By: Nicole Fisher
The great American road trip; synonymous with unhealthy snacks, boring i-Spy games, and way too many family sing-alongs. We’ve got a solution to one of those problems: No matter what road you ride along in the USA, there’s some quirky sight for you to see before arriving at your destination. We found the top 10 roadside attractions across the country. Kill the time with these must-see stops along the way.
Corona’s Moon Lime, Meatpacking District, New York City, NY
Though we’re exposed to thousands of ads each day, this New York City billboard is worth seeking out. Corona positioned its newest Big Apple advertisement at exactly the right intersection so the crescent moon appears to be the lime sitting on top of the bottle. The beer company worked with top universities and planetariums to use the lunar cycle as a recognizable part of its advertisement. Head over to 9th Ave. and 15th St. to see for yourself; just remember to check the lunar phases first.
Bicentennial Giant Chair, Gardner, Massachusetts
Take a detour when traveling from Albany to Boston in the great American Chair City: This small town boasts a 3,000-pound chair made of Honduran mahogany. Presented by the Gardner Rotary Club for the city’s bicentennial in 1976, the 20-foot-6-inch chair once held the world record for the largest chair made. Surpassed by other giant seats, the recently restored recliner still stands tall in front of Helen Mae Sauter School on Elm Street.
Coffee Pot Water Tower, Grand Ave., Stanton, Iowa
This country runs on coffee and Stanton is no exception. Heading south towards Kansas City, you’ll pass through this small town – it’s the home of the actress who played “Mrs. Olson” on the iconic Folgers TV commercials. To honor her hometown, she erected a 120-foot coffee pot water tower in 1971 that still stands today and holds 40,000 gallons of water. Look for the town’s companion coffee cup water tower that they built in 2000.
Leaning Tower of Niles, Niles, Illinois
Can’t make it to Italy to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Consider heading west of Stanton to Niles, Illinois for this Midwest town’s take on the European site. The half-size water tower replica of Pisa’s tourist attraction was built in 1934 and dedicated to Galileo Galilei. Whether heading to Chicago to explore the city or to catch a flight from O’Hare, you won’t miss this tall roadside sight.
Freemont Troll, N 36th St, Seattle, Washington
In children’s stories trolls protect bridges from intruders, but the troll under the Aurora Ave. Bridge in Seattle is harmless. The Freemont Troll invites you to navigate through the city of Seattle on your path north towards Vancouver. Four local artists created the 18-foot sculpture in 1990; with shaggy hair and a hubcap for an eye, the street art sculpture has plenty of places to pose for a quick picture before heading on your way.
Gnome Chomsky, Kerhonkson, NY
Speaking of fantasy creatures, two hours north of Manhattan along the route to Montreal lives Chomsky at Kelder’s Farm and U-Pick. Standing 13-feet-and-6-inches-tall, the grinning garden gnome welcomes road trippers to the pick-your-own produce farm. This location is a great place along your trip to stretch your legs, grab a fresh snack, or spend a couple hours playing mini golf. But if you don’t want to get out of the car, observe Chomsky’s towering appearance as you pass by.
Chapel of the Holy Dove, Highway 180 milepost 236, Flagstaff, Arizona,
To say a prayer or enjoy the jaw-dropping view, stop at the Chapel of the Holy Dove along Highway 180 as you’re heading east to the Grand Canyon. The rustic church has dirt floors and visitors come from all around the world to shove a note under the door or write on the walls. Situated at 8,000 feet above sea level, the chapel is often unreachable between October and March due to snow fall. When the weather is nice though, this tiny building is a great 5–10 minute stop along the road.
The World’s Largest Horseshoe Crab, Freedom Worship Baptist Church, Blanchester, Ohio
Another church that might make your trip west towards Cincinnati more enjoyable is the Freedom Worship Baptist Church and its Giant Horseshoe Crab. The metal art installation, an exact replica to scale of the ocean creature, can house up to 65 adults under its shell. The world largest horseshoe crab is 68 feet long and sits in the middle of the scripture garden which depicts the six days of creation. Twilight fans, consider stopping by the crabby structure, which was featured in the third movie.
Ed Galloway Totem Pole Park, Route 66, Oklahoma
Though there are many sites along historic Route 66, Ed Galloway Totem Pole Park is a must-see in Oklahoma. Crafted of scrap metal, sandstone, and concrete, the sixty-foot Totem Pool is the centerpiece of the park. Resting on top of a concrete turtle, the pole features painted lizards, owls, and Native American chiefs. Roadside tables invite travelers to enjoy a snack before hitting the road again. If you have a little more time, head over to the “Fiddle House” to see more of Galloway’s craftsmanship.
Prada Marfa, Route 90, Marfa, Texas
Amidst tumbleweeds and dirt sits a white stucco building with expensive designer shoes and handbags. The Prada art installation in Marfa, Texas – a small town that draws artists and art lovers – might appear to be a real store…but there’s no door. Back in 2005, Berlin artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset opened the building with merchandise donated from Prada. When the “store” first opened, the installation was robbed. They restocked it with only right shoes and bags but cut the bottoms out and installed security.