Road trips sound like a great time to most people. But when you find yourself in the sixth hour of a flat-landscape slog, the romanticized American road-trip becomes a mind-numbing irritant. If you find yourself on an awful stretch, you miiiight just be in luck. There could be a roadside attraction dedicated to Sasquatch nearby.
The number of roadside pullovers (some are a little closer to the main drag than others) dedicated to Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Skunk Apes, and cryptozoology grows every year. Here are three great spots:
1) The Fouke Monster Mart
You can find the Fouke Monster Mart only fifteen miles southeast of Texarkana on the border of Texas and yes, Arkansas. This establishment firmly embraces the strange, arcane vibe that hangs in the area. To get there, drive down the main drag in Fouke. You’ll know the Monster Mart immediately: a giant, snarling beast above the building will welcome you.
The Fouke Monster Mart goal is to preserve the memory and myth of its most famous resident: “The Fouke Monster”, also known as the “Boggy Creek Monster”. This creature was made famous in Charles B. Pierce’s 1972 drive-in docudrama The Legend of Boggy Creek. The film’s eerie, hyper-realistic, representation of the beast and its swampy home made this film and the backstory incredibly popular across the country. Interest remains well into the 21st century, and Monster Mart is a fantastic preservation of this important regional tale.
2) The Skunk Ape Research Center
Way down south the term Bigfoot starts to phase out a bit. ‘Big Foot’, as we all know, is a term coined in Northern California. As you cruise down into Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida, new names surface: Wood Booger, Swamp Monkey, and most notably, the Skunk Ape.
The Skunk Ape Research Center in Ochopee Florida is dedicated to this elusive, skanky southern Sasquatch. Stumble into the Swamp Monkey Mecca on Tamiami Trail E. just past Turner River Road.
This fantastic pull-off is operated by a three-time Skunk Ape witness named Dave Shealy. He is the foremost authority on the creatures. Dave is one of the few brave souls that enters the dangerous Everglades swamps to hunt the beasts and collect evidence. If Dave is hanging around the research center on your drive-through, a story from him would absolutely make your trip.
And if you want to take some Skunk Ape memorabilia back home, this is no doubt the ultimate resource.
3) “The Legend of Bigfoot” Statue
You can’t miss “The Legend of Bigfoot” statue. It towers above the other redwood sculpts of bears and gnomes, totally owning the lot just off the Redwood Highway near Garberville CA.
The pull-off market provides dozens of redwood statues and sculptures. Chiseled by chainsaw, these pieces are perfect to buy and toss in the backseat or just take some quick snaps with. There are even “little’r” Bigfoot pieces hanging out under the wind chimes.
The towering Bigfoot statue itself is impressive. It serves as a totem of sorts to represent the local legend. The Pacific Northwest is the most well-known area associated with these creatures. Aside from Washington, California claims the most ownership of the mythos. “The Legend of Bigfoot” may come at you fast as you zip down Redwood Highway, but I urge you to take some time, flip around, go back and pay your respects to the ultimate legend of the Redwoods.
A Roadside Bigfoot Shrine on Every Corner?
Sasquatch popularity is at an all-time high. The antiquated idea that these things only live in the Pacific Northwest is now smashed. Legitimate sightings and encounters– including particularly scary ones in the south (creepy encounters via Bigfoot Base)– have grown interest and awareness in the topic. Because of the burgeoning fandom, more museums, shops, and road-side stops are established.
And who knows, maybe one day some dude will find a Bigfoot body and the world will learn of the species existence via roadside attraction. I can see it now:
“Come See the Dead Bigfoot! Exit 3. We Also Have Free Cheese Curds!”
AJ runs Bigfootbase.com, a growing space dedicated to everyone’s favorite relict hominoid. He is a paranormal skeptic, but refuses to ignore practical truths hiding behind the curtain.