10 Strange Roadside Attractions for a West Coast Road Trip

Travel is Good for the Soul
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Are you looking for something new and different to experience on your next road trip? Look no further! We have compiled a list of the top 10 strangest roadside attractions that can be found on the West Coast. From the world’s smallest mountain to an upside-down house, and a forest made of cars, these roadside attractions are sure to surprise, amuse, and entertain curious readers killing time on their phones!

1: The Nation’s Smallest Mountain

Photo by Quintin Gellar on Pexels.com

The Nation’s Smallest Mountain is located in the Gass Peak Wilderness area of Nevada, just outside Las Vegas. It is a large boulder measuring only 310 meters (1,017 feet) in height and is considered the smallest mountain in the world. The easiest way to reach the World’s Smallest Mountain is by taking Highway 160 from Las Vegas to the Blue Diamond Valley. From there, you can access the Gass Peak Wilderness area which is home to the mountain.

What makes this mountain so unique is that it does not fit the traditional definition of a mountain since its peak is below 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). It has become a popular tourist attraction as visitors come to marvel at its miniature size.

2: The World’s Largest Thermometer

The World’s Largest Thermometer can be found in Baker, California along Interstate 15. This 134-foot-tall structure was erected in 1991 and has become a popular tourist attraction in the area. The thermometer is illuminated at night, giving it an eerily beautiful glow that can be seen from miles away. To reach the thermometer, take exit 239 off Interstate 15 and follow Baker Boulevard east for one mile.

The World’s Largest Thermometer is located in Baker, California, and stands tall at an impressive 134 feet. It was built to commemorate the record high temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit set in nearby Death Valley on July 10th, 1913. The thermometer holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest and serves as an interesting reminder of how extreme temperatures can get in California’s deserts. While it may not be a traditional tourist attraction, this giant thermometer makes for a great photo op while you’re driving along Route 15 through Southern California!

3: The Oregon Vortex

The Oregon Vortex is an unusual roadside attraction located in Gold Hill, Oregon. It consists of a series of mysterious phenomena that seemingly defy gravity such as strange movements of objects and people appearing taller or shorter depending on where they stand. To visit the Oregon Vortex, take Highway 99 North from Eugene and turn left onto Redwood Highway. Follow the signs for Oregon Vortex and you will eventually find yourself at this weird tourist attraction.

This strange phenomenon has been studied by scientists for decades and continues to baffle visitors with its mysterious power. After the harsh winter and the brutal wildfires Oregon and California experienced in the last few summers, the Oregon Vortex is temporarily closed to visitors while they recover and repair the portions of the attraction that have been damaged. Check the website or call before you visit to ensure they’re open.

4: The Upside-Down House

The Upside Down House is certainly a unique experience. The two-story house has been flipped entirely upside down, with furniture, paintings, and other fixtures all hanging from the ceiling as if gravity had truly been reversed. Although it looks strange at first glance, visitors will quickly find themselves amazed by how realistic this structure appears up close. From chairs that appear to be walking on the walls of the house to paintings that seem to defy physics, it’s an incredible sight not soon forgotten. Be sure to take plenty of photos when you visit The Upside Down House in San Diego, California – you won’t regret it!


To visit the Upside Down House, take I-5 south until you reach Balboa Park. The house can be found in front of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center inside the park. This bazaar tourist attraction is sure to shock any unsuspecting visitors with its bizarre design.

5: Mystery Spot of Santa Cruz

Mystery Spot Santa Cruz is a strange tourist attraction located near Santa Cruz, California. It consists of a 150 feet diameter circular area where gravity appears to be defied and laws of physics seem to no longer apply. Visitors can experience optical illusions such as people appearing shorter or taller than they really are, and objects rolling uphill instead of down according to the law of gravity.

Scientists have been unable to explain the phenomena that occur in this mysterious spot, adding an extra layer of intrigue for visitors. The Mystery Spot has become one of the most popular attractions on California’s west coast, drawing thousands each year who come hoping to unravel its secrets.

To reach Mystery Spot Santa Cruz from San Francisco, take Highway 17 south until you reach Scotts Valley Drive. Turn left onto Scotts Valley Drive and follow it for two miles until you reach Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz. This mysterious place has been baffling visitors since 1940 with its strange gravitational forces and otherworldly atmosphere.

6: Bubblegum Alley

Bubblegum Alley has become a popular tourist destination in San Luis Obispo, California. The area consists of a small alley lined with walls that are completely covered in chewed bubblegum! It is believed to have been started by students at Cal Poly University back in 1970 and has since grown into one of the area’s strangest attractions.

Visitors will often see people taking pictures with the colorful gums or even adding their own pieces to the walls. Bubblegum Alley offers visitors an interesting sightseeing experience and provides them with a unique reminder of their time spent visiting this strange roadside attraction.

