Odd Tourist Attractions In The South You Should Add To The Bucket List!

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You Won't believe these Quirky Tourist Attractions in the South!!!It thrills me to share Southern family travel ideas with my friends so you can make the most of your family vacations.  On some family travel trips in the South, we stumble upon quirky tourist attractions, so I’m spilling the beans on a few fabulous ones that are worth stopping for. Don’t miss my video and favorite travel app below too!

Tourist attractions

When I first began travel writing about the South, I had no idea about these odd little roadside stops.  Over the last few years, we’ve stumbled across quite a few of them, and I’m not going to lie… I adore finding these hidden gems!


Just off of GA Highway 75 in Cordele, a 98-foot tall ballistic missile stands unexpectantly. You read that right, missile that was specifically designed as a warhead during the Cold War is handing out there like it’s no big deal. Can you imagine being a resident of this tiny middle Georgia town and using it as a landmark when giving directions?

You Won't believe these Quirky Tourist Attractions in the South!!!

“Oh just turn right past that tall missile and you’ll be almost there,” some might say.  Make no doubt, Cordele residents are very proud of this icon in their town – especially the Veterans. They know that this rocket that’s sandwiched in-between a tiny gas station and a Krystal drive-through traveled many a mile to make its home in Watermelon country.

You Won't believe these Quirky Tourist Attractions in the South!!!

Read the full story about the Titan missile’s arrival to Georgia in 1968 that made the Los Angeles Times.


Our recent adventures at a Florida Campground was the first time I’d heard of bat colonies.  Apparently, it’s a thing at the University of Florida!  There are approximately 300,000 bats that live in two permanent structures in Gainesville Florida that were built for them on campus.

You Won't believe these ODD Tourist Attractions in the South!!!

Bats swoop from under their dwellings each evening about 15 minutes after sunset. They are searching for insects, fresh air, and maybe even a sip of water.  The UF Bat Colony is definitely something your family needs to see at least once!

South Carolina

South of the Border is a 50-year old landmark that you can’t miss while driving along South Carolina’s Interstate 95.  The oversized signs and displays that greet you along the highway (the main one is 97-feet-tall) are themed in tongue-in-cheek, faux Mexican style.  You’re probably wondering why it’s called “south of the border?”

You Won't believe these Odd Tourist Attractions in the South!!!

The name for this quirky tourist attraction comes from its location just minutes from the border of North and South Carolina.  Funny, huh? Known for their hospitality, this isn’t just any rest stop!  You’ll find restaurants, shopping, fireworks, accommodations, service stations, arcades, swimming pools, a reptile lagoon, and a campground.

You won’t believe South of the Border until you see it!


The Lost Sea Adventure in Sweetwater, Tennesee has a very accurate slogan.  “Get Ready to Take an Unforgettable Adventure!  You have never seen, heard, or done anything like this before…”

It’s true.  Most folks have never wandered down below the earth to explore a cavern and a hidden, underground lake!  This tourist attraction includes a General Store, Ice Cream Parlor, Gem Mine, and Glassblower.  There’s also a cafe, the Cavern Kitchen, real pit barbeque, picnic facilities and a nature trail. By far, the most exciting part of The Lost Sea is riding on a glass bottom boat on the World’s largest underground lake.


A visit to Alligator Alley in Summerdale, Alabama can be a heart-pounding adventure for all ages of the family.  Not only do you get a unique experience of walking up-close-and-personal through habitats of 450 alligators — you can also hold them, cuddle them, and feed them!

You Won't believe the Oddball Southern Tourist Attractions found!!!

On your guided walks through the swamp, you’ll also get a chance to view other wildlife such as turtles, ospreys, owls and bull frogs — only a couple feet away from where you stand.  The alligators that call Alligator Alley home are rescue animals.  They have all been removed from places that were not in their best interests.  Have fun hanging out with the Gators!

Travel app for tourist attractions

One of the ways I’m able to find fun tourist attractions in the South is with my favorite travel app.  Roadside America is my new best friend while traveling! It’s so easy to find oddities and attractions ahead of time or as you go.  This app also lists normal tourist attractions as well.  You’re welcome!


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Did I miss any oddball tourist attractions in the South that are worth a stop?  Let me know in the comments!


tourist attractions

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Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

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  1. Maggie Lamarre
    August 15, 2017 / 11:08 am

    I’ve lived if fl for 25 years never been to see the bats, will make it a priority.

