It’s officially summer! And there’s nothing better than a great American cross-country road trip: soaking in the nation’s majestic beauty, eating in tiny roadside diners, driving 150 miles out of the way to take a selfie in front of… a 30 foot bowling pin?!
That’s right! We’ve compiled this list of the world’s largest (and weirdest) roadside attractions in each state. How many have you visited? And, which do you plan to see this summer? Tell us in the comments below!
Alabama: The World’s Largest Office Chair
In 1981, Miller’s Office Supply in Anniston, Alabama, wanted to call attention to itself. Owner Leonard “Sonny” Miller had an inspired idea: he would build the world’s largest chair in the vacant lot next to his building. Since he sold office furniture, he used an office chair as the model, simply converting inches into feet.
The result still stands today: a chair 33 feet tall with a 15-foot-square seat, built out of ten tons of steel (Sonny also had a steel company), anchored in 15 tons of cement.
Alaska: The World’s Largest Santa Claus
North Pole, Alaska
What if Santa was 42 feet tall and made out of fiberglass? That’s the reality in the town of North Pole, Alaska, where the world’s largest Santa Claus statue stands outside the Santa Claus House, which resides on St. Nicholas Drive.
Weighing in at 900 pounds, the statue was built for the World’s Fair in Seattle in 1962 but rightfully found its way to North Pole in 1983. How much paint is needed to give Santa color? Try three gallons of black, five gallons of white, and 10 gallons of red.
Arizona: The World’s Largest Cow Skull
The giant longhorn skull entrance of the now closed Longhorn Bar & Grill is a real eye-catcher, appearing as the occasional cinematic backdrop. It was built in the early 1970s by Michael Kautza from Tucson.
The skull’s horns reach 30 feet high. The building behind the skull has hosted many businesses over the years, from a roofing company to a clothing store, each convinced that customers would want to enter through the nose of a giant skull. Who will be next?
Arkansas: The World’s Largest Spinach Can
Alma, Arkansas calls itself the Spinach Capital of the World. Here’s how that happened. Back in 1987, residents George Bowles and Wolf Grulkey were sitting around drinking coffee and doing some noggin scratching over the question of how to put their little community of 2,500 on the map. Spinach is what they came up with.
At the time, Alma-based Allen Canning Company canned way over half (65%, according to the paper) of all the spinach canned in the U.S., some 60 million pounds a year coming from the local area. The can is actually a water tower with a huge Popeye painted on it.
California: The World’s Largest Artichoke
Built in 1963 from concrete and rebar, this giant creation was the brainchild of Ray Bei, built as a part of a vegetable stand and restaurant complex along the main thoroughfare. It stands 20 feet tall and 12 feet across.
Colorado: The World’s Largest Fork
The Creede Fork is the largest fork in the U.S. Made of aluminum, it’s 40 feet long and weighs over 600 pounds. The fork was designed and created by Chev and Ted Yund, and was installed as an art display and birthday gift for Denise Dutwiler, the owner of a bar and grill in town. Now if we could just find a giant-sized spoon to match (spoiler alert — Montana!).
Connecticut: The World’s Largest Dairy Store
From its humble beginnings as a small dairy store founded in 1969 with just seven employees, Stew Leonard’s has grown to become not only the World’s Largest Dairy Store, but one of the most renowned grocery stores, with annual sales of almost $400 million and almost 2,000 Team Members.
Inside, Stew’s reminds us of specialty groceries and farm markets in other regions — plus one- of-a-kind dairy entertainment like an animatronic band of cartoon milk cartons. Every few minutes they launch into cheery song.
Delaware: The World’s Largest Doctor Bag and Stethoscope
Hidden away in a medical center in Newark, Delaware rests a medical bag, just like they used to carry door to door. Protruding out of the top of the bag is a giant stethoscope. It stands about 20 feet high and approximately 15 feet across, making it the Worlds Largest Doctor’s Bag. We’re thinking it was used during Paul Bunyan’s doctor visits.
Standing more than 30 feet tall, The world’s largest bowling pin is located outside the front door of Splitsville, an upscale bowling alley and restaurant located inside of Tampa’s Channelside Entertainment Center.