If you choose to add your own bubblegum contribution to the wall, be sure to practice sanitation protocols, such as washing your hands and avoiding touching your face while you’re there. After the events of the pandemic shutdown, we need to be ever-vigilant about our health and safety.

To reach Bubblegum Alley, take Highway 101 south of San Francisco until you reach San Luis Obispo. From there, take Marsh Street west until you reach Higuera Street where Bubblegum Alley can be found between 733 and 741 Higuera Street.

This wacky sight will make any visitor wonder in amazement at what they are seeing!

7: Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Seattle, WA

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, WA is an antique shop that has been open since 1899 and contains a vast array of artifacts from various eras of history. It’s often referred to as “time boiled down” due to its immense collection of items ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to vintage toys and souvenirs.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, Washington is an absolute must-see for any West Coast road trip. This unique shop is a treasure trove of oddities and curiosities from around the world. With over 100 years of history, it’s no wonder that this place has become one of the most popular roadside attractions in the area.

The star attraction at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is undoubtedly Sylvester the Mummy. Believed to be one of the best-preserved mummies ever discovered, Sylvester was found in Egypt by two explorers more than a century ago and brought to America where he now resides in the shop’s main display window.

It’s incredible how well-preserved his body is after all these years – visitors can still see his facial features and even some hair on his head! Visitors can learn more about Sylvester’s mysterious origin through information provided by knowledgeable staff members who are eager to share stories with guests who visit this unforgettable stop along their road trip adventure!

Visitors can explore this incredible relic up close and learn more about old-world cultures with its many displays. With so much to see and experience, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop makes for an interesting stop on any West Coast road trip!

8: The Wave Organ, Marina District, San Fransisco, CA

The Wave Organ is a unique and memorable experience. Constructed over three decades ago in the 1980s by Peter Richards, an engineer, and master of his craft, this organ is made with PVC pipes fitted into stones at San Francisco’s Marina District pier. The waves from the bay create music when they travel through these pipes to create different sounds and tones that resemble an actual organ.

It’s no wonder why this attraction has become one of the most popular roadside attractions on the West Coast! Visitors can spend hours listening to the beautiful melodies produced by nature as they enjoy unparalleled views of both San Francisco Bay and its surrounding areas. As the tide comes in and out twice daily, it activates these metal pipes to create haunting music that can be heard distinctly down the wharf.

Visitors to this area will definitely enjoy this strange yet captivating attraction as they get an auditory adventure unlike any other! Aside from its unusual design and soundscape, The Wave Organ also provides visitors with spectacular views of San Fran Bay which makes it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the west coast – whether you’re on a road trip or not!

9: The Echo Park Time Travel Mart, Los Angelos, CA

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart in Los Angelos, CA is a unique and fun experience that’s perfect for your road trip. This store is like taking a leisurely vacation in the TARDIS from Doctor Who and hitting all the vintage shops on the way.

When you shop here you not only get to explore some of the quirkiest gifts around, but you’re also supporting a great cause: children’s literacy programs! The staff at this one-of-a-kind store are happy to help you find whatever it is that you need, and they have an inspiring motto – “Whenever you are, we’re already then.”

So if time travel shopping is something that sounds appealing to both adults and kids alike – why not check out this awesome stop during your West Coast Road Trip?

10: International Car Forest of the Last Church, Goldfield, NV

The International Car Forest of the Last Church in Goldfield, Nevada is the brainchild of two artistic minds. Chad Sorg and Mark Rippie came together to create an art installation that would surpass the size of previous record holders like Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska.

With 80 acres of the empty desert as their canvas, they “planted” over 40 cars into the ground. While these vehicles are not actually planted into the ground – they are simply propped up (and partially buried in some cases) at a variety of angles – this art installation has become one of the most talked about roadside attractions on a West Coast road trip!

The sheer number and variety of cars add to its aesthetic appeal and make it an ideal stop for any traveler looking to explore something off-the-beaten-path. The landmark was the culmination of one man’s dream to have his name in the Guinness Book of World Records, and another man’s passion to provide a space for other artists to express themselves without fear of prosecution for vandalism.

Best of Wishes in Your Travels

We hope that this list provides some inspiration for your next West Coast Road Trip! From strange sights to unique sounds, these attractions are sure to provide curious readers with something new and exciting to explore! So pack up your car and hit the road – who knows what kind of strange sights you’ll find!

Published by Echo Mayernik | The Oak Anchor

Echo Mayernik is a PNW local content writer. She is known to her clients as being a Jill of All Trades. You can read more about her writing services and her background at The Oak Anchor. She lives and works in Portland, OR with her dog, partner, 3 kids, and big dreams. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small businesses navigate the weird world of content marketing.

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