With the price of flights at an all-time high, it seems like taking a road trip is much better bet—budget-wise (at least slightly right?!). Thankfully SoCal has plenty of epic vacation destinations that are just a drive away and while you might be familiar with these popular destinations, have you heard about the must-see quirky stops to take along the way? From downright wacky to pretty darn cool, these roadside attractions turn a pit-stop into a wild good time.


If you're heading out on the I-15 from SoCal towards the Las Vegas area, then a stop at EddieWorld is well worth it. Touted as California's largest gas station, you can fuel up and recharge with the lowest gas prices and 18 Tesla supercharging stations. There are also three fast-casual restaurants serving up fare ranging from gourmet burgers and unique fries to salads and sushi. Also don't miss, homemade ice cream and Peet's coffee for the parents and bags of candy for purchase. 

Insider Tip: There are plenty of fresh, tasty vegan options available—and their bathrooms are notoriously clean!

36017 Calico Rd.
Yermo, CA 
Online: eddieworld.com

Cabazon Dinosaurs

Have a roaring good time when you stop to see the Cabazon dinosaurs before spending the weekend in Palm Springs or Joshua Tree. View over 50 dinosaurs, stroll through a cool museum and even climb inside the T. Rex. It's dino-tastic! Even more, for a sweet treat check-out the Wafflesaurus Truck open Fri.-Sun. from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. You’ll get to stretch your legs and the kids will love this adventure!

Museum Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Cost: $15/adult; $13/child; free for children under 3

50770 Seminole Dr.
Cabazon, CA
Online: cabazondinosaurs.com

Sunny Jim Cave

Located just 22 miles north of San Diego, here you can enter a bootlegger's tunnel through the historic Cave Store and follow it down through the sandstone cliffs and into a sea cave. The story goes that the creator of The Wizard of Oz inspired the cave's names when he noticed that the opening looks like the Sunny Jim cartoon character. Tours are self-guided and take about 15 minutes to complete.

Cost: $10/adult; $6/youth (ages 3-17)

Cave Store
1325 Coast Blvd.
La Jolla, CA
Online: cavestore.com

Randy's Donuts

While Randy's plans worldwide doughnut domination, nothing beats stopping at the orginal. So the next time you're road-tripping through Los Angeles plan a pitstop off the 405 for a box of the now-iconic sweets.

Good to Know: The famed big donut that graces their roof is a California icon featured in plenty of TV shows and movies, like Arrested Development, Californication, and Iron Man 2. Their flagship location in Inglewood has been there for nearly 60 years and is home to the original giant 32-foot donut. 

805 W Manchester Blvd.
Inglewood, CA
Online: randysdonuts.com

Drive-Thru Trees

If you find yourself driving to the California Redwoods for vacation, this is a must-do road trip adventure! There are three opportunities in the area where driving through a tree is actually encouraged! The drive-thru trees are giant redwoods with holes big enough for motorists to drive through. Shrine Tree in Myers Flat, Chandelier Tree in Leggett, and Klamath Tree in Klamath all offer the opportunity to take your car where it’s never been before (just remember to fold in your side-view mirrors).

13078 Avenue of the Giants
Myers Flat, CA

67402 Drive Thru Tree Rd
Leggett, CA

430 CA Route 169
Klamath, CA

Bubblegum Alley

It's true—this roadside attraction is in fact, an alley, about 70 feet long and 15 feet high, covered in thousands (maybe millions) of wads of chewed gum. The alley's history is debated, but it's been around since at least the early '70s and is usually full of people taking selfies or contributing their own piece of gum. The bubblegum graffiti is located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo and can be described as one of the city's most popular, unofficial landmarks. So, feel free to extend your stop and pop into one of the many local shops or restaurants. There's even a classic sweet shop, SLO sweets, that sells, you guessed it, gumballs! 

733 Higuera St.
San Luis Obispo, CA
Online: slocity.org/

Pirate House, Newport Beach

When you’re driving down Marcus St. in Newport Beach, you really can’t miss this quirky gem on the corner of 35th and Marcus. Pirates of the Caribbean figures, a giant rooster and the Statue of Liberty are just a few of the things you’ll see. This is someone’s private residence, so you can’t go inside, but the owners are well aware that the home draws a lot of spectators.

35th St. & Marcus Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 

Roy's Motel and Cafe

Get your kicks on Route 66! Roy’s Motel & Cafe is an institution of The Mother Road and one of the most photographed sites. Yоu mау rесоgnіzе іt from the numеrоuѕ mоvіеѕ, commercials, music videos and рhоtо shoots thаt hаvе featured thе iconic Route 66 lаndmаrk. 

87520 National Trails Hwy.
Amboy, CA 
Online: visitamboy.com

Elmers Bottle Tree Ranch

Go out on a limb and visit Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch located along Route 66. It's literally a forest of bottle trees in the California desert. Even more, the best part is the musical sound the bottles make on a windy day. 

24266 National Trails Hwy.
Oro Grande, CA
Online: thebottletreeranch.com

Ostrichland USA

best things to do in solvang with kids
Andie Huber

Located in the town of Buellton, you’ll find Ostrichland a unique roadside stop that will engage everyone. Here you can visit with 100+ amazing ostriches and emus. Then, head on to downtown Solvang where this quirky Danish town has bakeries, restaurants and shops with many folks dressed in Danish costumes.

Cost: $7/adult; $3/child; $1 per feed bowl

610 E. Highway 246
Solvang, CA 
Online: ostrichlandusa.com

—Aimee Della Bitta & Nikki Walsh

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