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15 Best Roadside Attractions In The U.S.

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We all have them. The stories of road trips when we were kids. The random roadside attractions that mom and dad just had to see. As kids, they were either so magical or lame. Our readers’ favorite roadside attractions are not lame — not in the slightest. Read on for some fun finds around the country and maybe add one or two of them to your next adventure!

World's Largest Belt Buckle in Abilene, Kansas

1. World’s Largest Belt Buckle

Abilene, kansas.

Abilene , Kansas, is home to quite possibly the newest roadside attraction. The World’s Largest Belt Buckle , nestled in Eisenhower Park, was unveiled on December 21, 2022. It measures 19 feet and 10.5 inches wide, and 13 feet and 11.25 inches tall. The buckle was funded by 100 people and businesses throughout Abilene, as well as the Kansas Tourism Attraction Development Grant.

“Whether you enjoy Cowboy history, art, fun photo opportunities, or the world’s largest things, make sure to add the World’s Largest Belt Buckle to your Kansas I-70 road trip,” said Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Julie Roller Weeks.

Fun Tip: The second largest boot spur is also located in Abilene at Riddel’s Western Wear and is a must-see on your way to the many other attractions that Abilene has to offer.

An ice cream tombstone at Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard

2. Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard

Waterbury village, vermont.

Ben and Jerry’s began in a renovated gas station in 1978. After a few moves and upgrades to production, their flavors can be found all over the United States, and around the world. While at the factory, you can watch a 30-minute “moo-vie” while overlooking the production room floor and sampling their chunks and euphoric flavors.

The factory tour is every bit as yummy as it should be. But the next best thing here is the Flavor Graveyard where they pay homage to flavors of days gone by. Spend some time reading about their legen- dairy lives and how long they graced the freezer shelves of stores near you. If you feel so inclined, you can chat with them about a flavor or two to resurrect.

The Keeper of the Plains over the Arkansas River

3. The Keeper Of The Plains

Wichita, kansas.

The land between the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers in downtown Wichita is sacred to Native Americans. This is where The Keeper of the Plains resides. It was created by Blackbear Bosin to celebrate the United States Bi-centennial and has kept a watchful eye on the city ever since. On the grounds, you’ll find the Mid-American All-Indian Museum, where you can learn about the peoples of the land, their histories, and their influence on modern aviation. Every night, weather permitting, the groundskeepers will manually light the Ring of Fire and let it burn for 15 minutes.

Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska

4. Carhenge

Alliance, nebraska.

Located 150 miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming, is this wacky marvel known as Carhenge . You ask, why Carhenge? Creator Jim Reinders responds to that question simply with one of his own: “Why Not?” Reinders has experimented with unusual mediums and others can be found on the same property. Carhenge was originally built as a memorial to his father who lived on the farm where the sculpture now stands. Thirty-nine automobiles make up the Stonehenge replica, which has the same proportions as Stonehenge. It came together during a family reunion and was dedicated on the Summer Solstice in June of 1987. 

Cadillac Ranch, Texas

5. Cadillac Ranch

Amarillo, texas.

There must be something about our readers and cars, as this is the second vehicle attraction: Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. It was installed in 1974 as an homage to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin from 1949–1963. Millions of visitors have stopped off I-40 to make the 100-yard walk out to the installation. While the original cars were not painted or marked up in any way, vandals soon took to the site. But it took off as acceptable and now guests are encouraged to leave their personal mark on the cars. Weather permitting, there is a souvenir trailer that will make an appearance or you can shop online .

Fun Fact: The Cadillacs are nose first in the ground at the same angle as the Pyramids of Giza .

6. Fremont Troll

Seattle, washington.

One of the creepier stops on our journey is the Fremont Troll in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. Its creators, University of Washington architecture students, won a contest in 1990 seeking to improve this particular freeway underpass. The troll was installed in October of that year. His birthday is celebrated every year on Halloween, known to locals as Troll-o-Ween . The troll is 18 feet tall and clutches a Volkswagen Beetle with California plates.

The world's largest ball of sisal twine sits proudly under a protective canopy in Cawker City, Kansas

7. World’s Largest Ball Of Twine

Cawker city, kansas.

The World’s Largest Ball of Sisal Twine can be found in Cawker City, Kansas. What started as a way to get rid of the wasted twine on the barn floor in 1953 became quite the project for Frank Stoeber. After only a few years, it was 7 feet high and weighed about 2 tons. After the ball outgrew the barn, Frank had it moved to the place where it stands today. The current caretaker of the ball, Londa Clover, has full records of who gave and how much they gave. She will meet people at the ball and give them twine to add to it, keeping track along the way. 

If you make the time to visit, make sure you observe two rules: first, connect with Linda and she will give you the proper twine to add, and second, no climbing.

8. ‘Forever Marilyn’ Monroe Statue

Palm springs, california.

Of all the attractions on our list, this 26-foot-tall shrine to Marilin Monroe is the most contentious. Sculptor Seward Johnson depicts Marilyn Monroe in the iconic stance from the film The Seven Year Itch . The sculpture first lived on Michigan Avenue in Chicago (in 2011) and was moved to Palm Springs in 2012. She will soon have a permanent home in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum in the Coachella Valley, with her backside facing the entrance to the museum. Just like the statue, Marilyn is a Palm Springs transplant, which makes the statue’s final resting place perfectly fitting.

The Mitchell Corn Palace

9. Corn Palace

Mitchell, south dakota.

Located near I-90 in southeast South Dakota sits the world famous Corn Palace . This agricultural marvel is redecorated each year in a new theme, with naturally colored ears of corn in 12 different colors nailed to the structure and murals redesigned by local university students to match the theme. This folk-art wonder can be home to dances, stage shows, conferences, basketball tournaments, graduation ceremonies, proms, and various other events.

10. World’s Largest Basket — Longaberger Company Headquarters

Newark, ohio.

The Longaberger family was known for their American-made hand-woven maplewood baskets and home décor. The World’s Largest Basket is modeled after the Medium Market Basket by Longaberger. It’s a seven-story office building that served as the company headquarters for Longaberger. Funnily enough, there’s another largest basket in nearby Frazeysburg, the world’s largest apple basket that stands at the old family homestead. Even better, a third large basket exists — the house-sized wicker basket — at the old company headquarters in Dresden, Ohio. While the company has closed, and been purchased and reopened under new management from Xcel Brands, these baskets are still standing and are excellent photo stops.

11. Big Brutus

Mineral, kansas.

