10 Roadside Sights in California You Have to See to Believe

Thanks to pop culture and media, California’s Golden Gate Bridge, Disneyland, Hollywood, Coachella, Silicon Valley and surf culture have always been obvious sights. Nonetheless, California also has dozens of odd roadside attractions that will delight visitors.


With its Mediterranean climate, June to August is the peak season while November to March is the off season to beat the crowds. Choose the right time of year and gear up for these roadside attractions!

10/10 Awe of the Cabazon dinosaurs

Two giant steel and concrete dinosaur sculptures will awe visitors with their impressive height and structure. Dinny the Dinosaur, a 150-foot brontosaurus, and Mr. Rex, a 65-foot tyrannosaurus, have also been featured in cult classics like The Wizard and Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure.

Additionally, it was created due to the intention of sculptor Knott’s Berry Farm and artist Claude K. Bell to lure customers to the Wheel Inn restaurant as early as 1958.

The site also has an open-air museum of fiberglass and robotic dinosaurs, making it a must-see for dinosaur lovers.

  • Location:
    50770 Seminole Drive, Cabazon CA 92230

9/10 Marvel at the largest lemon in the world

This giant citrus fruit is located in the center of Lemon Grove, a suburb of San Diego. This lemon, a symbol constructed for a parade float in 1928, is almost 6 feet long and weighs 3000 pounds.

Many lemon trees grow behind this sculpture, a reminder that it was a lemon grove before development.

The concrete base is also engraved with “Best Climate On Earth,” a slogan used throughout the city. Designed by architect Alberto O Treganza, this giant sour fruit is located next to the Orange Line trolley tracks.

  • Location:
    3361 Main St (nearby), Lemon Grove, CA

Also Read: Big Bear Village Might Be California’s Funniest Travel Destination This Winter

8/10 Gaze at the Mount of Salvation

One of California’s most surreal spots is Salvation Mountain in Palm Springs, which also boasts one of the hottest Instagrammable spots in the Golden State.

This expansive work of art was created by artist Leonard Knight. In fact, this will amaze any tourist as it is an artificial mountain and not a natural mountain. This monumental creation consists of adobe bricks, discarded tires and other car parts, colors and a penchant for creativity.

Because of the artist’s spiritual awakening, he started building this mountain from scratch in the first place.

A Herculean task indeed, he faced the challenges of nature, but his perseverance met with success. Dedicated to 28 years of his life, this stunning piece of art has colorful inscriptions with Bible verses, a red heart, a stern cross, an American flag and also the inscription “God Is Love”.

  • Location:
    Near the Salton Sea in Niland, California

Also see: 10 San Francisco Hotels That Are Unique in Some Ways

7/10 Visit the quirky structures

Looking for a bizarre adventure? Nearly 130 handcrafted metal sculptures are carefully distributed throughout the alluring and eccentric landscape of Galletta Meadows. The barren desert of Borrego Springs has giant serpents, mammoths, prehistoric camels, colossal birds and creatures of awe-inspiring essence.

This stunning sculpture display resembles a Hollywood set created by artist Ricardo Breceda. The owner, Dennis Avery of Galleta Meadows Estate, initiated this because of the creatures that once roamed the valley.

The largest of the creatures is 12 feet tall and 20 feet long and can be seen from the car while driving.

  • Location:
    Borrego Springs Rd, CA

6/10 Let the Mystery House surprise you

One of the strangest mansions in the whole country, the Winchester Mystery House is considered to be haunted. The modification of the manor consisted of secret doors, doors that opened into walls and stairs that led to nowhere, which touched the mystery more.

The owner, Sarah Winchester, believed the mansion was haunted but never left. The charm of the mansion is due to its seven-storey building with 161 rooms, 47 fireplaces, 10,000 panes of glass and three elevators.

The mansion tour is open to the public and includes a tour of the mansion and the gift shop for souvenirs. Tickets for the tour can be booked online.

  • Tour Duration:
    Mansion Tour (65 minutes) & Mercantile Tour (15 minutes)

  • Location:
    525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose

5/10 Visit this giant artichoke

Colossal, unique and bizarre have always been the adjectives for attractions in California. This Golden State continues to uphold that reputation with this massive “Artichoke Restaurant.”

Also known as the Artichoke Center Of The World, this giant vegetable in Castroville serves as a photo opportunity at the entrance to the restaurant.

The menu also features artichoke delicacies.

  • Location:
    11261 Merritt Street, Castroville

4/10 Gaze at “Trees of Mystery”

Dating back to 1931, this is California’s oldest roadside attraction. The ‘Trees of Mystery’ in the lush forest make for a beautiful view with their unusual formations, and there are many incredibly scenic hikes in the area.

Located right in the center of Redwood National & State Parks, there are Canopy Trails, Motel Trees, a motel with nature-themed rooms, a forest cafe and the ultra-unique Sky Trail Gondola ride.

This magical setting is also available for private events and celebrations such as weddings, birthdays or other occasions.

  • tickets
    : Admission is around $20 for adults and $11 for children

  • Location:
    15500 US-101, Klamath

3/10 Go bananas over the museum

The International Banana Museum, a roadside attraction, houses more than 25,000 banana-themed items. In fact, it also holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest museum dedicated to its love of this one fruit.

One can also stop by the banana bar to order tasty treats like homemade banana ice cream, banana milkshakes and other banana-based foods.

You can also wear the banana suit and click on funky pictures where you are a mascot and also check out the unique merchandise.

  • Costs:
    The ticket for the museum costs $1.

  • Location:
    98775 CA-111, Mecca

  • Opening hours:
    1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m

2/10 Visit the Original McDonald’s Museum

A signature grocery store in the US, McDonald’s has earned worldwide recognition (and it has some very odd locations, too). So here is the museum of this famous outlet looking at the history over the years and memorabilia too.

The museum chronicles everything from the rise of the grocery store, to its evolutionary journey and all that goes with it. Visitors can also see the changes to its mascot and initial logo.

In addition, the exterior of the museum has a large sign from the old McDonald’s, a Hamburglar prison, statues of Ronald and Route 66 plaques. This location had been the first McDonald’s in 1940 and is later to be converted into a museum.

  • Location:
    1398 NE St, San Bernardino, CA 92405

  • Opening hours:
    10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

1/10 Stay in a uniquely shaped motel

If you want to check out these quirky street attractions and have a unique stay, give Wigwam Motels a shot. Shaped like a teepee, the accommodation is surrounded by a breathtaking landscape of palm trees and enveloping mountains.

With 30ft high concrete tipis, it has all the modern conveniences. The budget is around $124 per night.

  • Location:
    2728 Foothill Boulevard, San Bernardino

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