11 Attractions on the Road You May Not Have Thought Of
Don't Pass These Roadside Attractions Up
Chances are when you purchased your RV or motorhome you did so with an idea already in mind of where you wanted to go—to the majestic valleys of the Grand Canyon, the spurring excitement of Old Faithful, the grandeur of the Redwood Forest.
They’re all great attractions, topping “Must-See” lists year-after-year. But, among these iconic sites there exist some lesser-known destinations and attractions untouched from fanfare and likes, Instagram posts, and blogger top ten lists. They’re, nonetheless, just as (if not more) likely to put a smile on your face and make your RV trip special, unique, and completely yours. Check them out and make sure to add them to your next adventure itinerary.
Specialty Farm Stands
While you’re getting a look at different parts of the country, make sure to get a taste too! Local farm stands offer local taste and produce you won’t get at your local supermarket.
If your travels take you out west to California, check out The Fruit Bowl farm stand in Stockton. Shop a variety of peaches (60 in total) as well as other fruits, nuts, and baked goods including muffins, bread, and pies! You’ll make a memory your tastebuds will be sure to appreciate.
Sometimes you want to get away and other times you want to really get away. For those times, seek out secret and secluded campsites—ones not marked on a map or available for reservation on a website.
Most National Parks actually offer secluded or “secret” sites or you can opt to dry camp or boondock (camp without a hookup or amenities).
For whichever state you are camping in, check-in with their Bureau of Land Management. They’ll be able to provide you with information on public lands and might even offer some tips on where to find these “secret” sites.
Rock and Mineral Collecting
You’re going on an RV adventure to get down to earth so why not explore the actual earth too? Different parts of the country offer a host of local rocks and minerals. Get out and explore, identify, collect, and grow your own collection of rock and minerals.
If you’re visiting or passing through Arkansas, consider stopping in at Crater of Diamonds State Park. For a nominal fee, you can search for diamonds in their original volcanic source. And, the park policy of “finders, keepers” means you could get a proposal-worthy diamond for next to nothing!
You’ve already gone off the grid, so why not unchain yourself from chain restaurants too? Some of the best meals come from some of the not so best-looking places! Scout out local diners and drive-ins in and around your campsite or on the way to it.
For example, if you’re passing through Nebraska, don’t reach the state limit without making a pitstop in McCook for a taste of the fare available at Mac’s Drive-In.
Enjoy fresh burgers, onion rings, hand-spun shakes, and more—all with a side of nostalgia. You’ll be sure to enjoy a meal that you just can’t get anywhere else and make a memory just as special!
Literal Roadside Attractions
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Well, that applies to camping too. Don’t miss the many attractions you’ll pass on the road to the main one. The U.S. offers several roadside lookouts with picture-perfect views.
There are also the quintessential “strange” tourist attractions like The Leaning Tower of Niles—a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, only smaller and located in Niles, Illinois, or the world’s largest ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas.
America is home to more wildlife than just squirrels and raccoons. Venture out into the wildness while on your RV excursion and you’ll be sure to discover some truly wild things – bison and buffalo, eagles and owls, elk, moose, and otters.
You could also make it a goal to locate the state bird for whatever state you are visiting or passing through (i.e., scissor-tailed eyecatcher in Oklahoma or the American Robin in Connecticut). And, hey, who doesn’t get even a mild thrill from seeing a squirrel or raccoon too. Just always remember to be respectful and keep a safe distance because this is their home you’re crashing in on after all.
Wall Street, Abbey Road, and Route 66 may be world-famous but head out onto a road less traveled by and see what millions won’t. A backroad is a great way to get off the beaten path, literally.
Explore local flora and fauna, trek off on a trail that leads to places not trudged by many before you, and camp out under a night sky with stars brighter than the lights of Times Square.
For example, if you are taking a spin through Delaware, take a spin down Big Stone Beach Road, an eight-mile-long backroad off State Road One. The hidden road will delight you with scenic views of forest transitioning into the salt marsh, before ending at a hidden gem of a beach.
Rivers are the gift that keep on giving. They’re a source of food, water, energy, and, of course, entertainment. Camp near a river on your RV outing and you’ll have a nearly endless supply of to-do’s—from fishing to rafting to simply wading into the crystal-clear water that you can see to the bottom of.
And what’s more, your experience will be entirely unique because, as the saying goes, you never step into the same river twice. If your travels take you out west, consider a dip in Potem Falls—a beautiful watershed in Shasta County, California. You’ll get a much-needed escape from the warm temperatures and possibly snap an Instagram-worthy pic at the base of the 70-foot waterfall.
The Original Big Screen
We spend so much time staring at our phone and computer screens that we forget to devote a little screen time to the original screen: the sky. You can’t get a better view of the night sky than in the Treasure State: Montana!
Thousands of miles from the glaring lights of New York or LA, Glacier National Park will offer you an unpolluted view of the night sky and, if you visit during the winter, you might catch a glimpse of the Aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights!
Bouquets and gardens are nice, but have you ever seen a field of wild daisies stretching on for what seems like miles? It’ll put any floral arrangement to shame. Consider getting a guidebook and seeking out specific plants, leaves, and more.
The next time you camp, make an effort to check out the local floral and fauna, frolic through a field of flowers or wild grass, and literally take time to stop and smell the roses. If you’re in Indiana during the fall season, stop by Brown County for picturesque views of rolling hills of foliage that look like they never end.
Whether you travel with your friends and family, your special someone, your pet, or even just yourself, there’s nothing better than discovering more about yourself and those you’re with. You’ll make new memories, form new inside jokes, and have stories to reminisce on for years to come. The people you’re with and the company you keep truly are the best attractions around.
Campers may not travel thousands of miles to wait in line for these “attractions,” but it doesn’t make them any less special, enjoyable, memorable, or impactful—in fact, it’s the opposite. Seek them out on your next RV adventure and you just might find yourself leaving with memories just as special as the main attractions you drove all that way for.