One-Tank Summer Road Trips for the Family

Summer is heating up. The kids are out of school, and you’ve requested a few vacation days. But maybe your budget doesn’t allow for a week-long getaway or perhaps your schedule is just too packed for a proper vacation. Instead of hopping on a plane, jump in the car and plan a road trip! Every state has some amazing sites to see, and many of those places are merely one gas tank away.

Want to find your state’s hidden gem? We’re plotting out the quirkiest, most unique places to visit in each state. Your drive may take a few hours, but the trip is guaranteed to be a fun ride. And, while selfies are a must at many of these curious destinations across the U.S., there are a few that are sacred…so no photos, please!

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EDIT2 ROADTRIP WEST Summer Road Trips for the Family


North Pole, Alaska

The North Pole is closer than you knew. North Pole, Alaska is home to what else…Santa Claus’ house! Take pics with the World’s Largest Santa, visit the reindeer at the Antler Academy (of Flying & Reindeer Games), and, of course, eat some fudge and other goodies! You may even decide to visit with Santa himself, because he does live there!


San Francisco, California

Cali is home to pretty much everything imaginable. But if you want to forego the typical celebrity sightings or Hollywood sign photo ops, then head to San Francisco and check out one of the weirdest roadside sculptures in the state: a massive safety pin. This could be one of your quirkiest Pinterest ‘pins’ yet!


Saguache County, Colorado

The UFO Watchtower was created by Judy Messoline. Entry is $2 per person or $5 per car. Watch the skies for UFOs and other terrestrial activities and take a tour of the gardens. Quirky, but oh so unique!



Gilligan’s Island is located in Hawaii, and you can visit the island(s) too! Check out Moloaa Bay and Coconut Island, as well as a few other locations that were featured in the show.


Blackfoot, Idaho

Potatoes are synonymous with the state of Idaho, so, of course, you must—at least once in your lifetime—take a trip to the Idaho Potato Museum. Take a picture in front of a big baked potato, and indulge in more potatoes at the café!


Arlee, Montana

The Garden of a Thousand Buddhas is “dedicated as an International Peace Center.” The garden features 1000 Buddhas and 1000 stupas to create an image of the Dharma wheel. The site is considered to be sacred, and all visitors are welcome.


Las Vegas, Nevada

Don’t gamble, instead visit the most original museum in the state: the National Atomic Testing Museum. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the testing program, view amazing artifacts and participate in an above-ground test simulation in the theater.


Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

You’re specifically on the hunt for Collings Mountain Trail #943. This trail offers something incredibly unique—the one and only Bigfoot trap! Watch out for Sasquatch and please don’t try to explore that trap!


Moab, Utah

Hole N” the Rock is a home…or it was a home. Today you can tour it, enjoy a petting zoo and view sculptures by Lyle Nichols.


Seattle, Washington

The band Soundgarden took its name from a sculpture called “A Sound Garden” found in Magnuson Park’s NOAA Art Walk. The sculpture features pipes that make music from the wind.


Yellowstone National Park

Forget weird and quirky, you have to visit Yellowstone once in your lifetime. And, of course, this means viewing Old Faithful. Just follow the laws of the park, and don’t step off the path!

Depending on your home base, the trip to these sites may cost a bit more in gas. However, every state offers something so unique, amazing and maybe even downright crazy that it’s well worth a road trip. Grab the kids, load up the car, and hit the road for a summer adventure; you may even find hidden landmarks you never knew existed!

EDIT2 ROADTRIP MIDWEST Summer Road Trips for the Family


Collinsville, Illinois

Just across the river from St. Louis lies the city of Collinsville, Illinois. And this city is home to one truly unique roadside attractionThe World’s Largest Catsup Bottle! While the bottle is actually a water tower, the unique structure was acknowledged as something unique in 2002 when it was earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.


New Harmony, Indiana

The town of New Harmony is filled with curiosities. The Roofless Church, the Harmonist Labyrinth and an architectural wonder await your exploration.


