There’s nothing better on a road trip than stopping at unusual roadside attractions. Whether you planned it ahead of time or stopped spontaneously, these experiences are where road trip memories are made. It’s also where you’ll get some of the best photos.
From oversized items or art installations on the side of the road to weird and funky stores, gas stations, and museums, this post will give you ideas for some fun roadside attractions to visit on your next RV camping trip!
Legend of Bigfoot Store
If you are a Bigfoot fanatic, you’re going to LOVE this store, hidden up in Garberville, California. Located off of Highway 101 in the Avenue of the Giants, you’ll find anything and everything for Bigfoot-themed merchandise. There are Bigfoot signs, chainsaw carvings, stuffed animals, and even Bigfoot apparel. It’s a great place to browse and pick up some souvenirs from your vacation.
If you’re passing through Fairfield, California, you have to stop at the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean factory. Take a self-guided factory tour to see the behind the scenes of making jelly beans. Then, make a bag full of all your favorite jellybean flavors.
If you’re feeling adventurous, pick up a box of BeanBoozled Jelly Beans. Is it caramel flavored or ear wax? You won’t know until you taste it.
New Mexico has some very interesting roadside attractions and this exhibit is no exception. Tinkertown, in Sandia Park, New Mexico, is one man’s life work of elaborate handmade dioramas of Old West scenes. You’ll also find the most interesting assortment of gift shop items and toys that you’ll probably ever come across. Don’t forget to visit the hall of antique toys and dolls. Just maybe don’t go in there alone.
Insider tip… if you know the “Fifty Nifty United States” song and you’re willing to sing it to whoever is in the gift shop, you just might get a special prize.
Note – parking at this location is limited. There is parking along the road, but you may want to take your tow car here instead of the RV.
I’m not even quite sure where to start with the awesomeness that is Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Just look at this photo. Do you know what that is? Space worms? You’ll never know for sure. That’s Meow Wolf.
It’s an art installation with an inter-dimensional mystery to solve. Inside the building, there is a house and you have to follow the clues to discover what happened to the family who lived there. The house has been partially ripped into another dimension and you access these worlds through various places in the house, like walking through the fridge, crawling through the fireplace, and sliding down the dryer.
There are creatures coming out of the ceiling, art installations that make music, and a whole lot of things in places they don’t normally go. It’s one of the coolest things I have ever seen. You just have to go see it. Spend a few hours exploring around and taking pictures. You’ll need proof just to show other people how crazy it really was.
If you’re passing through Amarillo, Texas, you have to stop at Cadillac Ranch. It’s a bunch of cars sticking out of the ground off Interstate 40. You can’t miss it. Bring some cans of spray paint to write your own message on the cars, or find some laying on the ground. It’s always great for photo opportunities, just make sure you read any text you are standing in front of before you take your photos. It could be Ray + Katie Forever, or it could be something not so sweet.
While you’re in Amarillo, stop in for dinner at the Big Tex Steakhouse. It’s home to the famous 72 oz. steak dinner eating competition. If you’re lucky, you just might get to see a competition in action. In one hour, contestants must finish a 72 oz. steak, a baked potato, a shrimp cocktail, a salad, and a bread roll. If they can finish all of this in an hour, and keep it down, their dinner is free. Plus, you get a free t-shirt and your name up on the wall. It’s definitely an impressive feat.
The food is also really great. I preferred to casually enjoy my much smaller steak dinner and watch others eat uncomfortable amounts of food. You can also buy homemade fudge and take pictures with various interesting objects and attractions around the venue. The Amarillo RV Ranch will shuttle you to the restaurant in a limo with longhorns on the front. I recommend this for the full experience.
While you’re passing through Texas, you’ll probably see some large billboards advertising Buc-ee’s gas stations. Buc-ee’s gas stations are HUGE. It’s like if DisneyWorld were a gas station in TX and the mascot was a beaver. That’s Buc-ee’s. They always have clean restrooms and plenty of snacks. Try the BBQ sandwiches and the Beaver Nuggets.
Here’s a Texas roadside attraction out in the middle of nowhere. Off Highway 90, about 26 miles from Marfa, TX, you’ll find a lone art installation of a Prada storefront. Why is it there? Because it can be.
My last roadside attraction recommendation is up in Branson, Missouri, which I have dubbed the unofficial mini golf capital of the U.S. Seriously, there has to be at least 10 different themed courses. My absolute favorite is the Bigfoot Fun Park. It could be because I’m a Bigfoot fanatic, or just because this place is awesome!
Stop in for some Bigfoot-themed mini golf and learn about bigfoot’s cousins, the Yeti and Yucca Man. Then, play around on the three-story jungle gym/maze. Top it off with some Bigfoot-themed arcade games and maybe even a Bigfoot expedition. Who knows… maybe you’ll even find Bigfoot? I’d be a bit concerned if you didn’t. I mean… he’s kind of all over this place.
What roadside attractions have you found on your RV camping trip adventures? Tell us below!