Strange & unusual attractions in the United States

I love seeking out strange and unusual places as much as I love visiting well known national parks and tourist attractions. After several visits to the same old, same old, it’s fun to seek out some new and interesting sights. No matter where you travel throughout the US, unusual off-the-beaten attractions are lurking around every corner.

I have devised a handy guide of some of my favorite strange, unusual, and offbeat activities and attractions I have discovered throughout my travels. The list will continue to grow as I explore more, so check back often for updates!

Seaglass Beach

A former dump site turned natural gem

Seaglass Beach Ft Bragg

Seaglass Beach is one of the oddest places in the country, and by far, the most interesting beach you will ever come across. The nickname was given to Ft. Bragg CA beach off Hwy 1 in Northern California. This beautiful beach is home to the largest concentration of seaglass in the world. Collecting seaglass is a popular pastime for many who live near rocky coastlines.

For those not familiar with this particular form of beachcombing, here’s a quick run down. Seaglass refers to the frosty-gem like glass pieces that wash up on water shores. The unique texture arises via a natural process wherein old glass has been repeatedly tumbled by water and rocks, sometimes over several decades! It’s crazy to think that the powerful hands of nature alone was able to create a natural jewel from unwanted trash!

Seaglass can have various origins i.e. old beer bottles, medicine jars, etc. It can be found in an array of colors, mostly green, white, and brown from old beer bottles. Coveted colors include purple and cobalt blue, which are the rarest because their origins are particularly old. Some blue glass pieces date back to old medicine bottles from the late 1800’s!

Ft. Bragg was once a major trash dumping site, hence why the beach is so loaded with layers upon layers of colorful seaglass today. Most beaches now concentrated with seaglass are former dump sites, as throwing trash into the ocean was common back in the day. The glass at Ft. Bragg sparkles in the sun, thereby creating one of the most unusual & magnificent beach landscapes you will ever witness.

Look, but leave the glass behind! Although glass collecting is prohibited, tourists continue to take pieces home with them. Sadly all the glass will probably one day be gone due to inconsiderate guests. If planning a drive up the magnificent Hwy 1, a stop at Seaglass Beach makes for a nice scenic break. It’s a surreal sight unlike any you have ever seen before!


A Stonehenge replica in small town Alabama

Bamahenge Stonehenge replica in Alabama

Bamahenge is a unique fiberglass replica of the famous Stonehenge monument, found in a most unusual location. Popping out amongst the forest in a tiny Gulf Coast Alabama town is a full size replica (by artist Mark Cline) of the famous English landmark. Like Stonehenge, the Alabama replica was also built to align with the summer solstice. If you happen to be traveling anywhere near the Gulf Shores area, Bamahenge is well worth a stop! Really, it is quite odd to find such a magnificent piece of art in the middle of nowhere. It’s an oddball roadside attraction if there ever was one!

Even stranger is the 4 massive dinosaur sculptures which Cline designed for local billionaire George Barber. You will see these lifelike dinosaurs peeking out from behind the trees along the road before pulling in the forest lot to view Bamahenge.

Location:  Barber Pkwy, Elberta, AL

Jackson Hole antler arches

Eclectic natural artwork in one of America’s best ski towns

Jackson Hole antler arches - National Elk Refuge

Although Jackson Hole is most well known for its’ fabulous ski resorts, this Wyoming winter vacation oasis has way more to offer including natural hot springs, gorgeous hiking trails, and the fantastic National Elk Refuge. The Elk Refuge provides a winter home for the thousands of elk who come down from the mountains seeking food. Sleigh or wagon rides are available depending on the weather.

On any given day, you could see 100’s of these beautiful animals. It’s a really unique winter experience and a must-do for non skiers looking for something interesting to do. Even more fascinating, the shed elk antlers have been collected and turned into a unique piece of public art. Jackson Hole is home to a cute little rustic town square, with the beautiful elk antlers being the shining centerpiece.

The only McDonald’s in the world with turquoise arches

Unusual McDonald’s arches in Sedona, Arizona (Red Rock Wonderland)

The only McDonald's in the world without golden arches - Sedona, Arizona

A while back Sedona was actually a quiet little town without a whole lot in the way of commercialization. Anyone who has visited in the past few years knows this is obviously no longer the case! A beautiful destination? For sure! Great hiking trails? The best in the Southwest! A quiet nature refuge? Not so much! New businesses are popping up left and right. While unique restaurants are the norm in a unique place like Sedona, a few chains have found their way in.

