Sinclair Gas Station Dinosaur in Sinclair, Wyoming home of the Sinclair Refinery | Wyoming Roadside Attractions

Road trip stops: things to see on a road trip.

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You might think of a road trip as being a way to get from point A to point B. But, to me, a road trip is all about all the things you see in between. Roadside attractions, national parks, drive-throughs, and even gas stations are all road trip stops that are part of the car trip experience. In fact, there are so many things to see on a road trip that it sometimes might seem impossible to see them all!

If you’re planning a road trip and wondering where you can expect to stop, read on for some ideas and inspiration

Types of road trip stops and things to see on a road trip:

Salem Sue: The World's Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem, North Dakota | North Dakota Roadside Attractions
Salem Sue: The World’s Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem, North Dakota

Roadside Attractions

Roadside attractions are my favorite things to see on a road trip. From the world’s largest buffalo to the world’s smallest church and every muffler man in between.

Roadside attractions are usually wacky things, often big things, and almost always just a short detour from the highway. Find the best roadside attractions in every state to visit on your next road trip using the list below:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island

National Parks

National Parks are natural areas designated for conservation of the scenery historical objects, nature, and wildlife within their boundaries. These protected areas often provide stunning views, unique geological features, and recreational opportunities for millions of visitors each year. In the United States there are 63 National Parks across thirty states and the territories of American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you want to stop at a National Park on your road trip, click here to find a park near your route or destination.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument in Montana | William Clark (Lewis & Clark) carved his name and the date of his visit on a rock bluff next to the Yellowstone River. | Montana tourist attractions and historical monuments
Pompeys Pillar National Monument in Montana

National Monuments

National monuments are protected “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.” They aren’t as big as national parks and can make a fun road trip stop for anyone interested in history, geology, archeology, or culture.

Scenic overlooks in Virginia - Virginia Road Trip
Scenic overlook in Virginia

Scenic Overlooks

Scenic overlooks (also called scenic viewpoint, observation point, or lookout) are an elevated space along a highway, parkway, or other road that allow you to pull over to take in the views. They often look over mountains, valleys, trees, or water and the panoramic scene makes for a great photo of two. You probably won’t have time to stop at every viewpoint you pass, but take some time out to check out a few and appreciate the land you’re driving.

Sinclair Gas Station Dinosaur in Sinclair, Wyoming home of the Sinclair Refinery | Wyoming Roadside Attractions
Sinclair Gas Station Dinosaur in Sinclair, Wyoming

Gas Stations

Gas stations are often necessary road trip stops. The number one reason to stop at a gas station is obviously to fuel up your car when the tank is running low, but there are also so many more reasons to pull over.

Gas stations also offer bathrooms (in various degrees of cleanliness); snacks like chips or candy bars; coffee, water, and soda; directions; a place to stretch your legs; and sometimes even roadside attractions!

75 cent ice cream at Little America Travel Center in Little America, Wyoming. | Wyoming Roadside Attractions | Soft Serve Swirl COne
Little America Travel Center in Little America, Wyoming.

Travel Centers

Travel Centers take gas stations to the next level. Yes, you can stop there to fill up your tank, but they often offer so much more. Synonymous with truck stops, travel centers often have restaurants and souvenir shops at the very least. But they can also have anything from barber shops to showers to hotel rooms and more. Some of the most well-known travel centers are the Iowa 80 World’s Largest Truckstop, Little America, Pilot Flying J, and Buc-ee’s.

Flopsy the Jackalope at a rest stop
Our mascot Flopsy the Jackalope at a rest stop

Rest Stops

Rest stops offer little more than bathrooms, travel brochures, and picnic tables (to pull out your road trip sandwiches for lunch). But they serve their purpose by giving you a convenient place to pull over when you need a bathroom break.

Welcome Centers

You can usually find a welcome center (or visitors center) within the first few exits upon entering a state on the highway. Similar to rest areas, you can find here bathrooms and brochures but often also more information about what to do in the state, free maps, and a staffed desk to answer any questions you might have.

Giant Mouse at Mousehouse Cheesehaus in Windsor, Wisconsin | Cheese Shop in Wisconsin | Wisconsin Roadside Attractions
Mousehouse Cheesehaus in Windsor, Wisconsin

Specialty Shops

Almost anywhere you go on a road trip you will surely be near a specialty shop selling local delicacies. Whether you’re stopping at a famous Wisconsin cheese shop, looking for a Stuckey’s pecan log roll, or want to try a jar of blueberry jam in Maine, almost every road trip route will have a store worth stopping at along the way.

Maid Rite loose meat sandwich in Des Moines, Iowa.
Maid Rite loose meat sandwich in Des Moines, Iowa.

Restaurants

You have to eat and there are so many road trip stops that will keep you well fed. You might think about stopping at fast food drive throughs, and while those are definitely part of the experience, there are other options! Local diners are always a favorite (along with drive-ins and dives, of course), but there are also breweries serving food, top-ten restaurants, and even fine dining establishments. You aren’t limited by where to eat on a road trip, only by your level of hunger and your road trip budget.

Pin this post on road trip stops and things to see on a road trip to save for later:

You might think of a road trip as being a way to get from point A to point B. But a road trip is all about all the things you see in between. Roadside attractions, national parks, drive-throughs, and even gas stations are all road trip stops that are part of the car trip experience. In fact, there are so many things to see on a road trip that it sometimes might seem impossible to see them all!  #RoadTrip #RoadTrips #RoadTripPlanning #RoadTripPlanningTips #RoadTripPlanningIdeas
You might think of a road trip as being a way to get from point A to point B. But a road trip is all about all the things you see in between. Roadside attractions, national parks, drive-throughs, and even gas stations are all road trip stops that are part of the car trip experience. In fact, there are so many things to see on a road trip that it sometimes might seem impossible to see them all! #RoadTrip #RoadTrips #RoadTripPlanning #RoadTripPlanningTips #RoadTripPlanningIdeas
You might think of a road trip as being a way to get from point A to point B. But a road trip is all about all the things you see in between. Roadside attractions, national parks, drive-throughs, and even gas stations are all road trip stops that are part of the car trip experience. In fact, there are so many things to see on a road trip that it sometimes might seem impossible to see them all! #RoadTrip #RoadTrips #RoadTripPlanning #RoadTripPlanningTips #RoadTripPlanningIdeas
You might think of a road trip as being a way to get from point A to point B. But a road trip is all about all the things you see in between. Roadside attractions, national parks, drive-throughs, and even gas stations are all road trip stops that are part of the car trip experience. In fact, there are so many things to see on a road trip that it sometimes might seem impossible to see them all! #RoadTrip #RoadTrips #RoadTripPlanning #RoadTripPlanningTips #RoadTripPlanningIdeas
Val

Val is the founder and head road tripper at Silly America. Having grown up near Berwyn's famed car kabob, The Spindle, and a restaurant with a cow on its roof, her fascination with roadside attractions started early. Today, Val has visited over 300 roadside attractions across 31 states and is constantly on the lookout for the next BIG thing!

Val also blogs about her life, travels, and cats on her personal blog, Choosing Figs.

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