Automotive App of the Week: Roadside America
Looking for unique stopovers for your Fourth of July weekend or summer road trip? With two decades of experience documenting offbeat tourist
traps attractions like Hitler's Silver Tea Service in Anniston, Alabama and the Museum of Pez Memorabilia in Burlingame, California, RoadsideAmerica.com is the foremost source for weird and wacky pit stops.
Now a new app from RoadsideAmerican allows your iPhone to point you to amusing detours throughout the country. Purchase the app for $2.99 and you can unlock one of six U.S. regions: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest or California. Or the true road warrior can get all 50 states and all six regions for $5.99 a year as an in-app purchase.
If that seems a bit steep for something you can essentially get for free on the RoadsideAmerica.com website, keep in mind that the app is packed with in-depth info and maps for weird must-sees — over 6,700 peculiar places throughout the U.S. Plus, it also provides plenty of useful smartphone-specific features.
When launched, the app marks your current location and the Near Me tab displays close-by attractions — either all within 25 miles or the first 25 at any distance. You can also browse attractions by categories such as Atomic, Music, Tech and over 50 additional themes.
From a list, tap on the desired attraction for a Detail View, where you'll find a description, tips, the address, directions and photos. From here you can go to a Map View or save the attraction to your Saved List. The Map View shows where the attraction is located as well as others nearby. You can zoom in and out using standard iPhone finger swipes and taps. If you want more info on an attraction, tap the "i" in the callout. To get directions from your current location to the selected attraction, tap the blue arrow.
You can share your adventures in American highway oddities via email, Facebook or Twitter or snap a photo within the app and submit it to RoadsideAmerica.com along with a tip. Keep track of your Roadside America tally from the Detail View by checking the Been There! box in the left corner under the picture icon.
The app also has a Sunset Alert feature that warns you when you're losing light for that end-of-day photo opp. And the Tourist Interruptus feature may be worth the price of the app alone. It allows you to plan your escape in advance from, say, that quilting museum your wife wanted to see by allowing you to schedule a phone call to your iPhone. — Gretchen McFarlan, Contributor