While you might recognize it as the UFO hub from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Wyoming's Devils Tower is actually an igneous intrusion -- and no, it's not hollow! While most visit the tower just to look, about 4,000 people climb it each year (with proper equipment, of course).
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Minnesota is the home of the Jolly Green Giant, and if you happen to be driving through Blue Earth, you'll have the pleasure of encountering the giant himself. Standing at around 55 feet (17 meters) tall, the smiling statue may convince even the pickiest eaters that vegetables can help you grow big and strong.
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Who knew you could get a good night's sleep inside a beagle? The Dog Bark Park Inn -- otherwise known as the World's Biggest Beagle -- sleeps four and is the pride Cottonwood, Idaho. Kids will love the beagle-themed décor and the loft, where they can curl up with a good book or just enjoy truly getting inside the head of dog.
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You can't drive through Washington state without taking a detour by Mount St. Helens, an active volcano notorious for its deadly eruption in May 1980. Visitors can hike around the area, or, for a unique souvenir, stop by a gift shop for a small bottle of ash gathered from the base of the volcano.
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If you're passing through San Juan County, N.M., take a break to explore the Aztec Ruins National Monument. Soak up a little history as you wander through an ancestral Pueblo house that includes more than 500 rooms.
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Probably best-known for their appearance in the 1985 hit Pee-wee's Big Adventure, California's Cabazon Dinosaurs draw thousands of visitors each year from Interstate 10. Visit the gift shop inside Dinny the Apatosaurus, or climb to the top of the four-story T-Rex (known to his friends as "Mr. Rex") and snap a picture beside his massive teeth -- if you dare.
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Where else would you expect to find the World's Largest Penguin but in Cut Bank, Mont., one of the coldest places in the United States? From his post in front of the Glacier Gateway Inn, the 27-foot (8-meter) penguin speaks to those who stop to push a button at the base of the statue: It may be hard to make out, but he proudly proclaims, "Welcome to Cut Bank, the coldest spot in the nation!"
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What's a hoodoo? Sounds kind of creepy, doesn't it? You'll be fascinated by the slightly eerie sight of these tall spires of rock, known as the hoodoos of Devils Garden, part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. You'll learn more about the origins of hoodoos a few pictures down the line.
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Who needs to leave the country for Stonehenge when you can visit Carhenge right here in the United States -- specifically, in Alliance, Neb.? Made up of 38 cars arranged to mimic the famous monument in both size and placement, Carhenge measures about 96 feet (29 meters) in diameter and draws plenty of gawkers from around America.
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OK, so you've seen it before, but have you ever stopped to consider the strangeness of California's famous Hollywood sign, with its 45-foot-tall (14-meter-tall) letters? Originally erected as a temporary advertisement in 1923, the sign has endured for decades and become an icon of the American film industry.
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More hoodoos, but this time on a grander scale! Utah's Bryce Canyon is full of the mysterious stone spires, carved by ice and rainwater over years of freeze-thaw cycles. Early geologists actually named these unique features hoodoos because they believed the mystical spires could cast spells on those who viewed them. Tourists beware!
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Another famous European landmark has inspired an imitation -- this time, it's the Eiffel Tower, appropriately replicated in Paris, Texas. While this isn't the first Eiffel Tower built in the Texas town (an older version was destroyed by a tornado), this 65-foot (20-meter) tower was updated in 1998 with a giant red cowboy hat, making it stand out from other replicas of the landmark around the county.
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Residents of Baker, Calif., never have to wonder about the temperature -- they can always find it displayed on the World's Largest Thermometer. The 134-foot (41-meter) structure is technically an electronic sign that displays temperatures up to 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) -- the record high documented in the area in 1913.
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Rainbow Bridge, in San Juan County, Utah, is the world's largest known natural bridge, spanning about 275 feet (84 meters) and reaching about 290 feet (88 meters) tall at the top of the arch. The monument has long been sacred to Native Americans, who originally named it "Nonnezoshe," meaning "rainbow turned to stone."
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Talk about living in a high-rise! Arizona's Montezuma Castle is a cliff dwelling that dates back to 700 A.D., and the five-story, 20-room structure probably housed around 50 people. Residents reached their home by climbing ladders, which made it difficult for enemies to approach the dwelling undetected.
