We know it's cold outside so be sure to bundle up for this list of fun roadside attractions. Have the local kids shovel the snow out of the driveway and get ready to hit the road. These winter roadside destinations will help pass the time and put smiles on everyone's face.
Alton Bay Seaplane Base - Alton, New Hampshire
There is only one ice runway that is FAA approved in the lower 48 states and that is Alton Bay Seaplane Base. Normally a seaplane landing area in the warmer months, Lake Winnipesaukee will freeze over in the winter months in which an ice runway is created. For the truly adventurous you should book your flight in and out of this airport. You'll have to find a local pilot to fly you in and out because there are no large commercial flights landing here. If you're not so adventurous, grab some hot chocolate and stop by to watch the planes take off and land at this unique and seasonal runway.
Freedley Quarry - Dorset, Vermont
You're going to want to bring your ice skates for this unique location. Freedley Quarry is an abandoned marble mine that was first opened in 1785 and was in operation until the 1920's. Considered the oldest commercial marble mine in the country, it still attracts a wealth of visitors. In the winter months the quarry floods and freezes over. Locals and visitors often make the trek to ice skate in the 200x600 foot cavern. The ice is smooth and in spots crystal clear. There are offshoot tunnels that run throughout the cave system. With a four wheel drive vehicle you can take the Jeep trail to the entrance. Otherwise, park at the trail head and hike your way in. Just don't forget the ice skates in the car.
Santa's Mailbox - Santa Claus, Georgia
If you're in GA and need to mail your Christmas list to Santa, you're in luck. Head over to Santa Claus, GA and in this quaint little city you'll find the Santa Claus mailbox. Adorned in red paint and other festive decorations, the mailbox is located near City Hall. It's a perfect "photo opp" to prove you did mail your child's Christmas list. There are a few other Santa related signs and some familiar street names like December Dr. and Holly St. to see. If you happen to drive through on December 24th the town will likely have luminaries lining the streets.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory - Brooklyn, New York
Yes, ice cream! Seriously no winter list would be complete without at least one place to find the best ice cream. If you find yourself near the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (in any season) you should stop by for a taste of old fashioned ice cream. The ice cream shop was opened in 2001 and was converted from an old 1922 fireboat house. There are only 8 flavors to choose from and all are made the same way; no preservatives and no eggs. The result is a creamy delicious scoop of ice cream. Give it a try the next time you're near Brooklyn Heights. This is a cash only establishment so forget trying to pay with your phone.
Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
If you're looking for a place to drive around and see an awesome light display, you need to make your way to Pigeon Forge, TN. Beginning in early November and running through the end of February is the annual Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights. Boasting over 5 million lights you will see it all. Patriot symbols like the Liberty Bell and other displays honoring our Armed Forces. Fairy tale characters like Humpty Dumpty and Mother Goose and other animals can all be seen on the driving tour. Giant ornaments, shimmering trees and ribbon are all part of the enormous Winterfest display. This is definitely worth the trip to see if you are in there area.
World's Largest Snowman - North St Paul, Minnesota
Sure you've seen some big snowmen but this one in North St. Paul, MN takes the prize. This massive snowman stands at 44 ft. tall and weighs in at nearly 20 tons. What started as an annual tradition in the 1960's, a local club would build a snowman each year for the towns snow Frolics Festival. After several seasons of little snowfall, a local resident Lloyd Koesling, suggested building a monument to represent the city. The City Council agreed and dedicated a plot of land in 1972 to construct a more permanent snowman solution. Made of concrete stucco, so he won't melt off in summer months, the giant snowman is located at Margaret Street and Highway 36. No winter photo album is complete without a photo of this towns snowy mascot.
Mammoth Snow Beanie Billboard - Big Pine, California
No one will believe you spent the weekend at Mammoth Mountain skiing all weekend unless you return with you official Mammoth Snow Beanie selfie. Grab the skis and snowboards and make your way to Mammoth via Big Pine and you will come across a giant billboard in the shape of a snow beanie. When you get to the ski area check the pro shop to find a more reasonably sized beanie for your own head. The billboard beanie changes in design from time to time so last year's beanie may be out of style on your next trip to the slopes.
Talking Penguin Statue - Cut Bank, Montana
Just knowing you are in the coldest location in the lower 48 states is quite impressive. Although, hearing it from a talking penguin is even more interesting. There is no argument that colder temperatures have been recorded in other parts of the state or even other cities across the 48 states, but that doesn't make this stop any the less fun. This talking penguin was built by Ron Gustafson in 1989. The Talking Penguin Statue stands at 27 ft. tall and weighs nearly 5 tons and can be found on Main St. in Cut Bank, MT. Of course scarves, gloves and your heaviest winter coat will help indicate how cold it really was when you snap that family picture.
Aurora Ice Museum - Fairbanks, Alaska
If you find yourself in Fairbanks, AK you should stop by the Aurora Ice Museum and chill out for a while. Opened in 2005 this creative museum is kept at 25 degrees year round. The incredible ice sculptures are made of over 1000 tons of ice and snow. The sculptures were created by world champion ice carvers Steve and Heather Brice. Ice sculptures include life size jousters on horses, a polar bear bedroom, and an ice outhouse. It's really hard to pass that up right. After you've worked up a sweat touring the museum, stop by the Aurora Ice Bar for a refreshing "appletini" served in a margarita glass made of ice. Be sure to order it ahead of time as they do have to carve the glasses you know.
Tumbleweed Christmas Tree - Chandler, Arizona
There's nothing like attending the official Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony in Chandler, AZ. Then again there is nothing quite like a Tumbleweed Christmas Tree either. If you're snowbirds enjoying some winter time in the southwest, be sure to check out the Tumbleweed Christmas Tree. The "tree" has been a tradition since 1957 when local Chandler resident Earl Barnum came up with the idea after he saw a similar idea in Indiana. The 25 ft. Tumbleweed Tree consists of nearly 1000 tumbleweeds that are gathered from the outskirts of town. The tumbleweeds are then painted white, covered in glitter and approximately 1,200 lights are strung around the Tumbleweed Tree. Oh, and bring a jacket the temperature could be in the low 70's...burr!