Big Brutus , the tallest attraction on this list, was once the largest electric shovel in the world. It stands at 16 stories tall and weighs 11 million pounds. It was built in 1962, operated for 10 years, and was fully retired in 1974. In 1085, Big Brutus became a museum and memorial to the robust mining industry in southeastern Kansas.

The museum does have a cost but is worth the entry to discover more about this large mining shovel. Renting space for events and camping are also available by reservation.

Superman Statue in Metropolis, Illinois

12. Superman Statue

Metropolis, illinois.

Truth. Justice. The American Way. The caped Clark Kent stands a regal 15 feet tall in Metropolis, Illinois, where just about everything in town revolves around Superman. The town has seen many mishaps in its journey to capitalize on Superman , with big plans for a $50 million dollar theme park that didn’t pan out. Mishaps aside, Metropolis is filled with photo ops, museums, and a whole lot of town spirit, including a statue to honor Noel Neill who played Lois Lane in The Adventures of Superman.

13. World’s Tallest Thermometer

Baker, california.

Sitting at the gateway to Death Valley in Baker, California, is the World’s Tallest Thermometer. It stands at 134 feet tall and marks the world’s hottest day on record on July 10, 1913. Can you guess what the temperature was? It was 134 degrees. Ownership of the attraction has changed hands several times in its lifetime and it has seen its fair share of problems. Not long after it was erected, a very strong wind knocked it over. After the first time it was sold, the new owners turned it off because of the poor economy. Then in 2014, after “The Big Fix” was completed, it was restored to its full function and has been going strong ever since.

14. Lucy The Elephant

Margate city, new jersey.

James Lafferty built the Elephant Bazaar in 1881 and soon after applied and received a patent to “build in the form of any animal.” While there were two more built, they were destroyed not long after. New owners changed the name to Lucy the Elephant and turned it into a tavern. Lucy was dismantled and moved to her current location in Margate City. She was restored in 2000 and is open for tours daily. This unique National Historic Landmark turns 142 years old this year and a big celebration is planned as well as phase three of the renovations later this fall.

World's Largest Pistachio

15. McGinn’s PistachioLand-World’s Largest Pistachio

Alamogordo, new mexico.

McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch is home to the World’s Largest Pistachio, where the local desert climate is perfect for growing this tasty green-stone nut. Standing at 30 feet tall, the pistachio started out as a tribute from Tim McGinn to his father Tom, who originally owned the pistachio and grape farm. There are many pistachio-based products to sample and enjoy from ice cream to wine and candied nuts to brittles. They also offer a motorized farm tour that runs multiple times a day.

Read more from our  2023 Best Of Travel Awards .

Image of Kinsey McKibbin

Kinsey is a wife and mother of three, although she claims to be raising four kids with her husband tossed into the mix. Her idea of a great vacation would take her to a remote location with plenty of fresh air and gorgeous views. Hiking through aromatic forests and rugged rocky terrain beat out a day at the beach in her book. When she isn't roadtripping or camping with her family, Kinsey enjoys crafting while sipping on a sweet Rosé.

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The perfect way to visit smaller towns , villages and countryside highlights during your transit between bigger cities.

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Great way to see some sights en route Prague to Berlin. Helpful guide, comfortable van highly recommend

Fabulous day - highly recommended

What a great day. Comms were easy and reliable and we were fortunate to have Filip as our guide. Van was spotless and comfy. Seatbelts worked . We learnt so much about Czech and Slovakia life and about the sights ! Filip was super flexible and accommodating. We wanted to walk around a bit so he moulded the tour to suit that. Highly recommended.

The best kind of travel day

This was a fantastic alternative to a long train or bus ride and a great way to see some places I would have never stopped at. Pavlina was a fun and knowledgeable guide, and it was fun to meet others on the tour as a solo traveler.

Great way to get from Prague to Vienna

Petra took us from Prague to Vienna via Cesky Krumlov. The town was beautiful and we enjoyed the castle (we just did the museum and the tower). This was a great way to combine a day trip from Prague with transport to Vienna. Petra was very nice and told us about the town. I would recommend this trip.

Great tour but rain put a damper on the trip

The tour was well organized, but it rained heavily all day and was not much fun. Stepan, our guide, was great: knowledgeable, considerate, and professional.

Great driver! Fun trip.

Our driver made a custom route for our family. Instead of just a travel day we were able to see a beautiful small town, an incredible basilica, and Roman ruins. We have four children and he made sure everyone had a great time. 10/10!

This was so much more than a transfer. It was a private, full-day tour with an amazing guide, Sarka. We were picked up and chauffeured with door-to-door service. Along the way, Sarka provided us with historical facts and great conversation. At every stop, Sarka got out and walked us through the sites explaining everything. We highly recommend Sidetrip!

Wonderful way to see country

Michael was an amazing, friendly, knowledgeable guide! He took us to put of way places he specifically thought we would enjoy, and we would never have dound them on our own. Michael was attentive to our interests, and we always had informative and relaxed conversations. We learned so much and had a great day together!

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Big Bend National Park, near Mexican border, USA at sunset

Best Road Trips From San Antonio

Top road trip destinations from san antonio.

Austin, Texas, USA with the city skyline in the evening and blue hour taken as a panoramic shot.

🚗 120 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 30 minutes

It is time to discover Austin, known for its live music scene, eclectic culture, and great food. Here, you will see the famous Greetings from Austin Mural and enjoy some amazing live music.

On this relatively short drive, you will have plenty of amazing new places to discover, including San Marcos , Gruene Historic District and New Braunfels .

Waco's Dr Pepper Museum in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building.

🚗 190 miles ⏱️ 3 hours

Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines, Waco has become practically synonymous with all things homes and décor, with Magnolia Market and Waco's many antique shops drawing hordes of visitors each year.

There are many places to visit on the way to Waco, such as Sebastopol House Historic Site in Seguin , Lockhart for its BBQ, a detour to Austin and Czech Heritage Museum in Temple .

Corpus Christi, in Texas, on the seawall overlooking the marina with some boats docket at sunset

Corpus Christi

🚗 470 miles ⏱️ 8 hours

Coming from the hustle and bustle of the city, you will love the laid-back coastal charm of Corpus Christi. Here, you can enjoy beautiful beaches and the Texas State Aquarium.

Instead of directly driving to Corpus Christi, we recommend taking your time on this road trip to visit Houston , Galveston , Lake Jackson and Rockport en route.

