12 Roadside Attractions for Your Summer Trip

Making the most out of the road trip journey, from museums to regional bites and more.

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Marked by rising temperatures and freed-up schedules, it’s safe to say that summer is upon us, and with it, road trip season. With lunches stored in backseat coolers and rest stops at middle-of-nowhere gas stations, memories are waiting to be made. But how do you punch up a road trip to really make the most of it?

Well, as the old saying goes: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” So let’s add a few pit stops to the adventure with must-see roadside attractions for your next road trip.

Museums

While some might consider a museum visit to be an obvious roadside choice, here’s the kicker: find the small one. Find the museum about the history of a niche sport, historical figure, or regional phenomenon. The more niche, the better. This way, you can learn more about the area you’re passing through – while also becoming an expert on a topic very few of your friends can claim. 

The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, TX

This museum walks you through the creation and history of the iconic soda brand, offers soda tastings, and even a paranormal tour – in the same town where the brand was born in 1885.

Nearby campground: Thousand Trails Lake Whitney

National Historic Cheesemaking Center Museum in Monroe, WI

In a state known for its love of cheese, it comes as no surprise that visitors can get the 360 on all things cheese and local history, and even taste the cheese themselves!

Nearby campground: Blackhawk Campground

The Wizard of Oz Museum in Cape Canaveral, FL

Established by a Wizard of Oz memorabilia collector in 2018, this museum offers unique insight into the iconic film, with close proximity to Orlando, cruise ports, and much of the Florida bustle.

Nearby campground: Vero Beach Camp

Landmarks

Likely the first idea when it comes to roadside attractions, landmarks are certainly a great way to break up the monotony of the open road. Especially with fun, quirky landmarks all across the country.

World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, KS

Who doesn’t want to see and feel the world’s largest ball of twine? Started in 1953, the ball never stops growing, as the city hosts a yearly twine-a-thon. 

Nearby campground: Triple ‘J’ RV Park

The Palomar Observatory in San Diego, CA

Owned and operated by Caltech, this observatory offers visiting hours, guided tours, and more. Stop by to see the 200-inch Hale Telescope, which was, for decades, the largest effective telescope in operation.

Nearby campground: Ranchos Los Coches RV Park

Four Corners Monument in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona

The Four Corners Monument is the only place where you can be in four states at the same time, so this is definitely worth stopping by, even just for the bragging rights.

Nearby campground: Sleeping Ute RV Park

Food

Undoubtedly one of the best perks of a road trip are the snacks you eat along the way. The right dish can add a little extra insight (and flavor), no matter the destination. The likelihood of passing by a local fruit stand or regional restaurant staple is high and ought to be taken advantage of. 

Puzzle Mountain Bakery in Newry, MA

A local, family-owned pie stand known for its maple cookies and fruit pies, this stand would add flavor to any road trip.

Nearby campground: Riverside Camping & RV Resort

Bucc-ee’s Gas Station in everywhere, TX

While native Texans may be getting tired of seeing the Bucc-ee’s billboards along the highway, you cannot deny the merit of its barbeque sandwiches. Out-of-towners would be missing out if they didn’t stop in to see what the hype is about – and also to enjoy the clean bathrooms. 

Nearby campgrounds: Just about anywhere in Texas, like Hidden Creek RV Resort or Gather Campground Bell County

Omaha Farmers Market in Omaha, NE

With roots going back nearly 100 years, this farmers market is open Saturdays and Sundays, with vendors offering a variety of tasty options, from donuts to red meat.

Nearby campground: Pine Grove RV Park

Nature

After spending hours sitting in a car, with your legs falling asleep and likely accumulating various cramps, the relief of time spent outdoors is highly welcomed – especially considering the vast beauty and natural scenes the U.S. has to offer. Taking a breather outside of the car to experience it all first hand is worth the stop. 

White Sands National Park in New Mexico

What’s stopping you from making a quick detour to sled down white sand dunes? As a common road trip stop, you simply must experience this national park.

Nearby Campground: White Sands Manufactured Home and RV Community

Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain, GA

Driving through Chattanooga, Tennessee? Just a 15-minute drive South is Rock City Gardens, where you can stroll through an enchanted trail, view ancient rock formations, and take in panoramic views.

Nearby campground: Chattanooga Holiday Travel Park

Cathedral Rock Trail in Sedona, AZ

This trail boasts extraordinary views at the top, and what’s more: it won’t take too much time out of the trip, as it is a short 1-mile hike! Definitely worth a quick detour.

Nearby campground: Munds Park RV Resort

Road trips do not need to be monotonous and slept through. Whether you’re in the mood for a hike, a tasty regional bite, or something else, there is plenty out there to experience while on the road – so get on out there and see for yourself!

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