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10 Weirdest Roadside Tourist Traps in America (Slideshow)

10 Weirdest Roadside Tourist Traps in America (Slideshow)


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On your next cross-country trip, keep your eyes on the road — but also keep them peeled for these 10 weird attractions

America’s Tiniest Town, PhinDeli Town Buford, Wyo.

Area 51 Alien Travel Center, Amargosa Valley, Nev.

Interested in aliens? Curious about military technology? A staunch conspiracy theorist? The Area 51 Alien Travel Center is only 80 minutes (88 miles) from Las Vegas at the intersection of US-95 and NV-373. It offers plenty of souvenirs, corny photo ops, a restaurant, and even a legal, alien-themed brothel (owned by Dennis Hof of the famous Bunny Ranch).

Click here for seven additional day trips from Las Vegas.

Of course, the real Area 51 is out in the desert as well, but you should not, under any circumstances, attempt to visit or get anywhere near it. The base is still a 100-percent restricted area, with no trespassing or photography allowed. Guards have a license to use deadly force to protect and defend the location. (Editor’s Note: It gives “tourist trap” a whole new meaning!)

God’s Ark of Safety, Frostburg, Md.

If you’re curious to witness the construction of a full-scale Noah’s Ark replica, pull off I-68 in Maryland at Exit 34 and check out God’s Ark of Safety. Once completed, it will measure 450 feet by 75 feet by 45 feet — or about the length of one-and-a-half football fields. Better hurry though; the project was started in 1976 and they’ve already got the frame up!

Why is Maryland crab so tasty? Click here for the answer.

Despite the slow progress, visitors from all over the world have stopped by, and the project has been featured in People Magazine, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, along with appearances on the BBC and NBC News.

Hole N” The Rock, Moab, Utah

This might be the only attraction on this list that won’t disappoint visitors. After all, if you were interested enough to stop at something called “Hole N” The Rock” in the first place, you’ll probably be tickled pink to find out that the attraction off US-191 in southwestern Utah also includes an “exotic” zoo (featuring zebras, bison, and a camel); a collection of antique tools, vintage neon signs, mining equipment, metal sculptures, and unusual time era pieces; a trading post offering locally made Native America gifts; a general store; and, of course, a souvenir shop. And this is in addition to the 12-minute guided tours of the world-famous Hole N” the Rock House!

Since there’s no way you’ll be able to experience all the excitement in one day, consider a stay at Moab’s Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa.

Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail, Weldon Spring, Mo.

When people want to hike a trail, it’s generally because they want to enjoy undisturbed and scenic natural landscapes. When the trail is a bunch of stones thrown on top of 1.48 million cubic yards of U.S. government nuclear waste, it kind of leaves a sour taste in your mouth… and radiation in your entire body. OK, to be fair, in 2002, the government deemed the radiation levels low enough for the site (officially called “Weldon Spring”) to open to the public, but that doesn’t change the weirdness of this attraction — which also includes an informative visitor center. In fact, allowing civilian tourists to visit it makes the whole thing even weirder.

Speaking of getting things you didn’t ask for, this Missouri Sonic Drive-In gives out free Bible verses with every order.

South of the Border, Hamer, S.C.

When I was a kid, every year my family made the trip from New York down south via I-95. My brother and I eagerly counted down the miles to South of the Border resort and tourist attraction with help from the endless number of billboards that marked the remaining distance. “Only one more mile!” my father would say as we saw the park emerging in the distance, giant sombrero tower and all. Then, just as we got to the off-ramp, my father would gun the engine and fly by, continuing on to Florida, our true destination. As much as my brother and I wanted to stop each and every year, it turns out Dad was doing us a favor. South of the Border, despite its flashy signs, is the ultimate definition of a tourist trap. This 350-acre resort is devoid of anything that could actually qualify as “amusement” (save for the two mini-golf courses, perhaps), instead featuring some dinky rides at “Pedroland Park,” a mediocre “reptile lagoon,” a sketchy-looking motel, and a whole bunch of souvenir shops and empty parking spaces. South of the Border has made some strides in recent years to attain some sort of legitimacy with numerous updates, but we (and most Yelp reviewers) still feel like Pedro, the Mexican man mascot, is deceiving us all.

Skip the “authentic” cuisine here, and instead visit one of America’s 50 best Mexican restaurants.

The Thing, Dragoon, Ariz.

“The Thing” is the roadside tourist trap equivalent of clickbait. The 247 signs and billboards along I-10 between El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona, don’t even attempt to tell you what The Thing actually is, instead choosing to string you (or, more likely, your kids) along until curiosity takes control and you find yourself pulling into the parking lot. We won’t spill the beans on the exact identity of The Thing (you’ll have to fork over $2 like the rest of us!) but we’ll at least note that it was made by the “King of Gaffes,” Homer Tate, back in the mid-twentieth century, and thus is likely not authentic in any way. But hey, at least there’s a Shell station and a Dairy Queen flanking the attraction. After driving through the desert for several hours, you could probably use some gas and a Blizzard.