Galveston, Texas, USA with a view of the beach umbrellas and Pleasure Pier amusement park in the distance against a blue sky.

Houston and Galveston Island

🚗 250 miles ⏱️ 4 hours

Houston, famous for its Space Center, sprawls near the Gulf of Mexico and has a long history of music. Nearby Galveston Island is a close and sunny escape from the crowds.

You can extend your road trip to Houston and Galveston to visit Lake Placid , Seguin, Schulenburg , and San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site .

Dallas, Texas, USA downtown city skyline at night with the skyscrapers reflecting in the water in the foreground.

🚗 285 miles ⏱️ 4 hours, 10 minutes

Did you know that Dallas has over 12 unique neighborhoods and districts? From enjoying the live performances at the Arts District to the vibrant nightlife, this city has something for everyone.

On your way to Dallas, we recommend taking some extra time to visit Lockhart , make a detour to Austin , as well as discover Temple and Waco .

A beautiful soft and fine sandy beach along the gulf coast of South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island

🚗 300 miles ⏱️ 4 hours, 30 minutes

If you have time for only one beach to see in Texas, then South Padre Island is it. You will love the bright sun and the gentle sound of the ocean. Soft sand, beach bars, and endless ceviche await!

As you drive towards the Gulf Coast, you will have the opportunity to make a stop at Pleasanton to visit the Longhorn Museum and make a detour to sunny Corpus Christi .

Marfa bus stop with famous Marfa water tower in the background on a sunny day.

🚗 400 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 50 minutes

Marfa is a distinctive arts destination with the renowned Marfa Lights, an eclectic mix of art galleries, and the beauty of old Texas. There are many things happening in this unique desert town.

There are a lot of amazing places to discover on this route, including Boerne Historic District , Kerrville , Caverns of Sonora and Fort Stockton .

Canoeing on Saw Mill Pond at Caddo Lake State Park in Texas

🚗 460 miles ⏱️ 7 hours, 10 minutes

Visit Caddo Lake, a natural lake peppered with cypress swamps, in a unique ecosystem that supports a myriad of wildlife. This beautiful lake is ideal for kayaking and photography.

On your way to this scenic area, take some time to enjoy the urban offerings of Texas by visiting Austin , Temple , Waco and Dallas en route.

Santa Elena Canyon and Rio Grande river at Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

🚗 410 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 50 minutes

Southwest Texas' Big Bend National Park is home to the stunning Chisos Mountainous Region and a sizable portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. The park also has beautiful clear night skies.

On your way to the stunning national park, you can visit Boerne , Caverns of Sonora, Fort Stockton and Marathon if you have some extra time.

The Cadillac Ranch at Amarillo Texas

🚗 510 miles ⏱️ 7 hours, 35 minutes

Amarillo, Texas, is known for its Historic Route 66 sights and is the ideal place to experience the Wild West. Don't forget to visit the Cadillac Ranch and try the steak challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch.

As you drive north to Amarillo, you will drive past Boerne , South Llano River State Park , and the West Texas Walk of Fame in Lubbock , all of which are worth a visit.

Street performers playing blue grass style music in the French Quarter district in New Orleans on a sunny day

New Orleans

🚗 590 miles ⏱️ 9 hours

Jazz music, Cajun cuisine, and extravagant Mardi Gras festivities are all hallmarks of New Orleans and all of which deserve to be seen at least once in a lifetime and this road trip from San Antonio is the perfect occasion.

We recommend taking your time on this drive, because there are plenty of places to discover en route, such as Houston , Beaumont , Lafayette and Baton Rouge .

The sun beats down on the adobe style buildings in Poco Apoco Plaza in the historic Old Town section of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Albuquerque

🚗 720 miles ⏱️ 10 hours, 50 minutes

Albuquerque, an amazing destination from San Antonio, is home to rich Native American and Spanish cultural heritage, a balloon fiesta, and a stunning desert landscape.

If you have a bit of more time on your hands, you can spend some time at San Angelo , Big Spring and Roswell of quirky UFO fame on this road trip.

Candles are lit up on ledges around a traditional southern style building after dark

🚗 700 miles ⏱️ 10 hours, 50 minutes

Santa Fe is the quintessential New Mexican city. You can shop around at the colorful markets, take part in festivals, or go on an eating tour through the city's top restaurants and food trucks.

While there are several routes that will take you to Santa Fe, we recommend driving through Boerne , Kerrville , Lubbock and Santa Rosa to make the best of your road trip.

City park green spaces circle pattern monument aerial drone view high above Denver , Colorado

🚗 930 miles ⏱️ 14 hours, 20 minutes

Explore Denver, the Mile High City! In addition to being a metropolis, this area is also perfect for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year from hiking in the Rockies in the summer to skiing in the winter.

This is a fairly long drive, so you will have plenty of places to visit on the way. We recommend spending some time at Comfort , Lubbock and Amarillo .

El Paso, Texas, USA downtown city skyline at dusk with Juarez, Mexico in the distance.

🚗 680 miles ⏱️ 11 hours, 30 minutes

El Paso is also known as the “Sun City” because it receives an average of 302 days of sunshine every year. This city sits on the crossroads of Mexican and American cultures, being located on the border.

Many amazing places you can visit en route to El Paso include Fredericksburg , Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park .

Shreveport, Louisiana showing the downtown skyline in the distance, and a metal bridge crossing the Red River in the foreground at sunset.

🚗 430 miles ⏱️ 6 hours, 40 minutes

Discover the vibrant city of Shreveport, a blend of Louisiana culture and Southern charm. Enjoy its casinos, shopping, and dining along the Red River and spend some time at the State Fair of Louisiana.

Driving northeast to Shreveport, you will get to visit many amazing Texas cities such as Austin , Temple , Waco and Corsicana before crossing into Louisiana.

Beautiful Pioneer Memorial Library in Fredericksburg, Texas, situated in a green garden, surrounded by trees on a sunny day

Fredericksburg

🚗 70 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 10 minutes

The heritage of Fredericksburg originates from German immigrants who originally settled in the San Antonio area. This charming town houses many State-famous attractions, including wineries and museums.

Even though this is a relatively short drive, there is plenty to discover en route, such as Cascade Caverns , and the charming small towns of Boerne and Comfort .

Colorful shop with art and artificial plants and an old pickup truck in Wimberley, Texas.

🚗 60 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 10 minutes

Wimberley, nestled in the Texas Hill Country, is famous for its swimming holes fed with fresh spring water. The most famous among them is the Blue Hole. Enjoy the rows of cypresses lining the swimming hole while floating by.

