Cross-Country Attractions
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77 Attractions to See While Driving Across the Country

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Cross-Country Attractions
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Road trips are as much a summer tradition as barbecues, fireworks, and clambakes. Packing up the car and heading off for adventures unknown makes for some of the fondest travel memories, especially if the trip involves stopping to explore attractions along America's iconic roadways. In honor of the great American road trip, here's a guide to some top attractions along Interstates 10, 40, 70, 80, 90, and 95, as well as the legendary former Route 66, much of which was later replaced by Interstates 40, 44, and 55. Most are cheap or free; the others may be worth a splurge.

I-40 | Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
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i-40 | country music hall of fame and museum

Where: Nashville, Tennessee
Miles from highway: 1.5 
Having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017, the 350,000-square-foot Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum showcases rare music artifacts and memorabilia from legends including Charlie Daniels, Alabama, the Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, and more.

I-40 | Ryman Auditorium
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i-40 | ryman auditorium

Where: Nashville, Tennessee
Miles from highway: 1 
Known as "the Mother Church of Country Music," Ryman Auditorium celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2017. Visitors get to peek at costumes, memorabilia, and dressing rooms used by celebrities.

I-40 | Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
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i-40 | oklahoma city national memorial & museum

Where: Oklahoma City 
Miles from highway: 2.8
Before 9/11, there was April 19, 1995 — the day Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols attacked the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a truck full of explosives, leaving hundreds dead or injured. Today, the site hosts an outdoor memorial and interactive museum dedicated to the victims, survivors, and responders.

Route 66 | The Big Texan Steak Ranch
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i-40 | the big texan steak ranch

Where: Amarillo, Texas
Miles from highway: 1
The Big Texan Steak Ranch, legendary along Route 66, has hosted a 72-ounce steak challenge since the 1960s. Even vegetarians might enjoy the gift shop, or at least stay at the motel at this historic property.

I-40 | Meteor Crater
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i-40 | meteor crater

Where: Near Winslow, Arizona
Miles from highway: 5
Measuring about 4,000 feet across, Meteor Crater is one of the best-preserved meteor impact sites on Earth. The crater was formed about 50,000 years ago by an asteroid traveling about 26,000 miles an hour. There's an interactive discovery center at the site and a walkway that allows visitors to explore the crater rim.

Route 66 | Petrified Forest National Park
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i-40 | petrified forest national park

Where: Arizona
Miles from highway: 1.1
Visually stunning, this national park is most famous for having large deposits of petrified wood dating back to the late Triassic period (225 million years ago). Activities at this 230-square-mile park include hiking, horseback riding, guided tours, and geocaching.

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona
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i-40 | lowell observatory

Where: Flagstaff, Arizona
Miles from highway: 9.1
Founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell, a descendent of one of the wealthiest families in Boston, Lowell Observatory is where Pluto was discovered in 1930. It sits atop a mesa overlooking downtown Flagstaff and offers guided tours, films, and the opportunity to view the sun and other stars through a specially equipped telescope.

I-40 | Summer Tubing Hill
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i-70 | summer tubing hill

Where: Granby, Colorado
Miles from highway: About 38
Take Interstate 70 west out of Denver, then hop on the U.S. 40 exit near Idaho Springs and head north. You'll see some eye-popping mountain scenery as you drive along the switchbacks and pass through Winter Park. The Snowflex summer slope in Granby offers a refreshing break from the long drive. The first of its kind in Colorado, the hill has a snow-like surface and misters to keep riders cool. Operated by the YMCA of the Rockies, the hill is open to all.

National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri
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i-70 | national world war i museum and memorial

Where: Kansas City, Missouri
Miles from highway: 1
Designated by Congress as the nation's official World War I Museum in 2014, this attraction holds the world's most diverse collection of objects and documents related to the war. Exhibits include life-size trenches, recovered tanks, photo exhibits, and films.

Riley House
Courtesy of wikipedia.org

i-70 | james whitcomb riley house

Where: Indianapolis
Miles from highway: < 1
A veritable rock star in his day, “Hoosier Poet” James Whitcomb Riley gave the world a taste of Indiana life and its dialect through his volumes of poetry and his performances that drew thousands. His home in the historic Lockerbie Square district of Indianapolis is a showcase of his life and era with artifacts such as his writing desk and his top hat and cane. Admission is $4 for adults and $1 for kids 7-17.

