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Lucy the Elephant in New Jersey, one of the USA's roadside sculptures

New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin

7 Quirky Roadside Attractions in the USA

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  • States:
    New Jersey
    North Dakota
    Oregon
    Texas
    Virginia
    Wisconsin

When road tripping through the USA keep your eyes on the lookout for quirky roadside attractions.

Here are seven of the quirkiest spots to visit that will keep your drive interesting and weird.

1. Salem Sue, North Dakota

All the repetitiveness of the farmland and cattle landscape in North Dakota means you’ll be even more excited when you spot one specific member of the cattle drive from Interstate 94: Salem Sue. Built in 1940, Salem Sue is the world’s largest Holstein cow and was constructed in honor of the local dairy industry in New Salem. Salem Sue stands 11.6 meters tall and is surprisingly lifelike, thanks to veins on her underbelly and pink udders just begging for a milking camera shot.

Salem Sue off Interstate 94 near New Salem, North Dakota

Salem Sue off Interstate 94 near New Salem, North Dakota
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2. Enchanted Highway, North Dakota

Drive to the Enchanted Highway in Gladstone off I-94. Before you get visions of fairies and wizards and tree-lined magical forests, remember: This is North Dakota. The terrain along the Enchanted Highway is still flat and brown, but it is spotted with a giant metal grasshopper, geese in flight, deer silhouettes, leaping fish, giant pheasants, a tin family and even a glimpse of Teddy Roosevelt riding in a carriage.

Grounded boat and leaping fish near Gladstone, North Dakota

Grounded boat and leaping fish near Gladstone, North Dakota
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3. Cadillac Ranch, Texas

Standing against the Amarillo, Texas, sky like tombstones gone colorfully wrong, the sight of Cadillac Ranch is a head-scratcher. You might be torn on what’s more puzzling: that someone thought it would be a good idea to paint a plethora of Cadillacs in psychedelic colors and plant them hood first into the earth, or that you find yourself surprisingly mesmerized by the eclectic art.

Brightly painted Cadillacs lined up at Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas

Brightly painted Cadillacs lined up at Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas
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4. Foamhenge, Virginia

The aptly titled work of art is a perfectly constructed copycat of the ancient Stonehenge right down to astronomical placement, but instead of being made out of stone, it is created out of – you guessed it – foam. Find the artwork at its new home at Cox Farms near Centreville in Fairfax County, Virginia, where it was moved in 2017 after being in Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County since 2004.

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5. UFO Landing Port, Wisconsin

The reason ET hasn’t been back to visit has nothing to do with lack of landing space for his spaceship. The family of Tohak and Son Welding in Wisconsin made sure of that by creating a UFO Landing Port out of an empty fuel tank and decorating it with stars and martians. It’s an interesting stop along Highway 29, southeast of Green Bay, and may have you leaving it wondering who else is out there in the universe and if they would really choose to land in Poland, Wisconsin.

Giant pheasant sculptures along the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

Giant pheasant sculptures along the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota
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6. Lucy the Elephant, New Jersey

Lucy the Elephant in Margate City, New Jersey, isn’t your average animal statue. She was originally built in 1881 to serve as an office of a real estate developer, followed by her serving as a home and a bar. Today, Lucy the Elephant is open to the public and you can walk around her cavernous belly and soak in views of the Atlantic Ocean while atop her back.

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7. Largest Pig Hairball, Oregon

At Mount Angel Abbey Museum off of I-5 in St. Benedict, Oregon, you’ll find a collection of objects. The Benedictine Monks who live at the neighboring monastery and run the museum describe this collection as eccentric. Most people will probably come up with another adjective to describe the museum’s most famous artifact: gross. Why? Because it’s the world’s largest pig hairball and is as big as a football. Enough said. 

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