America seems built for road trips. The easy highways between the big cities and the changing landscapes as you cross the country make it an enjoyable way to explore the diversity of the states. But a road trip is about much more than the destinations – it’s about the journey and the things you find along the way.
Some of the things are… to put it mildly… a bit weird. Whether it’s the people, the history or the culture, there is plenty of wackiness to find on a drive through the United States. Some of these things are even worth a detour to see for yourself.
We’ve taken to the road ourselves to bring you 11 of the strangest things you can discover on an American road trip.
It has taken eleven years for minister Horace Burgess to build this enormous treehouse on his Tennessee property but he now believes he’s completed God’s work. The enormous structure takes about 30 minutes to explore and he welcomes visitors to come and climb through all the rooms.
From a distance it looks like a plane has crashed into a street in central Philadelphia. When you get up closer, though, you realise that it’s not only a piece of street art but the inside has been turned into a greenhouse.
More than a million bats sleep under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin and during bat season (spring, summer and early autumn) people gather at dusk to watch them all fly out to go hunting. There’s a good chance Batman will be on hand to answer any questions… but he can’t talk so will have to write down the answers or mime them for you.
Although this is a national museum, it is hardly known and often empty. It holds a fascinating collection of strange medical items and the history of procedures over the year. There is even an exhibit which includes the bullet used to assassinate Abraham Lincoln!
Elvis fan Paul MacLeod has turned his home into an enormous shrine to his rock and roll idol and he has collected thousands and thousands of items. This is not a museum so much as a hoarder’s nest but there are some fascinating things on display. Paul himself will tell you plenty of stories but you’ll have to use our own judgement as to which ones are true.
The ultimate gathering of freaks and geeks happens each year in San Diego. Comic Con is the world’s biggest comic and game event and if you’re in California at the right time, it’s worth a drive to see all the action and colour that happens across the city.
Perhaps you don’t want to actually stop at this road trip attraction – but if you’re going through the wetter areas of Florida, keep your eyes peeled. There’s a good chance you’ll spot an alligator in the swaps by the side of the highway.
You may remember the sitcom Full House was set in San Francisco and, although most of the show was filmed in a studio, the exterior of the house is still standing in a suburban street. The owners aren’t too keen on all the attention but plenty of tourists turn up every day to have a look and take a photo.
This quirky little hotel in the suburbs of Tampa was originally built as a tribute to a musician called Gram Parsons from The Byrds. When the original owner passed away, his brother took on the management of Gram’s Place as a tribute to him, even though he really had no interest in the business.
This spot of land was used by politicians and other senior Americans to sort out their arguments by dueling with pistols to the death. Dueling was illegal in Washington DC but this place was just over the border in Maryland, so they would come here. The last duel was held here in 1868.
When it comes to the state fairs across the US, one of the biggest is the Texas State Fair in Dallas. Forget the rides and the exhibitions, it’s all about the food and you’ll find some wacky stuff for sale. If you like your food deep-fried, don’t worry, because it seems pretty much anything can be cooked that way!