If life is about the journey rather than the destination, surely roadside attractions are a must-do for familiy road trips!

When traveling, I find it most interesting when I go on roads less traveled. My favorite road trips include a few stops to see unique sites along the way. I’m from Pennsylvania, and our state is filled with interesting roadside attractions that are worth a stop, and most of them are very affordable or even completely free.

Traveling through Pennsylvania? Add some extra time on the travel itinerary to include stops at these attractions:

Big Mac Restaurant Museum

Located a half-mile west of I-76 in a small town called North Huntington, the Big Mac Museum Restaurant has a 14-foot-tall Big Mac in the front hallway (it’s a popular spot for a photo). Displays include a Big Mac toaster used from 1970 to 1997, a Big Mac sauce gun and more. The museum is also an actual McDonald’s restaurant. Admission into the museum is completely free, however.

Coffee Pot Shaped Building

Located one mile west of Bedford on Route 30, the 18-ft. high coffee pot was built in 1927 and was originally a small restaurant. It later evolved into a bar and adjacent hotel but eventually closed as the road became a lesser-used route for passing motorists. The building was purchased and relocated across the street to the fairgrounds to be restored in 2004. Admission is free.

Gravity Hill

Visit the suburbs of Bedford County for a little trickery in physics. There are several “gravity hills” located all over the world, but I’ve experienced the Gravity Hill located in Bedford County, and it worked! Put your car in neutral on one of these roads and slowly but surely it begins to move up hill instead of down. Some of these spots have a “start” and “stop” painted on the street from locals who have mastered the exact spots where it works best. This is another free experience, but be aware that because it is a road, there will be other cars traveling in the area. My advice is to put your hazard lights on when trying to experience Gravity Hill.

Storyland

Located at the west entrance to Schellsburg, PA on Route 30, Storyland used to be a fairy tale amusement park. It opened in the 1950s, and the 18-ft. tall Pied Piper statue still stands at the entrance. Unfortunately, it has been closed since the 1980s, but visitors can still wander through the Country Originals Gift Shop that is owned by the daughter of the Storyland creator. Admission is free.

Most of the items in the gift shop are very affordable and quite unique. In the woods of the property a few nursery rhyme statues can still be found, including Humpty Dumpty and the Old Woman’s Shoe.

Crayola Factory

A 15-foot crayon greets visitors to the Crayola Factory off of I-78 in Easton. The giant crayon was made in 2003 from leftover crayons that were mailed in by kids from around the country. Visitors can watch Crayola workers pour buckets of melted wax into molds to make Crayola crayons (all child-safe) and children can do free activities using Crayola products. There’s also a small Hall of Fame that highlights eight of the colors retired by the Crayola company. This is the only one on my list that is not free: The cost is just $12 (ages 2 and older) and free for children under 2.

Not going to Pennsylvania any time soon? Search for other attractions around the country using some of these resources to make a road trip more memorable:

  • Road Side America helps users plan trips and search for offbeat attractions.
  • Road Trip America has planning tools, trip advice, alternative routes and information on roadside marvels.
  • Weird U.S. allows users to search by state or category for roadside attractions that are odd and unusual.
  • Trip Advisor has traveler reviews along with deals on hotels and more resources.

This is a guest post by Candi from Pittsburgh, PA
Find out more about the 
KCL Contributor Network!

Leave a Reply

3 thoughts on “Fun, Free Roadside Attractions in Pennsylvania and Beyond”

  1. Another fun place in PA is the world’s largest shoe house in Hellam! We actually blog about our family’s visits to “world’s largests,” and that one makes for great photo ops!

  2. Michelle L says:

    The Crayola Factory is worth the trip we go at least once a year well worth the stop! My six year old daughter loves it. They offer a great gift shop as well!

  3. Tracy says:

    This is a great article! I travel through PA about once a year and it is a long drive! We are always looking for ways to take a break and Crayola and Hershey are awesome but I like the other places mentioned. I didn’t know anything about Gravity Hill but you can bet I will find out for myself!