Every state in the union has its share of wacky roadside attractions. In fact, America’s highways have somewhat of a reputation worldwide for the oddities strewn along their lengths. New York is no exception to this tradition and plays host to some of the, dare we say, oddest roadside attractions you could hope to see anywhere.
Hop in your RV and head out… and while you’re heading there, stop in and see some of New York’s best roadside attractions, like…
Magic Forest – Lake George, New York
A fairy tale themed park, Magic Forest brings the world of children’s fairy tales to life with vivid displays, statues, and dioramas. The park winds through forested paths and leads to such characters as the World’s Largest Uncle Sam (38 feet tall), Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, Smokey the Bear, the Statue of Liberty, the Three Little Pigs, Jack Sprat, Hansel & Gretel, and other displays, about 20 in all. There are also rides, multi-colored cottages, and even a diving horse.
The forest combines a strange and oddly charming mix of woodsy allure and creepiness.
Address: Highway 9 N, Lake George, NY. I-87 exit 21 to Highway 9 North. Just south of Lake George on the east side of the road.
House of Frankenstein Wax Museum – Lake George, New York
This grisly wax museum, also located in Lake George, is full of strange and disturbing dioramas, such as “Strange Planet” where you walk through a blacklit room across wrestling mats while Pink Floyd plays, “Your Host” where a strange and deformed statue babbles dialogue, and the “Megalopolis, Man of the Future” who looks like the Colossus of New York with glowing red eyes.
Parental discretion is advised, though most of the displays are more bizarre and hokey than frightening.
Address: 213 Canada St., Lake George, New York.
Cardiff Giant – Cooperstown, New York
The Cardiff Giant isn’t just a roadside attraction, but a roadside attraction with history. This might be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, roadside attraction in New York.
Created by George Hull, a cigar manufacturer and atheist, the giant was inspired by a conversation he had with a minister. Remembering a bible passage about “giants in the earth,” he wondered if he could fool people that he’d found a petrified giant. He spent $2600 to create a 10-foot tall stone statue, modeled after himself, then washed it with sulfuric acid and abused it to make it look ancient and had it buried at a friend’s farm before he “discovered” it.
People bought it. So well, in fact, that he was able to accrue $30,000 in admissions at just 50 cents a peek.
It’s now on display again and, even though you know it’s fake, the history behind it is quite intriguing.
Address: 100 Lake St., Cooperstown, New York.
Visit Jim’s RV Center
Okay, we’re not really a roadside oddity, but Jim’s RV Center is an attraction in and of itself. Stop by and see us in Nichols, New York, to tour any of our RV models or to schedule some service for your current RV if you’re touring New York’s roadside attractions and need to make sure that your RV is in good enough shape to reach them all!