En route to Wimberley, spend some time in New Braunfels to visit New Braunfels Railroad Museum and Schlitterbahn Waterpark New Braunfels .

Sunset image over rocks, clear waters and sand with trees in the background

Pedernales Falls State Park

🚗 75 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 30 minutes

Pedernales Falls State Park is the perfect place to visit from San Antonio for an outdoorsy day trip. In this beautiful park you can ride horses, bird watch, camp, hike, or even search for geocaches.

Before you reach the state park, you will have the opportunity to visit Blanco State Park and Old Blanco County Courthouse , perfect pitstop for any history buff.

Motorbikes parked in front of a BBQ joint

🚗 50 miles ⏱️ 1 hour

Experience the true spirit of the cowboy lifestyle in Bandera, the "Cowboy Capital of the World." Here, you will enjoy horseback riding, rodeos, and beautiful ranches just a short drive from San Antonio.

As you make your way out of the city, stop and have some fun at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and admire the scenery in Government Canyon State Natural Area .

The Beautiful and Ornate Caldwell County Courthouse in Lockhart, Texas. Built in 1894.

Officially and legally, Lockhart holds the title of being the Barbecue Capital of Texas, and you will savor some of the best smoked meats in the state. The city's "small town" hospitality will make you reluctant to leave.

You might be in a hurry to dig into some of the tastiest BBQ in the state, but we highly recommend putting aside some time to visit Sebastopol House Historic Site and Downtown Seguin en route.

Beautiful Bright Orange Autumn Foliage Surrounding the Emerald Green Clear Frio River, at Garner State Park, Texas.

Garner State Park

🚗 90 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 35 minutes

Garner State Park is one of the most family-friendly state parks and swimming holes. You can enjoy camping, hiking, biking, seasonal miniature golf, or even taking a dip in the Rio Frio River.

If you'd like to extend this road trip to Garner State Park, you can add Castroville Regional Park and Ruins of St Dominic Catholic Church to your itinerary en route.

Bronze statue of Wild Bill sitting on a bench

🚗 30 miles ⏱️ 35 minutes

You will fall in love with the charming small town experience at Boerne in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The town features lovely boutiques, beautiful parks, and a lively arts scene.

There is something for everyone on this drive to Boerne, such as Six Flags Fiesta Texas , Friedrich Wilderness Park and Cascade Caverns .

Guadalupe River New Braunfels, Texas

New Braunfels

🚗 35 miles ⏱️ 40 minutes

Explore New Braunfels, a delightful blend of German heritage and Texan charm, where you can enjoy water activities on the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers.

We recommend putting aside some time to visit Morgan's Wonderland and Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo on the way to New Braunfels.

Swimmers enjoying the blue waters of Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, Texas

Dripping Springs

🚗 75 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 20 minutes

If you are looking for a scenic getaway from the city, Dripping Springs is the place to visit. Known as the "Gateway to the Hill Country", the town is popular for its wineries, craft breweries, and stunning natural beauty.

One of the best ways to drive to Dripping Springs is by visiting Guadalupe River State Park , Canyon Lake and Blanco en route.

White exterior of Spoetzl Brewery on a sunny day

🚗 90 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 30 minutes

Head to Shiner, the home of the Spoetzl Brewery, where you can tour the facilities and taste the legendary Shiner beer in its hometown along with delicious dishes.

A few great places you can stop and visit on the way to Shiner are Seguin , the quirky Watermelon Water Tower in Luling and Palmetto State Park .

Longer road trips from San Antonio

South Gateway Rock formation framed by twisted Juniper Trees at the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Colorado Springs

🚗 1,030 miles ⏱️ 16 hours, 30 minutes

Colorado Springs offers a massive wildlife area teeming with biodiversity, ranging from grasslands to mountains. Make sure to visit stunning landmarks like Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak here.

Havasu Falls, waterfalls in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park

🚗 1,130 miles ⏱️ 17 hours

The Grand Canyon is a must-see natural wonder unlike anything else on the planet and this road trip will help you tick off one of your bucket list adventures.

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA skyline over the strip at dusk.

🚗 1,300 miles ⏱️ 19 hours, 20 minutes

Almost everyone around the world knows of Las Vegas as THE premier destination for all kinds of nightlife. From casinos to clubs, you will find tons of fun in this unique city.

Orlando, Florida, USA at Universal studios city walk with a view of the Lighthouse, entrance to Islands of Adventure.

🚗 1,400 miles ⏱️ 23 hours, 15 minutes

There are more than a dozen theme parks, such as Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios, in Orlando so you can expect tons of fun during your visit!

View of the TCL Chinese Theatre and the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, LA

Los Angeles

🚗 1,700 miles ⏱️ 27 hours

Los Angeles is a city of celebrities, gorgeous beaches, nightlife, and amazing cultural landmarks. Make sure to add the Hollywood Sign and the Walk of Fame to your itinerary.

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America From The Road

11 Incredible Day Trips From Tri-Cities

Are you wondering what day trip destinations are possible from the Tri-Cities? Well believe it or not there are some really incredible places that you can easily road trip to from Tri-Cities that are under three hours drive away!

I know as a local or as a visitor it’s hard to imagine that there might be anything worth visiting out here in Eastern Washington where at first glance it seems there is nothing but flat agricultural land for miles, but this just isn’t the case.

There are some real hidden gems out here waiting for you to find them and the bonus is that because these places are not very well-known, you can expect to have most of the places to yourself.

So whether you are a bored local looking for some adventure that will have you back in your own bed before the night ends, or a visitor to the Tri-Cities wanting to explore the eastern half of the state, you will find a lot to discover nearby!

Palouse Falls State Park

side trips near me

Okay, so let’s start with Eastern Washington’s biggest and best attraction, Palouse Falls. Many tourists and even Washingtonians themselves are unaware that Palouse Falls is actually the official state waterfall. Most people think that this title was given to Snoqualmie Falls over on the west side, but no, Palouse is way bigger and better!

Fortunately for locals and visitors to the Tri-Cities, this jaw-droppingly beautiful waterfall is only an hour drive away.

For folks who are new to the Eastern Washington area, the drive out to Palouse Falls is very visually different to the western half of the state which is mountainous and heavily forested. What you can expect to see on this drive is a vast ocean of big rolling hills that seem to never end. And then out of nowhere is a gigantic awe-inspiring surprise that will knock your socks off!