The trademark Golden Arches are what most of us think of when we hear McDonalds. The familiar bright arches greet us from the distance on any roadtrip or vacation. However, in this Arizona desert town, you will notice an absence of the traditional golden hue. Back in the day, the Sedona government would only allow turquoise to be used as the yellow contrasted too much with the beautiful surrounding red rock landscapes! Hopefully, Sedona will continue the trend of encouraging businesses to blend in with the incredible natural surroundings. While I recommend avoiding any fast food, why not stop by for a quick coffee or picture, if only to say that you have seen the only McDonalds in the world without yellow arches!

And while you are in town, here’s 12 out of this world Sedona hikes to check out!

Location: 2380 Arizona 89A, Sedona, AZ

The Neon Museum

Where classic Vegas neon signs go to die

Stardust sign at the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas NV

Have you ever wondered where all those old Neon Vegas casino signs end up? Well, just off The Strip near Fremont Street exists a quirky little non-profit tourist attraction known as The Neon Museum. This group began collecting these signs in 1996. Most of the collection comes from the old YESCO Boneyard, a leading electronic sign manufacturer. To date, more than 200 vintage signs have been collected. All of the old greats such as The Stardust, the Aladdin, Fitzgeralds, etc. can be found within the “Boneyard.”  For anyone who has seen their share of The Strip side of Vegas, perhaps it is time to explore some of the unique oddball activities lurking around the city!

The Neon Museum is about as weird as it gets. Touring the Neon Boneyard is an absolute must for any fans of the old classic days of Vegas (before LED technology took over!). Collecting these signs is a great way to preserve the memories of an ever changing city, so none of these vintage casinos will ever be forgotten. Both day and night time tours are available. However, night tours come with the added bonus of seeing 19 of the signs lit up (due to costs only a handful of signs have been fully restored). If extreme heat at all bothers you (I’m talking over 100 without a hint of shade), then by all means plan a nighttime tour!

Location: 770 N Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, NY 89101

Roswell UFO Museum

The most extensive collection of UFO/Alien Exhibits

Roswell UFO Museum

The Roswell UFO Museum is a must-see for any sci-fi fanatics, as well as anyone else interested in researching various newspaper articles and official documents (both pro and con) regarding the 1947 Roswell UFO crash. There are tons of conflicting documents plastered all over the walls, some containing strong proof of alien existence, and others totally denying the presence of other life forms. After visiting, you will leave more confused than ever!

Downtown Roswell is really quirky with lots of alien gift shops and even alien themed lamp posts. Even the McDonald’s in town is shaped like a spaceship! Roswell is a really weird place that is worth checking out on any New Mexico road trip. In fact, it’s one of the only towns you come across after hours of endless desert driving, thereby, making it a nice hotel stop along I-380.

Rattlesnake Bridge

A unique snake shaped bridge that rattles when you walk across it

Rattlesnake Bridge in Tucson AZ

Although the desert itself is a strange and fascinating place, many of the big Southwestern cities have come to be associated with bland suburbia and unending chains. In areas like Tucson, you may have to work a bit harder to find unique attractions, although they still exist here and there if you know where to look. One of the must see roadside attractions is Rattlesnake Bridge, a huge pedestrian bridge shaped like a rattlesnake over Broadway Blvd.

The bridge is so appealing that it was recognized by The Federal Highway Administration as one of the nation’s best road projects. However, you do not want to simply drive under this bridge. To get the full experience either take a walk or bike ride, from which you will not only enjoy nice city views, but also get to see the tail shake & hear the rattling sound as you end your journey. If you happen to be visiting downtown Tucson, this unique stop is just minutes away.

Location: Broadway At Euclid Tucson, AZ 85707

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery

A wax museum dedicated to everything Horror

Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery horror wax museum in Salem, MA

Horror movies buffs must plan a trip to Salem, Massachusetts. Not only is the city the Halloween Capital of the US, but it is also home to the country’s most interesting wax museum. In contrast to the usual wax museums which feature popular celebs, this one is dedicated to horror movie villains! The figurines are so accurate that it is quite a creepy experience, especially with the dim & eerie setting.

With characters ranging from Pennywise from IT to Freddy Krueger, even Winifred Sanders from Hocus Pocus, Count Orlok’s truly is one-of-a-kind attraction that will please horror and Halloween fans alike! A unique experience any time of the year, although nothing beats a Halloween time visit when you can stroll through a most terrifying haunted house. Imagine walking around in the dark with creepy wax figures staring out at you! Unfortunately, no inside photos are allowed, so you will just have to trust me on this one!

