Destination Directory

Roadside Religion

Whether your group is on a pilgrimage or just stopping by, consider these seven religious roadside attractions in the United States—because faith is a journey, too.

Ave Maria Grotto
Cullman, Alabama

The four-acre park is home to 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous historic buildings and shrines of the world. Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey, spent nearly his entire life on "Jerusalem in Miniature."

Christ of the Ozarks
Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The third-tallest Jesus in the world stands 67 feet tall atop Magnetic Mountain and weighs over 2 million pounds. Built by Emmet Sullivan and donated by Gerald L.K. Smith, Christ of the Ozarks was the first attraction built for the Great Passion Play religious theme park.

Church at the Cross
Orlando, Florida

The 199-foot-tall cross sits on the grounds of the First Baptist Central Church and Central Florida Christian Academy. It's easily visible from Highway 408, but if you stop to take a closer look, each side of the base depicts a biblical scene and accompanying verse.

Cross at the Crossroads
Effingham, Illinois

The Cross at the Crossroads, made from 180 tons of steel, stands 198 feet tall and 113 feet wide. It's easily visible from Highway 57 and 70 by day and illuminated at night. Ten stations are situated around the based of the cross, where visitors could hear one of the Ten Commandments and a short message. A visitor's center also showcases a short film on the cross' construction.

Cross in the Woods
Indian River, Michigan

The sculpture of the crucified Christ, called "The Man on the Cross," stands 28 feet tall from head to toe, with outstretched arms spanning 21 feet. The Cross in the Woods parish has six other shrines on-site, including their "Our Lady of the Highway Shrine," who serves as "the patroness of millions of travelers and pilgrims who visit the Cross in the Woods."

Shrine of the Red Rocks
Sedona, Arizona

The Shrine of the Red Rocks is located in Sedona, Arizona. The giant neon cross was built by the Masons of the Verde Valley on top of Airport Mesa and is located behind the elusive Mason Temple. The site was dedicated by Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater in April 1961.

Salvation Mountain
Calipatra, California

Leonard Knight spent nearly 30 years painting Salvation Mountain, which stands 50 feet high and 150 feet wide. From the Sea of Galilee at the bottom, to the giant red heart in the middle, to the cross at the top, the mountain stands as Knight's "tribute to God."

Photo courtesy of Cross in the Woods.



+1 #1 Mitzi Hager 2017-03-16 08:55
Very interesting information on the Religious sites around the US. I enjoyed it and hope to use it in my travels.

Add comment

Security code

Recent Blogs

Baby Boomer Travel Trends

For baby boomers, travel is, well, booming. According to the AARP 2017 Travel Trends Report, 99 percent of boomers plan to take at least one leisure trip this year, with an average of five or more trips. But why do they want to travel, and where do they want to go? The report uncovered several trends.

This Wouldn't Look Better as a Lake

"Wouldn't this look better as a lake?"

I was staring out into Yosemite Valley. Half Dome and El Capitan loomed in the distance—two natural landmarks accomplishing what I thought impossible: Make the giant sequoias gathered below look small.

"What?" I turned to the man standing next to me.

"A joke," he said. "Someone once thought this valley would make a great lake."

Get Your Kicks on ... Route 50?

Route 66 sure gets a lot of hype, but have you sent groups along U.S. Route 50 lately? Probably not. In July 1986, Life magazine dubbed the Nevada portion, "The Loneliest Road in America." And yet, from rural mountain ranges to desolate deserts and miles upon miles of rich farmland, Route 50 stretches across 3,073 miles from Ocean City, Maryland to Sacramento, California. It spans 12 states and links four state capitals—offering the most complete cross-sectional journey along the United States midriff.