20 Should-See California Roadside Sights!

California is residence to many iconic landmarks and points of interest, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Disneyland. Nevertheless, there are additionally many distinctive and quirky California roadside points of interest that may be discovered all through the state. These points of interest typically seize the creativeness of vacationers and supply a enjoyable and memorable expertise. Whether or not it’s a large dinosaur, a towering thermometer, or a museum devoted to crocheting, these California roadside points of interest supply a glimpse into the varied and eclectic tradition of the state.

California Roadside Attractions graphic for Mike's Road Trip

On this listing, we’ll discover 20 of essentially the most fascinating and entertaining roadside points of interest within the Golden State.

Cabazon Dinosaurs – Cabazon, California

Cabazon Dinosaurs is one of the top california roadside attractions in the state.

Cabazon Dinosaurs is a beloved roadside attraction positioned in Cabazon, California, a small desert metropolis positioned in Riverside County, about 20 miles west of Palm Springs and 90 miles east of L.A. This California roadside attraction options two towering dinosaur sculptures, that are each distinctive and quirky, in addition to its historic significance in popular culture.

The Madonna Inn – San Luis Obispo

The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is a unusual and colourful roadside attraction that has been charming guests since 1958. From its distinctive structure to its vibrant and eclectic decor, the inn is a testomony to the creativity and imaginative and prescient of its founder, Alex Madonna. The inn’s 110 rooms are every uniquely adorned, that includes the whole lot from rock partitions and velvet upholstery to themed suites just like the Caveman Room and the Outdated Mexico Room. With its charming ambiance, enjoyable facilities, and gorgeous environment, The Madonna Inn is a must-see vacation spot for anybody touring by means of central California.

The Big Artichoke – Castroville, California

If you're looking for quirky California roadside attractions, check out the The Giant Artichoke.

The Big Artichoke in Castroville is a well-liked California roadside attraction positioned within the coronary heart of the “Artichoke Capital of the World.” Castroville is a small city positioned in Monterey County, simply off of Freeway 1. The Big Artichoke is a 20-foot-tall artichoke statue that has grow to be a logo of the city’s agricultural heritage and its standing as a significant producer of artichokes. Guests can discover the adjoining reward store and restaurant, which provide a wide range of artichoke-themed souvenirs and scrumptious dishes made with contemporary, domestically grown artichokes. With its distinctive and quirky appeal, The Big Artichoke is a must-see attraction for anybody touring alongside the scenic California shoreline.

World’s Largest Thermometer – Baker, California

World's Largest Thermometer is a BIG California roadside attraction

The World’s Largest Thermometer is an iconic roadside attraction positioned alongside the historic Route 66. Standing at a towering peak of 134 toes, the thermometer serves as a tribute to the intense temperatures that may be discovered within the Mojave Desert. The thermometer was first in-built 1991 by Willis Herron as a option to promote his journey heart, and it has since grow to be a beloved landmark for vacationers passing by means of the world. The thermometer is absolutely purposeful and might show temperatures as much as 134 levels Fahrenheit, which is the best temperature ever recorded in the USA. The World’s Largest Thermometer is a worthy California roadside attraction resulting from its distinctive and quirky design, in addition to its historic significance as a tribute to Route 66 and the American West.

The Huge Donut Drive-In – Inglewood, California

The Huge Donut Drive-In is a charming roadside attraction that has been serving up scrumptious donuts and occasional since 1950. Situated simply off of the historic Route 66, the drive-in is not possible to overlook due to its iconic big donut signal, which stands at 32 toes tall and 10 toes large. The donut store has been featured in quite a few motion pictures and TV exhibits, together with “Iron Man 2” and “Mad Males,” and it has grow to be a beloved native landmark for residents and guests alike. The Huge Donut Drive-In’s traditional American diner vibe and scrumptious, freshly baked donuts make it a must-visit vacation spot for anybody touring by means of Southern California.

Bubblegum Alley, San Luis Obispo

Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California

Bubblegum Alley is a singular and quirky roadside attraction that has been drawing guests for the reason that Fifties. The alley is precisely what it feels like: a slender pedestrian alleyway that’s fully coated in used chewing gum. Guests are inspired so as to add their very own piece of gum to the wall, making a consistently evolving murals. Whereas the origins of Bubblegum Alley are unclear, it has grow to be a preferred vacation spot for vacationers and locals alike, with some estimates placing the variety of items of gum on the partitions at over a million. Regardless of its unconventional nature, Bubblegum Alley is a beloved a part of San Luis Obispo’s historical past and tradition, and it’s properly price a go to for anybody passing by means of the world.

The World Well-known Crochet Museum – Joshua Tree, California

The World Well-known Crochet Museum is a one-of-a-kind California roadside attraction that celebrates the artwork of crochet. The museum is housed inside a tiny, 7-foot-by-7-foot roadside stand, and it’s residence to an enormous assortment of crochet items, together with the whole lot from hats and scarves to animals and home items. The museum was based in 2006 by artist Shari Elf, who started filling the tiny house along with her personal crochet creations earlier than opening it as much as contributions from different artists and lovers world wide. Whereas the museum could also be small, its dedication to celebrating the creativity and artistry of crochet has made it a beloved vacation spot for guests to Joshua Tree and past.

