There’s nothing better than a great American cross-county road trip: soaking in the nation’s majestic beauty, eating in tiny roadside diners, driving 150 miles out of the way to take a selfie in front of… a giant ball of string! Oh say, can you see… me with the world’s largest frying pan?
And to ensure that you know exactly which 50 sites are probably not (but may be) worth the detour, we’ve compiled this rundown of the absolute weirdest, tourist-trap roadside attraction in each state.
World’s Largest Brick
Before you make a pit stop in Montgomery to see this oversized ad for Jenkins Brick Company, you should know one thing: it’s no longer technically the world’s largest brick. No, it was bested by a bigger brick from Denton, TX, in 2007. That said, since this brick is made from a lot of little bricks, it’s still unofficially considered the world’s largest brick… made of bricks. So, continue to delay your trip to Gulf Shores to take a look.
Credit: Flickr/Jason Rossiter
World’s Largest Santa
North Pole, AK
Just because North Pole, Alaska, isn’t the real North Pole, doesn’t mean this town of 2,000 outside Fairbanks can’t capitalize on the name, right? Their 900lb statue of St. Nick serves as a giant advertisement for the Santa Claus House — a place, like in your dreams, where Christmas never ends.
Credit: Flickr/Bill Walsh
After passing 247 billboards advertising The Thing along Arizona’s I-10 highway, it’s impossible to not stop and find out what it is. While we won’t give it away, rest assured that the “Mystery of the Desert” should remain just that.
Peavy’s Monster Mart
This little souvenir shop/convenience store — with its mural and amateurish cutout in front — pays homage to the Boggy Creek Monster, a Sasquatch-like beast said to have roamed the area since the 1940s.
A trippy, 50ft hill in the California desert that’s been covered in 100,000 gallons of paint, Salvation Mountain’s an art exhibit slash “tribute to God” from artist Leonard Knight. He pretty much spent the better part of 30 years painting born-again biblical messages on the mountain until he passed away last year.
Credit: Flickr/SLV Native
Beer can folk art at its finest, Cano’s Castle is a four-tower chateau made almost entirely of suds cans and scrap metal. Also, heads up: Jesus lives inside. At least according to its architect, Donald “Cano” Espinoza.
Credit: Flickr/Nick Normal
World’s Largest Jack-in-the-Box
Yes, it’s exactly what it looks like: a super creepy, 600lb clown head atop a 50ft grain silo used to advertise Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Center. So, what’s your point?
Fountain of Youth
If only Ponce de Leon and the cast of Cocoon knew this was here all along. Discovered by the Dutch in 1631, it’s long since dried up. Which’s bad news for Steve Guttenberg.
World’s Largest Chicken Wing
Madeira Beach, FL
To be honest, Florida has, like, a million weird things to visit, but who can bypass a thousand-pound chicken wing and the chance to eat at Hooters?
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Mark Harrell
Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue
This mildly unnerving, 13ft statue of a toothy nut was erected by the Indiana Democratic Party to honor the peanut-farmer-turned-presidential hopeful as he campaigned around the Hoosier State during the 1976 campaign. It’s since found its way to Carter’s hometown of Plains, Georgia.
World’s Most Scenic Urinal
At Hawaii’s Hotel Kona, making a pitstop is the main attraction.
Credit: Flickr/Alan Levine
World’s Biggest Beagle
This is actually the Dog Bark Park Inn, a 27ft-tall B&B/Trojan Dog with a single room inside the Beagle’s belly. Even weirder, it’s connected to a park filled with quirky dog paraphernalia created by a self-taught chainsaw artist.
Credit: Flickr/matt northam
World’s Largest Catsup Bottle
The main attraction at the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival, this 65yr-old, 70ft tall water tower is now a regional landmark, and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
World’s Biggest Ball of Paint
Once upon a time this was just a normal baseball… but 40 years and 24,350 coats of paint later, it’s a 4,200-pound ball of paint, and the world’s largest at that.
Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan
Apparently there are six such frying pans scattered around the country, all claiming to be the world’s largest. Built in 2004 to promote the town’s annual Cowboy Breakfast fundraiser, this one’s 14ft tall, weighs 1,020lbs, and can hold around 528 eggs and/or 88 pounds of bacon.
Credit: Flickr/Adam Schweigert
The World’s Largest Ball of Twine
Cawker City, KA
It’s a giant ball of twine.
World’s Largest Baseball Bat
In case you have trouble finding the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, just look for the 120ft-tall, 68,000lb steel replica of Babe Ruth’s bat.
Credit: Flickr/Britt Reints
Nicholas Cage’s Tombs
New Orleans, LA
What’s even weirder than the fact that Nicolas Cage is still making movies is the fact that he has his burial plot already picked out — and it’s a 10ft-tall, National Treasure-esque pyramid inscribed with the phrase “Omnia Ab Uno”, or “Everything From One.”
Credit: Flickr/Amy Meredith
Lenny the Chocolate Moose
Come see 1,700lbs of stale, 18yr-old chocolate shaped like a moose. Then drive up to Freeport and visit the L.L. Bean Store.
God’s Ark of Safety
Let’s hope the world doesn’t flood any time soon, because despite the fact that it was started in 1976, this exact replica of Noah’s Ark (right down to its Biblically outlined specs) is still nothing more than a steel and concrete skeleton on the side of the interstate. Who knows, maybe the dude who built it will get inspired by last year’s Russell Crowe movie.
Credit: Flickr/Casey Bisson
The Paper House
In 1922, Ellis Stenman wanted to see if he could insulate his summer house with newspaper. Somehow, the experiment turned into a full-fledged obsession, and he ended up using 100,000 newspapers to actually build it — at least everything but the roof, floors, and frame.
The (Former) World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan
In 1976, this 17,420lb pan was used by local businesses to bake the “World’s Largest Cherry Pie.” Unfortunately for Charlevoix, though, the neighboring town of Traverse City said “not so fast,” and in 1987 unveiled an even bigger — if you can believe it — cherry pie pan.
Giant Pepsi Can
Waite Park, MN
Okay, so “giant” might be a slight exaggeration. But the only thing more disappointing then making a pit stop to see this large soda can in the middle of a parking lot is hearing the waitress say, “We don’t serve Coke, Pepsi alright?”
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Source: Huff Post