Tucked away among the fields and quaint small towns of the American South are loads of hidden oddities. Bizarre natural wonders, magical castles, iconic diners, and more dot the landscape, adding a distinctive and whimsical charm to the region. These are some of our all-time favorite Southern attractions in the US!
Whether or not you want stop and see the passion play put on here, there's no ignoring this ginormous Jesus. It's super impressive that the 67-foot-tall statue was built entirely by hand, with layers upon layers of mortar on a steel frame, and getting up close to the figure lets you see the work and love that was put into it.
1120 Natural Bridge Road, Clinton, AR, US
This sandstone bridge, on the other hand, was created by Mother Nature. You can walk across the 100-foot formation, visit the log cabin onsite, and soak up the gorgeous woodland setting of this impressive natural wonder.
500 Wood St., Texarkana, AR, US
Texarkana itself is a quirky gem of a town, half in Texas, half in Arkansas. Stand on State Line Avenue, half in one state and half in the other, and check out the post office and the courthouse, both of which are located on the state line, to see how a town that's in the middle of two states operates!
555 Highway 61 South, Natchez, MS, US
Roadside snack stands built into massive statues are oddities these days, but back in the 1930s and 1940s they were commonplace. Mammy's Cupboard is one that's still standing: a dining room and gift shop are hidden in her skirt. The fare and prices are straight out of the 1940s as well, and it's definitely a photo op worth stopping by for.
402 Government St, Baton Rouge, LA, US
This classic, hole-in-the-wall diner is one of the few Frostops left in the country. If the giant cup on top of the building didn't tip you off, their root beer floats are absolutely incredible (and come in frosted glass mugs, to boot!) Order a po' boy to enjoy along with your frosty treat and bask in the 1950s atmosphere of this staple.
Interstate 10, Pearlington, MS, US
Near the Mississippi Welcome Center in Pearlington is a cool little tribute to Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise, a native of the state. You'll find a 30-foot replica of the lunar lander and his space boot print in the cement below.
11451 Canal Rd, Gulfport, MS, US
Nothing says "Southern charm" like a glass of sweet tea on a porch rocking chair. Several chairs across the country all claim to be the world's largest rocker, and this one in Gulfport, MS is big enough that it just might be the world's largest. Either way, it's a great photo op that's sure to... "rock" your world.
1975 Hwy. 98 W., Carrabelle, FL, US
Lighthouses are a favorite sight along coasts and shorelines, and Florida naturally has quite a few. The iron-and-steel Crooked River Lighthouse has a quirky, industrial look and offers a history museums and stunning views from the top.
NW 8th Ave., Gainesville, FL, US
Take your road trip interplanetary with a stroll along Gainesville's Solar Walk. It's a 4 billion to one scale model of our solar system (which, even then, is almost a mile long) with all of the planets, Halley's comet, and other cute little details. Bring paper and a crayon to make rubbings of the passport stamps on the models of the planets!
1960 US Hwy 19, Crystal River, FL, US
No one's really sure who built the big gorilla statue on Highway 19 in Crystal River, FL, but the 12-foot ape is a fun photo op. Keep going south down the road and keep your eyes peeled for dinos and sharks, too!
5297 Cherokee Way, Homosassa, FL, US
Make a point to grab lunch, dinner, or just drinks at MacRae's, because it's the best way to get a view of the Homosassa River Resort's Monkey Island. Off in the river, the island is adorned with a treehouse and a lighthouse and other little buildings, and several spider monkeys live on it.
4533 Solomon Rd, Ona, FL, US
Solomon's Castle is a found-object masterpiece, a massive fairytale castle built of random objects. Solomon himself can often be found here working on something new, and entertaining, engaging tours of the castle are offered almost every day. There's even an onsite restaurant and a room where you can spend the night in a turret!
28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, FL, US
Solomon's Castle isn't the only offbeat Medieval building in Florida, though; the Coral Castle in Homestead is just as worth a visit. Built by one man who immigrated to America after being left at the altar, there are rumors that he built it all himself after "unlocking the mysteries of the pyramids"... to this day, no one is sure quite how he did it, but it's a strange little attraction filled with gorgeous details.
300 East Monument Avenue, Kissimmee, FL, US
Find a taste of home (wherever you're from) at Kissimmee's Monument to the States. Fossils and rocks from every state stud the tower, and there are even some bits from other countries. It's located right on the lake and is a great stop during a shoreside stroll.
2901 Osceola Pkwy, Lake Buena Vista, FL, US
The Tree of Life is the iconic symbol of Disney World's Animal Kingdom, and it might not seem like much, among the rides and attractions in Disney, but if you take a moment to really notice the details, you won't regret it. It's over 140 feet tall and 50 feet wide and carved with intricate animal designs. Inside is an exhibit all about nature's most under-appreciated heroes (bugs!) but the real show begins for the tree when the sun sets. Every 10 minutes, a gorgeous light show all about the wonders of the animal kingdom is projected onto the tree!
Bowdendale Ave., Jacksonville, FL, US
If you like your roadside oddities totally random, Jacksonville's giant 7UP can is perfect. Peep it from afar, or ask for permission to get inside the gate for a close-up look at this strange sculpture.
15794 Whyte Hardee Blvd, Hardeeville, SC, US
You'll be welcomed into South Carolina by a huge pair of elephants. Conveniently located near a rest stop, the massive beasts are begging for a fun photo op!
13422 Hwy 131, Bladenboro, NC, US
Since you're on a road trip, make a point to snap a shot of this massive tire outside Bladenboro, NC. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere, so enjoy the scenery and small town charm as you make your way out here.
1295 Nc Highway 210, Sneads Ferry, NC, US
Beware of sharks at the beach! Shark Attack Souvenirs is the perfect seashore photo op, and it's a great place to pick up some kitschy gifts for everyone back home.
250 E. Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC, US
If you're looking for an offbeat gem to check out in Chapel Hill, stop by the giant sundial on UNC's campus. The shadow-casting gnomon is a whopping 24 feet long and 20 feet tall... it's really something you have to see to fully appreciate just how big it is! Poke around the college town of Chapel Hill while you're here.
From roadside photo ops to outsider art to offbeat adventures, there are loads of Southern attractions dotted across the region that are sure to spice up any road trip.