Palouse Falls is a destination you can’t miss and should be on every Washington state bucket list . This waterfall is incredible to see at any time of the year including winter when the area is blanketed in snow. If you are interested to learn more about what to do at Palouse Falls State Park or why you really should see it during all four seasons, see this post on Palouse Falls: Washington State’s Hidden Gem.

Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park

Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park

About two hours north of Tri-Cities is one of Washington’s least known and most under-rated state parks; Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park .

This state park is another local gem that features a high desert landscape, mint green sagebrush habitat, big lakes, and impressive cliff walls – all of which are unique to the Eastern Washington area.

What you should know about visiting is that despite the name, there is no waterfall here. However, once upon a time, around about 13,000 years ago this place had one of the biggest waterfalls in the United States. In fact, Dry Falls was four times the size of Niagara Falls! Of course now it has become a dry waterfall, a term you may have never heard before. We sure hadn’t.

Dry Falls At Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park

While you could easily visit this place on a day trip from the Tri-Cities, it would be even better if you turned it into a weekend away because there is plenty of fun to be had out here including sightseeing, hiking, fishing, and other water activities. There is a campground inside the park but if you don’t like the idea of that there are also rustic cabins you can rent inside the state park.

>> Read: Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park: Hiking, Water Activities, & Camping!

Lake Lenore Caves

Lenore Caves

The Lake Lenore Caves is a really cool surprise waiting for you to find just off of Highway 17 . A day trip to see these really cool geologic features will definitely make your day much more interesting.

Once you get to the parking lot you’ll find a hiking trail that leads to seven caves of various sizes to explore. The hike up to the caves is very short and can easily be done by non-hikers. While the mileage is very short, there are trails beyond the caves that allow you to wander along the table-top headlands a little longer. The views from the top are incredible and allow you to see the gorge for miles in both directions.

>> Read: How To Hike To Lake Lenore Caves

side trips near me

At first glance upon arriving in Soap Lake you might be wondering what on earth is there to do in this tiny town. Okay, so there might not be a plethora of exciting activities to do here, but it is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for relaxing destination ideas.

Soap Lake has a shoreline which you can enjoy from two points; along the lake’s southern end, and on the lake’s eastern side. Both locations have a small park and picnic tables. The main street through town has a handful of stores including a bar and restaurant.

If you did want to stay overnight in Soap Lake, there are two great options; the Soap Lake Natural Spa & Resort which is located on the main street and situated on Soap Lake’s southern shores, and the Smokiam RV Resort & Campground located on the lake’s northern shore.

The resort features incredibly impressive log architecture that will have you wondering why you’ve never heard of this place before. The campground at Soap Lake is really cool too and has lovely shaded sites within walking distance to the lake as well as waterfront teepees that come with beds and individual firepits.

>> Read: 8 Unique Things To Do In Soap Lake

Steamboat Rock State Park

Steamboat Rock Hiking Trail

Steamboat Rock State Park’s landscape dates back at least 13,000 years when the area was carved out by Ice Age floods into a dramatic lake-dotted canyon.

The park’s landmark feature is an 800 foot columnar basalt butte which you can hike to the top of. From the top you can enjoy an outstanding view of Grand Coulee and the craggy peaks of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Below is massive Banks Lake which reflects the big desert sky. If you love a good hiking adventure be sure to add this hike up to Steamboat Rock to your itinerary.

The 5,043 acre state park offers a variety of activities including hiking, mountain-biking, fishing, swimming, boating, and camping. It is a great summer destination that will not disappoint.

>> Read: Steamboat Rock State Park: A Fantastic Summer Destination

Grand Coulee

side trips near me

The main attraction in Grand Coulee is the Grand Coulee Dam, America’s largest concrete dam . There is a visitors center at the dam open between 9am and 5pm where you’ll find exhibits, information about the history of the dam, and can watch a short film about its construction. Besides this, there isn’t much else to do in town but seeing the hugeness of the dam itself is worth the day trip.

One other place worth visiting while you are in Grand Coulee is Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. This park is quite pretty and offers the usual outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, fishing, and cross-country skiing in winter.

>> Read: Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway: Road Tripping Between Tri-Cities & Omak

Coeur D’Alene

Coeur D'Alene

Many locals from Tri-Cities may think Coeur D’Alene is too far to be a day trip but I am going to tell you it is not! With Highway 395 you can easily cruise up to one of Idaho’s premiere destinations in under three hours. And with the pacific northwest summer daylight hours, you will have plenty of time to explore the charming town.

So what is there to do here? Well, Coeur D’Alene offers great restaurants and bars, shopping, a lively nightlife scene, and an abundance of outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating.

One of the best ways to get acquainted with the area is to bicycle or walk the North Idaho Centennial Trail which is a 23 mile pedestrian path that takes in some of the best sights in the area. This alone is worth coming up for the day.

Walla Walla

Walla Walla

Something a little closer to home is the wonderful Walla Walla, only a short thirty minute drive from the Tri-Cities. This destination has been designated the official wine capital of Washington and is home to more than 120 wineries, most of which are still owned by the pioneering families that started them.

Walla Walla prides itself on being one of the friendliest small towns in America, and you’ll most definitely find this to be true after wandering around the historic downtown area or hopping into some of the tasting rooms and boutique stores.

With an abundance of things to do here, friendly faces, and close proximity to Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland, you have no reason not to make multiple day trips to Walla Walla.

>> Read: Weekend In Walla Walla – A Guide To Visiting Washington’s Wine Region

The Dalles

Small and unassuming, this town surprisingly has a lot to offer. As one of the oldest settlements on the west coast, The Dalles is steeped in history and it has been well preserved here.

The downtown area features a number of handsome historic buildings so be sure to wander around on foot to appreciate them. Some of the interesting places you should visit include the Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead , the Maryhill Museum of Art , and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.

Don’t leave without stopping by the Sunshine Mill which houses two wineries inside a 125 foot tall former wheat mill. This is one of the coolest buildings you will ever get to sip a glass of wine inside!

Obviously The Dalles is also a great place to base yourself for further exploration of the Columbia Gorge area and this day trip could easily be turned into a weekend getaway.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

John Day Fossil Beds Monument

Not many locals know of the existence of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument let alone that such a beautiful and interesting place is within only two hours drive from Tri-Cities. So let me shed some light on this lesser known destination that is only really visited by those with a more adventurous spirit.

The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument located in Eastern Oregon is actually one of three geographically separate units that make up the monument. The others include the Clarno unit and the more well-known Painted Hills . All of the units feature colorful rock formations and preserve layers of fossil plants and mammals that lived in the region between the late Eocene and the late Miocene era.