    • Shan
      August 15, 2017 / 4:32 pm

      Wow! That’s awesome Maggie that you are fairly close. Thanks SO much!!!

      much love,

  2. Sam | Away She Went
    August 15, 2017 / 11:19 am

    I downloaded Roadside America last year and it’s so fun. We use it when we take road trips, so we can see things like a giant spur (we live in Arizona). The Lost Sea Adventure sounds really cool! I would definitely stop to check it out!

    • Shan
      August 15, 2017 / 4:31 pm

      Yay, so glad you already have it. It’s so fun, isn’t it?! Glad you enjoyed. Blessings!

      much love,

  3. elise
    August 15, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    such a cool post!! I didn’t know about any of this. will have to plan a trip sometime! thanks for sharing!

    • Shan
      August 15, 2017 / 4:31 pm

      YAY, Elise. You’ll have to let me know how it goes.

      much love,

  4. Alexandra
    August 15, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    This post is right up my alley! I love roadside tourist attractions! Pinned.

    • Shan
      August 15, 2017 / 4:30 pm

      Right?! Fascinating stuff to me too. SO glad you enjoyed!

      much love,

  5. Carissa
    August 15, 2017 / 1:24 pm

    The bat attraction in Florida sounds crazy! I live in Florida and I never even knew this existed! Now I need to see what the hype is about 🙂

    • Shan
      August 15, 2017 / 4:30 pm

      Makes my day that I could let you know about something close to you! Thanks so much, Carissa.

      much love,

  6. Melanie
    August 15, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    I am all about odd little attractions!! I had NO idea the UF had bat colonies. Bats fascinate me!! Will have to check it out sometime!

    • Shan
      August 15, 2017 / 4:29 pm

      Me too, Melanie. Just like I love watching that ‘Mysteries at the Museum’ show – full of such odd stuff – check it out if you haven’t seen it. I feel that way about bats too but they also terrify me. lol

      much love,

  7. Stephanie
    August 15, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    I grew up in South Florida, so didn’t know about the bat colonies in Gainesville. We used to drive Alligator Alley across the bottom of the state, through the Everglades, and you can see a bunch of alligators through there too!

    • Shan
      August 16, 2017 / 7:54 am

      That’s awesome, Stephanie! Ahhh, the Everglades – can’t wait to visit those. #bucketlist

      much love,

  8. Caitlin Patoka
    August 15, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    I’ve done 4 road trips from Richmond to Myrtle Beach and nope, there’s no way you can miss the signs for South of the Border! Funny enough, I think we only stopped there once to use the bathroom! Guess we were in a hurry to hit the beach 🙂 You’re right, there are a lot of interesting landmarks in the South!

    • Shan
      August 16, 2017 / 7:56 am

      That’s funny, Caitlin! Yeah, when we have the beach on our mind, there’s no slowing us down either. Thanks SO much!!!

      much love,

  9. Sharon
    August 16, 2017 / 5:04 am

    Love these! I live in Georgia and have never seen that missile! But I have seen the bat house in Gainesville, FL. I went to UF so it was a major attraction for students and visitors.

    • Shan
      August 16, 2017 / 7:57 am

      I’d never heard of the missile. Then one day, we’re driving by it and I’m like, “What in the world is THAT?!?!” HAHA There’s a marker underneath explaining what and when and all – I was SO shocked. Thanks so much.

      much love,

  10. courtney
    August 16, 2017 / 5:04 pm

    Oh wow, so many cool atractions!! I would never ever visit a bat colony or an alligator farm but the other ones sound awesome

  11. Mitchelle
    August 17, 2017 / 12:34 am

    These are great travel stops. They’re educational and informative. Kids would surely find them interesting.

  12. Rebecca Strength and Sunshine
    August 17, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    O yes! We’ve been to South of the Boarder when we drove down to SC from NJ!

  13. Sabrina
    August 17, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    So cool! I think we would especially like the Lost Sea Adventure!

  14. Marta Rivera
    November 28, 2017 / 9:41 am

    You definitely have to make a stop in NOLA as well! We love driving through the south.

  15. Heather Kinnaird
    November 28, 2017 / 10:10 am

    we LOVE alligator alley!! such a fun place to visit with the kids

  16. susannah
    November 28, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    I grew up in South Carolina and South of the Border is seriously so cheesy and fun!

  17. D at Be you and thrive
    November 28, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    I like the south Carolina landmark best! Such a creative post, Thanks for sharing!

  18. Jalisa
    November 28, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    These definitely make me want to visit even though they are super odd.

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