Iowa City, Iowa

The state is home to many quirky roadside novelties, but The Sitting Man is a must-see. The 20-foot sculpture is nothing more than a large man sitting on a bench, but, come on, the selfies will be next level. And it’s free!


Dodge City, Kansas

This western-themed town was featured in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Get out of Dodge? No way! If you live in Kansas and haven’t visited, you need to check out this kitschy but fun gem. Hit the shops and enjoy a flashback from yesteryear.


Rothbury, Michigan

Forget Coachella. Michigan has its own musical celebration. The Electric Forest Festival is held—where else!—in a forest and includes numerous bands, vendors and more. But the beauty is in the lights throughout the forest that make for amazing photos!


Austin, Minnesota

Learn the history of your favorite canned ham at the Spam Museum! The museum is free and the whole family will love the quirky exhibits. You may even come away with a few new Spam-tastic recipes!


Hannibal, Missouri

The city of Hannibal celebrates the legacy of Mark Twain year round, but you want to check out the cave that was the basis for Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn’s adventures. Mark Twain Cave is open for tours throughout the day.


Alliance, Nebraska

The creation of Stonehenge—and its purpose—may remain a mystery, but Carhenge was built to be…FUN! Old cars replicate the wonder of Stonehenge, just with a little mechanical mystique. It’s free to visit, so what are you waiting for?

North Dakota

Garrison, North Dakota

A delight ‘fore’ golfers, Big Gene is a massive golfer statue that sits on a local golf course. A little quirky, and perhaps even slightly creepy, Gene is ready to swing!


Sugarcreek, Ohio

Located in the heart of Amish Country, Sugarcreek is home to the world’s largest cuckoo clock—yes, it’s listed in the Guiness Book of World Records.

South Dakota

Lemmon, South Dakota

Petrified Wood Park features a castle of petrified wood, dinosaur and mammoth bones and more petrified wood! It’s cool, quirky and, most of all, one unique family trip!


La Valle, Wisconsin

Wisconsin is known for its cheese, so if you live here and haven’t taken a cheese factor tour…well, what are you waiting for? Check out the Carr Valley Cheese Company factory and cheese store! Take a tour and sample some cheese.

ROAD TRIP SOUTHWEST Summer Road Trips for the Family


Bedrock City, Arizona

Flintstone’s…meet the Flintstone’s! You can meet up with Fred, Wilma, Pebbles, Barney, Betty and Bam Bam in Bedrock City’s Flintstone’s theme park. Slide down a brontosaurus and have a yabba-dabba doo time!

New Mexico

Mimbres, New Mexico

The Gila Cliff Dwellings are a National Monument located in Mimbres. These dwellings were built around in the latter part of the 1200s by the Mogollon Culture and still stand today. Tour the site and explore these historical dwellings.


Quapaw, Oklahoma

In this town rests a monument that allows you to be in three places at once. The monument marks the point where Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri meet. And you can tell your friends that you were in all three states…at the same time!


Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch isn’t really a ranch, but there are Cadillacs. The ‘ranch’ is an art exhibit that includes 10 buried painted Cadillacs. It’s unique and an amazing photo op.

EDIT2 ROADTRIP SOUTHEAST Summer Road Trips for the Family


Milbrook, Alabama

The city of Spectre doesn’t actually exist, but the production team left it standing after the movie “Big Fish” finished filming. Spectre was the town in the movie that Ewan McGregor’s character happened to find in his journey. The shoes still hang for the trees! Admission to the city is $3.


Murfreesboro, Arkansas

Where else can you dig up diamonds in the hope of finding the next big beauty? Dig deep or just check the top of the soil for sparklers. This park offers the most unique and valuable souvenirs in the country, because you can keep the diamond you find!


Arden, Delaware

The Oddporium is a museum that houses the unusual and crazy collections that are beyond words. Mourning pins, embalming fluid boxes from olden times and all things unique, sometimes macabre and always odd! You never know what you’ll discover!


