Must-Visit Quirky Attractions on a Cross Country Road Trip Across America

"Consider it your high school senior trip." Over a decade later, those words still ring in my head. Was it the words of my best friend? Nope. Girlfriend? Nope. Sibling? Getting warmer, but no. Those words came from my father as he started planning my "senior trip", one year before departing and a year and a half before my senior year actually started. Logic would actually say that it was my "junior trip", since it was taking place just days after the last day of my junior year of high school. The multi-week road trip took us over the river and through the woods of America, visiting nearly 25 states all total.

What is it that I discovered about America? It's quirky as hell. I took a similar route a year and a half ago on a cross country trip across America. A decade later and those quirks remained. And with that, here are a few of America's quirkiest attractions I found.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas. If you've never heard of Cadillac Ranch, then your mind is probably going crazy about what Cadillac Ranch could actually mean. If you guessed it to be a public art installation in the middle of Texas with a line of Cadillacs sticking up out of the ground, then you're absolutely correct. Located on one of the most boring parts of I-40 just outside of Amarillo, Texas, you're likely to do a double take the first time you see it. That's because this section of I-40 goes something like this: Pasture, pasture, pasture, pasture, Cadillac cars sticking in the middle of pasture, pasture, pasture. Nonetheless, it draws tons of visitors day after day who can't help but stop and snap a photo of this unusual art display.

The world's biggest dinosaurs, Palm Springs, California. Ever since losing in the final round of my 5th grade spelling bee to the word "dinosaur", I just can't seem to shake these creatures. From the television show Dinosaurs to the Jurassic Park movie franchise, our society continues to be mesmerized by dinosaurs even if we've never seen one alive. Cabazon Dinosaurs are no exception. Located along I-10 near Palm Springs, California, the only larger thing that hovers over these dinosaurs are the outerlying mountains of the California desert. The sculptured dinosaurs are over 100 tons each and were made famous in pop culture because of their appearances on Pee-wee’s Big Adventures. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a home-cooked breakfast at the Wheel Inn Cafe, which is in the same parking lot as the dinosaurs, and is why the dinosaurs were originally created, in order to advertise the restaurant. Nothing says waffles like a T-Rex.

Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho. I know, it's a mouthful. By the time you finish saying it, you probably feel like you sound like a dog. Well here's your chance to sleep with a dog in a hotel that looks like a dog. While California is home to the world's biggest dinosaurs, Idaho is home to the world's biggest beagle. They like their dogs at the Dog Bark Park Inn and you can't escape it, even once inside your room, when you're served dog-shaped cookies. However, jokes aside, the Dog Bark Park Inn is a noteworthy inn to rest your head for the evening, as it's been featured by multiple publications and is well-regarded by guests.

Coral Castle, Miami, Florida. America isn't exactly known for their castles. You've probably never seen an epic movie of good versus evil where the big castle was set on American soil. They did that right in Europe, but we didn't quite figure out castles here in the U.S.. Even if we did do castles right in America, you probably wouldn't expect to find any in the swamps of Florida, but that's about where you'll find Coral Castle in Miami. The castle is just as it sounds, a mock castle made up of tons of megalithic stones, formed primarily from coral. However, don't just show up to Coral Castle expecting this grand, enchanting castle like the ones you see in the movies. Since it was created by one man, Edward Leedskalnin, it doesn't have the same look of what most people consider a castle, but is fascinating nonetheless, especially given the fact that Leedskalnin did this alone, digging up and moving these rock formations that weigh tons, literally.

Roswell, New Mexico. As I was riding through Roswell, I couldn't help but think to myself: "This is real life." I don't care what you think about aliens, I have a hard time believing that anyone can gingerly take a cruise through the town of Roswell, New Mexico and not think there's something quirky going on here. It has been the focus of what's been referred to as the "Roswell UFO Incident", which has been one of the more popular controversies in America. The incident alleges that a UFO crashed in the Roswell area in the late 1940s. There have been tons of different reports and conspiracy theories ever since. Many people in the community have used it to promote what could only be referred to as "alien tourism", such as the International UFO Museum and the Roswell UFO Festival, which takes place at the end of June.

Dog Bark Park Inn in photo by erin_pass on Flickr and Coral Castle photo by psyberartist.

What's the quirkiest attraction or landmark you've ever seen?