Location:  285 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

The statue of 3 lies

Will rubbing the left foot of John Harvard bring you luck?

John Harvard Statue - "the statue of 3 lies"

Did you know that you can tour the beautiful grounds of Harvard University? If you find yourself looking for a few unique fill in activities on your Boston vacation, this free & fun activity is definitely a worthy addition. Really, who doesn’t want to move to Boston after just one visit downtown?! What an amazing city – I fell in love with the culture, architecture, and natural beauty on my first visit!

However, one of the unique aspects of the Harvard tour, asides from seeing all the beautiful historic buildings, is learning about university legends. One of the most interesting involves that of the John Harvard statue. For years, tourists from around the world have come to rub the left toe – said to bring good luck. Who knows if it really brings any luck, but it’s worth a shot!

The statue is nicknamed “the statue of 3 lies” due to the inaccuracies inscribed on the plaque. First of all the statue is not of John Harvard, despite the name being carved into stone. Congressman Shawn Hoar actually sat in as the model. There is no living representation of John Harvard. Second, John Harvard did not found Harvard! He did not even attend the school, but rather was the major benefactor. Lastly, Harvard University was not founded in 1638. Harvard was founded in 1636, making it the oldest higher education institution in the US. So, why does the statue have the date, the founder, and the likeness of Harvard all wrong?! We may never know!

Harvard Tour calendar

Trees of Mystery

Soar above the tallest trees on Earth!

Trees of Mystery gondola ride above the coastal redwoods in Northern California

Trees of Mystery is an eclectic redwoods based attraction off of Hwy 101 near the California/Oregon border in the tiny woodsy coastal town of Klamath, CA. Despite being sort of cheesy (hey, that’s part of the fun!), you’ll get to enjoy some fantastic views and also learn a few interesting facts about the mysterious redwoods. An amazing gondola ride takes you soaring above the coastal redwoods to a 742 foot observation deck. From here, the views are simply breathtaking.

The interpretative trails (about 5 miles combined) take you past some unique sights of interest. These include: the Brotherhood Tree (the largest on-site at 297 feet tall and 19 foot in diameter, 60 foot in circumference) and the Cathedral Tree (9 trees growing as one in a cathedral formation – it’s popular for wedding ceremonies). The small museum displays all sorts of weird artifacts including various Bigfoot stories and evidence collected over the years. As this entire Northern California area gives off an eerie vibe (due to the majestic ancient trees and dreary skies), it really is no surprise that this region continues to be a hotspot for Bigfoot sightings and other strange occurrences.

Pinball Museum Hall of Fame

The world’s largest collection of pinball machines 

Jurassic Park and Terminator pinball machine at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Vegas

Not many tourists know that there are many interesting places to explore all throughout Vegas, with fun not solely being limited to The Strip! Just minutes away from the excitement of The Strip is a 10,000 square foot facility dedicated to pinball machines from the 50’s-90’s. Luckily, pricing is still in the good old-fashioned range of just 25-50 cents a game. And, unlike the Vegas casinos, everyone can have fun at The Pinball Hall of Fame!

If you are a regular Vegas visitor and tired of the same old, same old, head off The Strip for some vintage, budget friendly fun at the Pinball Museum! With all our modern technology today, it’s a pretty cool place to visit – a trip back in time to the “old days” of arcades. Be prepared for nostalgia overload as soon as you walk through the doors. A Jurassic Park pinball game, a Super Mario Brothers joystick arcade game, a claw prize machine game…and all this fun can be had without breaking the bank! Now that’s what I call a great ROI in a city which becomes glitzier and pricier by the year!

Church of The Mother Road: World’s Smallest Church

The smallest church on Route 66

Church of the Mother Road in Winslow, AZ

In the tiny town of Winslow, Arizona, there is barely a hint of life. Taking a stroll through the downtown, you would think you were in a ghost town. Everything appears abandoned, except for a strange little church known as the World’s Smallest Church. Despite the name, it is not actually the world’s smallest church, however, it is the smallest on Rt 66. Also while in town, be sure to check out Standin’ On a Corner. If this sounds familiar, you are probably a fan of the classic 70’s song “Take it Easy” by the Eagles.

