The Strangest Roadside Attraction in Every State
As you travel our great country to see some of its most beautiful sights, don't miss these offbeat attractions you'll find along the sides of roads and just off the interstates around the United States.
Hawaii: St. Benedict's Painted Church
Built in 1899 and overlooking Kealakekua Bay, St. Benedict's Painted Church on the Big Island of Hawaii is known for its beautiful interior Christian paintings by Father John Velghe, who had no formal artistic training. Because few Hawaiians could read at that time, he used his paintings to teach through pictures. Find out which Hawaiian island is the best for visitors.
Idaho: The Spud Drive-In Theater
Why wouldn't you find a drive-in named after potatoes in a state known for its great spuds?! At the Spud Drive-in Theater in Driggs, a potato-farming region of Idaho, visitors are greeted by a giant potato on the back of a 1946 Chevrolet truck. Built in 1953, the drive-in shows feature films on Fridays and Saturdays.
Illinois: Abe Lincoln Rail Splitter Statue
It's no surprise to find a statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in the city of Springfield, Illinois, where he lived, raised his children, and was buried. But this one is 30 feet tall (even taller than the 19-foot statue at the Lincoln Memorial) and he's carved without his iconic beard. This clean-shaven version of a young Lincoln stands at Gate 1 of the Illinois State Fairgrounds built in 1968 is named "The Rail Splitter". Geography buff? See if you can ace this U.S. state capital quiz.
Indiana: World's Largest Paint Ball
At this fun roadside attraction in Alexandria, visitors can add their own coat of paint to the world's largest paintball. What started as a regular-size baseball now weighs more than 4,000 pounds and has some 23,000 layers of paint. Mike and Glenda Carmichael of Alexandria started the project more than 40 years ago, and since then, it's been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Iowa: World's Largest Swedish Coffee Pot
Who wouldn't want to get their photo taken next to the world's largest Swedish coffee pot? This former water tower in Stanton is now painted with decorative flowers and hearts and could hold 800,000 cups of coffee. One more tie to coffee for this town: The actress who played Mrs. Olson in Folgers® coffee commercials happens to be from Stanton. Find out the strangest food laws in every state.
Kansas: World's Largest Ball of Twine
Check seeing the world's largest ball of twine off your list with a stop in Cawker City, Kansas. This 19,000-pound ball with more than 8 million feet of twine uses only sisal twine, typically used to hold together bales of hay. A local farmer created the ball in 1953 as a way to use his extra twine, and today, visitors can add to the ball with provided pre-weighed twine. You'll find this attraction along Highway 24.
Kentucky: The Big Bone Lick Museum
Big Bone Lick State Historic Park in Union, Kentucky was once covered in swamps, which attracted ancient animals, including bison, giant mammoths, and mastodons. Bones of these animals were well-preserved, and visitors can now see them at the museum on the grounds, as well as life-sized replicas of the historic creatures.
Louisiana: Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras World in New Orleans gives visitors an inside look at what it takes to put on the massive festival of Mardi Gras. The tour includes a visit through Blaine Kern Studios, an operating workshop that has been creating Mardi Gras parade floats since 1947. Be sure to bring your phone for plenty of selfie opportunities in front of floats or even wearing a Mardi Gras costume.
Maine: Paul Bunyon Statue
Once the lumber capital of the world, Bangor is home to a statue of one of the most famous lumberjacks, Paul Bunyan. The 31 foot-tall statue on the city's Main Street may be the largest of Bunyan in the world. The statue even made a cameo in Stephen King's novel, IT, when it came to life. Speaking of things-that-send-a-chill-up-your-spine, don't miss the creepiest urban legend by state.
Maryland: War Correspondent's Arch
If you're hiking the Appalachian Trail through Maryland, you can't miss the imposing War Correspondent's Arch, a National Historic Monument built in 1896. The 50-foot tall arch is located in Gathland State Park in Burkittsville, which was the former home of a Civil War journalist, and it serves as the only memorial in the world dedicated to journalists who have died while covering war.