Who hasn’t dreamed of traveling cross country, seeing hidden gems of the U.S. up close and personal? While we know the Great American 5000 is virtual, we want to recreate that same feeling of seeing things that feel once in a lifetime, and of experiencing unique slices of Americana that you didn’t know existed. Weird roadside attractions, beautiful state parks, stretches of nothing, booming cities, small mom and pop staples – we want to feature it all. The miles might bring us together, but there’s also a feeling of national pride. These towns, cities, and counties hold so much history and have so many stories – and we want to bring those stories to life. If you have any information that you think we should feature about somewhere along the route please email us at [email protected].
Here are just some of the highlights you’ll encounter along the course!
Golden Gate Park
The Olympic Club golf course
Five-time host of the Men’s U.S. Open golf championship
House of Beef
No, it’s not a dwelling made of Lady Gaga’s leftover meat dress. It’s a restaurant.
Cowboy Capital of the World
It seems natural that only the home of the House of Beef could also claim this title
Remnant of a California Gold rush mining town
Yosemite National Park
A must-do stopping point as you venture over Tioga Pass
Yosemite National Park
A gentle, dome-studded, sub-alpine meadow area
Yosemite National Park
The highest highway pass in the Sierra Nevadas (9,900 ft.) and the beginning of a steep descent
A saline soda lake formed at least 760,000 years ago
U.S. Route 6
In these 291 miles of open spaces there are only three towns of more than 100 people. Most days you’ll have the road to yourself.
A former mining town and true ghost town.
Oh, just a motel on the edge of the desert decorated with thousands of clowns conveniently located next to an abandoned graveyard.
On the Extraterrestrial Highway road trip, you’ll run adjacent to the Nevada Test and Training Range, which includes Area 51.
Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark
This massive crater in the middle of nowhere was used to train astronauts for moon landings.
Ely Shoshone Indian Reservation
Ely Shoshone Tribe is one of the nine bands of what is known as the Western Shoshone Nation.
White Pine County
The 1000k mark on the course
Welcome to The Beehive State
A huge, intermittent lake that has been mostly dry throughout recorded history
Topaz Relocation Camp
Japanese internment camp during World War II
Delta Demolition Derby
One of the largest Demolition derbies in the country
Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation
The second largest Indian Reservation in the U.S., covering over 4.5 million acres.
You can get a ‘Dinosaur Hunting’ license while in Dinosaurland that is signed by Al O’Saurus, Deputy Lizard Warden. Make sure to pick one up while in town.
Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo
The Greatest Show on Dirt!
Dinosaur National Monument
The park borders Utah and Colorado, but dinosaur fossils are only visible on the Utah side
Welcome to The Centennial State
The city’s geothermal hot springs are said to have therapeutic properties and, oh yeah, they’ve got world class skiing, too
Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests
This is the highest point on Great American 5000 course at 10,400 feet. It’s all downhill from here!
Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado
A Møøse once bit my sister… No realli! (Monty Python joke)
The 2000k mark on the course
Home of Colorado State University. The number one attraction on their website is craft beer. Sounds like a good place for a stop.
Got its start as a Pony Express stop and, by the time the Union Pacific Railroad laid tracks through town in 1867, Julesburg was known as wickedest city in the West
Welcome to The Cornhusker State
Visit the Crystal Palace Saloon where you can walk up to the old bar, put a foot on the brass rail, cock an elbow and down a cold mug of red-eye or sarsaparilla
The world’s largest railway yard covers 2,850 acres, reaching a total length of eight miles.
Pony Express Station and Museum
Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.
Great Platte River Road Archway Monument
A $60 million monument and museum that spans more than 300 feet over Interstate 80
Island Oasis Water Park
Wouldn’t a soak in the Lazy River feel great right about now?
America’s Official Fourth of July City—Small Town USA
If your team averages 81.5 miles per day, you’ll be here to help them celebrate their special day!
Nebraska State Capital and the University of Nebraska
Wildlife Safari Park
No this isn’t Joe Exotic’s place. That’s in Oklahoma.
