Is hopping in the car for a road trip your idea of boomer travel? There’s nothing that Alan and I like better. And, finding unique stops along the way is an added bonus. In today’s guest post, Candy Harrington writes about five funky road trip stops that are also accessible, which means you can include grandma and your youngest grandchildren on a multi-generational trip .
Part of the fun of taking a road trip is exploring unique roadside attractions and off-the-beaten path finds along the way. And the good news is, there’s no shortage of these sites across America. From funky landmarks to down home restaurants and even nostalgic driving routes, boomer travelers will find plenty of choices. And rest assured, if you’re traveling with a parent in a wheelchair or a grandchild in a stroller, many of them also boast barrier-free access. With that in mind, here are five fun and accessible road trip stops to add to your next itinerary.
Hackberry General Store: An Arizona road trip stop
Located on an original stretch of Route 66 in Arizona, the Hackberry General Store offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time. Just take exit 123 off Interstate 40, and follow the signs. There’s level access to the store, which features a vintage gas station and a soda fountain. You can’t miss it, as a 1957 Corvette graces the entrance.
Giant Roadrunner: funky fun in New Mexico
If your travels take you to New Mexico, then don’t miss the giant roadrunner sculpture in Las Cruces. Made entirely from salvaged materials, it’s located at the rest area near Exit 135 on Interstate 10. There’s accessible parking near the giant bird, but a cable fence prevents wheelchair-users from getting any closer. Still you can get a good view from that vantage point, and to be honest the sign warning folks of rattle snakes is more of a deterrent than the fence. It’s just a fun, kitschy roadside attraction.
Cadillac Ranch: you’ve got to stop in Texas
How can you pass up the chance to see 10 Cadillacs planted nose first into the ground? Located just outside of Amarillo, this iconic road trip stop is worth the little detour off the Interstate. The cars are routinely painted with graffiti and even dressed up on some holidays. There’s just a wide spot on the road to park, but there’s plenty of room. The entrance gate to Cadillac Ranch has a 24-inch clearance, but after that there is a six-foot wide hard-packed dirt path out to the cars. And if you can’t manage the walk, you can still a good view from the road.
Mary’s Place: road trip eats in Alabama
For some good old fashioned home cooking in the Mobile Bay area, head over to Mary’s Place. Located just south of Bellingrath Gardens at the intersection of Highway 59 and Highway 188, this Coden eatery has been around since 1922. There’s ramp access to the restaurant, which features a buffet filled with southern specialties such as black-eyed peas, stuffed pork chops, hamburger steaks, turkey pot pie, chicken and dumplings and fried okra. It’s a winning combination with good home cooking, great service and very reasonable prices.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Boat: checking out Maryland history
Last but not least, be sure and take a ride on the Charles F. Mercer canal boat, which is docked at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park in Potomac, Maryland. This historic boat is pulled along the tow path by mules and captained by a costumed park ranger. It’s a real hit with kids. Access features include level boarding, incline lift access to all decks and an accessible restroom. It’s a great opportunity to get a real feel for 1870s canal life.
All photos courtesy Charles Pannell