. m) basket. It is the largest basket in the world and the former headquarters of Longaberger. After it closed, the future of the basket hung in the balance. The building has since been purchased and there are plans to reuse the structure in a unique way.
Kentucky Wigwam Village #2 - Cave City, Kentucky
Kentucky Wigwam Village #2 in Kentucky has been hosting guests since 1937. Inspired by a trip to California (where there was a wigwam-shaped ice cream stand), Frank Redford returned home to Kentucky and created his own teepee-style buffet gas station. One wigwam soon grew into six before Redford created a "wigwam village" of 15 concrete dwellings.
WonderWorks - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
WonderWorks is an upside down building in Pigeon Forge. An upside down journey awaits you, reminiscent of something from Alice in Wonderland. In addition to the striking appearance, what's inside WonderWorks is also wonderful. This upside-down building houses an epic children's museum, an amazing indoor theme park, and countless possibilities. This is the best kind of roadside attraction: a place with fabulous form and content.
Dinosaur Kingdom II — Natural Bridge, Virginia
Blending history and sci-fi, this quirky ride features real-life characters battling dinosaurs, including Yankee soldiers, mad scientists, Stonewall Jackson, and even Abraham Lincoln. The park is set up as a walk through the woods where visitors walk through a spectacular display of dinosaurs and soldiers in combat. It's a supernatural, slightly unsettling, and utterly delightful experience.
Chester Teapot - Chester, West Virginia
West Virginia is home to some really quirky sights, but nothing beats the world's largest teapot. Chester is the former center of the world's largest pottery industry and a kettle has been erected to represent this. When the pottery business was sold, the teapot was demolished, but the Chester community rallied to successfully save this unique treasure. Today, this 14-foot-tall (4,2 m) teapot serves as a fun and unique rest stop in West Virginia.
Lucy the Elephant - Margate, New Jersey
Located along the beach in Josephine Harron Park in Margate, New Jersey, the world's largest elephant stands strong, beautiful, and proud, Lucy the New Jersey Treasure. At six stories high (65 feet) and weighing 90 tons, Lucy is the largest elephant in the world. Visitors can climb the spiral staircase inside Lucy and learn more about her and the rest of the park during a guided tour. Lucy the Elephant is America's oldest surviving roadside attraction, attracting over 100 visitors each year, and the absolute most photogenic pachyderm in the world.
Wild Blueberry Land - Columbia Falls, Maine
Wild Blueberry Land in Maine is by far the tastiest roadside attraction in America, as it's both a tourist destination and a bakery. In terms of entertainment, there is a blueberry themed mini golf course that is a must-see for everyone. Inside the giant blueberry you will find just about anything you could possibly need, including blueberries: cakes, muffins, muffins, jams, jellies, baking mixes, candy, tea and coffee, ice cream, dog treats and more.
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