Location: 116 E. 2nd St. Winslow, AZ

2 Guns ghost town

An abandoned zoo is all that remains of this Northern Arizona ghost town

2 Guns Arizona ghost town old zoo sign

The remains of an old zoo can be found in a little ghost town off of I-40 in Northern Arizona, just 30 min outside of Flagstaff. If you happen to be planning a vacation to the Grand Canyon or any other wonderful natural attraction out this way, it’s worth a quick detour to walk around what is left of a once popular Rt 66 zoo. Nothing much remains asides from an old mountain lions exhibit sign and a few crumpled down animal enclosures.

It’s crazy to think that 2 Guns was once a popular tourist destination along Rt 66! It’s a pretty creepy feeling to walk around old lion enclosures. When the new highway was built in the 60’s, both the town and the zoo attraction saw a major decline, as is the sad case with most other once thriving, yet now long gone roadside Rt 66 attractions.

Location: About 30 miles east of Flagstaff off of -I-40

Bell Rock Vortex

Over 50 UFO sightings have been sighted at this mysterious Sedona vortex site

Bell Rock Vortex site in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona’s towering 200+ million year old red rock formations dominate the landscape, making it one of the best vacation destinations in the Southwest for nature & fitness lovers. Despite the wonderful hiking trails, Sedona truly is a strange place. With a large New Age influence, ongoing supernatural occurrences, and an overall quirky vibe, Sedona really is one oddball place.

Although the entire Sedona area is a strange place, Bell Rock definitely takes the cake. This ancient red rock formation is one of several vortex sites. A vortex is a special area where the earth’s energy is more concentrated. Many visitors have reported special healing energies after visiting these vortex sites. Vortexes can either strengthen the masculine or feminine side. Bell Rock provides a masculine healing energy so you may feel more energized or determined after visiting this site.

UFO sighting are more common in areas with strong vortex energy. This vortex energy is reportedly so strong at Bell Rock that many visitors (over 50 to date) have reportedly witnessed UFOs. Bell Rock and Sedona in general are hotspots for UFO activity, which really is not that strange when you consider the mysteriously powerful landscapes dominating the town. It’s a powerful vortex. It’s a UFO hotspot. And it’s a gorgeous place to hike. There really is no reason not to check out Bell Rock on your Sedona vacation.

Hobo Pool

Natural hot springs with healing powers in a little Wyoming town 

Hobo Pool in Saratoga Springs, WY

The Hobo Pool is a natural mineral springs in the little town of Saratoga Springs, Wyoming. As it is just a short detour off of I-80, the springs is a perfect stop on any long, tiresome cross country drive. A refreshing soak is in order after hours and hours of endless driving. Asides from loosening up tight muscles via heat therapy, hot springs have been used for centuries as a natural way to heal various ailments. The healing powers come from a combination of intense heat and a high concentration of minerals, particularly sulfur which is known to detox the body.

Location: 300 E Walnut Ave, Saratoga, WY 82331

Santa Claus, Arizona

The remains of an abandoned Christmas themed amusement park are all but gone

Santa Claus AZ ghost town - remains of an old Christmas themed amusement park

Near the NV/AZ border lies a strange ghost town named Santa Claus, Arizona (not to be confused with the touristy Santa Claus, Indiana). It was once home to a Christmas themed amusement park – why did they tear it down?! Unfortunately little remains and most of the standing buildings have been totally covered in graffiti. While it’s not worth traveling out of the way for, seeing this old theme park makes for a fun quick detour for anyone driving on US 93 from southern Arizona to Vegas.

It’s hard to believe that something so rundown and abandoned was once a festive Christmas theme park and one of the Mother Road’s most popular destinations. It’s crazy what a little time does…The town was founded in the 1930’s by Nina Talbot in hopes of creating a Christmas themed land that would attract both tourists and relocating families. Unfortunately, the park closed in 1949 and the entire town was eventually put up for sale.

Location: Between mile markers 57-58 on US 93 (about 14 miles Northwest of Kingman)

Bridgewater Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle of the US – unexplained paranormal events dominate Southwestern Massachusetts

River trail at Boyden Wildlife Refuge in Taunton, MA
I had a really strange feeling at the Boyden Wildlife Refuge, located in Taunton, a small town within the Triangle. There was definitely an eerie presence here and barren winter trees made it even spookier!

