10 of the best US road trip stopoffs readers travel tips

Anyone driving in the US will encounter kitsch diners and gaudy motels, but the roads are also lined with oddball museums and unique amusements New Testament mini-golf anyone?

Winning tip: Freight car motel, Pennsylvania

Visiting Amish Country on our road trip from Philadelphia to Chicago, we stayed in an old caboose (railroad wagon): the Red Caboose Motel in Ronks. The motel consists of a string of old carriages in bucolic countryside. On the farm beside our caboose we watched Amish men in wide-brimmed hats farming with old-fashioned tools; we bought produce from women in bonnets and long dresses, and waved to Amish children peering from buggies. The cabooses vary; larger units cater for families with bunk beds, whereas the smaller baggage car is more basic. Theres a dining car restaurant and even a honeymoon caboose with whirlpool bath.
Doubles from $80 room only, redcaboosemotel.com

Florida island restaurant


Stepping into the Bubble Room on North Captiva island, off Florida, is akin to stepping into every dream of 1950s America. From the vintage toys inside glass tables, to mommas own cooking in the kitchen, youre overcome with the sights and sounds of this playful restaurant with a kitsch Christmas theme. The hardest part will be choosing which room youll eat your dinner in.
Dinner mains from $18.95,
Anna Kilcooley

Hooked on barbed wire? Texas

Photograph: Mark Williamson/Getty Images

The Devils Rope and Route 66 Museum in McLean, just off the old Route 66, is housed in a former (underwired?) bra factory. Barbed wire was used extensively in ranching, and many of the 2,000 different patterns of wire, and the tools used to construct the fences, are displayed here. Not grabbing you yet? Theres also a photographic and textual history of the dust bowl (the 1930s period of dust storms caused by drought and poor farming methods) and cattle rearing. You can even buy barbed wire art, including some unique sculpture; and theres a section devoted to Route 66 memorabilia, including the original Big Texan Steak Ranch cow, an old motel sign.

Gods golf course, Kentucky


Weve done our fair share of US road trips and often use roadsideamerica.com as inspiration for detours. The Bible mini-golf at the Lexington Ice Center, set in gardens with waterfalls and streams, was worth stopping at for sheer quirkiness alone. You can choose from three different courses, Old Testament, New Testament or Miracles, where youll find holes called Mount Sinai and Jonah and the Whale, for example. We played Miracles … its as underwhelming as you might imagine!

Classic roadside cafe, Montana


As you head south from the west side of Glacier national park, side-step the main US93 in favour of the scenic MT-35 which hugs the eastern shore of Flathead Lake and takes in cinematic Montana farmlands and landscapes along the way. Echo Lake Cafe in Bigfork is the perfect place to refuel. A classic American roadside cafe with a menu to match (lunch from $9.40), wooden booths, outside seating, excellent bottomless coffee, and impeccable service. Be prepared to queue up alongside the locals; its definitely worth the wait.

Kitsch amusement park, Indiana


Just south of Interstate 64 in Indiana youll find the bewildering, charming town of Santa Claus. Although the town features many Christmas-themed attractions, the main draw is the appropriately named Holiday World amusement park. The place is planned around four holiday-themed sections: Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and is as kitschy and wonderful as it sounds. With amazing wooden rollercoasters and a superb water park, Holiday World is a must see if you ever find yourself driving through southern Indiana.
Adult $50, children $40,

Big Sur literary stopoff, California

Photograph: Alamy

The Henry Miller Memorial Library is on Highway One at Big Sur. It is dedicated to the renowned writer and describes itself as a place where nothing happens. In the winter its a beautiful spot where you can stop off and enjoy the stunning coastal surroundings, browse novels and enjoy free tea and coffee. During the summer it hosts a variety of cultural events from film screenings in the forest, to intimate gigs on a makeshift stage. For a man who said memorials defeated the purpose of a mans life. Only by living your own life to the full can you honour the memory of someone, Miller certainly has the most beautiful one Ive ever been to.

Wild west jailhouse, Arizona


We found this little corner of the wild west while driving through Arizonas Tonto national forest. Founded as a mining camp in 1875, remote Globe in Gila County has remained a real frontier town you can still find a few unique stores and old-time diners. Theres also the notorious Gila County courthouse, now the beautiful Cobre Valley Center for the Arts and the adjacent rather spooky Old Jailhouse. Globes history is laced with murders, hangings, stagecoach robberies, Apache raids, vigilante justice and links to the Clanton brothers of Gunfight at the OK Corral fame. Phineas Clanton married, had a ranch and is buried there.
Jailhouse tours from Cobre Valley Center for the Arts
Rachel Bloomfield

A desert oasis, Arizona

Rosies Den in 2010. Photograph: Alamy

We first stumbled across Rosies Den on the way to see the Great Wash (the westernmost part of the Grand Canyon). The exterior had a Bates Motel feel to it clapboard shack with fading paint, windows thick with desert dust, a disused pickup truck surrounded by tumbleweeds and a rather sad looking Joshua Tree emerging from a gravel pit. Inside, there were just a few wooden tables, one elderly server and a short counter, so we werent expecting much. Then the menus arrived. Between the four of us we ate steak and mashed potatoes, biscuits and country gravy, pancakes and eggs, a cheeseburger and fries, and lemon meringue, blueberry and coconut cream pie. Rosies has undergone many changes since. The original building burned down, then Rosie passed away, but her son rebuilt, landscaped and refurnished it. He extended the counter, installed a jukebox and hired more staff. New menu items were added and the place now sells cocktails. But Rosies still has a huge amount of nostalgic charm and good, homemade food. Its not just a roadside stop its a destination itself.
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Giant hole, Arizona

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/sep/22/10-best-us-road-trip-stops-diners-motels-museums-readers-tips