Out of things to do? From a giant strawberry to a house shaped like a shoe, visit some of these wacky and wonderful sites right here in North Carolina.
by Emily Clemente and Cady Smith / Photography by Bob Karp
As the days wind down and the kids get ready to go back to school—at least, virtually—go BIG for the final stretch of summer with some Insta-worthy tourist excursions. Here’s we’ve rounded up some of the wackiest, super-size places that you can visit right here in North Carolina. Whether you’re enjoying ice cream served out of the world’s largest strawberry or marveling over the enormous brontosaurus on the Dino Trail in Durham, there’s something for everyone in these supersize sites.
Frying Pan in Rose Hill
Ever needed to cook 365 chickens at once, but your frying pan just wasn’t big enough? In Rose Hill you can find the world’s largest frying pan, which not only happens to be 15 feet in diameter and two tons in weight, but has a capacity for 200 gallons of oil. As novel as that may seem, this frying pan is actually fully functional, and is used throughout the year for local organization fundraisers and for the annual North Carolina Poultry Jubilee.
512 E. Main Street, Rose Hill, N.C. 28458
Eiffel Tower in Fayetteville
No need to fly—you can visit Paris’ most iconic building right here in N.C. Eiffel Tower of Fayetteville stands at 80 feet tall, just one-twelfth the size of the real thing—but still as tall as the biggest wave ever surfed. It was built in the 1970s as a way to attract visitors to the newly established Bordeaux Center retail development, because of its French name. Visitors can just follow the sidewalk around the buildings to get right next to the Eiffel Tower for a picture up close.
1740 Owen Drive, Fayetteville, N.C. 28304
Lizard ATM in Lizard Lick
Peering down at all those who wish to withdraw their money from the ATM outside the Swift Mart in Lizard Lick, N.C., sits a striped and scaly lizard with a mistrustful look on its face as it guards the blue-roofed building day and night. According to N.C. historian William S. Powell, the town gets its name from a passerby who observed many lizards lying in the sun and licking themselves. The lizard perches on top wearing a hat on its head and its tongue sticking out to give onlookers a laugh.
1732 Marshburn Road, Lizard Lick, N.C. 27591
Alligator in Surf City
If you’ve visited souvenir shops throughout the U.S., you might recognize this type of gimmicky entrance, (or perhaps you’ve even seen one with a shark’s head instead!) Surf City, however, is the only place in N.C. where you can find a store with an alligator like this. Any visitor that wishes to shop for souvenirs, swimwear and beach gear at Eagles Beachwear must first willingly pass through the open jaws of an enormous alligator fixed at the entrance of the store.
17305 N.C. Highway 50, Surf City, N.C. 28445
Chest of Drawers in Jamestown
This stop is doubly huge—visit the world’s largest chest of drawers and the world’s largest furniture store all at once! At the entrance to Furnitureland South in Jamestown, you’ll be sure to see a massive dresser that towers at a height of 85 feet. The store is in full operation, and while the dresser isn’t actually functional, you can still see a singular enormous sock hanging out of one of its drawers: a fun detail that’s actually a tribute to North Carolina’s hosiery industry.
5635 Riverdale Drive, Jamestown, N.C. 27282
Strawberry in Ellerbe
The world’s largest strawberry is just about an hour and a half away at The Berry Patch in Ellerbe. Built in 2003 by the business’ owner (whose name, ironically, is Lee Berry), it doubles as a highway wonder and an ice cream shop. Stop in next door for some fresh produce, which includes hand-picked strawberries—though not of the same enormity. “One of my favorite things about operating The Berry Patch,” Lee Berry says, “is meeting new people. People come visit us from all over the U.S. I love to see how we’ve reached so many people and how we’ve impacted new generations.”
351 Cargo Road, Ellerbe N.C. 28338
Dinosaur in Durham
Along the Dinosaur Trail at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, a giant brontosaurus towers over visitors and bikers alike. It was initially constructed in 1946 upon the founding of the original museum. This statue of the reptilian creature still lurks around a bend in the trail for all to see along with some new additions like an albertosaurus and a parasaurolophus.
433 W. Murray Avenue, Durham, N.C. 27704
Shell Gas Station in Winston-Salem
You won’t have trouble finding this roadside scallop, but you might be surprised to know that this bright-yellow relic was once a full-service gas station. In 1930, Quality Oil Company created stations across the country in the shape of their iconic shell. Once one of eight, the remainder of this shell-shaped station is now the last of its kind and was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 13, 1976.
1111 E Sprague Street, Winston-Salem, N.C 27107
Children’s Shoe House in Lincolnton
It seems that the story of the old woman who lived in a shoe was not just a nursery rhyme after all. Along Highway 182 in Lincolnton sits a children’s playhouse shaped like a white shoe. The shoe house was built in the front yard of the historic Woodside Plantation, which was constructed in 1798. It also happens to be the birthplace of the first governor of Texas, James Pickney Henderson–Woodside, not the shoe house.
1217 N.C. Hwy 182, Lincolnton, N.C. 28092
Coffee Pot in Winston-Salem
Originally constructed in 1858 by the Mickey brothers as a way to promote their tin shop in the Moravian village, a large coffee pot stands at 7 feet tall and can hold up to 11,840 cups of brewed coffee. It has since become a memorable roadside landmark and is the oldest big coffee pot in the United States. The coffee pot is currently located on Old Salem Road in the Old Salem historic district after having been relocated several times previously.
401 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27101