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Five Weird Spots to Stop and Stretch Your Legs on a US Road Trip

March 6, 2013 at 11:01 AM | by | ()

With the warmer weather right around the corner, we’ve started to plan our spring and summer road trips. Sure there are the usual locations that are always a good choice, but we’re looking to also to be entertained on the way there. That’s why we’re recommending a few good distractions, with what we’re calling the five things you just got to drive past:

Corn Palace – Mitchell, South Dakota

It’s exactly what it sounds like, and is clearly a road trip must. It’s one part civic center and one part awesome, as the exterior decorations of corn, grain, and grass are refreshed and renewed each and every year. They’d love for you to stop in and visit, and they don’t even charge you for checking things out. Oh—and don’t worry about finding it—type “Corn Palace” into Google Maps, and it’ll know exactly where you want to head. At least it did for us!

World’s Tallest Thermometer – Baker, California

You’re driving towards the desert, and you just need to know how hot it is outside—problem solved. Just swing by the world’s tallest thermometer and you’ll be all set. It’s right by a Bob's Big Boy restaurant—another road trip must—and is in the town lovingly referred to as the gateway to Death Valley. We’d recommend filling up the tank in Baker before continuing on your journey, and of course be sure to snap a photo of the thermometer as well.

Largest Ball of Twine – Cawker City, Kansas

Channel your inner Clark W. Griswold as you make your way across the Midwest, and soon enough you’ll find your way to the world’s largest ball of twine. Surprisingly there’s multiple claims to this title—and even a Wikipedia page dedicated to it; however, we’ll suggest the one over in Cawker City, Kansas. Although, the one in Darwin, Minnesota sounds pretty snazzy as well. Stop by to see the twine in Kansas 24 hours a day, and you can even pick up a free weather forecast for the rest of your trip. If the twine is wet it’s raining, if it’s twine is hot it’s sunny—ha.

South of the Border – Dillon, South Carolina

If you’ve ever read the roadside weather report and it let you know that it would be “Chili today, hot tamale,” then you’ve made your way past South of the Border. Located between the two Carolinas on I-95 the place has been a mandatory pit stop for those heading south for the winter. Neon signs, fireworks, and plenty of kitsch greet visitors from far and wide, and of course there’s Pedro—the place’s stereotypical Mexican mascot. Swing through and grab a bumper sticker, and then promise yourself you’ll never return—until next time.

Paul Bunyan Statue – Portland, Oregon

Most road trip tourist traps don’t exactly register as a national historic place, but the Paul Bunyan statue over in Portland does. That’s not the only place where you can check him out, as he and Babe the Blue Ox are also on display over in Bemidji, Minnesota. Just don’t forget your flannel shirt, as you’ll want to look your best for your Instagram photo.

We realize we’re just scratching the surface here, so be sure to throw your tacky tourist suggestions into the comments below—we’ll take a spin past sooner than later.

[Photos: dlhdmb13, rvaphotodude, and Wikimedia]

Archived Comments:

South of the Border sign

This brings back memories of many family road trips! Are there still dozens and dozens of reminder billboards along 95?


Ahhh, sweet memories of Corn Palace. Even at 12, I was confused by the concept. The doll exhibit is the freakiest museum I've been to. Sadly, Wall Drug and it's iconic highway signs didn't make the list. Free water isn't so special anymore is it? ;)

South of the Border Rocks

Juliana, the billbords along 95 makes South of the Border what is is! Plus that mini arcade with weird Looney Toons -themed games rocked!


Haha, ya Wall Drug is a must; there's just too many of these gems -- time to expand the list!