"Everybody in the car. Boat leaves in two minutes … or perhaps you don't want to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth."

Clark Griswold knew what a good vacation is really all about: venturing beyond the beaten path.


Admit it.
You've seen the billboards along the interstate and the colorful brochures begging for attention in the stand at the IHOP. And you've even thought it might be kind of fun to check out the world's only beer-can house or the largest kaleidoscope. But you've never made it down that road to sample some of America's more unique tourist attractions. Here's your chance. (Crave even more oddball tourist attractions? Visit www.roadsideamerica.com

1. TOILET SEAT ART MUSEUM
Forget the throne room at the Palace of Versailles - this is a throne room. This museum in San Antonio is home to about 700 unique toilet-seat wall hangings, each lovingly made by Barney Smith … a retired plumber, naturally. 239 Abiso Avenue, San Antonio, Texas

2. WORLD'S LARGEST ROADRUNNERS
Wile E. Coyote's darkest nightmare struts his stuff in Fort Stockton, Texas - home to Paisano Pete. At 11 feet tall and 22 feet long, Pete isn't as big as the roadrunner made out of trash in Las Cruces, New Mexico (20 feet tall and 50 feet long), but Pete stubbornly refuses to change the plaque at his feet. Paisano Pete: Intersection of Highway 290, Interstate 10, and Main Street, Fort Stockton, Texas. Recycled roadrunner: Rest area on south side of Interstate 10, east of the Picacho Avenue exit, between mile markers 134 and 135, Las Cruces, New Mexico. Accessible only to eastbound traffic.

3. WORLD'S LARGEST CATSUP BOTTLE
Rising more than 170 feet above the plains of Illinois is a tribute to the french fry's best friend. Collinsville's answer to the Eiffel Tower was built by the W.E. Caldwell Company for the G.S. Suppiger catsup bottling plant in 1949. 800 South Morrison Avenue, Collinsville, Illinois; www.catsupbottle.com

4. WORLD'S LARGEST BALL OF TWINE
There are 521 people in Cawker City, Kansas, and even if you laid them all out end to end, they'd still be more than seven million feet shorter than the town's claim to fame. Frank Stoeber started the ball of twine in 1953 and kept adding to it until his death in 1974. Since then, the residents of Cawker City have been extending his legacy inch by inch; the ball now weighs more than 17,500 pounds and would unravel to more than 7,827,700 feet. Wisconsin Street (Highway 24), half a block west of Lake Drive, Cawker City, Kansas

5. STEVE CANYON STATUE
Back in the day (World War II, to be exact), Steve Canyon was what Garfield is today: a must-read Sunday comic for the Wheaties set. So when patriotic Americans in Idaho Springs, Colorado, asked the Feds to pay for a statue of Canyon, a $12,000 check was quickly cut. In July 1950, the larger-than-life limestone likeness was dedicated to, as its plaque reads, "all American cartoon characters who serve the Nation." Intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Miner Street, Idaho Springs, Colorado

6. WORLD'S LARGEST KALEIDOSCOPE
The 1960s are still groovy in Mount Tremper, New York. That's where psychedelic artist Isaac Abrams and his son, Raphael, spent $250,000 in 1996 to create a six-story working kaleidoscope inside a converted silo. Like, far out, man. Emerson Resort & Spa, 5340 Route 28, Mount Tremper, New York

7. CAR SPIKE
Wayne's World made it famous, but the Spindle has been attracting stares in Berwyn, Illinois, since 1989. Dustin Shuler, a California artist, decided the one thing that the city's Cermak Shopping Center was missing was a 40-foot-tall sculpture of eight cars impaled on a towering metal spike. He quickly remedied that. 7043 Cermak Road, Berwyn, Illinois

8. WORLD'S LARGEST LEMON
The urge to write a bad when-life gives- you-lemons pun is killing us, but it'll pass. Instead, we'll indulge ourselves by imagining that when Ron Burgundy said, "You stay classy, San Diego," what he had in mind was the 10-foot-wide concrete lemon that heralds the splendor of nearby suburb Lemon Grove, California. 3361 Main Street, Lemon Grove, California

9. BEER CAN HOUSE