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Quirky Roadside Attractions #IGTravelThursday

 quirky roadside attractionsQuirky roadside attractions may not be exclusive to America – Longford, Ireland has a giant fiddle embedded in a roadside hill– but it does seem to be a tradition rooted in Americana. The heydays of Route66 gave birth to some of the most quirky.  That legacy grows with every rediscovery and snaps posted to Instagram. Here are a few of my favorites in honor of #InstagramTravelThurdsay.

My paternal Grandda was a bit of a stinker. The older he got, the more cantankerous he could be. I vividly remember one summer when the grandparents came to visit us and he refused to eat the fish my mother made unless it was specifically, “Northern Walleyed Pike.” Not much chance of getting that in the desert of Southern California. Mom just looked at the label on the Gorton’s box and replied, “Well what do you know Joe, that’s exactly what the label says it is.” I guess when you hit your 80’s you want things your way but may not have the time to double check what you’re getting.

Every time I hear “Walleyed” I think of him and smile. When I found Wylie the Walleye roadside attraction in Tonya Prater’s feed (@travelermom) I giggled even harder at the thought that anyone would ever want, let alone insist on eating one of those things! Tonya’s travels across America in an RV are some of my favorite IG posts of all time.

A watermelon munching Tyrannosaurus Rex… seems ligit? Turns out the resident prehistoric reptile of Vernal, Utah has a new look for every season. Found on the feed of @skwikita, a self-proclaimed “Old Guy” who loves taking pictures, this made me laugh so hard I had to find the story behind it. The townsfolk of Vernal turned this once decapitated roadside attraction into an icon of the city who even dresses up for the annual rodeo. @skwikita claims to not know what he’s doing on “IG,” but one look at the great pictures he posts and we all know he’s doing it right.

Not too far away from where I grew up, dinosaurs lived. Or at least my six-year-old self was convinced of this. The dinosaurs of Cabazon, California were a bit neglected back when I was a kid, but then in the 80’s the band Tears for Fears shot them in part of their video for Everybody Wants to Rule the World, and the old guys got some new life. Here they’ve been captured by @Lost_in_the_usa, but they’ve also got their own IG account too!

When we moved to the East Coast our first major road trip was to Savannah Georgia. Since then we’ve made a handful of seventeen-hour treks to Orlando and points south. Every time we go, the first person to spot a billboard for South of the Border wins a prize. This place is cheesier than the entire state of Wisconsin and seems to be suspended in time. When Katja of Skimbaco made a recent trip from New York state to Florida her family found it just as charmingly kitschy as ours does.  And what’s not to love about a place with a giant sombrero tower, purple apes, and a twelve-foot long dachshund in a bun? 

I think one of the things that makes quirky roadside attractions so… well… attractive, is that you typically never know where they’ll crop up. That and the creativity behind many of them. How does one even decide to build the biggest ball of twine in America, let alone market the thing as a “destination”?

Case in point… a wrong turn on a recent trip to our favorite beach in Maryland brought us face-to-face with a Great White Shark. Not many of those spotted on the Maryland coastline. The excellent Ice cream we had next door may be more common. We’d never have found it were it not for old saw-tooth here.


#SHARK spotted off the coast of Maryland!

A photo posted by Lara DiPaola (@dipaolamomma) on

What was the cheesiest or most memorable roadside attraction you’ve ever seen? We might just have to plan an entire trip around quirky roadside attractions. Think there’s an app for that?