The Bridgewater Triangle, like the Bermuda Triangle, is thought to be one of the oddest places in the world. This is because so many supernatural occurrences from so many different people have been reported over the years. And what is really crazy is that these strange sightings are not limited just to ghosts! UFO’s, orbs, Bigfoot, and thunderbirds have also been commonly reported. Towns located within the Bridgewater Triangle include: Middleboro, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Easton, Taunton, Lakeville, Norton, Berkley, Dighton, Raynham, Bridgewater & E. Bridgewater, Whitman, Brockton, Freetown, & Abington.

If you explore any forest trails in the Triangle (there are endless gorgeous parks!), you will definitely sense an eerie presence. I have hiked many trails within the Triangle and something always “feels off.” Combine that with Massachusetts’ dreary climate & leafless trees most of the year, and you will definitely be spooked. I find myself constantly checking over my shoulder on any hike! To date, I have not seen anything supernatural, but I do always get the sense that something or someone is always watching me!

Centrally located within the Triangle is Hockomock Swamp, “the place where spirits dwell,” a hotspot for Bigfoot sightings. The Freetown-Fall River State Forest has a really eerie history, with many suicides and occult ritualistic murders happening deep within the dark woods. This particular area is so creepy that I skipped hiking here despite living right down the road and passing the forest 100’s of times – something just felt off! Keep in mind this was way before I learned about the Triangle’s eerie history! Dighton Rock (a big rock loaded with ancient petroglyphs of unknown origins) is another really weird place. Dighton is so creepy that I turned around and went back to my car as something just felt too weird!

I could go on all day about the strange Bridgewater Triangle stories, but instead I’ll refer you to an awesome documentary which was produced by a Massachusetts local. The Bridgewater Triangle documentary.

More haunted ghost stories from Southeast Massachusetts

Redwood National Park

Take a hike amongst the tallest trees in the world

A giant redwood tree in Northern California at Redwood National Park

The Redwood National Forest is one of the top places to add to your travel bucket list, particularly if you are a hiker or photographer. This park is so amazing and mysterious at the same time. The gigantic ancient trees, combined with the dreary climate of the Northern California region, creates an eerie ambiance which makes it easy to get lost in nature. Leave your cell phone at home and enjoy some time in this incredible area of the country. This really is the most unique park in the country. A picture does no justice. Only when you stand next to these towering trees can you really appreciate the majesty of one of nature’s most incredible creations.

Coastal redwoods can reach a height of 379 feet and a width of 29 feet! Standing next to a redwood really is a weird experience as the tree is more than 10 times as wide as the average human. With the average tree living 1200-1800 years, the redwood also claims a spot as one of the oldest living species on earth! Just another reason to plan a trip to the Northern California region! Combine a trip to the park with a beautiful drive down the 101! There’s lot to see along the way, including Seaglass Beach mentioned earlier, the drive-thru redwood tree, and much more, with the Redwood National Park being just one of an endless number of must-do activities!

The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope

A dazzling light & sound show on the world’s largest kaleidoscope

World's largest kaleidoscope at the Emerson Resort in Upstate NY

In Upstate New York, at the beautiful Emerson Resort, you can watch a colorful show on the Guinness Book of World Records verified largest kaleidoscope in the world (56 feet tall, 38 feet wide). As you lie down on the floor and gaze up at the silo, an array of colorful images, accompanied by sound, fill the room. Afterwards, check out the massive gift shop featuring more kaleidoscope gifts and trinkets than you could ever possibly imagine.

Whether you are a serious collector or simply someone looking for a good old-fashioned way to re experience a fun pastime of your youth, a stop at the Emerson County Shops for this show is definitely a must! It’s free for guests! On a side note, the Emerson is a gorgeous place to stay anytime of the year. The property offers wonderful cabins with views of the river. Also, you will have easy access to many hiking and waterfall daytrips.

Location: 5340 NY-28 Mt Tremper, NY 12457

Bayshore Blvd

The world’s longest continuous sidewalk

Longest continuous sidewalk - The beautiful Bayshore Blvd path in Tampa

There are so many gorgeous bike paths in Tampa that it is impossible to pinpoint just one as the best. However, downtown’s Bayshore Blvd claims the unique distinction as being the longest continuous sidewalk in the world. This 4.5 mile path is such a fantastic place for any type of recreation as the views are incredible.

Look to one side and you can gaze at the Tampa Skyline and Bay and perhaps even see a dolphin swimming at sunrise. Look to the other side and you can gaze at lovely historic mansions and palm trees. If you are looking for something unique, beautiful, and fitness based in Tampa, you really cannot beat gorgeous Bayshore Blvd!

