From enormous pineapples to gargantuan guitars and colossal koalas, we Aussies like our roadside attractions big. But in the United States, it appears size matters less than quirk factor. Tick off our collection of wacky pit stops, ranging from the slightly offbeat to the downright weird.
Some sights are literally out of this world. In the Pennsylvanian town of Mars, you’ll find a flying saucer with a marker in several languages declaring, “May peace prevail on Earth.”
On Highway 29 outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin there is a towering UFO Landing Port. If you’re up for some real close encounters, travel along Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway straight past the famous Area 51. If you plan to stay a while, spend the night at the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, where “earthlings are welcome too.”
In America you could be forgiven for thinking that cars grow from the ground. Lurking under a bridge in Fremont, Seattle, you’ll find a giant two-tonne one-eyed troll clutching a VW Beetle. At the Cadillac Ranch along Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas, visitors are encouraged to add their mark to the 10 graffiti-covered classic Cadillacs that burst from the soil. In Goldfield, Nevada visit the International Car Forest of the Last Church, where a bunch of painted cars erupt from the earth at extreme angles and are occasionally lit up in flames.
And if you’re cruising through Alliance, Nebraska, you may stumble across Carhenge, where 38 cars have been stacked together to replicate the age-old British monument in Wiltshire. Speaking of Stonehenge, in Natural Bridge, Virginia, you’ll also find Foamhenge, an exact replica of the ancient ring of standing stones made entirely out of Styrofoam.
Bigger is Better
Like Aussies, Americans also like thinking big. In Cawker City, Kansas, you’ll find the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. Determined to outdo the massive Johnson Twine Ball in Minnesota, Frank Stoeber worked tirelessly for decades finishing just 30 cm short of his goal. Since his passing, residents and tourists have been adding to Stoeber’s ball, which now measures a massive 12.62 metres in diameter.
Among a host of other “big things”, it’s hard to miss New Jersey’s six-storey, much-loved Lucy the Elephant, as well as Chatty Belle, the World’s Largest Talking Cow in Neillsville, Wisconsin; the Largest Ball of Paint in Alexandria, Indiana; the Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, North Dakota; and The World’s Largest Pecan in Brunswick, Missouri.
If none of that is strange enough for you then surely the anatomically correct life-size chocolate moose at Len Libby Chocolate store in Scarborough, Maine, will surely do the trick.
The quintessential American road trip has been immortalised in many a famous film and novel. Much of its charm comes from the unique and memorable sightseeing and the characters you meet along the way. Your family can follow in the footsteps of Kerouac and Steinbeck and forge your own way down routes and highways – by the end, you’ll have plenty of bizarre additions to this list for sure!
Like the feeling of wind in your hair? Have you mastered of Eye-Spy and other car games? Then have a peek at these other road trip adventures and tips: