California is residence to many iconic landmarks and sights, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Disneyland. Nonetheless, there are additionally many distinctive and quirky California roadside sights that may be discovered all through the state. These sights usually seize the creativeness of vacationers and supply a enjoyable and memorable expertise. Whether or not it’s an enormous dinosaur, a towering thermometer, or a museum devoted to crocheting, these California roadside sights supply a glimpse into the varied and eclectic tradition of the state.
On this listing, we’ll discover 20 of essentially the most fascinating and entertaining roadside sights within the Golden State.
Cabazon Dinosaurs – Cabazon, California
Cabazon Dinosaurs is a beloved roadside attraction situated in Cabazon, California, a small desert metropolis situated 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includes all the pieces from rock partitions and velvet upholstery to themed suites just like the Caveman Room and the Outdated Mexico Room.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 via central California.
The Large Artichoke – Castroville, California
The Large Artichoke in Castroville is a well-liked California roadside attraction situated within the coronary heart of the “Artichoke Capital of the World.” Castroville is a small city situated in Monterey County, simply off of Freeway 1. The Large Artichoke is a 20-foot-tall artichoke statue that has turn out to be an emblem of the city’s agricultural heritage and its standing as a serious producer of artichokes. Guests can discover the adjoining reward store and restaurant, which supply a wide range of artichoke-themed souvenirs and scrumptious dishes made with contemporary, regionally grown artichokes. With its distinctive and quirky attraction, The Large Artichoke is a must-see attraction for anybody touring alongside the scenic California shoreline.
World’s Largest Thermometer – Baker, California
The World’s Largest Thermometer is an iconic roadside attraction situated alongside the historic Route 66. Standing at a towering top of 134 ft, the thermometer serves as a tribute to the intense temperatures that may be discovered within the Mojave Desert. The thermometer was first inbuilt 1991 by Willis Herron as a option to promote his journey middle, and it has since turn out to be a beloved landmark for vacationers passing via 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 attributable to its distinctive and quirky design, in addition to its historic significance as a tribute to Route 66 and the American West.
The Massive Donut Drive-In – Inglewood, California
The Massive Donut Drive-In is a charming roadside attraction that has been serving up scrumptious donuts and low since 1950. Positioned simply off of the historic Route 66, the drive-in is inconceivable to overlook due to its iconic large donut signal, which stands at 32 ft tall and 10 ft huge. 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 turn out to be a beloved native landmark for residents and guests alike. The Massive Donut Drive-In’s basic American diner vibe and scrumptious, freshly baked donuts make it a must-visit vacation spot for anybody touring via Southern California.
Bubblegum Alley, San Luis Obispo
Bubblegum Alley is a singular and quirky roadside attraction that has been drawing guests because the Nineteen Fifties. The alley is precisely what it seems like: a slender pedestrian alleyway that’s utterly coated in used chewing gum. Guests are inspired so as to add their very own piece of gum to the wall, making a always evolving murals. Whereas the origins of Bubblegum Alley are unclear, it has turn out to be a well-liked 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 via 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 all the pieces from hats and scarves to animals and home goods. 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 fans 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
The Salton Sea is an attention-grabbing roadside attraction in California attributable to its distinctive and sophisticated historical past and pure options. Positioned 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 via intervals of increase and bust, with the encircling space as soon as being a well-liked resort vacation spot within the Nineteen Fifties and 60s. Right this moment, the Salton Sea is a captivating ecological and environmental web site, with its excessive salt content material and rising air pollution ranges making it a difficult atmosphere for wildlife to thrive in. Regardless of its challenges, the Salton Sea stays a well-liked vacation spot for photographers, birdwatchers, and nature fans, and its stark and otherworldly magnificence continues to captivate guests from world wide.
Eclectic California Roadside Sights in Slab Metropolis and Salvation Mountain
Slab Metropolis/Salvation Mountain is among the most attention-grabbing and eclectic California roadside sights within the state. Positioned only a quick distance from the Salton Sea, Slab Metropolis is a singular and offbeat neighborhood 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 completely 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 is a exceptional roadside attraction situated in Landers, California, just some miles north of Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. It’s a white dome-shaped construction made completely of wooden and designed to reinforce human potential via sound, meditation, and different types of different therapeutic. The Integratron was constructed within the Nineteen 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 in style vacation spot for vacationers and religious seekers alike. Guests can take part in sound baths, meditation classes, and benefit from the surrounding desert panorama, making the Integratron an unforgettable roadside attraction.
