13 Must-See Roadside Attractions in America

If you’ve ever gone on a road trip, chances are you’ve driven past a few unusual tourist attractions. And if you’ve stopped to take a look, you know they can range from odd to completely outrageous. Below, check out our list of 13 wacky ones worth seeing, including a museum devoted to toilet seat art and the world’s largest hammock. Bizarre? Yes. But they’re certainly a welcome change of scenery as well as a great excuse to pull over and stretch your legs.

1. Wee’l Turtle

The giant turtle on the side of Century Avenue in Dunseith, North Dakota, was erected in 1982 to pay homage to the nearby Turtle Mountain State Park. The 18-foot-tall tortoise was built from 2,000 old wheel rims, and has been known to sport a festive Santa hat during the holidays. Address: Junction of Highways 3, 5 and 281, Dunseith, North Dakota


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2. Forbidden Gardens

If you long to see Beijing’s Forbidden City but can’t afford a trip to China, experience the next-best thing, the Forbidden Gardens. Privately funded by a Hong Kong native, the attraction includes a 1:20 scale of the Forbidden City; a scale model of Suzhou (dubbed the Venice of China); and a 1:3-scale model of the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, complete with his terra-cotta army of 6,000 soldiers. Address: 23500 Franz Road, Katy, Texas


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3. Jell-O Museum/Gallery

In 1897, a carpenter named Pearle Wait created America’s favorite dessert in Le Roy, New York: J-E-L-L-O. Today, the town honors him with a museum offering a detailed history of his invention, with trivia, past recipes and vintage advertising memorabilia. Its latest claim to fame? Longtime Jell-O spokesman Bill Cosby’s 2004 visit. Address: 23 East Main Street, Le Roy, New York


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4. Leaning Tower of Niles

Built in 1934, this smaller version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was erected by Robert Ilg to hide an unsightly water tower. Only half as tall (94 feet to Pisa’s 177 feet) and half as leaning (7.4 feet off vertical versus the original’s 15-foot lean), the monument was later donated to a nearby YMCA and includes a plaque at its base in honor of the famous scientist Galileo Galilei, of whom Ilg was a fan. Address: 6300 Touhy Avenue, Niles, Illinois


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5. The Beer Can House

In 1968, John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer, began a very unique home improvement project; he started by inlaying marbles, rocks and metal pieces to replace the grass in his yard, then moved on to adding aluminum beer can siding to the exterior of his house. Now the home is completely encrusted in an estimated 50,000 beer cans and open to the public for viewing. Address: 222 Malone Street, Houston, Texas


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6. Oregon Vortex

A world of paranormal activity awaits you at the Oregon Vortex, a spherical field of force that temporarily suspends the laws of physics. What exactly does that mean? At this tourist destination—open to the public since 1930––you can see brooms standing on end, balls rolling uphill and people appearing shorter or taller than they actually are. Address: 4303 Sardine Creek L Fork Road, Gold Hill, Oregon


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7. World’s Largest Hammock

Off North Carolina’s Route 158 sits a hammock suitable for any giant-sized napper. The 42-foot-long lounger is made from about 10,000 feet of rope and can support up to 8,000 pounds, making it perfect for kicking back en masse. Address: 8887 Caratoke Highway, Point Harbor, North Carolina


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8. Cadillac Ranch

This installation art, which features 10 graffiti-covered cars that look like they took a nosedive into the soil, was developed in 1974 by millionaire Stanley Marsh III and a trio of architects. If you’re planning to be in the area, be sure to pack a can of spray paint: Visitors are encouraged to add their own artistic adornments to the vehicles. Address: I-40, Amarillo, Texas


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9. Weeki Wachee Springs

In 1947, Newton Perry opened the first mermaid show at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs. An 18-seat underwater theater was built six feet below the surface so visitors can watch the underwater shows, which include renditions of The Little Mermaid as well as the complete history of Weeki Wachee Springs. Address: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, Florida


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10. Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Museum

Artist Barney Smith, a retired plumber, has been named “The King of the Thrones” thanks to his very unusual canvases. Proving that plumbing can be an art, his passion is painting and decorating toilet seats, which he displays in his Texas garage. You’ll find toilet seats decorated to commemorate Super Bowl victories, one emblazoned with license plates and others painted to depict his travels. Address: 239 Abiso Avenue, San Antonio, Texas


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11. Largest Ball of Stamps

Nebraska’s Boys Town Stamp Collecting Club put other philatelists (a.k.a. stamp collectors) to shame with their mammoth ball of stamps. Located in The Leon Myers Stamp Center, the 600-pound, 32-inch-diameter postage globe is composed of approximately 4,655,000 stamps. Address: 13628 Flanagan Boulevard, Boys Town, Nebraska


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12. World’s Smallest Church

On a wooden dock in a pond near Syracuse, New York, sits a teeny-tiny church. The pint-sized house of worship was built in 1989, and is just 3 feet by 6 feet and has only two seats. There are no regular services, but Cross Island Chapel is available for special occasions, like a 1990 wedding in which guests had to sit in boats outdoors. Address: Sconondoa Road, Oneida, New York


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13. Foamhenge

In Natural Bridge, Virginia, artist Mark Cline built an exact replica of the popular British monument, Stonehenge, entirely of Styrofoam. He even placed the “stones” in their exact astronomical positions. Address: Route 11, Natural Bridge, Virginia


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