The Salton Sea – Imperial and Riverside Counties

GMC Terrain at Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is an fascinating roadside attraction in California resulting from its distinctive and complicated historical past and pure options. Situated within the southeastern a part of the state, the Salton Sea is an enormous and shallow saltwater lake that was created by chance in 1905 when the Colorado River breached an irrigation canal. Over time, the Salton Sea has gone by means of intervals of increase and bust, with the encompassing space as soon as being a preferred resort vacation spot within the Fifties and 60s. Immediately, the Salton Sea is a captivating ecological and environmental web site, with its excessive salt content material and growing air pollution ranges making it a difficult setting for wildlife to thrive in. Regardless of its challenges, the Salton Sea stays a preferred vacation spot for photographers, birdwatchers, and nature lovers, and its stark and otherworldly magnificence continues to captivate guests from world wide.

Eclectic California Roadside Sights in Slab Metropolis and Salvation Mountain

Slab City and Salvation Mountain one of the most eclectic California roadside attractions in the state

Slab Metropolis/Salvation Mountain is likely one of the most fascinating and eclectic California roadside points of interest within the state. Situated only a brief distance from the Salton Sea, Slab Metropolis is a singular and offbeat group of artists, musicians, and free spirits who’ve made their residence in a former navy base. On the coronary heart of Slab Metropolis is Salvation Mountain, a vibrant and colourful artwork set up that’s devoted to spreading love and the message of Christianity. Created by artist Leonard Knight over a interval of a number of many years, the mountain is made solely out of adobe, straw, and hundreds of gallons of brightly coloured paint. Collectively, Slab Metropolis and Salvation Mountain supply a glimpse into a really different lifestyle, and their unconventional magnificence and spirit of freedom and creativity have made them a beloved vacation spot for vacationers from world wide.

The Integratron, Landers

The Integratron - Landers California

The Integratron is a outstanding roadside attraction positioned in Landers, California, just some miles north of Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. It’s a white dome-shaped construction made solely of wooden and designed to reinforce human potential by means of sound, meditation, and different types of different therapeutic. The Integratron was constructed within the Fifties by George Van Tassel, who claimed to have acquired the design for the construction from aliens. The distinctive structure and its historical past, coupled with the promise of an otherworldly expertise, make the Integratron an intriguing and widespread vacation spot for vacationers and religious seekers alike. Guests can take part in sound baths, meditation periods, and benefit from the surrounding desert panorama, making the Integratron an unforgettable roadside attraction.

The Thriller Spot, Santa Cruz

The Thriller Spot is likely one of the finest California roadside points of interest as a result of it provides a singular and mind-bending expertise that guests can’t discover anyplace else. Situated in the midst of a dense forest, the Thriller Spot is an space of land the place the legal guidelines of physics appear to be distorted. Guests can witness unusual optical illusions, similar to objects showing to roll uphill, individuals showing to alter heights, and water flowing uphill. The positioning’s historical past is shrouded in thriller, including to the attract of the attraction. It’s a preferred vacation spot for these searching for a bit of pleasure and marvel, and the workers gives an entertaining and informative tour of the world. The Thriller Spot can also be conveniently positioned close to different widespread points of interest, together with the Santa Cruz Seashore Boardwalk and scenic coastal drives, making it an excellent addition to any California highway journey itinerary.

California Roadside Sights to The Tree Circus – Gilroy, California

The Tree Circus is likely one of the most uncommon California roadside points of interest within the state. This whimsical arboretum encompasses a assortment of bushes which were rigorously pruned and formed into fanciful shapes, together with hearts, chairs, and even a large phone. The Tree Circus was created within the early 1900s by horticulturist Axel Erlandson, who spent many years experimenting with tree shaping methods to create these unbelievable works of dwelling artwork. Immediately, the Tree Circus stays a beloved and offbeat vacation spot for vacationers passing by means of the world, positioned roughly 33 miles from San Jose.

Winchester Thriller Home – San Jose, California

The Winchester Mystery House is one of the most fascinating California roadside attractions.

The Winchester Thriller Home is likely one of the finest and most original California roadside points of interest within the state. This sprawling mansion was constructed within the late 1800s by Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Winchester. Legend has it that Sarah was haunted by the spirits of these killed by Winchester rifles, and she or he believed that the one option to preserve the spirits at bay was to constantly construct and develop her residence. The result’s a maze-like mansion with over 160 rooms, secret passageways, and staircases that result in nowhere. The Winchester Thriller Home is a captivating instance of Victorian structure, in addition to a testomony to at least one girl’s singular imaginative and prescient and obsession. Immediately, the home is open for public excursions, and it stays a preferred vacation spot for these searching for a spooky and intriguing roadside attraction.

