Looking to visit someplace a little quirky and unusual but not sure where to go? Check out this list of the most unique places to visit in the U.S.
Some of the places on this list are considered weird roadside attractions while others are unique natural wonders. Either way, they are some of the best places to visit in the U.S:
Winchester Mystery House:
The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in San Jose, California that was built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearm manufacturer William Wirt Winchester.
The home is a Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion that originally began as a small eight-room farmhouse, when Winchester first purchased it in 1884, and then became the sprawling mansion that it is today after Winchester began a $5.5 million dollar, 36-year-long renovation project.
The house features over 160 rooms and 40 bedrooms, 10,000 windows, two basements and strange architectural features such as staircases that lead to ceilings, doors that lead to 15-foot drops and various secret passages.
No one is quite sure why Winchester built the home with such strange features but one legend says that a psychic told her that she was being haunted by the victims of Winchester rifles and, in order to avoid them, she should move out west, buy a home and build nonstop to keep them away. It is rumored that Winchester built the house like a maze in order to confuse the ghosts and keep them lost in the maze so they couldn’t find her.
House Beautiful magazine called the home the “craziest home in the country,” an article on Inside Edition online called it “America’s most haunted house” and Today.com named it one of eight of the most under-the-radar travel spots in the U.S. It has also been featured in many television shows and movies, such as Ghost Adventures, Mythbuster, Ghost Brothers and a recent movie titled Winchester.
The home was designated a historic landmark in 1974 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Desert of Maine:
The Desert of Maine is a 40-acre tract of glacial silt in Freeport, Maine.
The desert was formed 10,000 years ago when glaciers from the last ice age ground the nearby rocks into a sandy substance known as glacial silt, forming a layer up to 80 feet deep in various places in southern Maine. Eventually, topsoil formed a cap over the desert which allowed forests and vegetation to grow.
The land where the desert now exists was purchased by the Tuttle family in 1797 and was used as a farm. Overgrazing from sheep and failure to rotate crops led to soil erosion, which exposed a dune of glacial silt that eventually spread and took over the entire farm.
The Tuttle family abandoned the farm in the early 20th century. In 1919, they sold it to Henry Goldrup, who turned it into a tourist attraction in 1925.
It has since become a popular tourist destination, receiving around 30,000 visitors a year.
Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation in Amarillo, Texas that features 10 Cadillac cars that have been half-buried, nose first, in the ground.
The art installation, which is located along the famous Route 66, was created in 1974 by a local art group called Ant Farm and was funded by a local billionaire, Stanley Marsh 3.
The Cadillacs were all in buried in a straight line, facing to the west, with the oldest model, a 1949 Club Sedan, at the beginning of the line and the more recent model, a 1963 Sedan de Ville, at the end in order to display the succession of the Cadillac’s tail fin over the years.
The project has become one of Texas’s most popular and iconic roadside attractions and visitors are allowed and even encouraged to spray-paint and deface the cars.
An article in Popular Mechanics named Cadillac Ranch one of the 10 places in America every car lover needs to visit, while Architectural Digest named it one of 30 attractions you won’t believe are in the U.S. and the Dallas Observer called it one of the nine most unusual ranches in Texas.
Devils Tower is a rock formation, known as a butte, in Wyoming. The tower is 867 feet tall and is made of phonolite porphyry, an igenious rock made of magma.
The tower formed when magma welled up between chunks of sedimentary rock and, as it cooled, it condensed into columns which eventually became visible as water and wind eroded the landscape around it, leaving only the tower behind.
The tower became the country’s first national monument in 1906 and attracts over 400,000 visitors every year.
An article on CNN.com named Devils Tower one of 24 of the world’s most unusual landscapes.
The Paper House:
The Paper House in Rockport, Massachusetts is an actual house made out of newspaper.
The house was built in 1922 by Elis Stenman, a mechanical engineer, who used around 100,000 varnished newspapers to construct the walls, doors and furniture of the small two-room home.
To achieve this feat, Stenman took 215 layers of newspaper and stuck them together with a homemade glue of flour, water, and apple peels to make 1-inch-thick panels for the walls and furniture. The house has a traditional tar and shingle roof to protect it from the elements.
It is not known why Stenman made the house out of such an unusual material but it might have been because newspaper was cheap and easy to come by. The home became a museum in 1929 and Stenman moved out in 1930.
An article by Business Insider named the Paper House one of the most bizarre tourist attractions in America and Expedia named it one of 13 weird U.S. places you have to see to believe.
Carhenge is a replica of Stonehenge that features American vintage cars arranged like the prehistoric stones of Stonehenge.
The replica is made out of 38 cars, which have been spray-painted gray to resemble stone and arranged in a circle, and was built in 1987 by Jim Reinders, an experimental artist, as a tribute to his father.
The cars, which came from local junkyards and include a pickup truck, an ambulance and a 1962 Cadillac as the heel stone, are all American-made cars.
Architectural Digest named Carhenge one of 30 attractions you won’t believe are in the U.S., Business Insider named it one of the most bizarre tourist attractions in America, Today.com named it one of eight of the most under-the-radar travel spots in the U.S, Travel and Leisure magazine named it one of 12 places around the world that are weirdly popular on Trip Advisor and it was also featured in a popular travel book titled 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die.