Cloud Gate – “The Bean”

Chicago’s unique reflective architectural wonder

Cloud Gate reflective sculpture at Millennium Park in Chicago

Know as “the bean” by locals, the gorgeous Cloud Gate sculpture at Chicago’s Millennium Park surprises you as soon as you walk up. The reflective nature makes for some pretty cool photo opportunities, especially when you consider the fact that Chicago is home to one of the country’s most magnificent skylines. You’ll have loads of fun here taking all sorts of crazy photos. And while you are here, check out one of the free summer concerts or the beautiful winter ice skating rink.

Petroglyph National Monument

Over 1000 ancient petroglyphs can be seen in Albuquerque

Over 1000 ancient petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque NM

Albuquerque’s Petroglyph National Monument which is an underrated hidden gem. While most tourists head to the zoo and Sandia Tramway, you can easily escape the crowds here. Several trails will take you past over 1000 ancient petroglyphs, dating back from 400-700 years ago. As the park is both interesting and beautiful, with the added bonus of almost no crowds, it’s definitely a must-do on any Albuquerque vacation.

Oldest standing looff carousel

A gorgeous hand-carved carousel by carousel master Charles Looff

The oldest Looff Stander Carousel at Slater Memorial Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Go back in time with a classic old-fashioned ride on the country’s oldest Looff Stander carousel! A stander is a carousel in which the horses do not move up and down. This beautiful handcrafted carousel was built in 1895. Charles Looff designed over 40 gorgeous handcrafted carousels including the first at Coney Island in 1876.

The Looff Stander at Slater Memorial Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island truly is a work of art. And even better, a ride won’t cost you the typical 3 bucks or so you find at most fairs and zoos, with each ride costing a good old-fashioned 50 cents! Slater Memorial park has much more to offer including peaceful walking trails, a gorgeous pond with paddleboat rentals, a fantastic dog park, an art museum, and an on-going lineup of events.

Site of the 1st recorded solar eclipse

A small Island off the coast of Maine commemorates the first total eclipse

Site of 1st recorded solar eclipse in Islesboro, Maine

Islesboro is a quaint little Maine island community with a year round population of just 500. It’s a popular summer escape for the wealthy due to the exclusive natural setting, accessible only via a ferry ride. The island is most known for gorgeous beaches, endless opportunities for collecting seaglass, and the quiet rural setting. History buffs will also be impressed by an important historical marker.

A small monument commemorates the first recorded solar eclipse in 1780, which was observed by Harvard Mathematics professor Samuel Williams. On an interesting side note, Islesboro was called Long Island at the time. If you are seeking a peaceful Maine vacation destination, Islesboro is about as good as it gets. What a gorgeous place!

4 Corners

The only place in the US where you can stand in 4 states at the same time!

Four Corners monument -stand in 4 states at the same time

Four Corners monument marks the joining of 4 states: New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. This is the only place in the US where you can stand in 4 states at the same time! Although I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to visit this attraction, it makes for a good little detour on the way to various national parks like Arches or Canyonlands, or even the beautiful Monument Valley region. Four Corners is unique in that it pops up in the middle of the desert after hours of barren driving. Be aware that there is often a lengthy line and it gets pretty hot here during the summer, and all this is for a quick photo, so again a great stop if you happen to be passing through this region.

Both the Navajo and Ute tribes live around the Four Corners region and sell some pretty cool handmade crafts like pottery pieces and dreamcatchers. On an interesting side note, evidence of native people inhabiting the area dates back to AD 1300! If you have the extra time, check out some of the ancient pueblo sites in this region.

The Shark Tooth Capital of the World 

Hunt for prehistoric shark teeth at this beautiful Gulf Coast beach!

Digging for prehistoric shark teeth at Casperan Beach in Venice, Florida

There’s a small city on the Gulf coast of Florida called Venice, which is nicknamed “the shark tooth capital of the world.” The beaches in this area, particularly Casperan, are loaded with these ancient prehistoric shark teeth. On any given day, you will find both enthusiastic locals and tourists digging for these treasured finds. Pick up the special shark shovel at any store or go the cheap route and purchase one on Amazon. Tip: Low tide during the winter and spring seasons is the best time to search for these fossilized shark teeth!

