Road trips are a great way to see more of the United States, and roadside attractions have long offered travelers entertaining and memorable stops will on the road! If you’re planning a trip to or through the midwest, here’s 10 such attractions you’ll want to check out!
1. Polka Dot Drive In
Located along Route 66 in Illinois, the Polka Dot Drive-in is a quirky, retro roadside diner. The drive-in features statues of classic pop culture icons such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. They offer classic American fares such as burgers and fries, and are currently open for both dine-in and takeout meals!
2. Matchstick Marvels Museum
This museum features replicas of planes, buildings, and more with a unique twist: they’re made of matchsticks! This museum is home to some of the world’s most intricate matchstick sculptures. Masks are currently required when inside the museum.
3. The Blue Whale (Oklahoma)
The Blue Whale is a well-known, classic roadside attraction located on the side of route 66. Built in the 1970s by Hugh Davis as a gift to his wife, the Blue Whale quickly became a well-loved attraction. The whale’s popularity skyrocketed after its creation, and the area surrounding was at one point a park and picnic area. Following Davis’s passing, the park and statue fell into disrepair. Luckily, the whale was restored in the early 2010s and is now once again a notable attraction to visit.
4. SPAM Museum (Minnesota)
Regardless of whether or not you find SPAM appetizing, this quirky museum is worth a visit! The SPAM Museum is located in downtown Austin, Minnesota. It chronicles all things SPAM, from the history of the canned meat to interesting facts. The museum is currently open to the public with free admission.
5. National Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Fame
If you find yourself traveling through Wisconsin, you might want to check out the National Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Fame. This attraction features history and information about freshwater sportfishing and has been called one of the best Hall of Fame’s in the country. The crown jewel hails back to the roadside attraction staple that is giant statues – it is a 45-foot long fish sculpture with a viewing deck in its mouth.
6. World’s Largest Easel (Kansas)
Roadside attractions are almost synonymous with giant, eccentric sculptures, and the World’s Largest Easel is the perfect example of that. Located in Goodland, Kansas, this attraction is an 80-foot high easel featuring a print of one of Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings!
7. Enchanted Highway (North Dakota)
This roadside attraction is literally on the side of the road! The enchanted highway is a 32 mile stretch of road that features whimsical metal sculptures alongside it. To get to this county highway, you’ll want to take exit 72 from I-94. If you continue down the Enchanted Highway for its full 32-mile stretch, you’ll come upon the small town of Regent. You can also turn around at any point, making the length of this detour entirely up to you.
8. Center of the Nation Monument (South Dakota)
Stand in the geological center of the United States with a stop to this roadside attraction! Located in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, this stop features a monument marking the center of the country.
9. Future Birth Place Of Captain Kirk (Iowa)
Here’s one Star Trek fans will love! This roadside attraction in Riverside, Iowa features a sign marking the birthplace of Captain James Kirk – several hundred years in the future.
10. House On The Rock (Wisconsin)
American Gods fans may recognize this one! House On The Rock was featured in an episode of the hit TV series. This unique, sprawling spot features a variety of sculptures, gardens, and shops. Opened in 1960, you can look forward to one-of-a-kind attractions such as a recreation of a 20th-century American town or a gigantic indoor carousel.
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