The Thriller Spot, Santa Cruz
The Mystery Spot is among the finest California roadside sights as a result of it affords a singular and mind-bending expertise that guests can’t discover anyplace else. Positioned in the course 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, comparable to objects showing to roll uphill, individuals showing to vary heights, and water flowing uphill. The location’s historical past is shrouded in thriller, including to the attract of the attraction. It’s a well-liked vacation spot for these looking for a bit of pleasure and marvel, and the employees offers an entertaining and informative tour of the world. The Thriller Spot can be conveniently situated close to different in style sights, together with the Santa Cruz Seaside 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 among the most uncommon California roadside sights within the state. This whimsical arboretum includes a assortment of bushes which were fastidiously pruned and formed into fanciful shapes, together with hearts, chairs, and even an enormous phone. The Tree Circus was created within the early 1900s by horticulturist Axel Erlandson, who spent many years experimenting with tree shaping strategies to create these unimaginable works of dwelling artwork. Right this moment, the Tree Circus stays a beloved and offbeat vacation spot for vacationers passing via the world, situated roughly 33 miles from San Jose.
Winchester Thriller Home – San Jose, California
The Winchester Thriller Home is among the finest and most unusual California roadside sights 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 he or she believed that the one option to preserve the spirits at bay was to constantly construct and increase 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 1 girl’s singular imaginative and prescient and obsession. Right this moment, the home is open for public excursions, and it stays a well-liked vacation spot for these on the lookout for a spooky and intriguing roadside attraction.
Watts Towers, Los Angeles
The Watts Towers in Los Angeles is taken into account one of many high California roadside sights attributable to its spectacular and distinctive artistry. The towers had been constructed over a interval of 34 years by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia utilizing discovered supplies comparable to damaged glass, sea shells, and ceramic tiles. The towers stand at a top of as much as 99 ft 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 had been constructed within the Nineteen Twenties and 30s throughout a time of racial pressure and social unrest. The towers have since turn out to be an emblem of neighborhood resilience and cultural pleasure. Guests can tour the positioning and study in regards to the historical past and building of the towers, making it a must-visit vacation spot for artwork and historical past fans 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 advanced right into a sprawling advanced that included eating places, retailers, and even a small amusement park. Right this moment, the Nut Tree continues to attract guests with its nostalgic attraction and family-friendly ambiance. It options an eclectic mixture of sights, together with a toy retailer, a prepare trip, and a life-size mannequin of a T-Rex dinosaur. The Nut Tree is situated simply off the I-80 freeway between San Francisco and Sacramento, and is roughly 20 miles from the closest massive metropolis of Fairfield.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox – Klamath, California
The Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statue is among the most iconic and recognizable California roadside sights within the state. The large statue of the legendary lumberjack stands at a towering 49 ft tall, whereas his companion, Babe the Blue Ox, measures in at a powerful 35 ft lengthy. The statue was inbuilt 1949 as a tribute to the timber trade that when dominated the area, and it shortly turned a beloved and enduring image of the world’s wealthy historical past and tradition. Right this moment, the statue stays a well-liked vacation spot for vacationers and locals alike.
The Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Seaside
The Monarch Butterfly Grove is a pure marvel and a high California roadside attraction. This grove is residence to hundreds of monarch butterflies, who flock to the world annually to flee the colder temperatures within the north. Guests to the grove can witness the unimaginable 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 provides a uncommon alternative to witness the majesty of nature up shut. It’s situated 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
The Caboose Motel is a memorable roadside attraction that provides 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 automotive whereas additionally taking within the gorgeous pure fantastic thing about the encircling space. The motel is situated 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 looking 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 hanging and historic cave portray web site that dates again over a thousand years. Positioned within the Santa Ynez Mountains, the cave is adorned with intricate and vibrant depictions of animals, symbols, and different photos, and it affords a captivating glimpse into the artwork and tradition of the Chumash individuals who as soon as inhabited the world. The Painted Cave is among the largest and most well-preserved cave portray websites in California, and it’s a testomony to the wealthy and sophisticated historical past of the area. Right this moment, the cave is protected by the Nationwide Park Service, and guests can take guided excursions to study extra in regards to the artwork and historical past of this distinctive and charming web site.
California Roadside Sights to The Desert View Tower – Jacumba, California
The Desert View Tower is a singular and historic roadside attraction that has been drawing guests because it was constructed within the Nineteen Twenties. The tower stands at over 70 ft tall and affords panoramic views of the encircling 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 a neighborhood entrepreneur, Bert Vaughn, who wished to create a singular attraction for vacationers passing via the world. Right this moment, 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.
When you’ve got any strategies for extra California roadside sights to be included, please go away a remark beneath. So, till subsequent time, we’ll see ya on the highway…