Click here for 10 things you didn’t know about Dairy Queen.

UFO Landing Port, Poland, Wis.

Off WI-29 (which is off of I-43) just outside of Green Bay, you’ll see signs for Bob Tohak’s “UFO Landing Port.” Considering the fact that U.S. law apparently prohibits contact with extraterrestrials (suspicious, to say the least), it’s probably best that we have some sort of welcome mat laid out for possible visitors. In fact, Tohak says people have suggested he petition the president to make him our spokesman to the arriving aliens. Not a bad idea, considering the fact that his Landing Port project could use a little funding. If travelers from another world stop by and have to land their ultra-advanced, intergalactic spaceships on a questionable-looking piece of scaffolding atop a 42-foot-long fuel tank, we’ll all be a bit red in the face. It’s also probably insulting to our new friends that we pompously assume they look like humanoid creatures — but that’s not old Bob’s fault (even though he’s displaying the signs). Considering the lack of other landing site options, we’ll still give him an “A” for effort.

These Wisconsin “cheese pirates” recently made off with 20,000 pounds of cheese.

World’s Largest Ball of Paint, Alexandria, Ind.

Ever want to see a baseball covered in paint? What if it was covered in more than 25,000 coats of paint? Yeah, we’re not that interested either, but that hasn’t stopped people from all over the country and world from stopping by the World’s Largest Ball of Paint off I-69 in Indiana. To the owner’s credit, they actually have a neat little gimmick going, where visitors can paint a layer on the giant ball (which, after 40 years, looks to be about 5 feet in diameter) and receive a certificate specifying which layer they painted. Some celebrities have even stopped by!

When in Indiana, be sure to buy a bacon-scented lottery ticket.

World’s Largest Ball of Stamps, Boys Town, Neb.

If you happen to find yourself rumbling through Omaha, you can take a detour off I-680 and check out the World’s Largest Ball of Stamps. Comprising more than 4,655,000 stamps, the 32-inch-wide, 600-pound ball was assembled by the Boys Town Stamp Collecting Club in 1953. Interestingly, the ball only took about two years to reach its current size (probably because the club’s members weren’t distracted with spouses or dating), with nothing added since. Unlike most attractions, visitors are free to touch the rare, record-setting object — just don’t try to remove or add any stamps.

Click here to check out some of the legendary chefs that have been featured on stamps.


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su


Kitschiest Roadside Attractions in America

The landscape blurs as you drive Interstate 80 straight through Nebraska. Then suddenly you do a double take. Right in front of you is an old-timey Western trading post, sitting in the shadow of a 30-foot-tall cutout of Buffalo Bill.

It just wouldn&rsquot be a great American road trip without kitschy roadside attractions like the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte. Some of the earliest got their start in the 1920s, when the birth of the U.S. highway system set off a building boom. Drivers had to stop to refuel or rest, after all, and enterprising businessmen were eager to dream up attractions that would meet their needs and liven up life on the road.

Sometimes the winning concept started small. Wall Drug, now a world-famous attraction in rural South Dakota, was on the verge of closing in 1936 when founder Ted Hustead&rsquos wife suggested advertising free ice water. At the time, every drugstore gave away ice water, but adding a sign was enough to attract droves of customers. Wall Drug eventually added thousands more signs and a giant animatronic T. rex, expanding from a pharmacy into a mall and theme park.

&ldquoA big part of roadside attractions is making the biggest whatever. People take this really seriously,&rdquo says Mark Sedenquist, who founded RoadTrip America with his wife, Megan Edwards. After they lost their home in a 1993 wildfire, they embarked on an epic drive that lasted more than six years and inspired their chronicles of roadside attractions.

These days, it&rsquos never been easier to locate kitschy roadside attractions, thanks to GPS devices and dedicated websites. Even if you know what&rsquos coming, it can&rsquot ruin the cheap thrill and nostalgic appeal of braking at a corn palace.

And there&rsquos always a souvenir to take home. Doug Kirby remembers being so fascinated by the petrified wood he got at Wall Drug as a boy that he lugged it around for his entire vacation. As an adult, he founded the website Roadside America, which covers more than 9,000 oddball attractions.

&ldquoSome people visit these places to make fun of them,&rdquo admits Kirby, &ldquobut you know you like them deep down.&rdquo &mdashJessica Su



Comments:

  1. Tomas

    Duly topic

  2. Lucio

    This brilliant idea just engraved



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