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Biggest roadside attractions in the U.S.

Killer bee statue, 20 ft long 10 ft high, in front of city library in Hidalgo, Texas USA. The world's largest killer bee statue is 24 feet long and 10 feet high and stands in front of the Hidalgo City Hall in Texas. | Photo by Bob Daemmrich/Alamy Stock Photo

A summer-vacation guilty pleasure, roadside attractions tend to come in super sizes—from a titanic ball of twine to ginormous Paul Bunyans. The next time you embark on a road trip, indulge your inner Clark Griswold and stop by one of these truly larger-than-life icons.

1. California: World’s tallest thermometer

World's tallest thermometer in Baker, California

Photo by Richard Cummins/Alamy Stock Photo

How big? 134 feet tall

Between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, sizzling Mojave Desert temps light up this digital, skyscraping thermometer—its height a nod to the world-record 134-degree heat set in nearby Death Valley National Park in 1913.

Info: 72157 Baker Boulevard, Baker. 

2. New Mexico: World’s largest pistachio

The world's largest pistachio statue in New Mexico

Photo by Jay Goebel/Alamy Stock Photo

How big? 30 feet tall

A prodigious concrete pistachio lures drivers to McGinn’s Country Store. Admire the massive nut while munching roasted, salted pistachios—the store’s most popular snack—or go big with green chile–flavored nuts.

Info: 7320 US Highway 54/70, Alamogordo.

3. Minnesota: America’s biggest Viking

The fiberglass Norseman "Big Ole" in Minnesota

Photo by Andre Jenny/Alamy Stock Photo

How big? 28 feet tall

Built in 1965 for the New York World’s Fair, fiberglass Norseman “Big Ole” brandishes a battle shield that reads “Alexandria: Birthplace of America”—a nod to a local legend that Vikings visited the area in the 1300s.

Info: In Big Ole Park on the north end of Broadway Street, Alexandria.

4. Illinois: World’s largest ketchup bottle

World's largest ketchup bottle

Photo by Richard Brown/Alamy Stock Photo

How big? 70 feet tall

Just off Route 66, the king-size condiment crowns a water tower erected in 1949 to serve the now-defunct Brooks Catsup bottling plant. If filled with ketchup, the bottle would hold 100,000 gallons. Want fries with that?

Info: 800 S. Morrison Avenue, Collinsville.

5. Kansas: World’s largest ball of twine

World's largest ball of twine in Kansas

Photo by Franck Fotos/Alamy Stock Photo

How big? Nearly 44-foot circumference; 27,005 pounds

This monstrous spherical attraction is the stuff of road-trip legend. Begun in 1953 by the late Frank Stoeber, the ball continues to swell as visitors contribute sisal twine to the fibrous colossus.

Info: 710 Wisconsin Street (on US Highway 24), Cawker City.

You may also like: Beautiful sculpture parks in the Midwest and South you have to visit

6. Maine: World’s biggest Paul Bunyan

World's largest Paul Bunyan

Photo by Ian Dagnall/Alamy Stock Photo

How big? 31 feet tall

Though not technically the tallest roadside Bunyan around (California is home to a 49-footer), this Paul, which was frighteningly featured in Maine native Stephen King’s novel It, still proclaims itself the biggest.

Info: 519 Main Street, Bangor.

You may also like: Wonderful and weird roadside attractions in Northern New England

7. Ohio: World’s largest basket

World's largest basket in Ohio

Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy Stock Photo

How big? Seven stories tall

Former corporate headquarters for the woven basket–making Longaberger Company, this office building–size replica of a picnic basket opened in 1997 at a reported construction cost of $32 million.

Info: 1500 E. Main Street, Newark.

8. Texas:World’s largest killer bee

How big? 10 feet tall; 24 feet long

In 1990, Africanized “killer bees” swarmed the U.S.–Mexico border town of Hidalgo, marking their first appearance in the U.S. The town commemorated the event by constructing a scary-big stinger (pictured at top) in front of City Hall.

Info: 704 E. Ramon Ayala Drive, Hidalgo.

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