Georgia: The World’s Largest Chicken
The Big Chicken is a KFC restaurant in Marietta, Georgia which features a 56-foot-tall steel-sided structure designed in the appearance of a chicken rising up from the top of the building. A well-known landmark in the area, it was constructed in 1956, rebuilt following storm damage in 1993 and underwent a $2 million renovation project in 2017.
Hawaii: The World’s Largest Aloha Shirt
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii is the home to the world’s largest aloha shirt, measuring 168 inches (14 feet) around the chest, 161 inches at the waist and more than 60 inches around the neck! Koa wood beverage coasters were used as the buttons. It took 26 yards of fabric to create the shirt (size 400XL), which was recognized as the world’s largest by the Guinness Book of Records in 1999. It’s believed that 13 sumo wrestlers can be fitted for the amount of fabric required to make the shirt.
Idaho: The World’s Largest Beagle
Dog lovers everywhere should head to Cottonwood, Idaho, to spend the night inside the world’s largest beagle hotel, The Dog Bark Park Inn, a B&B housed inside the World’s Largest Beagle. That’s right, you’re spending the night inside a giant dog sculpture.
Created by husband-and-wife chainsaw artists Dennis and Frances, the Dog Bark Park Inn can sleep up to four people in its Dog Suite loft, which contains a queen-size bed and two twin folding futon mattresses.
And you thought Idaho was only known for potatoes!
Illinois: The World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle
The World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle stands proudly next to Route 159, just south of downtown Collinsville, Illinois. This unique 170 ft. tall water tower was built in 1949 by the W.E. Caldwell Company for the G.S. Suppiger ketchup bottling plant — bottlers of Brooks old original rich and tangy ketchup. In August of 2002 it was named to the National Register of Historic Places. It even has its own website and fan club.
Indiana: The World’s Largest Ball of Paint
A painter by trade, Mike Carmichael turned an accident decades ago into a Guinness world record. He is the man behind the world’s largest ball of paint. The two-and-a-half ton ball hangs in a shed next to Carmichael’s Madison County home and around 1,200 people from near and far come out to see it every year.
This leads us to ask, what exactly is a ball of paint? When Carmichael became a dad, he wanted to share something special with his son. In 1977, he had his three-year-old brush on the first coat of paint on a baseball. “After 38 years you see that we’ve got 24,700 layers of paint on it,” said Carmichael.
Iowa: The World’s Largest Frying Pan
The Pride of Brandon measures approximately 14 feet and 3 inches from rim to its handle’s end. The pan was built in 2004 and took a little over 40 hours to construct. Weighing in at half a ton, it is made out of scrap steel that was donated by local farmers. Rumor has it the frying pan can hold 44 dozen eggs.
But there’s steep competition in the frying pan attractions. There are six comparably “largest” pans in the world, but Brandon’s is reportedly the most photographed.
Kansas: The World’s Largest Easel
For the past several years, Goodland, in western Kansas, has been waving at passers-by with the World’s Largest Easel (or at least the largest along a U.S. Interstate). It’s 80 feet tall, and atop it rests a 32×24-foot representation of one of Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” paintings.
Kansas is the “Sunflower State,” and Goodland is at the center of the local sunflower industry, so it makes sense.
Kentucky: The World’s Largest Baseball Bat
The enlarged replica of a bat used by Babe Ruth in the 1920s marks the site of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. But this is no “bambino’s” bat. Weighing 68,000 pounds and measuring 120 feet tall, the bat — which has been a downtown fixture since 1995 — is considered the world’s biggest.
Louisiana: The World’s Largest Cross
This huge 199-foot-tall cross is one of the tallest crosses in America! It was completed on Nov. 4, 2009. After a local church raised $100,000 for the cross’s construction, it learned that its property was zoned for no structure taller than 45 feet — but the local parish obligingly waved the rules so the cross could be built.
Maine: The World’s Largest Rotating Globe
“Eartha” is the world’s largest rotating and revolving globe, located within the lobby of the DeLorme Mapping Corporation in Yarmouth, Maine. The globe was built in 1998 and weighs approximately 5,600 pounds and has a diameter of over 41 feet. Eartha eclipsed a 33-foot-wide rotating globe in Italy, as well as the original “World’s Largest Rotating World,” a 28-ft. diameter steel ball in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Maryland: The World’s Largest Pencil
Dawn’s Office Supply Company has been under the same ownership since 1947 — a disabled veteran who named the company after his German shepherd, Dawn. But the sign is the main attraction. Now if we could just find a pencil sharpener…
Massachusetts: The World’s Largest Clam Box
The Clam Box is a New England tradition, serving up fried clams and other seafood for more than 70 years. Built in 1938, the building was shaped like the trapezoidal boxes in which clams-to-go are served.
