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Highways and byways: Roadside businesses

Canny small-business owners long ago saw a potential opportunity to hawk their wares to American motorists. This phenomenon isn't just limited to gas stations and fast-food drive-thrus—all kinds of businesses exist along the interstate, catering to aimless wanderers, daily commuters and drivers on vacation.

The most common roadside businesses specialize in two things—gas and food, commodities without which no road trip will last for very long. But there's another category of roadside business that caters to the travelers of America's highways: the curiosity, the tourist trap, the legendary destination, that place your friends have said you've just got to see if you happen to be going from point A to point B.

Some of these destinations have stood for the better part of a century, while others are just getting started. But all of these small businesses offer a glimpse into an offbeat side of American culture. Read ahead and see what they are.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Updated 20 June 2014

Simon Willms | Stone | Getty Images