I-40 | Fort Necessity National Battlefield
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i-70 | fort necessity national battlefield

Where: Farmington, Pennsylvania
Miles from highway: 45 
There are several roadside attractions worth seeing in Pennsylvania, all of which are a bit off the beaten path. Exit I-70 at State Highway 51, the head south to the town of Oliver, than pick up U.S. 40. for the rest of the drive. The 900-acre site of young George Washington's first military engagement and the battle that marked the beginning of the French and Indian War, Fort Necessity is home to an interpretive education center with interactive exhibits, a playground, museum bookstore, and more than 5 miles of hiking trails. There's a recreated fort where the original once stood. You can also reach the battlefield from Interstate 68, which cuts through Maryland to the south.

Kentuck Knob
Kentuck Knob by End User (CC BY-NC-ND)

i-70 | frank lloyd wright's house on kentuck knob

Where: Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Miles from highway: About 50
One of the most famous homes by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright and one of the last properties he built, Kentuck Knob is said to be a work of genius. Set atop a bluff overlooking the Youghiogheny River Gorge, the home blends architecture, nature, and sculpture seamlessly in an illustration of Wright's iconic "Usonian" architecture. The property's woodlands and grounds display a collection of sculptures. It's also not far from Wright's more famous home, Fallingwater. For a scenic drive, pick up U.S. 40 outside of Washington, Penn., and head southeast, or take I-70 a little farther east to New Stanton and head south on State Route 119 until it hits U.S. 40 near Uniontown.

Laurel Caverns Park in Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Courtesy of laurelhighlands.org

i-70 | laurel caverns park

Where: Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Miles from highway: 40 
Laurel Caverns Park is the largest cave in Pennsylvania. There's a 3-mile labyrinth of sandstone passages to explore, as well as guided tours, panning for gemstones for the kids, and even cave rappelling for beginners. Come winter, the caverns are the state's largest natural shelter for bats. You can reach the park by exiting I-70 and heading south on State Route 43 to Uniontown, then picking up U.S. 40, which meanders southeast to the cavern's entry off Skyline Drive.

Nemours
Nemours by Peter Miller (CC BY-NC-ND)

i-95 | nemours mansion & gardens

Where: Wilmington, Delaware
Miles from highway: 3.3
Road trippers can explore the legacy of the du Ponts, one of America's wealthiest and most legendary families, at this opulent 77-room mansion built in 18th-century French style. The property is home to the largest formal French gardens in North America, and the chauffeur's garage houses a collection of vintage cars.

Mount Cuba in Hockessin, Delaware
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i-95 | mount cuba

Where: Hockessin, Delaware
Miles from highway: 7.8
The du Ponts were nothing if not prolific when it came to building jaw-dropping estates. Another example of the family's immense wealth now open to the public, 500-acre Mount Cuba is the former home of Lammot du Pont Copeland and Pamela Cunningham Copeland. It's known for its gardens, native plantings, meadows, and wood canopies.

Winterthur in New Castle County, Delaware
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i-95 | winterthur

Where: New Castle County, Delaware
Miles from highway: 5.6
Another legendary du Pont property, Winterthur (pronounced "winter-tour") is the childhood home of collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont, who lived from 1880 until 1969, and now is open to the public as a museum of American and decorative arts. Nearly 90,000 objects that were made or used between 1640 and 1860 are on display throughout the 175-room house.

I-95 | Washington Crossing Historic Park
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i-95 | washington crossing historic park

Where: Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Miles from highway: 3.5
Visit the place where George Washington and his men crossed the Delaware River in 1776 to help win the Revolutionary War, and climb to the top of Bowman's Tower for panoramic countryside views. The park is an ideal place for an impromptu picnic on a road trip.

I-95 | Sesame Place
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i-95 | sesame place

Where: Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Miles from highway: 2.4
For those with kids in tow, Sesame Place is a must. The nation's only theme park based entirely on Sesame Street offers water rides, shows, parades, and character photos. Single-day prices can be as low as $30 for select events. Prices may vary by season ranging from $50 to $60 with discounts for buying online.