Michigan: The World’s Largest Cherry Pie and Pan
Traverse City, Michigan
The empty pie pan sits in front of a Sara Lee bakery outlet. It was once full of a huge cherry pie weighing 28,350 pounds and measuring 17 feet, 6 inches in diameter. In a controversial debate, this pie and pan broke the previous records that were also held in Michigan just 50 miles to the north in Charlevoix.
Minnesota: The World’s Largest Pelican
Pelican Rapids, Minnesota
The World’s Largest Pelican stands at the base of the Mill Pond dam on the Pelican River, right in downtown Pelican Rapids, of course! It is 15 1/2 feet tall and was built in 1957.
Mississippi: The World’s Largest Apron Museum
Nestled just between the town’s two highest church steeples, The Apron Museum opened in is home to about 3,500 aprons that span the ages and the globe. Thousands of aprons date to the Civil War, and the collection also features modern pop-culture tribute aprons including Star Wars and Family Guy.
Missouri: The World’s Largest Chess Piece
St. Louis, Missouri
This impressive chess piece is 14.5 feet high, weighs 2,280 pounds and is yet another example of the seemingly unlimited financial resources that make St. Louis the country’s chess capital. Despite its size, the king piece took less than a month and a half to build — thanks to R. G. Ross Construction, a local company that formed the piece in a secret location.
Montana: The World’s Largest Purple Spoon
East Glacier, Montana
A sign next to the spoon proclaims it to be the world’s largest, and it’s reportedly known locally as “Big Martha.” The 25-foot-tall purple spoon is in the yard of Spiral Spoons, a shop run by a lovely lady from Georgia as a nod to her hand-crafted cooking spoons made from beautiful wood.
Nebraska: The World’s Largest Porch Swing
Hebron, Nebraska is home to what was and may still be the world’s largest porch swing. Built from a giant crop irrigator pole, the swing seats 18 adults or 24 children. It sits in Roosevelt Park downtown, not on an actual front porch. Reportedly a larger porch swing may have been built in 2012 in Canada, but Hebron’s still seems pretty big.
Nevada: The World’s Largest Working Fire Hydrant
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is a roadside attraction in and of itself, but it’s also where you can find the world’s largest fire hydrant that actually works! At 15 feet tall, it has a lever you can pull to give yourself a soaking to beat the desert heat. This giant yellow landmark sits outside of a dog park in downtown Vegas. (We know a giant sized dog in Idaho who would just love this.)
New Hampshire: The World’s Largest Candy Counter
Littleton, New Hampshire
Take Your Sweet Tooth to Littleton, New Hampshire! Chutters General Store boasts of its 112 foot long glass counter devoted to nothing but selling candy. It even has a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records to prove it’s the world’s largest.
The store-length candy counter can hold an amazing 800 jars of sweet treats, many of which will take you back to your childhood.
New Jersey: The World’s Largest Elephant
Margate, New Jersey
Lucy is the world’s largest elephant, and the only one in America designated as a National Historic Landmark.
She was built in 1881 by James V. Lafferty, a real estate developer with a knack for promotion. Standing six stories tall, weighing 90 tons, covered with 12,000 square feet of sheet tin, Lucy was more than an object of awe — she was a functioning building, serving first as a real estate office, as a summer home, even briefly as a tavern.
New Mexico: The World’s Largest Pistachio
Alamogordo, New Mexico
It started as a humble tribute from a son to his father. From there, it developed a measure of celebrity status,
After a lifetime building his New Mexico pistachio farm, also known as PistachioLand, Alamogordo nut salesman Tom McGinn was memorialized with a roadside advertisement that now draws tourists from all over the country.
The World’s Largest Pistachio stands 30-feet tall and was constructed using over five yards of concrete and 35 gallons of paint to give the enormous green nut a strangely real look.
New York: The World’s Largest Pancake Griddle
Penn Yan, New York
This 27-foot steel kitchen utensil weighs 10 tons! In 1987, it was used to make what the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed to be the largest buckwheat pancake. The batter was mixed in a cement mixer and the pancake itself was flipped with a crane. It’s now hung on the side of a the Birkett Mills building as a photo-op.
