The Best (And Weirdest) Road Trip Pit Stops In Every Southern State

Those Kitschy Roadside Attractions We Love Are Making a Comeback
Photo: Amy C. Elliott

As the saying goes, sometimes, life's about the journey, not the destination. We think that the same holds true with road trips . A classic road trip across the South isn't just about the landing point set in your GPS, but the snacks , the company, and of course, the roadside attractions. From "world's largest" record-holding sculptures to the most niche highway-side museums you've ever seen, these quirky attractions are what a road trip is all about. Break up the monotonous miles by adding a quick stop at a funky destination to your course. It may add time to your ETA, but the unique memories with your road tripping companions will be well worth it. Spend a few minutes marveling at a replica Eiffel Tower wearing a cowboy hat, take a load off at an oddly specific theme park, or venture into a local oddity that claims to be an exception to the laws of gravity. For all that and more, here's our list of must-see eccentric pit stops to add to your road trip itinerary. These unique spots are worth the detour.

01 of 17

Alabama: Unclaimed Baggage

Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, AL
Photo: Joe De Sciose

Good thing you're road-tripping not flying, otherwise your luggage could have ended up at this north Alabama attraction. This far-out store sells (as the name suggests) unclaimed airline baggage. Here, someone's left behind bags, clothes, and all kinds of goods are someone else's treasure. Hit this odd hotspot on your trip north to Chattanooga or west to Huntsville.

509 W Willow St., Scottsboro, AL,

02 of 17

Arkansas: Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds (Arkansas)
Getty Images

When venturing west to northern Texas or Oklahoma, or east to Hot Springs, stretch your legs for a bit at this Arkansas state park with an extra sparkly schtick. You can actually try your hand at hunting diamonds. Prospect along the park's soil for gems of all colors and sizes . At this park, finders' keepers; Whatever you dig up is yours to keep.

209 State Park Rd., Murfreesboro, AR,

03 of 17

Delaware: Miles the Monster

Miles the Monster statue holding a car
Icon Sports Wire/Contributor/Getty

Driving along the Atlantic shore, make a point to stop at Dover Motor Speedway where in addition to races, you'll find a looming monster sculpture with race car in hand. This monster has welcomed NASCAR cup series races annually since 1969. Stop for a larger that life photo op and a cheer on your favorite driver.

1131 N Dupont Hwy, Dover, DE,

04 of 17

Florida: Weeki Wachee Mermaids

Mermaids Performing at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Photo: Gary Clark

On your road trip along the Florida panhandle, you'll see lots of beautiful ocean views. You may not catch a glimpse of mermaids there, but don't let that stop you: Spring Hill's Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is home to several tail-bound performers. Purchase tickets to ogle at graceful underwater performers straight out of your childhood fantasy.

6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL,

05 of 17

Georgia: The Tree That Owns Itself

The Tree that Owns Itself

Legend has it that this tree in Athens, Georgia owns its own deed. See for yourself on your trek through northeast Georgia, either toward or away from South Carolina, and read about this authoritative tree on the informative plaque at its base.

277 S Finley St., Athens, GA,

06 of 17

Kentucky: The World's Largest Baseball Ball

Louisville, Kentucky
Courtesy Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

This pit stop along the Ohio river will be a home run. Marvel at this oversized steel baseball bat—the largest in the world—propped up against the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. It's a 120-foot tall replica of Babe Ruth's own Louisville Slugger bat. Head into the baseball-themed exhibit and at the end of the tour, you'll be rewarded with a much ( much ) smaller baseball bat of your own.

800 W Main St., Louisville, KY,

07 of 17

Louisiana: Abita Mystery House

Bassigator at the Abita Mystery House in Abita Springs, LA
Courtesy of Abita Mystery House

Heading down to New Orleans or the Gulf Shores of Mississippi and Alabama? You don't want to miss this kooky museum. An eclectic collection of "memorabilia" and "pure junk," you'll be met with a new onslaught of oddities around every corner. Though 'I spy' is classically a road trip game during the actual driving part, a round or two pointing out findings inside the Mystery House is a guaranteed hoot.