Salvation Mountain in Niland, California is a man-made mountain and folk art installation in Niland, California.
The mountain is three stories tall, 100-feet wide and made of concrete and adobe and decorated with painted murals and Biblical verses. It was created by local resident Leonard Knight in 1985 because he believed God wanted him to spread the word of Jesus.
Forbes named Salvation Mountain one of 12 U.S. destinations that will expand your mind, Architectural Digest listed it in an article on California road trips for lovers of “weird-but-cool” design and Today.com named it one of eight of the most under-the-radar travel spots in the U.S.
Hole N’ The Rock:
The Hole N’ The Rock is a home carved out of rock in Moab, Utah.
The 5,000-square-foot home was carved into a massive sandstone rock by Albert Christensen in 1945 and he continued to work on it for the next 12 years until his death in 1957, after which his wife, Gladys, continued to develop the property until she passed away in 1974.
The project began as a small cave for his young boys to sleep in at night but eventually became a sprawling home with a chimney, 14 rooms and a cavernous bathroom. The home has been a popular roadside attraction since the 1940s and receives around 500 visitors a day.
Travel and Leisure magazine named it one of 12 places around the world that are weirdly popular on Trip Advisor and USA Today named it one of 10 places you need to see when driving from Moab to Lake Powell.
The Enchanted Highway is a 32-mile stretch of road in the towns of Regent and Gladstone that features the world’s largest collection of scrap metal sculptures.
The sculptures were first created in 1989 by local artist Gary Greff, as a way to increase tourism to the area, and are thematically related to North Dakota’s cultural and historical roots. They include everything from sculptures of local fish and wildlife to Teddy Roosevelt.
The sculptures have since become a popular attraction in the area. Architectural Digest recently named it one of 30 attractions you won’t believe are in the U.S.
Dole Plantation Pineapple Garden Maze:
The Dole Plantation Pineapple Garden Maze in Oahu, Hawaii is a maze made out 14,000 plants.
The maze was created in 1998 as a game to entertain visitors to the plantation and is currently the world’s largest plant maze. It covers three acres and includes 2.5 miles of paths made from around 14,000 colorful Hawaiian plants.
The maze has become a popular tourist attraction and receives over a million visitors a year. An article by Business Insider named it one of the most bizarre tourist attractions in America, Reader’s Digest named it one of nine of the most impressive mazes you’ll find around the world and the Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. named it one of the world’s most magical mazes.
Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California is a 15-foot high and 70-foot long alley lined with chewed gum left by passers-by.
No one is exactly sure how or when the tradition of leaving chewed gum on the wall started. Some historians believe the tradition started after WWII by the San Luis Obispo High School graduating class while others think it started in the late 1950s as a rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and Cal Poly students. Either way, by the 1970s, the gum wall was well established.
The alley has been described as one of the city’s most popular unofficial landmarks. It has been featured in many newspapers, such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Guardian in the U.K., and television programs such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Travel and Leisure magazine named it one of 12 places around the world that are weirdly popular on Trip Advisor.
Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California is a beach that is covered in sea glass created by years of locals dumping garbage there.
The beach became this way after the town designated the trio of beaches that cover this area as dump sites in 1909, and locals began discarding glass, appliances and other garbage directly on the beaches.
The last dump site, Glass Beach, was closed in 1967 and there were cleanup initiatives to remove the discarded metal and other items but the waves pounded the abundant broken glass on the beach into smooth, glass pebbles.
Around 2002, the owner of Glass Beach sold it to the California Department of Parks and Recreation and it was soon added to MacKerricher State Park.
The beach has since become a popular tourist attraction and receives tens of thousands of visitors a year. Reader’s Digest named it one of 15 must-see sights you can only see along the Pacific Coast Highway and Coastal Living magazine named it one of the weirdest beaches in America and also one of the world’s strangest beaches.
Thor’s Well is a salt water fountain on Cape Perpetua in Yachats, Oregon. The well is a top entrance to a 20-foot deep cave in the basalt rock. The cave’s other entrance, at the bottom of the hole, leads towards the sea.
At high tide, the well fills from the bottom and shoots up spray as the waves crash against the rock. Waves also wash over the top of the well and drain down into it.
The well has become a popular, although treacherous, tourist attraction and visitors are cautioned to be careful when viewing it at high tide. The dramatic visual aspect of the well makes it especially popular with photographers and instagram users.
Coastal Living magazine named Cape Perpetua Scenic Area one of the weirdest beaches in America, Reader’s Digest named it one of 15 mystical destinations that truly inspire awe, the New York Post named it one of seven under-the-radar spots you must see before you die and listed it in its state-by-state guide to America’s most spectacular natural wonders.
Black Sands Beach:
Black Sands Beach is a 3.5 mile-long black sand beach in Lost Coast, California.
The beach is the only black sand beach in the continental U.S. Unlike Hawaiian black sand beaches, which are made out volcanic basalt, this beach is made out of mix of non-volcanic material: a type of sandstone called greywacke and compressed shale.
Coastal Living magazine named the beach one of the world’s most amazing black sand beaches and Conde Nast Traveler named it one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in the world and also named it one of 11 best beaches in California.
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