Incredibly Strange Places To Visit In The USA

You can’t go wrong with this kind of travel, so check out these odd places.

Santa Cruz Mystery Spot

Paris and pretty much any Caribbean island have a built-in breathability factor, but when you return from vacation and tell people you saw the biggest mailbox in the world, you’re undoubtedly a top-tier traveler. There are so many amusing, kitschy, and bizarre landmarks in America (yes, we’ll use the word “bizarre”), and they are beckoning you to find them. Anyone can take a photo of a sunset with palm trees, but when your Instagram is full of images of you acting silly with autographed hot dog buns in Toledo or of you posing with 139 skulls from the Mütter Museum’s skull wall, you gain credibility as an adventurous traveler. Please set out right away in good spirits, and prepare your amazed face emojis.

Weird American landmarks that are well-known.

<i>Big Fish</i> set | Jackson Lake Island, AL

Image: Courtesy of Lynn Bright

1. Jackson Lake Island, Alabama’s Big Fish set

On a privately owned island in the Alabama River, just outside of Montgomery, is a Tim Burton wonderland. The production company that made the film Big Fish decided to leave the made-up town of Spectre standing after the shooting wrapped up in the early 2000s. Jackson Lake Island visitors can walk in Ewan McGregor’s footsteps through the town square to the dilapidated church, the last few styrofoam trees from the haunted forest, and even hang a pair of shoes from the clothesline for a small fee. Best feature? Also on the island are goats.

La Brea Tar Pits | Los Angeles, CA

Courtesy: Biological Evolution Museum of Los Angeles County

2. La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, California

Come see the spot where animals once wandered and got stuck in tar for good. When their predators saw them struggling, they would approach to take advantage of the easy meal and get stuck themselves. It’s actually horrifying to think about, but fascinating. Around 1 million fossilized bones, including those of a mammoth, dire wolves, saber-tooth cats, and one unfortunate woman, have been found by paleontologists in the tar pit. Visit the still-excavating pits in the outdoor park, inhale the distinctive sulfuric odor, and then visit the Page Museum to see the amazing array of artifacts that were discovered there.

World Erotic Art Museum | Miami, FL

Image from Shutterstock

3. Miami, Florida’s World Erotic Art Museum

This Miami museum featuring a wide variety of X-rated art is not appropriate for children under the age of 18 to visit. The World Erotic Art Museum, which bills itself as the only organization in the entire nation that solely exhibits fine erotic art, is known for its extensive collection of vintage sex toys, carved phalluses, and nude portraits by Rembrandt and Picasso. You blush just from the thought of exploring the 12,000-square-foot area. 

Madonna Inn | San Luis Obispo, CA

Image from Shutterstock

4. San Luis Obispo, California’s Madonna Inn

The pinnacle of kitsch is found at the Madonna Inn on the central California coast. The hotel was built in 1958 by Alex and Phyllis Madonna, and while it purports to have a Swiss Alps theme, it really seems to be all about the extravagant. As an example, the Caveman Room has faux rock walls and a waterfall shower, while the Pony Room has bright red carpeting and prominently displays a carousel horse statue. Each of the 110 rooms is decorated with a different theme. A visit here is something you won’t soon forget.

Dole Plantation Maze | Oahu, HI

Image from Shutterstock

5. Oahu, Hawaii’s Dole Plantation Maze

On the Dole Pineapple Plantation on the north shore of Oahu, one of the largest plant mazes in the world can be found. More than two miles of paths weave through the 14,000 vibrant Hawaiian plants, including, of course, pineapples, heliconias, and hibiscus. The maze features a pineapple shape when viewed from above. This couple ran through the maze in just five minutes as opposed to the average completion time of about an hour. 

Mystery Spot | Santa Cruz, CA

Image from Shutterstock

6. Santa Cruz, California’s Mystery Spot

Regardless of whether you buy the tour guide’s schtick about the purported “gravitational anomaly” at work at this roadside attraction, it’s still entertaining to visit the tilted cabin that seems to defy the laws of physics. Even skeptics will enjoy exploring the strange shack where chairs seem to sit on walls and balls seem to roll uphill. Not persuaded? For bonus points, try to figure out why this optical illusion exists. 

The world’s largest objects | Casey, IL

Image from Shutterstock

7. The largest items in the world | Casey, Illinois

Not one, not two, but twelve of the biggest things in the world can be found in this Illinois small town, including a rocking chair, mailbox, gavel, wind chime, golf tee, and many other enormous items. The wind chime, the first component, was installed in 2011 by local Jim Bolin, and things only got bigger from there. Bolin reasoned that a piece of public art called Big Things in a Small Town might help draw some visitors. The Attractions are all open to the public for free, so his theory appears to be correct. 

Witch House | Salem, MA

Image from Shutterstock

8. Witch House, Salem, Massachusetts

Urban witches and history buffs travel from all over the country to this New England town because of its sinister past. With a visit to the Witch House, you can learn all about the infamous Witch Trials of 1692. James Corwin, a local merchant who oversaw many of the witchcraft trials, owned this house in the 17th century. The self-guided tours provide an excellent introduction to both the biggest witch hunt in the nation and early colonial life.

Busy Beaver Button Co. | Chicago, IL

Busy Beaver Button Company, in picture.

9. Chicago, Illinois’s Busy Beaver Button Co.

Since its founding in 1995, The Busy Beaver Button Co. has created tens of millions of gleaming pins and buttons. Even though they’ll still happily create any design you want, going to the Chicago store isn’t just for shopping. The aptly named museum will also be of interest to art enthusiasts and culture vultures. Examine the more than 9,000 historical pin-back buttons in the collection, which also include concert memorabilia and materials from political campaigns.

The Mapparium | Boston, MA

Image credit: Mark Thayer

10. The Mapparium | Boston, Massachusetts

The world’s largest walk-in globe is another one of the largest objects, and it can be found inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston. The Mapparium is a three-story, scaled-down globe model made of vividly colored stained glass. Whisper to a friend at the opposite end of the glass bridge that divides the globe’s interior while standing at one of its edges. They’ll be able to hear you clearly because the glass walls amplify sound. This counts as a historical artifact as well because it was constructed in 1935 and serves to represent the world at that time. It also has some out-of-date country names.

We hope you enjoyed this virtual tour, and be sure to let us know in the comments which place you’re most excited to visit.

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