Family

The U.S.A.'s Weirdest Roadside Attractions

by Colleen Clark

Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota

En route from: Sioux Falls to Badlands National Park

Roadside attraction: First built in 1892 to advertise the fertility of South Dakota soil, this not-so-little house on the prairie is stripped and re-covered every year in massive murals made entirely from local grasses, grains, and corn. The Corn Palace serves as a gathering place for locals and hosts proms, industrial exhibitions, and concerts. But the half-million visitors that trek here each year come for the facade, a vaguely Russian Orthodox–inspired procession of produce-covered minarets. With more than 275,000 ears in attendance, this literally is the corniest attraction in the U.S.A.

Should you stop? There's not much to see inside—some shots of previous incarnations (the Palace has occupied three buildings over the years), a gift shop—but this quirky oasis in an otherwise long stretch of repetitive farmland is a good place to stretch your legs for a half hour or so. Before you leave, pick up a bag of South Dakota popcorn to fuel the next leg of your trip.

Motor lodge: Your only local options are budget chains, so we'd suggest heading toward more scenic stretches. Travel an hour and 20 minutes west on Route 90 and you can rent a cozy house along the Missouri River, like this lodge in Oacoma.

Corn Palace
604 N. Main Street
Mitchell, South Dakota
Tel: 866 273 2676

River View Vacation Home
Off Route 90
Oacoma, South Dakota
Tel: 605 929 9796

Next: A groundswell of interest in the California desert >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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