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This is another landmark that you most likely recognize, but do you know the meaning of the 630-foot (192-meter) Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo.? Completed in 1965, the nation's tallest monument was created to honor the westward expansion of the United States. Visitors can take an elevator to the top, but be forewarned -- on a windy day, you can feel the arch move!
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You can't visit too many giant animals on your journey across the United States. In Margate, N.J., make a detour to see Lucy the elephant. The six-story structure was built in 1882, and over the years, Lucy has provided a home for various businesses. Today, visitors can climb a spiral staircase inside one of Lucy's legs and check out the view from the seat on her back.
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No, it's not a secret plot to lure UFOs to Earth -- at least, not that we know of! These radio antennas are actually just a few of the 27 that make up the Very Large Array, an astronomical radio observatory in Socorro County, N.M. Each antenna is 82 feet (25 meters) in diameter, so, as a group, they make for quite a sight.
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Cavelike homes provide all the necessities -- shelter and security. The Gila Cliff Dwellings in New Mexico were carved into a cliff that was created by volcanic activity, and they were inhabited by the Mogollon people around 1300 A.D. Over the years, several mummified bodies have been discovered at the site, but now, few artifacts remain.
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It's a bird, it's a chimney, it's a … goat? On the roof? At first glance, you might think this landmark in Tiger, Ga., is just another roadside store, but most passersby do a double-take. Goats roam from roof to roof on a series of planks and bridges, and visitors can feed them using a creative system of buckets and pulleys.
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What could be more appropriate than a basket-shaped building -- complete with handles -- for the Longaberger headquarters? The seven-story Ohio building is 160 times larger than the Medium Market Basket that it's modeled after. Think what an interesting place the world would be if every company based its headquarters on its most popular product.
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If you happen to be cruising through Valentine, Texas, you might find yourself dreaming of Prada. However, the Prada Marfa store you pass in the middle of nowhere is not actually a store; it's a work of art. The lighted windows display Prada shoes and purses, which hide parts of a security system to prevent theft and vandalism.
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It takes quite an impact to create a hole this big! Around 50,000 years ago, an asteroid traveling at about 26,000 miles (41,843 kilometers) per hour collided with Earth near what is now Winslow, Ariz. The crater is nearly a mile (1.6 kilometers) across.
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We've seen a few ancient stone homes, but what about something a little more recent? Albert Christenson excavated about 50,000 cubic feet (1,416 cubic meters) of sandstone from this rock in Moab, Utah, before his death in 1957. His wife, Gladys, continued development of the home, and the property is now open for tours.
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The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, which connects Illinois and Missouri, is known for its 22-degree bend in the middle, which helped ships align properly with the current so they could avoid crashing with the water intake towers south of the bridge. The bend was a danger to car traffic, though, so today the bridge is only open to pedestrians.
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Where does the Jolly Green Giant store those oversized socks? Possibly in the Big Bureau in High Point, N.C. At 32 feet (9.8 meters) tall, the massive dresser was built by the Chamber of Commerce to represent what High Point is known for -- manufacturing (regular-sized) furniture.
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How does it stay up there? Unfortunately, the famous balanced rock in Utah's Arches National Park probably will slide away eventually as the sandstone around it continues to wear down. Several decades ago, a nearby balanced rock (called Chip Off the Old Block) gave in to gravity and fell from its natural pedestal.
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Can you believe this castle was built by just one man? Jim Bishop started construction in 1969 and is still working on the Colorado home today. Bishop's Castle, which is open to visitors, features a dragon, wrought-iron bridges and balconies, towers and stained-glass windows.
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It's a whale of a roadside attraction! If you happen to be passing through Catoosa, Okla., it's essential to stop and take a picture of yourself in the mouth of the big blue whale. Originally part of a water park, the whale is now another must-see for road-trippers along Route 66.
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Break out the spray paint! At Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, graffiti is encouraged. The row of 10 Cadillacs planted halfway into the ground is an interesting form of art, showing the evolution of the car over the years. Be sure to take a picture of your graffiti -- it's guaranteed to be covered up by another visitor after you leave!
Now that you've seen some of the strangest natural and man-made sceneries, test your knowledge on the geological shapes of North America with our Geologic Formations Quiz