If you’re familiar with Roadside America and Atlas Obscura you’ll know both sites are dedicated to plotting out odd roadside attractions all over these United States (think America’s largest ball of twine).
Spend a day checking out these unique & unusual roadside attractions—shoe trees, a skeleton army, a metal dragon—within 2 hours of Rochester.
1. Whispering Pines:
The USA’s Oldest
Miniature Golf Course
Whispering Pines is America’s oldest miniature golf course. Play a round on your way home from Seabreeze.
2. The Mushroom House
Private property but still great roadside-eye-candy! Located on the way to, but just outside, Powder Mills Park. Designed by James H. Johnson, the architect of The Liberty Pole and Phillis Wheatley Community Library.
3. The Liberty Pole
Speaking of the Liberty Pole, the current pole is the 3rd iteration, erected in 1965. The original pole first stood here in 1846.
4. Phillis Wheatley Community Library
And, speaking of the Phillis Wheatley Community Library, it was build in 1971. The library is named for Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753 – 1784). She was the first published African-American woman and first published African-American poet. You’ll also enjoy the beautiful street art around the building.
5. Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham
Have you ever found yourself driving along an average country road, turned a corner or crested a hill or cleared a hedgerow to see something completely unexpected? That’s how most folks stumble upon Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham on Martin Rd in West Henrietta, NY. Here’s the story of one person’s journey to discover more about it.
6. Susan B. Anthony and
Frederick Douglass Enjoying
Tea in the Square
While you are visiting the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, walk down Madison Street to Susan B. Anthony Square.
7. Yellow Brick Road between Park Ave and East Ave
The Yellow Brick road connects Goodwin Park at the end of Sibley Place to Park Ave just south of Alexander.
8. Vest Pocket Park
Vest Pocket Park, home of the famous Honeoye Falls Totem Pole, is a small park located on W. Main St. There are several picnic tables and benches and has a lovely view of Honeoye Creek and the falls.
9. The Statue of Liberty
on Wolcott Street
This Lady Liberty stands 8 1/2-feet tall—the same size as the original’s index finger. In 1950, the Boy Scouts of America, in celebration of their 40th anniversary, purchased 200+ copper statue replicas for municipalities throughout the country; only 100 remain today. She was recently restored to her original glory and place overlooking Oatka Creek.
10. Very Large Book of Mormon
Located near the visitor center at the foot of Hill Cumorah.
11. Canandaigua City Pier Boat Houses
Take a walk or drive down the Canandaigua City Pier and check out Boathouse Row. Interesting fact: Homeowners are prohibited from actually living in these boathouses—they are for daytime use only.
12. Geneseo Tree House Creations
From Facebook, “Tree Creations is a growing tree house village (at a private residence), consisting of themed tree houses connected with rope bridges for all to enjoy!” You can make an appointment to explore or visit during an open “tree” house. According to their Facebook page, they open when leaves are on the trees, “available for visits and play from Late June until September.”
13-14. Big Metal Dragon
& Tiny Bus
15. Rolling Hills Asylum Tours
The location is so rural Google has yet to street-view map it! Rather surprising with its well-documented haunted history.
16. The Shoe Trees
Footwear has found its way into these branches for several decades. Successfully catching your shoes in the branches will grant a wish, or good luck.
17. Vidler on the Roof Statue
The most treasured 5 & 10 with candies you’ve not seen since childhood. Vidler’s is the perfect place for fun stocking stuffers.
18. Large Rooftop Toothbrush
Looks like great advertising to me!
19. Patriots and Heroes Park
An interesting place to sit and reflect. The monuments and detail are fascinating!
20. America’s Longest Underground Boat Ride
The Lockport Caves Tour may not be as much a roadside attraction as it is an activity, but it’s unusual all the same!
21. Upside-Down Railroad Bridge
22. The Only Tunnel
Under the Erie Canal
23. The Big Apple
A symbol of the region’s exceptional apple industry.
24. Second Coming House
of Prophet Isaiah
You can even stop for a visit with the Prophet, who lives in the home and is welcoming.
25. Haunted House of Wax
For as poor as the reviews are, and as small the attraction, I’m surprised at its prime real-estate!
26. The Turtle-Shaped Building
The building has been vacant for 22 years, but is still a major roadside attraction. Check out this 2017 news article.
27. Wilkeson Pointe Park Whirligigs
Not only a really cool roadside attraction, it’s a beautiful location on Lake Erie. There is an art installation near the parking lot, but I won’t ruin it for you.
28. The World’s Largest Six Pack is in Silo City
The world’s first silo brewery open in an abandoned Buffalo grain elevator.
29. Lake Effect Man Sitting on a Giant Beer Tap
As long as you are visiting, stop in to Pearl Street Grille & Brewery!
30. Brain Museum, University at Buffalo, South Campus
Founded in 1994, our Brain Museum is the only one in the United States dedicated exclusively to the brain.
31. Ridgelawn Gardens Cemetery Stonehenge
You can’t see it from this road, but drive in and veer left & you can’t miss it.
Martin Luther King Jr. Head
Nestled in amongst the hedges is a rough likeness of MLK Jr.–to be kind.
33. Gigantic Buffalo Nickel
In a small corner park across from Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
34. Canalside’s Shark Girl
Shark Girl is an extremely popular 2014 art installation by the Albright-Knox Gallery.
35. Forest Lawn Cemetery
Deathbed Scene in Marble
Albeit the most unusual, there are plenty of other places to visit in Forest Lawn. A beautiful park-like cemetery, second only to our own Mount Hope.
36. Victorian House
On Top of a Factory
The fun part of this quirky roadside attraction is that no one ever lived in the house. I had thought maybe it was a zoning law hack, but no. It simply hides equipment on the roof. In an article on syracuse.com, it was build as a gimmick to attract attention to the business. I’d say it worked.
37. Green-on-Top Traffic Light
The traffic light at the intersection of Tompkins & Milton Tipperary Hill in Syracuse has its green light at the top–a symbol of Irish pride and resilience.
38. Squirrels on Parade
Many of the statues are along a north-south two-block stretch of N. Union St from Sullivan to State St., where a second group can be found.
Not all things worth seeing are permanent! Holidays and seasons bring out the creative side in all of us. Check out these displays when & while you can.
39. Holiday Lights
Because December is the darkest month, we welcome these grand displays of holiday lights to brighten the night. These homeowners and communities go all out to celebrate the season, so let’s get out there and celebrate with them! Find these 10 Rochester-area neighbors with extraordinary holiday lights between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
40. The Skeleton Army
Get directions to 4017 CR-4 in Hopewell near Canandaigua for this amazing Halloween display! Over 200 skeletons (humans, horses, dinosaurs and dogs!) are marching on the home, which is heavily defended by trees (think of the Ents from Lord of the Rings).
Some of the images appearing on this page have been sourced using Google Maps.
Where are your favorite roadside attractions?
Share with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!