Part of the fun of a family road trip vacation on America’s two-lane highways is finding all those great roadside attractions we remember as kids. While one way of finding roadside attractions is by driving along a state highway at random to see what turns up, another strategy is to do a little research before driving a particular stretch.
Our family recently wrapped up a 7000 mile road trip vacation through the United States along five different two-lane highways. Here are some of the strategies we used to find offbeat roadside attractions, vintage tourist traps, roadside giants, and other popular landmarks.
Highway guide book
Road trips have become popular again as a way to experience America with lots of guide books to help you plan. While a general guidebook helped us choose from one of dozens of cross country routes across America, we also bought several pocket guides listing roadside attractions and tourist traps on the more popular highways we would be driving on.
Referred to State Maps
While a state map won’t direct you to a roadside giant or other tourist trap, it will let you zero in on highways and county roads to popular tourist sites where you will be more apt to find fun, family owned roadside attractions. Some of our favorite “tourist traps” were ones we ran across by chance simply by taking a county road on the way to our main destinations.
Stop at visitor centers
Visitor Centers and motel lobbies are another great place to find brochures and maps that shout out local attractions. While time prevented us from detouring off the main route to see everything, we at least made of point of checking out attractions that were on the way or just a minute or two off the road.
Talked to people
Every time our family stopped for gas, eats, or to check out a local attraction, we talked to the locals about other things to see in the immediate area. We found all kinds of unusual attractions and great local restaurants simply by following their advice
Surfed the web
For those who won’t travel without a smart phone or iPad, one awesome website that is full of useful planning information is Roadside America.com. This quirky but fun website lists roadside oddities and off beat attractions by city along with reviews, prices, directions, and pictures which makes it much easier to decide if the attraction is something your family would want to see. For highways that are designated historic routes such as Route 66 or the Turquoise Highway (NM), many have their own websites which highlight roadside attractions and other points of interest.
Traveling across America on a two lane highway is an unforgettable adventure for your family. We discovered that including fun and offbeat roadside attractions in your travel plans makes the experience even more memorable.
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