Birthplace of the Reuben sandwich and home of the College World Series
Welcome to The Hawkeye State
Start of Transcontinental Railroad
The 3000k mark on the course. Their motto is: “The Home of Friendly People.” Maybe a good place to stop and ask to use the bathroom?
Iowa Aviation Museum
Bridges of Madison County
Home to famous covered bridges and setting for the book and movie of the same name
John Wayne Birthplace Museum
National Balloon Museum and National Balloon Classic
Up, Up and Away…
National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum
The small town in mentioned in the Johnny Cash song “I’ve Been Everywhere”
William Penn University
The school was founded by Quakers
Guinness World Record holder for longest continually running cinema theater
Wildcat Den State Park
Welcome to The Prairie State
John Deere Pavilion
Get in the cab of some of their biggest machines on their display floor
Birthplace of Ronald Reagan
The first permanent camp of Norwegians in the Midwest
Old Joliet Prison
Opened in 1858, it was featured in the movie The Blues Brothers as the prison from which Jake Blues is released at the beginning of the film.
Rialto Square Theatre
This 1920s vaudeville-era theater was a favorite of gangster Al Capone and also the place where Christopher Knight and Adrianne Curry held their wedding reception in the final episode of My Fair Brady.
Welcome to The Hoosier State
This NW Indiana area outside of Chicago is know for competitive HS wrestling and home to the Jackson family
Miles 2,292 – 2,348
“Crossroads of America”
Got its name due to state highways 30 and 41 intersecting here
Gummi Bear Factory Tour
Valparaiso Popcorn Festival
Celebrating our favorite snack and former resident, Orville Redenbacher
Mid-America Windmill Museum
Over 50 historic windmills. A real eye-catcher on a breezy day.
Dum-Dums Lollipop Factory Tour
Spangler candy company offers a trolley tour of the factory(!)
The 4000k mark on the course
National Tractor Pulling Championships
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
His is the first presidential library, built in 1916
“America’s largest indoor, year-round Christmas entertainment attraction”
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
85 mile multi-use trail running along the Cuyahoga River
Welcome to The Keystone State
Black Moshannon State Park
The highest point along the course east of the Mississippi River (2,400 ft.)
Since 1874, where people pitch tents and sleep on site at the fair
Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park
“America’s only all-water cavern & farm-nature-wildlife park”
Knoebels Amusement Resort
America’s largest free admission amusement park
You’ll pass by a giant rooster statue outside a laundromat on your right between Mercer and Broad Streets.
Welcome to The Garden State
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
The former home and laboratory of the state’s most famous. See where such breakthrough technologies as movie cameras, sound recordings, and batteries first saw the light of day.
Yogi Berra Museum
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” The Hall of Fame Yankees catcher lived here for decades.
George Washington Bridge
Crossing the Hudson River into NY
This double decker span is the busiest motor vehicle bridge in the world. Just don’t get stuck in one of Chris Christie’s traffic jams.
Welcome to The Empire State
Little Red Lighthouse
The Jeffrey’s Hook lighthouse sits beneath the George Washington Bridge
Borough of Manhattan
Internationally known as the Black Mecca celebrating African American culture
Once the site of the Polo Grounds, home of the New York Giants baseball team. You’ll also see Yankee Stadium off to your left across the Harlem River.
The busiest urban park in the U.S. and the backdrop to countless iconic movies
Balto the Dog Statue
Heroic sled dog that helped relay medicine over 700 miles through blinding snow and subzero temperatures to save children during a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska in 1925
One of the most expensive and elegant streets in the world. Do you keep running or stop and take time to window shop?
Empire State Building
Visitors can see 80 miles into N.Y., N.J., Conn., Pennsylvania and Mass. on a clear day
Manhattan into Brooklyn
Carrying rail, trolley and roadways for carriages and pedestrians, it was one of the last major bridges designed for the horse and carriage
Ft. Tilden Beach
You made it!