RV Travel: Roadside Oddities in Southern U.S.
Make no bones (or bricks) about it – the Southern United States can be a strange place to drive through. Taking an RV road trip through the Southern States can be full of interesting and unique sights that you will not see anywhere else – and you’ll find that the majority of them are located by the side of the highway. This part of the country ought to be nicknamed the roadside attraction capital of the world because it’s hard to imagine any place where you’d find so many unusual and wonderful things located just off the next exit.
Are you planning a road trip in your RV? How about taking some roadside adventures down South? Here are just a few of the road tripping oddities you can discover when you hit the road in the Southern States:
Roadside Oddities in Florida
Coral Castle — Miami, FL
In a state already chockfull of oddities, the Coral Castle just south of Miami is relatively tame and quite pretty. Says the official website: "From 1923 to 1951, Ed [Leedskalnin] single-handedly and secretly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock, and his unknown process has created one of the world's most mysterious accomplishments." But as the story goes, the Coral Castle was made as a monument to Ed's fiancee Agnes, who left him at the altar. People also say that Ed may have had supernatural abilities, as no one ever saw him – or anyone else – working on the castle. Spooky.
The Fountain of Youth – St. Augustine, FL
Apparently founded by explorer Juan Ponce de León, the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine was bought by “Diamond Lil” McConnell in 1904, who then went on to turn it into a major tourist attraction. Bottles of the supposed magical water are still sold here, and Roadside America calls it one of Florida’s finest remaining attractions – “Where else can you drink from the Fountain of Youth, watch white peacocks and see a giant 2-story black light globe?” Now that’s a sales pitch that’s pretty hard to pass up.
Road Tripping in Georgia
Georgia Guidestones – Elbert, GA
Budget Travel describes these weird granite stones as “the Ten Commandments inscribed on Stonehenge” – which is as good a way as any to sum them up (plus nobody knows who created them or where they came from, which adds an extra layer of mystery). Also fantastic is Budget Travel’s directions to find the Georgia Guidestones: “The folks at the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce say that the best way to find them is to drive on Highway 77, between Elberton and Hartwell, and look for the lady's house that resembles a spaceship.” Two oddities in one trip!
Roadside Fun in Alabama
World’s Largest Brick – Montgomery, AL
You can’t have a list of roadside oddities without including at least a couple “world’s largest” objects, and in Alabama you’ll find the world’s largest brick – or at least, it was, until a larger brick in Texas dethroned this poor red behemoth. However, as Thrillist notes, the brick in Montgomery is technically made up of many smaller bricks, so it still holds its title as the world’s largest brick made up of small bricks. Go pay the Jenkins Brick Company a visit and let them know you still appreciate their efforts.
Unusual Roadside Attractions in Louisiana
Nicolas Cage’s Tomb – New Orleans, LA
The versatile and quirky actor isn’t in the ground yet – but when Nicolas Cage does shuffle off this mortal coil, he’s already got a plot picked out in New Orleans, complete with a 10-foot tall marble pyramid. According to Thrillist, it’s inscribed with the Latin phrase “Omnia Ab Uno” or “Everything From One” – though we would have expected something more like “Oh No! Not the Bees!”
What to See in Mississippi
The Crossroads – Clarksdale, MI
Anyone familiar with the legend of bluesman Robert Johnson knows the story of how he purportedly sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads – this very crossroads, where Highways 161 and 49 meet in Clarksdale. Although Johnson got the guitar skills that apparently cost him his soul, the tale of this Faustian bargain has always been slightly in doubt (Memphis also tries to claim that the crossroads is located there instead), yet that hasn’t stopped Clarksdale from putting up a guitar-shaped sign at the crossroads to signify the spot where the deal was done.
Strange Wonders to See in Texas
The Prada Marfa Store – El Paso, TX
“Store” might be reaching a little bit – there isn’t exactly anything to purchase at this tiny Prada shop seemingly in the middle of nowhere on U.S. 90 near El Paso. Instead, this building is an art installation of sorts, created with the permission of Miucchi Prada. Travel + Leisure reports that there are indeed Prada accessories in the shop: “20 left-foot shoes and six purses, to be exact, visible through the store's front windows.” Yet the door is permanently locked, forcing sad Prada fans to head to more urban areas for a new handbag.
Now that you’ve gotten a decent idea of what strange wonders the American south has to offer, it’s tempting to get out on the road your RV and see them for yourself – or possibly find new ones. After all, that sense of adventure – and discovering what lies beyond every exit sign – is a vital part of the road trip experience, and one that we heartily encourage every time you get behind the wheel.
Have you visited any of these roadside oddities while road tripping in your motorhome, travel trailer, fifth wheel or toy hauler? What did you think of them? Leave a comment and let us know!