The drive out there alone is worth the day trip which takes you past many small forgotten towns and through the Umatilla Forest. There aren’t a lot of hiking options as most of the land surrounding the monument is privately owned, but there are a couple worth doing.

This day trip is perfect for the road tripper who doesn’t want to do anything too physical as much of the spectacular scenery can be seen without even having to get out of the car.

Leavenworth

Leavenworth in Washington

Travelers from around the country have Leavenworth on their Washington bucket list. These people have to spend hundreds of dollars in flights, car rentals, and hotel rooms just to get here. But locals and visitors to Tri-Cities are fortunate to live close enough to be able to visit on a day trip! So why not take advantage of the situation?

While some may think that this town is a little too touristy or tacky, it does not change the fact that Leavenworth has really good food and beer, as well as an abundance of outdoor activities to pursue in the surrounding mountains.

Of course you’re probably going to need more than a day if you want to explore the mountains but if it’s just a change of scenery you are looking for, a day trip to Leavenworth from Tri-Cities is definitely doable.

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Learn how to easily plan your dream trip to the Midwest!

a sign in chicago marking the beginning of historic route 66 one of the best midwest road trips

15 Fun Midwest Road Trips For Your Bucket List

March 25, 2021 by //  by  Midwest Explored 1 Comment

Looking for fun Midwest Road Trips to explore? Then take a look at this list full of the best Midwest road trips.

I was born and raised in the Midwest and I know there is so much to enjoy about each state.

That’s why I’ve found a unique and fun road trip in the Midwest for each Midwestern state.

On these road trips you’ll drive down the iconic Route 66, sample the best restaurants in Nebraska, admire natural wonders, and explore famous ghost towns.

So here are 15 fun Midwest road trips for your bucket list!

One of the natural caves in Hocking Hills State Park a great place for Midwest road trips

Route 66 Through Illinois For History Lovers

  • Bloomington
  • Collinsville

You’ll start your Midwest road trip through Illinois’ portion of Route 66 in Chicago.

Make sure to grab a picture of the iconic Route 66 sign in Chicago that marks the start of the famous highway.

From there, you’ll pass through Joliet and head into Bloomington. You’ll want to check out the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum.

Head out of Bloomington towards Litchfield. On the way, you’ll pass through some amazing kitschy road side attractions and unique food stands.

In Litchfield, grab something to eat at the iconic Doc’s Soda Fountain before experiencing the Sky View Drive-in Theater.

You’ll finish your trip in Collinsville where you should consider stopping at the Rabbit Ranch as you end your journey on the iconic Route 66.

The sign in Chicago that marks the beginning of Historic Route 66

Natural Wonders Of Iowa Road Trip

  • Dunnings Spring Park
  • Effigy Mounds National Monument
  • Maquoketa Caves State Park
  • Wildcat Den State Park

For your Midwest road trip through Iowa’s natural wonders, you’ll start at Dunning’s Springs Park.

Dunning’s Springs Park is home to one of the best waterfalls in Iowa .

From there, head to Effigy Mounds National Monument. This national monument is home to over 200 effigy mounds created by Native Americans from 20 different Nations.

Next, you’ll make your way to Maquoketa Caves State Park.

Maquoketa Caves State Park is over 300 acres and has the most caves of any Iowa State Park.

Many of them you can walk through and hike out to see.

End your trip at Wildcat Den State Park. It is a beautiful park known for it’s massive rock features.

You can take hikes and admire the ‘Devil’s Punch Bowl’, ‘Fat Man’s Squeeze’, and ‘Steamboat Rock’.

A large waterfall in Dunning's Springs Iowa surrounded by greenery and moss

Post-Rock Scenic Byway, Kansas

  • Limestone Native American Posts
  • Wilson Lake
  • The Garden of Eden

The Post Rock Scenic Byway is a stretch of byway in Kansas that is 18 miles long.

It winds through the Smoky Hills and is named for the unique limestone rock posts Native American’s used to build their fences, homes, and other structures.

Along the route, you’ll be able to admire these unique limestone Native American posts. Four of them have had faces carved into them by California artist, Fred Whitman.

One of the main parts of the byway is the area surrounding Wilson Lake.

There are several scenic stops you can take to admire Wilson Lake, or you can get out and explore and hike near the lake.

The scenic byway ends in the town of Lucas, which is home to the famous ‘Garden of Eden’.

The ‘Garden of Eden’ is a National Historic Place that features over 150 folk art statues.

S.P. Dinsmoor was a Civil War veteran who created the folk art statues in the late 1800s.

Dinsmoor and his art made Lucas an artists town and it is now home to several different artist collectives and unique galleries.

It is the perfect stopping point for your road trip in the Midwest.

A limestone rock being used as a makeshift fence post on the Post Rock Scenic Byway one of the best Midwest Road Trips

Ghost Towns Of Missouri For A Spooky Road Trip

  • Possum Trot
  • Georgia City

For those looking for a spookier adventure, consider a road trip in the Midwest full of Missouri ghost towns.

You’ll start your road trip in Arlington, a once lively town on Route 66. Arlington was established in the 1860s but was abandoned less than 100 years later.

Just south of Arlington is Bloodland. The oddly named town became obsolete in the 1940s, but a few buildings still remain.

From Bloodland you’ll head to the town of Possum Trot. All that remains of the former town is a church and a home that have long stood abandoned.

Finish your trip in Georgia City. The only thing left of this once hopping town is the cemetery. Many of the town’s original residents are burried there.

A drive through the ghost towns of Missouri is sure to make for an interesting Midwest road trip.

An abandoned building in the ghost town of Arlington Missouri

The Ohio River Scenic Byway, Indiana

The Ohio River Scenic Byway runs in three states, with 300 miles running through Indiana.

There are three historic towns you’ll pass through that offer charming experiences in each.

Begin your road trip in Vevay, named the 4th Coolest Small Town in America, and for good reason. There you can visit a casino, have a delicious meal, and even go zip-lining.

From Vevay you’ll continue down the scenic byway to the charming town of Madison. You’ll be able to sample locally made cider, go hiking, and enjoy small town charm.

Finish your Ohio River Scenic Byway road trip in the small town of Newburgh.

In Newburgh, walk the Riverwalk, grab a bite to eat, and explore unique shops.

