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7 Bizarre Roadside Attractions That Celebrate The American Vehicle

The monotony of a long RV trip can be broken up by looking out for unusual roadside attractions. Everything from giant teapots to the world’s largest chicken wing can be found on the sides of American roads.

Furthermore, many of these attractions are made of recycled vehicles. If you’re an automobile buff, these bizarre attractions made from classic cars and campers are definitely worth a detour to visit.

roadside attractions
Stephanie Hammond/Slug Bug Ranch

1. International Car Forest of the Last Church

On the long stretch of U.S. Route 95 to and from Las Vegas, Nevada, the tiny town of Goldfield has many interesting sights, including the supposedly haunted Goldfield Hotel and the International Car Forest of the Last Church.

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roadside attractions
Kimberly Reinhart/Flickr
Ice Cream Truck & Limousine by odonata98 (Kimberly Reinhart) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Unfortunately, you can only see the abandoned hotel from the outside, but you can drive right up to this free art installation that features junk cars covered in graffiti.

The Car Forest was built by artists Mark Rippie and Chad Sorg and contains over 40 cars, trucks, and buses in various colorful configurations. You can access the Car Forest from the Veterans Memorial Highway and Crystal Avenue in Goldfield.

2. Trans Am Totem

The Trans Am Totem is the most urban installation on this list and as a result, may take some maneuvering to visit. Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, the sculpture is made of a single tree and several stacked vehicles.

roadside attractions
Wikipedia

The 700 series BMW, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Golf Mk1 Cabriolet, and Pontiac Trans Am were donated by a local scrapyard and stacked on top of the wood base.

Created by Marcus Bowcott, the sculpture was for the 2014–2016 Vancouver Biennale. Trans Am Totem can be seen at the corner of Quebec Street and Milross Avenue south of Chinatown.

3. Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation made up of a line of junk Cadillacs that represent the evolution of the car from 1949 to 1963. Each of the vehicles are buried halfway into the ground and painted in bright colors.

roadside attractions
scott1436/Flickr
scott1346 from Mechanicsville

In addition, they are constantly changing since passersby can add their own art to the cars. Created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, the attraction can be seen and accessed from Old Route 66 just west of Amarillo.

4. Slug Bug Ranch

Volkswagen vehicles lend themselves well to various roadside attractions (see the spider bugs below) and one of the most well known is Slug Bug Ranch in Claude, Texas.

Slug Bug Ranch. Photo by Jennifer Kirkland
Slug Bug Ranch. Photo by Jennifer Kirkland

Made up of five Volkswagen Beetles with their noses buried in the dirt, the attraction pays homage to Cadillac Ranch. Visitors are encouraged to add their own spray paint messages to the cars. The Slug Bug Ranch is located on the corner of Old Route 66 (U.S. 40) and Highway 207.

5. Carhenge

While living in England, artist Jim Reinders studied the enigmatic Stonehenge and decided to build his own version as a memorial to his father in Alliance, Nebraska. Carhenge is a nearly exact replica of the original stone version—except it’s made from 39 buried or stacked cars.

roadside attractions
Joyce Tarver/Friends of Carhenge

The exhibit is 96 feet in diameter and is part of the Car Art Reserve where several other art pieces are housed. Carhenge is located three miles north of Alliance on Highway 87.

6. Sign Post Forest

This roadside attraction doesn’t have any vehicles, but it has been celebrating life on the road since 1942. The Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake in Canada’s Yukon Territory is located on the famous Alaska Highway and contains over 77,000 signs from around the world.

roadside attractions
yukoninfo.com

This piece of art is interactive therefore visitors are encouraged to bring and post their own roadside signs or license plates. The Sign Post Forest is located at the corner of the Alaska Highway and the Robert Campbell Highway in Watson Lake.

7. Spider Bugs

Our good old Volkswagen Beetle makes another appearance, this time all over the country. Spider Bugs are a popular art form in the U.S. and consist of a recycled VW Beetle sitting on top of eight (or six) spindly metal legs.

Photo via Amazon
Photo via Amazon AWS

Visit the giant yellow Kenora, Ontario spider bug on the Trans-Canada Highway, or David Fambrough’s black spider bugs around Reno and Mound House, Nevada.

Most noteworthy is probably Dick Shaefer’s realistic looking spider bug in Erie, Pennsylvania. His spectacular spider shares space with other fantastic creatures made of car parts—including a giant wasp.

You may also like: 10 Unique Roadside Attractions for Your Next Road Trip


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