Quirky & Unique: Unusual Attractions Found in Route 66 Roadside Stops

A Route 66 highway lane

Route 66, often called the “Main Street of America,” is an iconic highway that has captured the imagination of travelers for decades. Stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, this historic route is dotted with roadside stops that offer a glimpse into a bygone era of American road trips. While many travelers are familiar with the classic landmarks along the route, there are also some lesser-known, quirky, and unique attractions that are worth exploring along the way.

In this post, I’ll take you on a fun road trip through some of the most unusual and delightful Route 66 roadside stops.

11 Quirky Route 66 Roadside Stops

1. Gigantic Rocking Chair in Fanning, Missouri

When you think of roadside attractions, giant objects often come to mind—and Fanning, Missouri, doesn’t disappoint. Here, you’ll find the world’s largest rocking chair, towering at a staggering 42 feet tall! This oversized chair is a fun photo op and shows the immense creativity of the people along Route 66.

2. The Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma

One of the most beloved and unusual attractions found in Route 66 roadside stops is the Blue Whale of Catoosa. This 80-foot-long, 20-foot-tall, and 80-foot-wide concrete whale was originally built as a swimming hole in the 1970s. Though it no longer serves as a swimming spot, you can still explore its interior and enjoy a picnic by the adjacent pond. The Blue Whale is not only a quirky roadside stop, but also a great place for a family outing.

3. Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

While Cadillac Ranch may be well-known among Route 66 enthusiasts, its eccentricity earns it a place on our list. This public art installation features ten Cadillacs buried nose-down in the Texas desert. You are encouraged to bring your own spray paint and leave your mark on these half-buried cars, creating a constantly changing and colorful work of art.

Cadillac Ranch, one of the attractions in Route 66 roadside stops

Visit Cadillac Ranch for some eccentricity

4. Standin’ on a Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona

Made famous by the Eagles’ song “Take It Easy,” Standin’ on a Corner Park is a charming tribute to the classic rock era. You can stand on a corner, just like in the song’s lyrics, and enjoy a mural, statue, and even a red flatbed Ford. This quirky little park invites you to take a step back in time and relive the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll. If you happen to be moving to Arizona from California with the help of interstate movers, this is a fantastic place to take a breather during your road trip.

5. The Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean, Texas

Route 66 isn’t just about large, eye-catching attractions; it’s also about celebrating the unique history of the road. The Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean, Texas, does just that. This museum is dedicated to barbed wire, a seemingly mundane item that played a pivotal role in the development of the American West. It’s an offbeat and educational stop that sheds light on the lesser-known aspects of Route 66 history.

6. Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook, Arizona

For those wondering, wigwam is a type of traditional Native American dwelling that was used by various indigenous cultures in North America. It is a semi-permanent or temporary shelter typically constructed with a wooden frame covered by various natural materials such as bark, reeds, grass, or animal hides. So, if you’ve ever wanted to spend the night in a wigwam, the Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, is absolutely the place to do it! This motel features individual concrete wigwams that serve as cozy and quirky accommodations. It’s a delightful throwback to the early days of Route 66 motor travel and offers a unique overnight experience you won’t find anywhere else.

An old car parked by a wigwam at the Wigwam Village Motel

Experience sleeping in a wigwam

7. World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, Illinois

Ketchup lovers, rejoice! Collinsville, Illinois, is home to the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle. Standing at 170 feet tall, this water tower-shaped like a ketchup bottle is a quirky homage to this beloved condiment. While you can’t actually fill your bottles here, it’s still a fantastic sight to behold and a must-see for fans of all things ketchup-related.

8. Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona

While not as obscure as some other stops on our list, Petrified Forest National Park is an absolute must-visit for anyone visiting the Route 66 roadside stops. This unique park is home to a stunning collection of petrified wood, colorful badlands, and fascinating geological formations. Walking among the ancient trees turned to stone is an otherworldly experience that showcases the natural beauty of the American Southwest.

A narrow road in the Petrified Forest National Park

The Petrified Forest National Park will astound you!

9. Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico

This motel is not just a place to rest your head; it’s a trip back in time. This beautifully restored vintage motel offers travelers a chance to experience the nostalgia of Route 66’s heyday. The neon sign, classic cars in the parking lot, and cozy rooms make it a favorite among those seeking an authentic Route 66 experience.

10. The Leaning Water Tower in Groom, Texas

As you journey along Route 66, you’ll encounter a fascinating and somewhat perplexing sight in Groom, Texas – the Leaning Water Tower. This isn’t your typical water tower; it’s intentionally tilted at an angle, giving it the appearance that it’s about to topple over. The tower is part of the larger “Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries” complex, which includes a massive cross and beautifully landscaped grounds.

The Leaning Water Tower was designed to draw attention to this religious site, making it a unique and somewhat quirky roadside attraction. Visitors often stop to take photos of the tower, and it has become an iconic landmark along the route.

11. The Shoe Tree in Amboy, California

Our final stop on this quirky journey is the Shoe Tree in Amboy, California. As the name suggests, this tree is embellished with hundreds of shoes, creating a bizarre and fascinating sight. The origin of this tradition is somewhat of a mystery, but it’s become a popular spot for travelers to leave their mark on Route 66 by hanging a pair of shoes in this desert oasis.

Find the Unique Attractions of Route 66 Roadside Stops

Route 66 is not just a highway; it’s a journey filled with quirky and unique attractions that tell the story of America’s love affair with the open road. These unusual Route 66 roadside stops offer a glimpse into the creativity, history, and spirit of adventure that make this a timeless and cherished route for travelers. So, the next time you hit the road on Route 66, don’t forget to explore these offbeat destinations that add a touch of whimsy and wonder to your journey. Happy travels!