College Park Aviation Museum Interior 2
College Park Aviation Museum Interior 2 by Mr.TinDC (CC BY-NC-ND)

i-95 | college park aviation museum

Where: College Park, Maryland
Miles from highway: 7.3
This 27,000-square-foot museum, on the site of the world's oldest continually operating airport, displays a variety of unique and historic aircrafts and tells the stories of its aviation innovations — including being the first airport dispatching U.S. airmail flights. There are hands-on activities and interpretive areas for children.

The Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina
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i-95 | ava gardner museum

Where: Smithfield, North Carolina
Miles from highway: 1.9
Dedicated to the glamorous actor, who lived from 1922 until 1990, the Ava Gardner Museum showcases original scripts, photos, costumes, and personal effects in her hometown. The star's grave is 2 miles from the museum, at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

I-95 | Venetian Pool
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i-95 | venetian pool

Where: Coral Gables, Florida
Miles from highway: 5
What better way to break up a road trip then a dip in a spring-fed pool? This 820,000-gallon public pool, created in 1923, gets its water from an underground aquifer. Stop in early to ensure admission.

I-95 | Butterfly World
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i-95 | butterfly world

Where: Coconut Creek, Florida
Miles from highway: 4.1
Walk amid butterflies at this 3-acre park with aviaries, botanical gardens, and a working butterfly farm. It's the largest such attraction in the Western Hemisphere, and charges like it: $30 for adults and $22 for children 3 to 11.

South of the Border, South Carolina
Courtesy of wikimedia.org

i-95 | south of the border

Where: Hamer, South Carolina
Miles from highway: < 1
One of the most iconic sights off I-95, this attraction is famous for its giant roadside statue of a man wearing a sombrero. Operating for more than 50 years, the kitschy rest stop includes restaurants, a motel, a video arcade, and mini golf.

I-95 | Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
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i-95 | lewis ginter botanical garden

Where: Richmond, Virginia
Miles from highway: 2.3
Named one of the top five botanical gardens in North America by USA Today, this 50-acre attraction includes more than a dozen themed gardens, including a Children's Garden, Rose Garden, Edible Display Garden, and Asian Valley. There's also a 63-foot classical domed conservatory.

American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
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i-80 | american philatelic center

Where: Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Miles from highway: 7.3
Stamp collectors will be in heaven at the home of the American Philatelic Research Library. The center contains one of the world's largest collections of philatelic literature — 3 miles of shelving with more than 23,000 books and 5,700 journals about stamps and postal history. The building itself, a restored match factory from the 1800s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bellefonte Historic District in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Bellefonte Historic District in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania by Pubdog (CC BY)

i-80 | bellefonte historic district

Where: Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Miles from highway: 6.5
Established in 1795 and on the National Register of Historic Places, this historic district has nearly 300 original Victorian buildings. They include the Colonel James Dunlap House, dating back to 1795, and the Crider Exchange, from 1889.

Studebaker Museum
Courtesy of wikipedia.org

i-80 | studebaker national museum

Where: South Bend, Indiana
Miles from highway: 4
Roadtrippers traveling across the Hoosier State can soak up a dose of transportation history at the Studebaker National Museum. The museum is housed in a 55,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility and has permanent exhibits of presidential carriages dating back to the 1800s, stylish cars from the company’s glory years, and a look at Studebaker’s wartime vehicles. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 6-17.

World's Largest Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa
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i-80 | world's largest truck stop

Where: Walcott, Iowa
Miles from highway: < 1
Iowa 80 has served more than 18.2 million eggs and 3 million cups of coffee since opening more than 50 years ago. There's a movie theater, a dentist, a barber, a chiropractor, multiple places to eat, a laundromat, a library, exercise facilities, and even a "Dogomat." Don't miss the super truck showroom.

John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois
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i-80 | john deere pavilion

Where: Moline, Illinois
Miles from highway: 7
The John Deere Pavilion is about more than getting close with shiny farm equipment, although kids are encouraged to climb around. State-of-the-art simulators let visitors experience what it's like to operate an excavator or dozer — and admission is free.

Squirrel Cage Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa
Squirrel Cage Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa by Smallbones (CC BY)

i-80 | squirrel cage jail museum

Where: Council Bluffs, Iowa
Miles from highway: 4.4
One of three remaining examples of what's known as a rotary cell jail, this three-story brick building — built in 1885, used as a jail until 1969, and now on the National Register of Historic Places — has three floors of revolving cells inside a cage.

