Austin isn’t the only spot in Texas that’s “keeping it weird.” Take a brief drive down a lonesome stretch of highway and chances are, you’re going to encounter something that’ll leave you scratching your head in puzzlement. From relics of so-called ‘Old Weird America’ to more recent forays into the strange, The Lone Star state is riddled with all manner of roadside curiosities. Here are a few nearby oddities that we think are worth pulling over for.
8 Texas Roadside Attractions Worth Stopping For:
893 Union Chapel Road, Cedar Creek
Everybody loves dinosaurs! You should definitely hit the brakes and check out the Dinosaur Park in Cedar Creek, TX. Take a tour through the park grounds and marvel at how insanely big and awesome these long-extinct titans of the earth were. This is also a good opportunity to both scare your child and instill a passion for history and science in them. Bingo bango. Click here to read about our visit to Dinosaur Park.
The Gas Station (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
1073 SH304, Bastrop, Texas
When you think about Texas Chainsaw Massacre, your first thought probably isn’t, “Boy, I sure am hungry.” That didn’t stop owner Roy Rose from turning a Bastrop gas station into a culinary tribute to the 1974 cult-horror classic. If you’re easily spooked (or nauseated), it’s probably best for you to keep driving. The aptly-named, We Slaughter BBQ, serves as a reminder for how scary that movie was, and how delicious barbecue is. Strangely enough, Mr. Rose’s partner in this business endeavor is none other than Ari Lehman, who horror fanatics will recognize as the dude who played Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th. Truly, there’s nothing about this place that doesn’t reek of weird.
7400 Park Road 4 South, Burnet
For those of you whose pipe dream is to get married at an old castle in the middle of nowhere, here’s your chance to turn that dream into a reality. Falkenstein Castle is located 50 miles from Austin, between Burnet and Marble Falls. So… why does it exist? In 1995, Texas lovebirds Terry & Kim Young drew inspiration during a tour of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, and on the return flight home decided to spend the next decade building one of their own. So they did. Seriously.
Cathedral of Junk
4422 Lareina Dr.
This one’s an Austin original. The Cathedral of Junk is exactly what it sounds like – a cathedral made of junk. That doesn’t make it any less impressive, though. Scraps of all conceivable origin have been painstakingly assembled into what is probably the most astounding collection of bric-a-brac ever. Click here to read all about our experience taking the kids.
Mrs. Pearl the Giant Squirrel
2626 Hwy 71 West Cedar Creek, TX
Ah, Mrs. Pearl. The beloved Texas symbol of…. We’re not really sure what. The important thing is, it’s a ginormous 14ft squirrel located in Cedar Creek, TX. Mrs. Pearl is a popular gal, and it’s estimated that this colossal, walnut-clutching rodent has her photograph taken somewhere between thirty and one hundred times a day, and it’s not hard to see why. You just don’t see this kind of thing every day.
Inner Space Caverns
4200 S. I-35 Frontage Rd, Georgetown, TX
One of the best-preserved caves in all of Texas, the (relatively) recently unearthed Inner Space Caverns is the definition of a roadside attraction. It’s a sight frequently observed by people driving into Austin, but most folks are too busy getting to where they’re going to pull over and check it out. Let us unequivocally state that you should definitely make time for it. Descending into the caverns is a feeling that’s hard to describe, and one that spelunkers know well. Inner Space Caverns is an experience all its own. Click here to read all about our visit there with the kids.
Giant Sofa with Couch Potatoes
10500 N. Interstate Hwy 35, Austin, TX
If you’re in the mood to find another roadside attraction that doesn’t require driving a large distance, this might be your best bet. We all have our moments of being a lazy couch potato. In the case of this 34-foot long, 22-foot tall couch, its couch potato inhabitants will remain so forever more. But hey, at least they look happy doing it.
J. Lorraine Ghost Town
14219 Littig Road Manor, TX
If you’re looking to get some spook out of your roadside attraction, then J. Lorraine Ghost Town is where you should pull over. The ghostly site is a brisk drive from Austin and takes its inspiration from the old western towns of yore. While we cannot guarantee the presence of any actual ghosts, we can confidently state that you’ll have plenty of photo ops and a lingering sense of dread. Click here to read about our visit the Ghost Town.
Have a roadside attraction near Austin that you think should be on our radar?
Tell us in the comments below.