Take a detour for roadside attractions

Take a detour for roadside attractions

~ Carmen

The biggest ball of string, the tallest pine tree, a grave marker in front of a courthouse for a departed squirrel.  Any of these attractions peak your interest?  I must admit, that in the past I wouldn’t have slowed down, better yet, driven out of the way to see such sites.  The love of the unusual came with my starting a relationship with Joe.  He is so enamored with roadside attractions, I’m surprised he didn’t require it our wedding vows:

I, Carmen, take you Joe, to see the largest statue of Popeye, in downpours and in gale-force winds, for twenty miles out of the way or a two mile hike, as long as we both shall live.

Roadside Attractions

He’s Popeye the Sailor Man!

Now nine years later, I must admit that I am the one researching oddities along our treks.  After doing thorough research (I asked a couple of people), I have concluded that seeking out roadside attractions can lead to a more satisfying vacation, happier marriage, and longer, more joyful life.  Not possible!  You say?

Tis true, and I’ll show you why!

Biggest, Tallest, Weirdest: Take a Detour for Roadside Attractions

A More Satisfying Vacation

Roadside attractions usually don’t have a sign directing you to its destination.  This isn’t like Disney World where beacon lights scream out at you, “THIS WAY TO THE EXPENSIVE HAPPINESS!”  Sometimes the journey to find the attraction turns into a quest itself.  The directions on websites are sometimes as vague as north of the courthouse unless they’ve moved it.  So you circle the block four times, doing a quick u-turn when no one is looking, and then you search every flower planter in a mile radius until the Holy Grail has been found!  

Squirrel Marker

Grave marker in Tyler, Texas dedicated to “Shorty”

Finding these out of the way little gems definitely gives your vacation purpose.  A bonus is that your vacation pictures will be very different compared to everyone else’s, leading to lots of “likes”.

Nice sunset, but do you have a picture of a huge ketchup bottle or watermelon?  

Try beating that!

Big and tall roadside attractions

Big and tall roadside attractions

 A Happier Marriage

One of the biggest causes of divorce is financial stress.  Roadside attractions are usually free!  You think there would be an entrance fee to see where Arkansas and Texas meet in the middle of Texarkana, but the good people of both states thought everyone should have the pleasure of standing (or jumping) from one state to another for free!

Click play to see Joe jumping from Arkansas to Texas

Joe and I love to eat!  Finding unique or really big foods gives us an activity to share and really good food to talk about.  When you go to the catfish capital of the world or find the little cafe in San Antonio that serves a three-pound cinnamon roll, your marriage magically grows stronger!

Lulu's Bakery

A Longer, More Joyful Life

I’m sure there is some government report somewhere about how travel keeps you young at heart or when you put yourself in new situations, your brain has to adapt and grow.  I’m going to lump the visiting of roadside attractions into all of those studies.  When I see the tallest pine tree in North America, my brain goes, Wow!  How does it keep from falling over?

Tallest Tree


The weird or really big roadside attractions can’t help but put a smile on one’s face.  Seeing something unexpected is what travel is all about.  No one expects to see Stonehenge II; Easter Island while driving through Texas or a rest stop of oil derricks maybe, but not replicas of famous monoliths.

Roadside Attractions

Biggest, Tallest, Weirdest


Just finding all of these pictures for this post has put a grin on my face.  

I feel younger already!

Roadside Attractions

Funny Town Names


Seattle's Gum Wall

Seattle’s Gum Wall


Cobain Bench

Kurt Cobain’s Memorial Park Bench–Don’t I look like a rebellious suburban mom?


bikes on barn

Bikes on a Barn, Karnack, Texas


All of these attractions can be found using Roadside America.  A word of caution, some of the sites listed on the Roadside America website have been moved or taken down.

So what is the biggest, tallest, or weirdest roadside attraction you have seen?  We’d love to hear about it by commenting below.  Want to keep up to date on our adventures?  Sign up for our weekly newsletter (no spam) and/or follow us on social media.

~ Carmen


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