Last week, I posted a list of seven major art museums  in the United States, from San Francisco's de Young Museum  to New York City's Guggenheim Museum  to the National Gallery of Art , and though I recall fondly my previous visits to those vast, world-renown institutions of art and culture, I admit that I'm often even more amazed by the myriad of outdoor artwork that peppers this diverse country. From the colorful murals throughout Los Angeles  to the enormous sculptures in downtown Chicago  to the randomly placed Cadillac Ranch  outside Amarillo, the breadth of such public art is truly astounding – and even better, it's typically free to gaze upon.
In fact, while traveling across this fascinating country, I try my best to notice – and even seek out – the public art on display, especially when such art is directly inspired by a particular region. As strange as this might sound, one of my favorite examples of regional roadside art is also one of the smallest – and the simplest. Yes, I'm referring to mailboxes. Indeed, in many parts of the country, residents celebrate the unique attributes of their specific regions through the use of clever, often colorful, mailboxes.
In northern Michigan, for instance, you'll spy plenty of mailboxes modeled after family farms, rustic log cabins, and cuddly black bears, while in the Florida Keys, you're more likely to spot vibrant lighthouses, manatees, fishing lures, and mini-bungalows. While a mailbox might not be your idea of art – and true, it might not compare to the intricacies and brilliance of, for instance, a Wyland whaling wall  – I still find such simple roadside delights rather refreshing – especially after a lengthy road trip.
So, what's your favorite piece of roadside art in America?
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.
Photo / Text © 2011 Laura Martone
Laura Martone is Moon’s American Nomad  and the author of Moon Florida Keys , Moon Michigan , Moon Baja RV Camping , and the upcoming Moon New Orleans that will be published in Fall 2011.