Chapel of the Holy Cross in Red Rock Wonderland

A stunning Roman Catholic church built in between 2 massive red rock formations

Sedona's Chapel of the Holy Cross surrounded by red rock formations

In Sedona, aka Red Rock Country, one of the most unusual sights you will come across is a Roman Catholic Church which was built in between 2 red rock formations. Home to enchanting views of Sedona’s amazing red rock landscapes, it’s a sight not to be missed!

Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the masterpiece, which happens to be rated one of the top man-made wonders of Arizona. For the non-hikers out there, it’s one of the best places in town to soak in the incredible scenery without a lengthy hike. It also happens to be an energy healing vortex site with many visitors reporting a strong spiritual presence/healing energy here.

Sedona vortexes

Explore 4 energy sites said to provide intense healing

Cathedral Rock - a popular Sedona climb known to be an area of intense vortex energy

Although Sedona has always been known for its’ towering ancient red rock formations, just recently has the term vortexes begun to pop up. A vortex is an area of intense healing where the earth’s energy supposedly swirls up in an concentrated dose from the earth. Several sites and hikes throughout the area are known to possess an intense vortex energy, although the entire area is technically considered a vortex. Although many tour companies offer pricey vortex tours, you can easily save yourself a few bucks and check out one of 4 vortex hikes for yourself.

Each of these vortex hikes posses a feminine, masculine or balancing energy. Bell Rock, the strongest of the vortex sites, is so powerful that UFOs are commonly sighted. Other vortex hikes include Boynton Canyon, Airport Mesa, and Cathedral Rock. Whether or not these sites really do posses special healing energies, they sure are tremendously beautiful. Sedona is a gorgeous natural escape for hikers and photographers with endless opportunities for hiking. Check out my list of must-do’s in Sedona.

The Pluto Telescope

The telescope used to discovered Pluto is found in the “World’s First International Dark Sky City”

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona - where Pluto was discovered

Flagstaff, Arizona is probably most well known for being easily driveable to the Grand Canyon. Due to the close proximity, it’s a popular lodging destination when rooms at the Grand Canyon are sold out (which happens on a regular basis!). Asides from a popular ski resort, dozens of wonderful hiking trails, and a lively downtown with lots of local restaurants & year-round events, the town is also known for being home to the Lowell Observatory, which happens to be where Pluto was discovered.

Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930. This is really not a surprise as Flagstaff is the World’s First International Dark City. With low light pollution and clear skies most of the year, it is considered to be one of the top stargazing destinations in the world.

Jack O’Lantern Spectacular

Over 5000 of the most amazing Jack O’Lantern creations take center stage at this annual Rhode Island Halloween festival

Unique jack o'lantern at the annual Jack O'Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island

While there are numerous Halloween festivals and attractions throughout the country, none of these come close to the grandeur of the annual Jack O’Lantern Spectacular, held each October at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. Featuring over 5000 intricately carved pumpkins in a unique changing theme each year, this is an event for Halloween lovers, as well as art lovers, across the country. The artistic effort put into each pumpkin is truly astonishing and no picture really does justice!

Bell in Hand Tavern – The oldest tavern in America

Enjoy fish and chips at America’s oldest bar

Bell in Hand Tavern - The Oldest tavern in America in Boston, MA

The Bell in Hand Tavern in downtown Boston claims the distinction of being the oldest tavern in America. This historic tavern opened back in 1795 as a gathering place for sailors, students, and printers. The unique name comes from owner Jimmy Wilson, who was the city’s first town crier. Back in the day, Jimmy refused to sell gin, whiskey, or rum in favor of ale. Jimmy’s ale was so thick that it was served in 2 mugs – with one being for the ale and the other for the froth!

Today, you can enjoy all sorts of drinks and snacks, and you have to admit it is pretty cool to be able to say that you had a drink at the oldest bar in the country! Tip: Order the Fisherman’s Platter, a delicious combo of fried seafood snacks!

Location: 45 Union St, Boston, MA 02108

Standin’ On a Corner in Winslow, Arizona

A tiny Northern Arizona town made famous in the Eagles hit classic”Take it Easy”

Standin' On a Corner in Winslow Arizona

I think everyone has heard the Eagles 70’s classic “Take It Easy” with the lyrics “Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed. Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.” Winslow is a really small Arizona town whose claim to fame basically lies in this song. Really, there is not much else memorable about this tiny Northern Arizona town which at first glance appears to be a ghost town.