22275 LA-36, Abita Springs, LA,

08 of 17

Maryland: World's Largest Engagement Ring

Say "I do" to a driving break near Baltimore to witness the world's largest engagement ring outside the the largest jewelry store on the East Coast. If you just so happen to head inside with your road trip partner and find another sparkly reason to say "I do," that's up to you.

2020 York Rd., Timonium, MD,

09 of 17

Mississippi: The Birthplace of Elvis (+ a Bonus Birthplace)

Elvis Presley's birthplace
Tupelo CVB

You're "nothing but a hound dog" if you let this pit stop opportunity pass you by on your way to Birmingham or Memphis. See where The King was born and while you're at it, visit the delta birthplace of another icon: Kermit the Frog.

306 Elvis Presley Dr., Tupelo, MS,

415 S Deer Creek Dr. E, Leland, MS,

10 of 17

Missouri: Former World's Largest Rocking Chair

Boy poses with giant rocking chair

Unfortunately, this once-record-breaking rocker was unseated by a competitor in Illinois, but that doesn't change our affection for the Route 66 Rocker. The rocking chair is a Southern icon and you'll have to see this massively oversized one to believe it. Because of its size, it's not exactly functional, but we imagine that a good rock in this giant would be like a roller coaster drop.

5957 Hwy ZZ, Fanning, MO

11 of 17

North Carolina: The Land of Oz

Tin Man at the Land of Oz on Beech Mountain, N.C.
Todd Sumlin/The Charlotte Observer via AP

Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore. Rather, you can find The Land of Oz theme park in North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains, right near the Tennessee border. Follow the yellow brick road to a few hours of fun before hitting the road once again.

2669 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mountain, NC, www,

12 of 17

Oklahoma: Pops Soda Ranch

Traveling from Oklahoma City to Tulsa or vice versa, you're sure to get a bit thirsty. Look for the glowing 66-foot-tall soda bottle to find a refreshment at this soda pop emporium on Route 66. Fill up your car's tank and sip on something bubbly at this whimsical pit stop or grab a bit and snack at the full-service restaurant and convenience store.

660 U.S. Rt. 66, Arcadia, OK,

13 of 17

South Carolina: The Gaffney Peachoid

Those Kitschy Roadside Attractions We Love Are Making a Comeback
Amy C. Elliott

On a drive between Charlotte and Atlanta, just off of Interstate 85, a looming, James and the Giant Peach -style fruit imposes the South Carolina sky. Even though Georgia is technically " The Peach State ," South Carolina has this massive sculpture (not to mention a higher peach production rate ) to show for itself.

Peachoid Rd., Gaffney, SC

14 of 17

Tennessee: Dollywood

Dollywood Sign
George Rose/Getty Images

On a long road trip, driving "9 to 5" to or from Knoxville toward North Carolina and through the Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains, make sure to stop at Dolly Parton's Pigeon Forge theme park. Take a few hours break from driving to find out why Tripadvisor named this can't-miss hotspot its 2022 "# 1 Theme Park In The United States ."

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd., Pigeon Forge, TN,

15 of 17

Texas: The Texas Eiffel Tower

Statue of liberty with a cowboy hat on top
George Clack/Getty

Detour when traveling on I-30 between Dallas/Fort Worth and Little Rock and you'll find something truly special: an Eiffel Tower with a red cowboy hat. This treasure in Paris, Texas has a different charm than its inspiration in Paris, France, but we dare say that we love it even more.

2025 S Collegiate Dr., Paris, TX

16 of 17

Virginia: President Park

George Washington statue in Presidents Park

Book a tour in advance to discover a frankly creepy sight: an abandoned park full of massive statues of president heads. Stroll through the ruins of presidential visages and pose for a photo with your larger than life favorites. Beware: their eyes will follow you.

8212 Croaker Rd., Williamsburg, VA, Near Richmond or Norfolk

17 of 17

West Virginia: Mystery Hole

Mystery Hole building in West Virginia
Courtesy of Mystery Hole

Not too far from Roanoke or Lynchburg, Virginia awaits a true mystery. "See the impossible," the sign outside the colorful Mystery Hole building reads. Impossible, indeed: the Mystery Hole claims to be not only the best kept secret in West Virginia (and maybe beyond), but to also defy gravity. This pit stop might just turn your world upside down.

16724 Midland Trail, Ansted, WV,

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