Danish Windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa
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i-80 | danish windmill

Where: Elk Horn, Iowa
Miles from highway: 6.4
This windmill was built in 1848 in Denmark and moved to Iowa in 1975 for rebuilding. The mill grinds wheat and rye, and its museum has information about Denmark and its customs. A neighboring gift shop sells Danish items such as dishware and collectibles.

I-80 | Living History Farms
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i-80 | living history farms

Where: Urbandale, Iowa
Miles from highway: 1.6
An open-air museum spread over 500 acres, Living History Farms illustrates how Native Americans grew crops in the 1700s, as well as how farmers began using oxen in the 1850s and horses in the 1900s to revolutionize agriculture. There are three distinct farms on the property, representing each era, and a town with blacksmith, general store, and more.

I-80 | Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
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i-80 | herbert hoover national historic site

Where: West Branch, Iowa
Miles from highway: < 1
Explore the humble early life and remarkable career of Herbert Hoover at this national historic site, home to Hoover's presidential library and museum as well as his two-room birthplace cottage and gravesite. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the historic buildings.

Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa
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i-80 | figge art museum

Where: Davenport, Iowa
Miles from highway: 5.8
One of the Midwest's most extensive and varied collections, the Figge showcases American, Spanish, and Haitian art and hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. The building, on the banks of the Mississippi, is a striking glass structure by British architect David Chipperfield.

Mississippi River Distilling Co. in Le Claire, Iowa
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i-80 | mississippi river distilling co.

Where: Le Claire, Iowa
Miles from highway: 2
Learn how vodka, gin, and whiskey are handcrafted from local ingredients harvested just up the hill from this distillery. There are free samples at the end of the tour.

Falling Waters State Park in Chipley, Florida
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i-10 | falling waters state park

Where: Chipley, Florida
Miles from highway: 3
A unique 73-foot waterfall flows deep out of sight to an underground labyrinth of rivers and lakes from a cylindrical pit, following a path no one has been able to definitively trace. Viewing the waterfall requires walking along a boardwalk known as Sink Hole Trail — a reference to fern-covered sinkholes surrounding it.

I-10 | Los Angeles County Museum of Art
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i-10 | los angeles county museum of art

Where: Los Angeles
Miles from highway: 2.9
A world-class museum of art, LACMA can hardly be bypassed when headed through Los Angeles. Opened in 1965, it is the largest art museum in the western United States. Its collection includes more than 135,000 objects, ranging from antiquity to the present.

I-10 | Getty Center
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i-10 | getty center

Where: Los Angeles
Miles from highway: 5.8
Another must-see museum in Los Angeles, the Getty Center displays its collection — from pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, and sculpture to 19th- and 20th-century American, European, and Asian photographs — in pavilions around a central garden. The entire campus is on a bluff overlooking the city.

I-10 | Cabazon Dinosaurs
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i-10 | cabazon dinosaurs

Where: near Palm Springs, California
Miles from highway: 3.3
This roadside stop and 50-dinosaur display will be familiar to many visitors from films such as "Pee-wee's Big Adventure." There's also a dinosaur dig and fossil panning.

I-10 | Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
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i-10 | palm springs aerial tramway

Where: Palm Springs, California
Miles from highway: 9.7
Ride along the cliffs of Chino Canyon in the world's largest rotating tram car. The tram ($26 for adults, $17 for kids 3 to 12) rises about 2.5 miles in 10 minutes, depositing riders at Mount San Jacinto State Park, where there are restaurants, a natural history museum, two theaters, and miles of hiking trails.

I-10 | Pima Air & Space Museum
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i-10 | pima air & space museum

Where: Outside Tucson, Arizona
Miles from highway: 1.5
There are more than 300 historical aircraft spread over 80 acres at this museum. It includes individual hangars dedicated to World War II aircraft, space travel, and more. In addition, there are tram tours of the boneyard, which includes more than 150 aircraft.

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix
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i-10 | desert botanical garden

Where: Phoenix
Miles from highway: 5.3
The 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden is home to a sprawling collection of more than 50,000 plants, including hundreds of rare, threatened, and endangered succulents from throughout the Southwest. Admission is $25 to $30 for adults and $13 to $16 for kids 3 to 17.