North Carolina: The World’s Largest Tobacco Worm
Wendell, North Carolina
A mural commissioned by the Wendell Appearance Commission is believed to be the world’s largest tobacco hornworm. The worm is 70 feet long and 17 feet high. The mural was completed by Michael Brown of Carrboro, North Carolina. Brown embedded a QR code in the work that visitors can scan with their mobile devices to provide access to a website where they can record their personal experiences working in tobacco.
North Dakota: The World’s Largest Buffalo
Jamestown, North Dakota
The World’s Largest Buffalo was built in 1959 by Elmer P. Peterson, an art teacher at Jamestown College. He was hired by Harold Newman, a powerful local billboard man who said he wanted “to create something so big and magnificent that passersby would have to stop in the city.”
Peterson built the buffalo out of concrete, 26 feet tall, 46 feet long. It weighs 60 tons. It wasn’t until 2010, after more than 50 years of nameless fame, that the buffalo was officially christened “Dakota Thunder.”
Ohio: The World’s Largest Basket
This enormous basket is possibly the most over-the-top roadside attraction yet (imagine what Yogi Bear would think!). It was built as the seven-story corporate headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company.
The basket is a replica — 160 times larger — of Longaberger’s Medium Market Basket. It’s 192 feet long by 126 feet wide at the bottom, spreading to 208 feet long by 142 feet wide at the roofline. It is a magnificent sight, especially when lit at night.
Oklahoma: The World’s Largest Route 66 Sign
Elk City, Oklahoma
America’s most beloved highway, Route 66, has a rich and diverse history. Oklahoma has played a huge part in that history, being centrally located along the route and holding the country’s longest section of Route 66.
The massive sign is hard to miss during the day, and even more so at night when it beckons visitors with its orange neon glow. The sign is part of the National Route 66 & Transportation Museum in Elk City.
Incidentally, the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, 28 miles away in Clinton, boasts the “world’s largest curio cabinet,” a unique collection of items found on Route 66 throughout the years.
Oregon: The World’s Largest Corndog
Rockaway Beach, Oregon
As best anyone can tell, the world’s largest corndog has landed in the small coastal town of Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
The 30-foot fiberglass creation is strapped atop the new Pronto Pup restaurant, which held its grand opening in 2016. “When I found out Rockaway was where the corndog was invented, I was just like, why don’t they make a bigger deal out of that?” restaurant owner Anthony McNamer said. “It seems like you would have a giant corndog statue or something.” And of course a mechanical corndog for the kids (and adults) too.
Pennsylvania: The World’s Largest Clothespin
Big city centers tend to be hectic places. Public art in these frantic spaces is sometimes intentionally large and jarring, to draw attention amid the urban noise.
Sculptor Claes Oldenburg was perfect for this civic art assignment, and the giant clothespin across from Philadelphia City Hall in Center City is both art commentary and tourist eye candy. Commissioned by the city in 1974 and erected in 1976, the 45-foot-tall rusting steel work resembles a traditional spring-clip to hang wet laundry on a line.
Rhode Island: The World’s Largest Bug
Providence, Rhode Island
The “Big Blue Bug,” also known as Nibbles Woodaway, is the giant termite mascot of Big Blue Bug Solutions. The “Big Blue Bug” is a termite, 58 feet long, which is 928 times larger than an actual termite size. It was built at a cost of $20,000, is made of steel and fiberglass, and weighs two tons.
South Carolina: The World’s Largest Peach
Gaffney, South Carolina
If there’s anything we’ve learned from Netflix’s “House of Cards” it’s that Gaffney, South Carolina is home to the world’s largest peach.
Built in 1981, by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, The Peachoid is actually a water tower made of steel and concrete. It stands 135 feet tall and holds one million gallons. With many nicknames, it’s usually referred to by locals as “The Peach” and by passing motorists as “Mr. Peach” or “The Moon over Gaffney.”
South Dakota: The World’s Largest Petrified Wood Park
Lemmon, South Dakota
Lemmon, a town along the upper reaches of South Dakota, is justly proud of their Petrified Wood Park. The park was built from 1930-1932 by town men under the command of visionary Ole S. Quammen, an amateur geologist. Thirty to 40 unemployed men worked with Quammen to scavenge rocks and fossils from the vicinity and haul them back to Lemmon. Their labors yielded a castle, a wishing well, a waterfall, the Lemmon Pioneer Museum, and hundreds of pile sculptures– all made of petrified wood.