Watts Towers, Los Angeles

Watts Tower

The Watts Towers in Los Angeles is taken into account one of many prime California roadside points of interest resulting from its spectacular and distinctive artistry. The towers have been constructed over a interval of 34 years by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia utilizing discovered supplies similar to damaged glass, sea shells, and ceramic tiles. The towers stand at a peak of as much as 99 toes and are adorned with intricate mosaics and sculptures, making them a real masterpiece of outsider artwork. The Watts Towers additionally maintain historic significance, as they have been constructed within the Twenties and 30s throughout a time of racial pressure and social unrest. The towers have since grow to be a logo of group resilience and cultural delight. Guests can tour the location and be taught concerning the historical past and development of the towers, making it a must-visit vacation spot for artwork and historical past lovers alike.

The Nut Tree – Vacaville, California

The Nut Tree is a beloved and historic roadside attraction that has been entertaining vacationers for many years. Initially a small fruit stand, the Nut Tree developed right into a sprawling complicated that included eating places, outlets, and even a small amusement park. Immediately, the Nut Tree continues to attract guests with its nostalgic appeal and family-friendly environment. It options an eclectic mixture of points of interest, together with a toy retailer, a prepare trip, and a life-size mannequin of a T-Rex dinosaur. The Nut Tree is positioned simply off the I-80 freeway between San Francisco and Sacramento, and is roughly 20 miles from the closest giant metropolis of Fairfield.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox – Klamath, California

One of the most iconic California roadside attractions is the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statue

The Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statue is likely one of the most iconic and recognizable California roadside points of interest within the state. The enormous statue of the legendary lumberjack stands at a towering 49 toes tall, whereas his companion, Babe the Blue Ox, measures in at a formidable 35 toes lengthy. The statue was in-built 1949 as a tribute to the timber business that when dominated the area, and it shortly grew to become a beloved and enduring image of the world’s wealthy historical past and tradition. Immediately, the statue stays a preferred vacation spot for vacationers and locals alike.

The Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Seashore

The Monarch Butterfly Grove is a pure marvel and a prime California roadside attraction. This grove is residence to hundreds of monarch butterflies, who flock to the world every year to flee the colder temperatures within the north. Guests to the grove can witness the unbelievable sight of the butterflies as they cluster collectively in large teams, overlaying the bushes and creating a really breathtaking spectacle. The Monarch Butterfly Grove is a singular and enchanting vacation spot that gives a uncommon alternative to witness the majesty of nature up shut. It’s positioned simply off the scenic Pacific Coast Freeway, making it a handy cease for vacationers exploring the Central Coast area of the state.

The Caboose Motel – Dunsmuir, California

One of the coolest California roadside attractions is staying at the Caboose Motel.

The Caboose Motel is a memorable roadside attraction that gives vacationers a really one-of-a-kind lodging expertise. Because the title suggests, the motel consists of a group of renovated prepare cabooses, every transformed into a comfy and cozy visitor room. Guests to the Caboose Motel can benefit from the thrill of sleeping in an actual prepare automobile whereas additionally taking within the gorgeous pure great thing about the encompassing space. The motel is positioned within the small city of Dunsmuir, which is roughly 60 miles north of Redding, the biggest metropolis within the space. The Caboose Motel is a must-visit vacation spot for anybody searching for a unusual and unforgettable in a single day keep on their California highway journey.

The Painted Cave, Santa Barbara

The Painted Collapse Santa Barbara is a putting and historical cave portray web site that dates again over a thousand years. Situated within the Santa Ynez Mountains, the cave is adorned with intricate and vibrant depictions of animals, symbols, and different pictures, and it provides a captivating glimpse into the artwork and tradition of the Chumash individuals who as soon as inhabited the world. The Painted Cave is likely one of the largest and most well-preserved cave portray websites in California, and it’s a testomony to the wealthy and complicated historical past of the area. Immediately, the cave is protected by the Nationwide Park Service, and guests can take guided excursions to be taught extra concerning the artwork and historical past of this distinctive and charming web site.

California Roadside Sights to The Desert View Tower – Jacumba, California

California Roadside Attractions to The Desert View Tower

The Desert View Tower is a singular and historic roadside attraction that has been drawing guests because it was constructed within the Twenties. The tower stands at over 70 toes tall and provides panoramic views of the encompassing desert panorama, in addition to a captivating assortment of artifacts and curiosities, together with a preserved specimen of a prehistoric camel. The tower was constructed by an area entrepreneur, Bert Vaughn, who wished to create a singular attraction for vacationers passing by means of the world. Immediately, the Desert View Tower stays a beloved vacation spot for highway trippers and historical past buffs, providing a glimpse into the wild and untamed spirit of the American West.

You probably have any recommendations for added California roadside points of interest to be included, please go away a remark beneath. So, till subsequent time, we’ll see ya on the highway…

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