River Walk in San Antonio
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i-10 | san antonio river walk

Where: San Antonio
Miles from highway: 1.8
There's so much to do along the tree-lined San Antonio River Walk it's hard to know where to begin. Some of the larger attractions include the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center and Tower of Americas, a 750-foot landmark with an observation deck, revolving restaurant, and adventure ride.

San Solomon Springs
San Solomon Springs by Angi English (CC BY-NC)

i-10 | balmorhea state park

Where: Toyahvale, Texas
Miles from highway: 7.4
A highlight of this park (particularly on a long, hot drive through the desert) is its 1.75-acre, 25-foot-deep swimming pool. The spring-fed water is 72 to 76 degrees year-round. Other activities at this historic park include camping, bird watching, and picnicking.

Fort Lancaster State Historic Site
Fort Lancaster State Historic Site by J. Stephen Conn (CC BY-NC)

i-10 | fort lancaster state historic site

Where: Crockett County, Texas
Miles from highway: 9.4
The site of what was once a bustling 25-building settlement, Fort Lancaster was built in the 1850s to provide guides for people on the San Antonio-El Paso Road trail to California. Visitors can see ruins of some of the original blacksmith's shop, hospital, and general store.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio
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i-10 | six flags fiesta texas

Where: San Antonio
Miles from highway: < 1
For road trippers who can make time and room in the budget for an amusement park, Six Flags Fiesta Texas offers roller coasters, a water park, live music, and kids rides. Buying ahead of time can lower the cost of a day pass to $63 from $83.

The Alamo Mission in San Antonio
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i-10 | the alamo

Where: San Antonio
Miles from highway: 1.1
The site of a pivotal siege and battle in the Texas Revolution in 1836, this 300-year-old landmark is now the site of history demonstrations and talks.

Mardi Gras Museum in Lake Charles, Louisiana
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i-10 | mardi gras museum

Where: Lake Charles, Louisiana
Miles from highway: < 1
Traditions, history, and artifacts tied to Louisiana's famous annual Mardi Gras celebration are showcased at this museum. The six-room exhibit houses the largest collection of costumes in the South.

New England Aquarium in Boston
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i-90 | new england aquarium

Where: Boston
Miles from highway: 2.2
There are thousands of animals at the New England Aquarium, including sea lions, penguins, and harbor seals. Don't miss the shark and ray touch tank, or a feeding in the four-story Giant Ocean Tank. There's also an IMAX theater. Admission is $28 for adults and $19 for kids 3 to 11.

I-90 | Faneuil Hall Marketplace
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i-90 | faneuil hall marketplace

Where: Boston
Miles from highway: 2.2
One of the most famous sites in Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace was built in 1742 by one of the city's wealthiest merchants. Today it includes four structures — Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market — for shopping and dining enlivened by street entertainers.

I-90 | A Christmas Story House and Museum
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i-90 | a christmas story house and museum

Where: Cleveland  
Miles from highway: < 1
Fans of the movie "A Christmas Story" can tour Ralphie's home and a museum across the street filled with the props, costumes, movie memorabilia, and hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos.

I-90 | Olde Avon Village
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i-90 | olde avon village

Where: Avon, Ohio
Miles from highway: 1.2
Get a little escape from 2018 at this community of restored homes from the 1850s. Visitors can walk to unique shops; lunch at the Tree House Tea Room Restaurant, in a historic farmhouse filled with antiques; or visit the Avon Train Depot, which dates back to 1882.

I-90 | Birthplace of Michael Jackson
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i-90 | birthplace of michael jackson

Where: Gary, Indiana
Miles from highway: 4.7
For those who grew up listening to "Thriller" and "Beat It," Michael Jackson's first home is a chance to glimpse the humble beginnings of a pop god. The tiny home is a far cry from the fabulous mansions the icon later inhabited. August typically brings events celebrating Jackson.

Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin
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i-90 | circus world museum

Where: Baraboo, Wisconsin
Miles from highway: 9.7
Everything you've ever wanted to know about circus history is on display at this 64-acre, 30-structure museum — once home to the Ringling Brothers. There are artifacts, exhibits, and daily live performances in the summer, when ticket prices double to $20 for adults but cost only $10 for kids 5 to 11.

