Half the fun of a summer road trip is taking time to discover quirky roadside attractions along the way. This summer we’re helping you add some fun to your RV road trip with this list of must-see stops. Plot your route, and get your camera ready to grab some snaps in front of these five funky summer road trip stops across the U.S.
This art installation has entrenched itself as an iconic roadside attraction since its opening in October 2005. The building was built to look like a Prada storefront, complete with authentic shoes and handbags donated by Prada. The items are not for sale, however, and the storefront’s door does not open. The handbags’ bottoms have been removed while the shoes are all right-foot shoes. PRADA MARFA is located along US-90, 35 miles northwest of Marfa in western Texas.
Along your travels, you’ll likely want to stop in if you’re heading east or west along I-10. When you reach Van Horn, TX head south for 35 miles on US-90. PRADA MARFA will be one mile north of Valentine, TX. If you like PRADA MARFA, be sure to check Ballroom Marfa’s biggest public commission since PRADA MARFA: a sculpture located in the grasslands of Texas called Stone Circle.
Colorful Salvation Mountain is the beautiful vision of its creator Leonard Knight. Leonard was steadfast in his mission to share a message of love, working on his creation for nearly 30 years while living out of his camper in the desert.
Originally, from Vermont, Leonard became very devoted to God at age 35. Unfortunately, his faith and belief in the simplicity of the message that “God is Love” was misunderstood by churches and the religious community around him. Believing that God loves every single human on Earth, he decided he would spread his message via hot air balloon.
After many years and failed attempts, he found himself out west in Slab City and a new idea to build a mountain struck him. His first attempt failed, collapsing on itself. Always maintaining a grateful and positive outlook, he set out to try again.
Half a million gallons of donated paint later, his mountain stood five stories high and 150 feet wide, decorated with birds, trees, and flowers. His work and message resonated with those around him, and eventually with visitors from all over the world. He passed away in 2014, but his monument still stands welcoming all.
You can see Salvation Mountain for yourself if your travels are taking you along I-10 or I-8 in California. It’s 90 minutes from Palm Springs, south of Joshua Tree National Park, and east of the Salton Sea. It’s a great stop if you’re headed to or from Anza-Borrego, Joshua Tree, or San Diego. Take Beal road out of Niland and into Slab City. Don’t forget to bring some paint cans to donate if you can!
Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
Should your travels take you to Leonard’s home state of Vermont, stop in at the Ben and Jerry’s graveyard. The Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard is where all of their retired or as they say, “dearly de-pinted” flavors go.
The graveyard is located at the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, Vermont. You can combine your walk through the flavor graveyard with a 30-minute guided tour through the factory. The guided tours do fill up, but the flavor graveyard is self-guided and open to all at any time during the day. To get to the flavor graveyard take a walk up the hill, behind the ice-cream plant, and to the left of the playground.
Market Theater Gum Wall
When in the Northwest, make time for a stop at Seattle’s Market Theater Gum Wall. It’s an easy stop to make, when in Seattle since it’s right outside the entrance to Pike Place Market. The wall became a gum wall back in the early 90s. At the time, theatergoers began sticking their gum to the brick wall while waiting outside. At first, there were attempts to clean it up, but that never stuck (no pun intended!). Theatergoers and eventually visitors continued to stick their gum covering a 50-foot stretch of wall, transforming the wall into a colorful, well-known attraction.
More than 2,000 pounds of gum was removed in 2015 for restoration purposes, but the gum wall is now back to its sticky glory. Now you can even find gum illustrations and gum sculptures. While in Seattle you can make some other quirky stops: the Fremont Troll, the largest Hat ‘N’ Boots, and the Giant Shoe Museum. If you really, really wanted to see a gum wall, but aren’t going through Seattle, you’re in luck. There is a gum wall in San Luis Obispo, CA and a small one in Greenville, OH.
Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return
Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe is a must-see that’ll have your imagination running wild. How would you like to walk through a mysterious house where the properties of time and space have dissolved? Go ahead, step through a washing machine and into another dimension.
This award-winning permanent art installation is completely immersive and interactive. This is an experience unlike any other you’ve had and it’s great fun for both adults and kids. Playfully walk, crawl, and climb through the mysterious environment all while solving a mystery.
Those of you who are Game of Thrones fans might be interested to know the House of Eternal Return installation was launched with the support of George R.R. Martin. There is so much to play with and discover, you’ll probably want to go back. Word has spread so soon Meow Wolf will be opening locations in Las Vegas (2020) and Denver (2021), too!
As you continue your RV road trips this summer be sure to let us know what some of your favorite road trip stops have been! Leave a comment below!