Ona, Florida

Step into one of the most unique castles in the world; Solomon’s Castle was built by Howard Solomon, but isn’t an ordinary castle. Covered in shiny metal, the castle houses stained glass windows and Solomon’s art and sculptures.


Cumberland Island, Georgia

Visit the Dungeness Ruins to see remnants of what once was a great mansion owned by the Carnegies. The house burned down in the 1950s, but you can explore the ruins. Pack a picnic lunch and eat near the abandoned fountain!


Kelly, Kentucky

In the 1950s, aliens supposedly visited a Kelly, Kentucky farmhouse and so began the history of The Kelly Little Green Men Festival. This festival is typically held in August and features vendors, music and more. Oh, yeah, and LOTS of little green men!


New Orleans, Louisiana

The home state of New Orleans houses many places to see. But New Orleans also is home to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, which exhibits voodoo potions, surgical instruments, perfumes and more. So why is the pharmacy world so big here? Louisiana was home to the first licensed pharmacist!


Laurel, Maryland

Head back to prehistoric times by visiting Dinosaur Park. Climb on a dinosaur skeleton and learn more about history through programs at the park.


Leland, Mississippi

Celebrate Jim Henson and his most beloved character, Kermit the Frog, at a museum that honors Kermit and Jim’s legacy. Displays, videos and memorabilia capture the greatness of America’s favorite frog…and his creator.

North Carolina

Beech Mountain, North Carolina

Journey to the Land of Oz and be prepared to follow the yellow brick road. Built in the 1970s, the Land of Oz theme park was a homage to the beloved story (and movie). While it has closed for year-round operation, it comes alive again a few times a year.

South Carolina

Cottageville, South Carolina

Cottageville is one bee-utiful city. Aptly nicknamed Bee City, you’ll find the Bee City Zoo. Learn about the importance of honeybees and don’t forget to buy some honey!


Hohenwald, Tennessee

Retired performance elephants roam Tennessee at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald. The elephants’ habitats are not available to the public, but there is a Discovery Center for the public to explore.

West Virginia

Beckley, West Virginia

Visit the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley and take an underground tour in a mine cart! The tour operators suggest bringing a coat or a sweater—it get cold down there!

EDIT3 ROADTRIP NORTH EAST Summer Road Trips for the Family


Putnam, Connecticut

Ready for a magical scavenger hunt? Head to Putnam to uncover all the hidden ‘fairy doors’ in the city! These tiny doors may hide a fairy kingdom or they may just help you capture your inner child for a day of fairytale fun.


Bangor, Maine

Fans of horror writer Stephen King can visit his Maine home. Take your photo in front of the spiderweb gates, but do not enter. This horror house is private!


Salem, MA

Find your wand in a magical wand shop located in bewitching Salem. Wynott Wands are handmade and ready for you to discover their magic.

New Hampshire

Laconia, New Hampshire

Gamers unite! The American Classic Arcade Museum is home to many old arcade games from your youth! The purpose of the museum is to preserve “coin-operated” arcade history, and, yes, you can play the games!

New Jersey

Margate, New Jersey

Lucy the Elephant is a New Jersey landmark. She’s six stories tall, and visitors can climb a staircase within the sculpture to reach the top of her back and enjoy the view. Lucy is a National Historic Landmark!

New York

Dutchess County, New York

In New York, there is a literal fork in the road. A gigantic fork sits at routes 308 and 199 and bears the inscription: Fork in the Road. Just visit this site for the photo ops…and the puns for the captions!


York, Pennsylvania

The little old lady doesn’t live in The Haines Shoe House; instead, Jeff and Melanie Schmuck call this crazy structure home! Take a tour and bring home some souvenirs to boot!

Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island

The Newport Tower was constructed in the 17th century, predating early colonists. This tower has been keeping everyone guessing for centuries as to who built it and why. While you can’t go in the tower, the landmark is still worth a day trip for a visit.


Arlington, Virginia

Learn about drug cartels and the war on drugs at the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum and Visitors Center. The museum is for families, and while this isn’t a typical adventure, the museum and its messages are important.

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