Witches Gulch in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Wirepec/istockphoto

i-90 | witches gulch

Where: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Miles from highway: 6.1
This attraction (which has nothing to do with the sort of witches celebrated on Halloween) is a natural geological wonder — a slot canyon like those found in Zion National Park. It's accessible by boat tours costing $32 for adults and $16 for kids 4 to 11.

I-90 | Fast Fiberglass Mold Graveyard
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i-90 | fast fiberglass mold graveyard

Where: Sparta, Wisconsin
Miles from highway: 4.9
File this one under quirky roadside attractions that make fun photographs. This company is famous for crafting everything from giant apples to cows, elephants, and fish. The molds used for the many roadside signs and attractions the company has made over the years are part of sprawling graveyard visitors can explore.

Spam Museum 3
Spam Museum 3 by Elvis Kennedy (CC BY-NC-ND)

i-90 | spam museum

Where: Austin, Minnesota
Miles from highway: 1.1
The Spam museum looks at the history of the processed meat and displays a comprehensive collection of spiced pork artifacts. Visit the gift shop to stock up on goodies for the road.

I-90 | The World's Only Corn Palace
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i-90 | the world's only corn palace

Where: Mitchell, South Dakota
Miles from highway: 2.2
Built in 1892 to prove the state had a healthy agricultural climate, this "palace" looks like a cross between a circus tent and an exotic temple and houses corn murals, drawing 500,000 people a year.

I-90 | Chapel in the Hills
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i-90 | chapel in the hills

Where: Rapid City, South Dakota
Miles from highway: 7.1
Built in 1969, this attraction reproduces a chapel in Norway known as the Borgund Stavkirke. The surrounding grounds provide a peaceful place to stretch your legs and explore. There's a meditation trail, gift shop, and museum onsite as well.

Last Stand Hill at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Crow Agency, Montana
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i-90 | custer's last stand: little bighorn

Where: Crow Agency, Montana
Miles from highway: < 1
A solemn site from a tragic chapter in history, this battlefield is where the Sioux and Cheyenne mounted one of their final armed efforts to defend and preserve their way of life from encroaching settlers, killing Lt. Col. George A. Custer and 262 other soldiers June 25-26, 1876. There's a museum with historic photos and an audio tour visitors can take while driving the site, retracing the battle.

Our Lady of the Rockies in Butte, Montana
Our Lady of the Rockies in Butte, Montana by AllAroundTheWest (CC BY)

i-90 | our lady of the rockies

Where: Butte, Montana
Miles from highway: 2.5
This 90-foot statue atop the Continental Divide is filled with messages visitors have left for loved ones. The statue, built in the likeness of the Virgin Mary, overlooks Butte and is visible from nearly anywhere in the city. (A gift shop is a few miles off the highway.)

Old Prison Museum in Deer Lodge, Montana
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i-90 | old prison museum

Where: Deer Lodge, Montana
Miles from highway: 1.3
Visitors can tour the cell house and even the "black box" once used for maximum-security prisoners at this prison, which operated from 1871 until the 1970s. See guns, shackles, and restraints used within, as well as the work of the inmates: their art and lethal weapons made from forks.

Route 66 | Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum
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route 66 | route 66 association hall of fame & museum

Where: Pontiac, Illinois
Miles from highway: < 1
Immerse yourself in all things Route 66 at this museum showcasing thousands of relics and memorabilia. Opened in 2004, the exhibit includes photos, license plates, and more. It's about 100 miles southwest of Chicago on Interstate 55.

Route 66 | Route 66 Arcade Museum
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route 66 | route 66 arcade museum

Where: McLean, Illinois
Miles from highway: < 1
For anyone who grew up in the 1980s, this is an essential trip down memory lane. Bring a pocket full of quarters to this tiny museum, home to a collection of vintage but still playable games. It's located just blocks west of Interstate 55.

Route 66 | Route 66 Drive-In Theater
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route 66 | route 66 drive-in theater

Where: Springfield, Illinois
Miles from highway: < 1
The historic Route 66 Drive-In Theater is still open for business and a great place to pass a few hours. The theater shows double features every night starting in April and continuing through Labor Day weekend.