An aerial photo of the small town of Madison Ohio

Small Towns Of Minnesota Road Trip

  • Taylors Falls

There are so many cute small towns in Minnesota that it makes for the perfect Midwest road trip.

You’ll start your trip in Ely, which is home to one of the best waterfalls in Minnesota , the Kawishiwi Falls.

From there, head to Pipestone, which is home to the Pipestone National Monument. At the National Monument you’ll be able to hike and learn more about Native American history.

After you leave Pipestone, continue on to Winona. Winona is perfect for a romantic getaway if you are a couple that enjoys festivals.

The small town of Winona is known for it’s frequent and unique festivals. So no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll probably get to enjoy one.

End you’re small towns road trip in Taylors Falls.

It’s the perfect place to end your trip because you’ll be able to decompress and enjoy the great outdoors.

A large waterfall in one of the small towns in Minnesota surrounded by greenery

Lighthouses Of Michigan Road Trip For Coastal Fun

  • Big Red Lighthouse
  • Big Sable Point Lighthouse
  • Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
  • Fort Gratiot Point Light Station

Start your exploration of Michigan’s lighthouses at the famous Big Red Lighthouse in Holland. Holland is great for a weekend getaway in Michigan , so consider spending a little time enjoying the town while you’re there.

From there, travel North to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.

The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is in Ludington, which is also where you can find one of the best beaches in Michigan .

Next, you’ll stop at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, one of the best lighthouses in Michigan , which is on Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island is another great place to explore, so plan to spend some time to tour both the lighthouse and the nearby area.

End your trip at Michigan’s first lighthouse, the Fort Gratiot Point Light Station.

It first opened in 1825 and is a popular lighthouse for tourist visits, so plan enough time there to get the full experience. The lighthouses of Michigan road trip in the Midwest is a great way to experience Michigan coastal life.

The Big Red Lighthouse in Holland Michigan with a sail boat docked outside of it

Old Red/Old Ten Scenic Byway, North Dakota

  • Assumption Abbey

If you’re looking for Midwest road trips that explore the hidden parts of Midwestern States, then consider traveling down the Old Red/Old Ten Scenic Byway in North Dakota.

The best part about this road trip is that it is mostly full of beautiful scenic views of North Dakota.

As you drive along, you’ll come into the small town of Taylor. Taylor is known for it’s yearly horse festivals.

If you stop by during one of those festivals, you’re in for a real treat.

Next you’ll pass into Richardton, which is home to the beautiful Assumption Abbey.

While you’re there, make sure you take the time to tour this stunning abbey that is seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

As you finish you’re road trip, you’ll find Salem Sue.

Salem Sue is the World’s Largest Holstein Cow fiberglass sculpture. It was built in 1974 using $40,000 in donations from local farmers and residents.

It is a unique way to end your Midwestern travel through scenic North Dakota.

A large cow statue in North Dakota on a sunny day one of the best Midwest Road Trips

Ohio Waterfalls Midwest Road Trip s

  • Mohican State Park
  • Brandywine Falls
  • Lanterman’s Falls
  • Hocking Hills State Park

Most of Ohio’s best waterfalls can be found in state parks, so start your road trip in Mohican State Park.

At Mohican State Park there are two waterfalls you can see. The Big and Little Lyons Falls, both of which flow over deep sandstone gorges.

Next head to Cuyahoga National Park to admire the Brandywine Falls, home to one of the best waterfalls in Ohio .

The falls are a popular spot to visit and cascade down into the river over 65 feet. The hike to view them is fairly easy, so it’s a great stop on any waterfall Midwest road trips.

Continue on to Lanternman’s Falls, which is actually in Youngstown Ohio’s metro park.

Make sure while you’re there you take the time to explore and enjoy the best things to do in Youngstown Ohio .

End your trip at one of my favorite spots, Hocking Hills State Park.

Hocking Hills State Park has some of the best hiking trails in Ohio , and a lot of them lead you to one of the three waterfalls there.

Exploring Ohio’s waterfalls is a great way to see some of the most beautiful spots in my home state.

A large waterfall at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio cascading over rock into waters below in Midwest road trips journey.

State Parks of Wisconsin Midwwest Road Trip For Outdoor Adventures

  • Peninsula State Park
  • Copper Falls State Park
  • Pattison State Park
  • Devil’s Lake State Park

There are tons of State Parks in Wisconsin, but for this road trip, I have found some of the best ones for you to explore.

Begin your journey at Peninsula State Park. It is the state’s second most popular park and has a mix of challenging and easy hikes, so there is something for everyone.

If you are up for the challenge, hike the 2 mile Eagle Trail to admire breathtaking limestone cliffs.

Continue your trip to Copper Falls State Park.

Copper Falls State Park is home to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Wisconsin , but not the only state park on this trip to have waterfalls.

From Copper Falls, head to Pattinson State Park.

Pattinson State Park is home to Wisconsin’s biggest waterfall, Big Manitou Falls. The hike is fairly easy to view it, so I definitely suggest taking the time to do the hike.

Finish your Midwest road trip in Devil’s Lake State Park.

This State Park is known for its many unique rock formations and this has made it one of Wisconsin’s most popular State Parks.

When you plan this road trip, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore all the State Parks and what they have to offer.

An interesting rock formation at a state park in Wisconsin

Michigan’s Covered Bridges Trail

  • Fallasburg Covered Bridge
  • Ada Covered Bridge
  • Langley Covered Bridge Historic Site
  • Holz-Brucke Bridge

Michigan has its own Covered Bridges Trail and its a great way to explore Michigan. You’ll start your trip in Lowell at the Fallasburg Covered Bridge.

Fallasburg is one of the only four covered bridges in Michigan that is still open to vehicle traffic.

Tourists have been coming to view this 100 foot covered bridge since it was built in 1871.

Right by the Fallasburg bridge is the Ada Covered Bridge.

The Ada Covered Bridge is only open to foot traffic and takes you across the Thornapple River onto Bronson Street in Ada.

From there, you’ll travel to the Langley Covered Bridge, which is the longest wooden covered bridge in Michigan.

End your tour of Michigan’s covered bridges in the cute Michigan small town of Frankenmuth.

Frankenmuth is home to the Holz-Brucke Bridge which was actually built in 1980.

It may be a newer covered bridge, but it is absolutely worth a stop on your Midwest road trip!

The wooden Fallasburg Covered Bridge in the fall on a sunny day in Michigan during Midwest road trips.

