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7 Classic American Roadside Attractions

  • An SUV drives through a cut-out giant sequoia tree in the Chandelier Drive-Thru Park in California.
    imagebroker/Alamy

    Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree, Leggett, California

    This environmentalist's nightmare features a roughly six-foot-wide opening that was carved into the base of a massive redwood tree in the 1930s, allowing you to cruise on through — though you might want to measure your behemoth SUV first. The tree is one of several similar attractions in the redwood forests of Northern California.

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  • Cadillac Ranch In Amarillo Texas Features Cars Dug Dig Into The Sand And Sticking Up Into The Air, Roadside Attractions
    Richard Cummins/Corbis

    Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

    America's answer to Stonehenge is a line of 10 Cadillacs, circa 1949 to 1963, planted nose-first in a field alongside Interstate 40 at the same angle as the Great Pyramid at Giza. An artists' collective called the Ant Farm created Cadillac Ranch in 1974. Is it art? No matter — it's a hoot.

    America's answer to Stonehenge is a line of 10 Cadillacs, circa 1949 to 1963, planted nose-first in a field alongside Interstate 40 at the same angle as the Great Pyramid at Giza. An artists' collective called the Ant Farm created Cadillac Ranch in 1974. Is it art? No matter — it's a hoot. See also: Amarillo travel guide

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  • Corn Palace In Mitchell South Dakota, Roadside Attractions
    John Elk III/Alamy

    Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

    It's almost beside the point that the Corn Palace is actually a multipurpose arena. The draw here is the circa 1921 fantasy architecture straight out of The Arabian Nights that's adorned with huge murals made from 275,000-plus ears of multicolored corn. It's "corny" in both senses of the word.

    It's almost beside the point that the Corn Palace is actually a multipurpose arena. The draw here is the circa 1921 fantasy architecture straight out of The Arabian Nights that's adorned with huge murals made from 275,000-plus ears of multicolored corn. It's "corny" in both senses of the word.

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  • Tourists Walk Through The Biosphere In Arizona, Roadside Attractions
    Emily Riddell/Alamy

    Biosphere 2, Oracle, Arizona

    A group of humans — dubbed "Biosphereans" — once occupied this 3.14-acre greenhouse, which was built between 1987 and 1991 to simulate the hermetically sealed conditions of space colonization. The last residents left in 1994, and now you can tour the futuristic glass structures that still house a rain forest and coral reef.

    A group of humans — dubbed "Biosphereans" — once occupied this 3.14-acre greenhouse, which was built between 1987 and 1991 to simulate the hermetically sealed conditions of space colonization. The last residents left in 1994, and now you can tour the futuristic glass structures that still house a rain forest and coral reef.

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  • Explore Your World, A A R P Real Possibilities, Colorful sunset reflected in still water. wooden row boat with oars in foreground center

    AARP Travel: Explore Your World

    Explore Travel with our newsletter filled with tips and ideas to plan the ultimate getaway.
    Join AARP today for savings on airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises.

    Explore Travel with our newsletter filled with tips and ideas to plan the ultimate getaway.
    Join AARP today for savings on airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises.
    Click the white arrow on the right of the photo above to continue the slideshow.

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  • Exhibit Showing Off Photos Of Singer And Celebrity Elvis Presley At Graceland Museum In Mississippi, Roadside Attractions
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    Graceland Too, Holly Springs, Mississippi

    Paul MacLeod calls himself "the biggest Elvis fan in the universe," and you may agree after seeing his house. Surrounded by blue Christmas trees and open to the public 24/7, it's full of Elvis memorabilia — including the King's famous grade school report card with an F in music.

    Paul MacLeod calls himself "the biggest Elvis fan in the universe," and you may agree after seeing his house. Surrounded by blue Christmas trees and open to the public 24/7, it's full of Elvis memorabilia — including the King's famous grade school report card with an F in music.

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  • Wigwam Motel In Cave City Kentucky, Roadside Attractions
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    Wigwam Village in Cave City, Kentucky

    This unique motel consists of 15 concrete-and-steel teepees, each with a bedroom and bath. It's one of three remaining Wigwam Villages out of seven built around America beginning in 1935. Even if you don't stay here, take a spin around the kitsch-filled gift shop housed in a giant teepee.

    This unique motel consists of 15 concrete-and-steel teepees, each with a bedroom and bath. It's one of three remaining Wigwam Villages out of seven built around America beginning in 1935. Even if you don't stay here, take a spin around the kitsch-filled gift shop housed in a giant teepee

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  • The Original Location Of The First McDonald's And Now Museum In Des Plaines Illinois, Roadside Attractions
    Tim Boyle/Getty Images

    McDonald's #1 Store Museum, Des Plaines, Illinois

    At this re-creation of Ray Kroc's first McDonald's outlet, which opened in Des Plaines in 1955, the cooking equipment dates from the company's early days, when fries came from fresh potatoes and not a freezer. The museum has no real restaurant, but there's a modern McDonald's across the street.

    At this re-creation of Ray Kroc's first McDonald's outlet, which opened in Des Plaines in 1955, the cooking equipment dates from the company's early days, when fries came from fresh potatoes and not a freezer. The museum has no real restaurant, but there's a modern McDonald's across the street.

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  • An SUV drives through a cut-out giant sequoia tree in the Chandelier Drive-Thru Park in California.
    imagebroker/Alamy
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