Henry's Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, Illinois
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route 66 | henry's rabbit ranch

Where: Staunton, Illinois
Miles from highway: < 1
A classic Route 66 stop, this ranch with both hopping rabbits and VW Rabbits is home to a vintage gas station, a collection of memorabilia from America's "Mother Road," trucking memorabilia, and more. Historic Route 66 is just west of Interstate 55.

Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis
Courtesy of tripadvisor.com

route 66 | laumeier sculpture park

Where: St. Louis
Miles from highway: 1.5
In St. Louis, Interstate 44 follows much of the same path as Route 66. This 105-acre, open-air museum includes a giant eyeball among its quirky art displays. It's one of the first and largest sculpture parks in the country, and it's free.

Route 66 State Park outside Eureka, Missouri
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route 66 | route 66 state park

Where: outside Eureka, Missouri
Miles from highway: 6.7
Park displays and memorabilia detail Route 66 history in a roadhouse built in 1935. There are also walking, biking, and equestrian trails.

Missouri S&T Stonehenge in Rolla, Missouri
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route 66 | missouri s&t stonehenge

Where: Rolla, Missouri
Miles from highway: 1.2
If you can't see the real Stonehenge, visit this partial replica on the campus of the Missouri University of Science and Technology — the largest monument ever to be cut with waterjet. About 160 tons of granite were used, with each rock cut to match the exact dimensions of the original structure.

Route 66 | Fantastic Caverns
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route 66 | fantastic caverns

Where: Springfield, Missouri
Miles from highway: 4.1
Discovered in 1862 by an Ozarks farmer when his dog crawled through an entrance, this cave can now be toured via tram. On the hourlong tour ($26 for adults, $17 for kids 6 to 12), participants get to see a wild variety of cave formations including stalactites and stalagmites, as well as unusual "soda straws" and "cave pearls."

Route 66 Car Museum in Springfield, Missouri
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route 66 | route 66 car museum

Where: Springfield, Missouri
Miles from highway: 4.5
Nearly 70 American and European cars are on display, some dating back to the early 1900s. The privately owned collection includes seven Jaguars, two Rolls-Royces, the truck from the movie "The Grapes of Wrath," and a 1963 Morgan owned by Desert Storm Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.

Pops Soda Ranch
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route 66 | pops soda ranch

Where: Arcadia, Oklahoma
Miles from highway: < 1
Consider this stop an American tribute to soda. The classic diner serves 700 kinds. There's a 66-foot-tall soda bottle out front to add to a photo collection. The ranch is just a few miles north of Interstate 44 or east of I-35 and about 20 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

Route 66 | Lucille's Service Station
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route 66 | lucille's service station

Where: Hydro, Oklahoma
Miles from highway: < 1
Don't tour Route 66 without stopping at one of its classic service stations. There's not a ton to see at Lucille's, which opened in 1929 — it's simply a great photo opportunity of a vintage piece of Americana.

Route 66 | Cadillac Ranch
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route 66 | cadillac ranch

Where: Amarillo, Texas
Miles from highway: < 1
Yet another quirky, roadside art installation, this display of Cadillacs — half-buried, nose first, in the ground — was created in 1974. Visitors are encouraged to leave their mark by spray-painting the vehicles.

Route 66 | Tee Pee Curios
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route 66 | tee pee curios

Where: Tucumcari, New Mexico
Miles from highway: 1.9
Tee Pee Curios, which began as a gas station and grocery store in the 1940s, is one of the few remaining classic tourist tchotchke shops along Route 66 in New Mexico since I-40 offered travelers a bypass. The shop sells pottery, T-shirts, jewelry, and more.

Route 66 | Joe & Aggie's Cafe
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route 66 | joe & aggie's cafe

Where: Holbrook, Arizona
Miles from highway: 2.2
A third-generation business, the colorful Joe & Aggie's is famous for its Mexican and American food. It also provides a great photo opportunity and place to learn more about Route 66.

Route 66 | Santa Monica Pier
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route 66 | santa monica pier

Where: Santa Monica, California
Miles from highway: < 1
Famous in its own right, the Santa Monica Pier is a great place to end a Route 66 trip (or start one). The pier has restaurants, shops, an old-fashioned soda fountain, and rides including a historic carousel from 1922.