Best Restaurants A Midwest Road Trip Through Nebraska For Foodies

  • The Chocolate Bar, Grand Island
  • The Mixing Bowl, Gering
  • Sehnert’s Bakery, McCook
  • Shirley’s Diner, Omaha
  • UNL Dairy Store, Lincoln

Nebraska is full of amazing restaurants, so start in Grand Island and The Chocolate Bar. The stand out on this bakery’s menu is their Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, but you’ll love anything you order.

Next head to Gering and sample German classics with a bit of Midwestern flair at The Mixing Bowl.

The Mixing Bowl is open for breakfast and lunch and the locals absolutely love it, so you know it’s going to be good.

After breakfast or lunch at The Mixing Bowl, head to Sehnert’s Bakery in McCook for a delicious pastry, a gourmet sandwich, or a cup of espresso.

For dinner, you can’t beat Shirley’s Diner in Omaha.

Shirley’s is a family owned and operated classic 1950s style diner. You’ll get to enjoy Nebraska favorites to the sounds of good old fashioned Rock N Roll.

End your foodie Midwest road trip at the UNL Dairy Store for a sweet treat.

UNL Dairy Store offers ice cream that is handmade by local university students as well as other sweet dairy treats.

It is a perfect way to end one of the most unique Midwest road trips in Nebraska.

A slice of Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake on a white plate

Haunted South Dakota Midwest Road Trip

  • Mount Marty College
  • Gitchi Manitou
  • Scotty Phillip Cemetery
  • Historic Fairmont Hotel

South Dakota is home to some well known haunted location, making it the perfect place to have a haunted road trip.

Start your haunted road trip at Mount Marty College.

Mount Marty College has been home to ghost tales ever since the death of a maintenance worker in 1936. Residents in Whitby Hall report apparitions, scratchings, and strange noises.

From there head to Gitchi Manitou for some newer haunting rumors.

Gitchi Manitou is where six Sioux Falls teens were reportedly murdered in the 1970s while camping and now local legend says the teens haunt the area.

Your next stop is the Scotty Philip Cemetery.

Its no surprise that an old cemetery would have rumors of being haunted. The cemetery has a sad story of a father surviving his five children, and now locals believe he haunts the grounds mourning his children.

End your haunted road trip at the famous Historic Fairmont Hotel in Deadwood South Dakota.

Ghost tours are offered daily or if you’re brave, you can spend the night and wait for an opportunity to experience the ghostly happenings yourself.

This will definitely be one of the most interesting Midwest road trips you can take!

The red brick Historic Fairmount Hotel in South Dakota on a cloudy day Midwest road trips attraction

Roadsides Attractions Of Illinois For A Kitschy Midwest Road Trip

  • Superman Square, Metropolis
  • Brook’s Catsup Bottle, Collinsville
  • The Gemini Giant, Wilmington
  • De Immigrant Windmill, Fulton

Illinois has some great hidden gems in the Midwest , like kitschy roadside attractions, and a lot of them are on the famous Route 66. So you can combine this road trip with my Route 66 one!

Begin your kitschy road trip in Metropolis where you can admire the Superman Square. Metropolis claims to be the home of the iconic super hero, and takes that very seriously.

From there, head to Collinsville where you can view the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, the Brook’s Catsup Bottle.

At one time, it was the water tower for the town, but now it is a fun kitschy roadside attraction.

Next, head to the Launching Pad restaurant in Wilmington.

Outside of the restaurant stands a large Mid Century statue known as the Gemini Giant. Its a really fun spot to grab a bite to eat and a fun selfie!

Finish your kitschy road trip by viewing the De Immigrant Windmill in Fulton.

The De Immigrant Windmill was originally constructed in the Netherlands but now stands proudly in this cute Illinois town.

The green Gemini Giant statue, holding a silver rocket, a unique road side attraction in Illinois part of Midwest road trips.

Natural Wonders of Missouri Road Trip

  • Clifty Creek Natural Bridge
  • Johnson Shut-ins
  • Elephant Rock State Park
  • Grand Gulf State Park

Missouri is the perfect state for Midwest road trips that focus on natural wonders, because it has plenty!

I suggest starting your road trip at the Clifty Creek Natural Bridge.

You’ll have to take a 2.5 mile hike, but at the end you’ll get great views of the natural rock bridge.

From there, head to the Johnson Shut-ins.

The Johnson Shut-ins are volcanic rock that are stuck in the East Fork of the Black River. They make for a great way to spend a hot summer day, because you can go swimming in the area.

Continue to Elephant Rock State Park to see it’s namesake, the Elephant Rock.

The rock formation was created with 1.5 billion-year-old granite that you can now climb and admire.

Finish your journey through Missouri’s natural wonders at the Grand Gulf State Park.

Locals refer to Grand Gulf as the “Little Grand Canyon” and was formed by a collapsed cave system. It’s a great way to end your Midwestern travels.

The Johnson Shut-ins on a sunny fall day during a Midwest road trips.

Packing List For Your Midwest Road Trips

If you will be traveling, either by plane or by car to the Midwest, here are some  tips on how to pack lightly.

A  concealed travel pouch  may be one of the most important items you bring along when taking Midwest road trips. It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.

his  unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is  lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.

You can place it under your hiking clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.

If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these  RFID  sleeves are  the perfect solution.

This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet. 

If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an  external charging battery . This  Anker high-speed phone charging battery  is  the exact one  I carry with me on all of my trips.

It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast!

I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.

My daughter gifted me with this  FugeTek selfie stick and tripod   setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and so easy to use.

It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking selfies when staying in one of the best Airbnbs in Illinois.

Hydration is so important when traveling. You want to remain hydrated throughout your travels to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels. 

You will want to bring your own  refillable water bottle  with you. 

I never leave home on a trip without my  Bobble filtration bottle .  The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.

When filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the charcoal filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble.

You can find  filter replacements here. 

Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car.

Then this  set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles  would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all. 

You will want a  backpack or daypack  with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. when hiking This   foldable water-resistant backpack   would be great

It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.

No matter which of these Midwest road trips you decide to do, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. They all offer a unique and fun way to explore the Midwest.

Have you been on any of these road trips or ones like them? If you haven’t, which one do you want to take first?

I’d love to hear about your Midwestern travels in the comments!

A large grasshopper sculpture on the Enchanted Highway one of the best hidden gems in Midwest

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Stops on the Way

Stop in Salt Lake City, Moab, and other destinations on your road trip to Utah’s parks and recreation areas. Because a road trip vacation is about the stops and side trips as much as the final destination. Add these adventures to your trip.

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