9 Completely Harebrained Roadside Attractions in America

Here are some ideas for planning your next big road trip.

When you’re out on a road trip, the road is only half the trip. The rest is made of all the things you do and see along the ride.

On a longer trip, though, the museums, beaches, and restaurants may start to get old. You might find yourself craving for something else.

Something weirder.

Lucky for you, the U.S. is chock-full of completely bizarre sights for you to gawk at. You just have to know where to find them.

Here’s a sampler of nine utterly mind-boggling roadside attractions in America.

1. Coral Castle

Coral Castle is a strange collection of huge limestone monuments located outside Homestead, Florida. They were erected between 1923 and 1951 by Ed Leedskalnin, an eccentric immigrant from Latvia after his fiancée left him.

The thing is, Leedskalnin supposedly set up the stones, some weighing thousands of tons, all on his own without so much as mortar. No one’s quite sure how he did it, with theories ranging from strange use of magnets to supernatural powers.

Among the carved stones are an accurate sundial, a crescent moon, and a fountain. It’s a mysterious testament to one man’s heartbreak.

2. Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue

No matter what your feelings are regarding President Jimmy Carter, you probably don’t picture him as a giant grinning peanut. But that’s what the town of Plains, Georgia, erected to help Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign.

The 13-foot-tall peanut’s toothy grin is supposedly modeled after Carter’s smile. He doesn’t see the resemblance, as the ex-President reportedly loathes the peanut.

Yet, it still stands in Plains today and is maintained regularly to preserve its happy smile. Fun fact, this is the world’s second-largest peanut — the biggest is located in nearby Ashburn, Georgia.

3. World’s Largest Ball of Paint

The world’s largest ball of paint in Alexandria, Indiana, had humble beginnings. When it was hung up in 1977, it was about the size of a baseball.

Today, the ball measures more than 14 feet in diameter and weighs 10,260 pounds. The original baseball at its heart is now covered by nearly 30,000 coats of paint.

And the best part is that you can add your own. There are paint rollers and latex paint available so visitors can leave their mark on the giant gonad-looking ball.

4. Longaberger Company Headquarters

The Longaberger Company, founded in 1973, manufactured handcrafted baskets — the kinds a cartoon character would take to a picnic. In the early ‘90s, the company decided it needed a new headquarters in Newark, Ohio.

So, it built a giant basket. Literally. The Longaberger Company’s previous head office building is shaped like one of its baskets.

Sadly, the Longaberger Company folded in 2018 and abandoned its headquarters two years prior. The giant basket is such a beloved local sight, though, that Newark is working to get it listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

5. Birthplace of Captain Kirk

It’s not unusual to see a dead famous person’s birth home become a historical attraction. But what about the birth home of a person who hasn’t been born yet?

Or doesn’t even exist?

Nonetheless, a plaque in Riverside, Iowa, proclaims the town is (or will be) the birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk of Star Trek fame. That said, he won’t be born until March 22, 2228, so you’ll have plenty of time to browse the local Star Trek museum while waiting for the momentous occasion.

6. William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History

We had to include one museum on this list. This one will be particularly memorable for making everybody visiting cringe.

The William P. Didusch Center in Linthicum, Maryland, highlights the history of urology — that is, the science of treating problems with the urinary tract. The museum’s main collection includes hundreds of (often extremely mean-looking) instruments and tools for insertion into holes where you don’t want to insert anything.

At least you’ll have a lot to talk about once you get back in the car. After you’ve sat in horrified silence for several miles, that is.

7. Chicken Farmer Rock

In the 1970s, an unidentified individual painted the words “CHICKEN FARMER I LOVE YOU” on a rock near Newbury, New Hampshire. A rumor says the graffiti artist was a young boy madly in love with a girl from a chicken farm, but no one knows for sure.

As soon as it appeared, the text warmed the local’s hearts and they’ve kept the paint fresh ever since. That is, until someone took offense in 2011 and asked the local DOT to remove the text.

But the power of love overcomes all. The graffiti soon re-appeared on the rock — only, it now reads “CHICKEN FARMER I STILL LOVE YOU.”

8. Lucy the Elephant

New Jersey isn’t exactly known for its elephants. But that just makes Lucy even more special.

Lucy the Elephant is a 65-foot-tall wooden elephant in Atlantic City. It was built in 1881 to, you would never guess, attract land buyers to the area.

We suppose the plan worked because Lucy is still there today. Over the years, she has functioned as a hotel, beach cottage, private home, and bar.

9. The Big Duck

If New Jersey gets a giant animal, New York wants one, too. Theirs is the Big Duck, a giant concrete quacker in the town of Flanders on Long Island.

Local duck rancher Martin Maurer built the Big Duck in 1930. He had seen a coffee shop advertised with a giant pot of coffee, so he figured the marketing plan would work for his ducks as well.

For some reason, however, Maurer decided to use red light from a T-model Ford for the duck’s eyes. Its ominously glowing red eyes give the enormous bird a somewhat demonic appearance.

Know what, I’ll buy a duck or two — anything to keep the big one from cursing my bloodline down to a hundred generations.

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