Tennessee: The World’s Largest Rubik’s Cube
This giant Rubik’s Cube was a gift from the Hungarian government for the 1982 World’s Fair, which was held in Knoxville, Tennessee.
It was displayed at the entrance to Hungary’s pavilion, to commemorate its invention by Hungarian architecture professor Erno Rubik in 1974.
The cube is motorized, though presently the motor is not used. It is ten feet tall, and weighs 1,200 pounds. The panels each weigh about 300 pounds. The central section of the cube, containing the motor which turns it, weighs about 600 pounds.
Texas: The World’s Largest Jackrabbit
As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas, including jackrabbits. Built in 1962, the eight-foot-tall rabbit was the idea of Odessa Chamber of Commerce president John Ben Shepperd, hence the rabbit’s official name of “Jack Ben Rabbit.”
It was Shepperd’s way to pay tribute to the city’s unique jackrabbit roping competition, held every year during the Odessa Rodeo. The competition ended in 1978, when The Humane Society shut it down for good but “Jack Ben Rabbit” still stands tall.
Utah: The World’s Largest Fishing Fly
Weighing three tons, and measuring 32 feet long, Logan’s behemoth fishing fly on steroids is definitely not something you’d want buzzing over you at night.
Erected in celebration of the town’s fly fishing heritage, we somehow hoped that we could use the giant fly to catch some supersized fish. Alas, we were disappointed, coming back to shore with only with a pair of two pounders.
Vermont: The World’s Largest Filing Cabinet
Built in 2002 by local artist Bren Alvarez, the filing cabinet is made up of 38 drawers, with each one representing the number of years of paperwork that Alvarez accumulated while working on the project.
The rusting structure is covered in urban hieroglyphics thanks to local taggers and mysterious visitors who pass by and leave their marks in their own way. Names, pseudonyms and a rather cool map of Burlington are just a few of the things you can find etched onto the sides. Local lore has it that in the very top drawer, which lies slightly open, lies a hidden geocache – or at least some sort of mysterious object stashed up there, waiting for someone to see.
Virginia: The World’s Largest Apple
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, the World’s Largest Apple in Winchester, Virginia would send a whole lot of doctors running in the opposite direction.
Civil War General Phil Sheridan used an antebellum mansion in Winchester as his headquarters, and this big statue of an apple just happens to be on the front lawn. It saw service as a parade float in the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival before being permanently positioned here, off the town square.
Washington: The World’s Largest Radio Flyer Wagon
Hearkening back to a simpler time, the “Childhood Express” is a classic toy on a giant scale by artist Ken Spiering. Built in 1990, the wagon is 27 feet long and the handle is a slide. Made of steel and reinforced concrete, it can hold as many as 300 people.
The Junior League of Spokane plaque, dated August 18, 1990, reads: This sculpture is dedicated to Spokane’s children, as a reflection of the past, created in the present, to last into the future.
Chester, West Virginia
Rich in history, the Chester teapot is the World’s Largest Teapot. It measures 14 feet in height and 14 feet in diameter. Originally built in 1938 as a root beer barrel, it has morphed through the years into a giant teapot.
Wisconsin: The World’s Largest Penny
The World’s Largest Penny commemorates a 1953 fundraising stunt. Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb (known locally as “The Angel On Snowshoes”) implored local school children to save their pennies so that Woodruff could build a hospital. A television station picked up on the story and pennies were soon pouring in from all over the country — 1.7 million in all.
Woodruff got its hospital, and a concrete penny weighing 17,452 pounds.
Wyoming: The World’s Largest Jackalope
Douglas, Wyoming is the unofficial birthplace of the jackalope (the love child of a jackrabbit and antelope) and thus the self-proclaimed Jackalope Capital of the World.
Not happy with the size of the original version (eight feet), the latest jackalope statue is 15 feet tall. While big brother greets visitors at the Douglas Railroad Interpretive Center, the smaller original jackalope statue still holds court in a park a few blocks away.
They say bigger is better. Do you agree? What do you think of these over-the-top roadside attractions? Like this article? Please share!