A small park along Rt. 66 commemorates the hit classic. This site is quite popular with travelers making their way along the long stretches of Northern Arizona desert. As there really is not much else to do in this town, it’s not worth going out of your way for. That being said, it does make for a pretty weird & interesting stop on any Rt. 66 road trip! Plus, there are some really cool gift shops across the street with loads of Rt 66 memorabilia. Afterwards, check out The Turquoise Room at the historic La Posada Hotel – a fantastic restaurant serving New Mexican style cuisine. Winslow is also just a quick drive from Flagstaff if you are looking for more to do while in town.

Siesta Key Beach

Dig your toes into the “finest, whitest sand in the world”

Siesta Key Beach - home to the finest, whitest sand in the world

If you have ever dreamed of stepping out onto a beach where the sand is so soft and white that it looks and feels like snow, then Siesta Key has exactly what you have been dreaming about. This picture-perfect Gulf Coast Florida beach is known for its’ pure white sand which is comprised of 99% quartz. The sand is so soft that it has won many awards over the year, most notably “the whitest and finest sand in the world” in the International Beach Challenge of 1987.

Sarasota is a gorgeous Gulf Coast city and well worth a visit, not just for Siesta, but also for various other attractions. These include: beautiful St. Armand’s Circle dining and shopping area (home to the fabulous Columbia restaurant), Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and many other top rated beaches.

Jerome – The largest ghost town in America

Take a stroll through Jerome, Arizona, the liveliest ghost town you will ever step foot in

The historic, haunted Jerome Grand Hotel

Jerome is a tiny former Northern Arizona copper mining town whose nickname is “the largest ghost town in America.” Once arriving, you will be wondering where this nickname came from as the town seems to be bustling with tourists and business. While the population of this town once dwindled down so low it was declared a ghost town (pop went from 15,000 to 50 when the copper mines closed during the depression), it now stands as one of Arizona’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s hard to believe that a once abandoned town is now a thriving tourist hotspot. The former ghost town is now loaded with local restaurants, shops, galleries, and wine tasting rooms.

Jerome has a very haunted history and at one point even published a special newspaper called the Jerome Ghost Post. Most of the buildings around town have had their share of ghost stories, particularly the Jerome Grand Hotel, which was once a mental institution. You can sign up for a fun ghost tour with real ghost hunting equipment in hand as you explore this spooky old building. Wait until Halloween to plan your visit as the hotel goes all out in terms of spooky decor! Even the staff dresses up! Or dare to spend the night – but be aware that most guests end up leaving or sleeping in the lobby after hearing/seeing strange things!

Pagosa Springs

Soak in the deepest hot springs in the world

The deepest hot springs in the world in Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Soothe your aching muscles after a long day exploring the beautiful trails of Southwestern Colorado with a soak in the world’s deepest hot springs (1002 ft deep!). Pagosa Springs is a fantastic spring and summer vacation destination due to the many gorgeous hiking trails.

After a bunch of intense high altitude outdoor adventures (check out the fabulous Treasure Falls hike), your muscles will surely be aching. This is when a trip to The Springs resort is much needed. This gorgeous resort is home to over 10 mineral pools, varying in temps from a very mild 90 degrees to a blistering 110 in the “Lobster Pot”pool! Minerals springs have long been regarded to cure various illnesses due to their rich mineral content which includes sulfur, a natural detoxification agent. Whether or not these healing mineral pools really cure any diseases, they sure melt away stress and soothe achy, overworked muscles!

The Lizzie Borden House

The creepiest, most haunted B&B in all of New England

Lizzie Borden House in Fall River

Most of us are familiar with the infamous Lizzie Borden ax murder case of 1892. Who remembers this riddle? “Lizzie Borden took an axe. She gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” Did you know that the infamous Fall River house has been transformed into a Bed and Breakfast? The house is one of the most haunted places in the entire state. Various paranormal groups have explored the space and it was even used as a basis for a storyline for a Supernatural episode (best show ever – watch it!)

Due to the eerie vibe in the house, many overnight guests leave early due to simply getting spooked out! Don’t worry – you can sign up for a tamer tour, although strange occurrences are not limited to the night hours! For instance, Lizzie’s ghost is often reported in the upper window (your tour guide will pass around the evidence). Also, I felt an extremely cold sensation while standing by the air conditioner in Lizzie’s room, only to find out later there was no air on! Note – an unnaturally cold presence is said to signal a ghost! It was hot outside so quite impossible for the room to be so cold.

Tour guides are very knowledgeable about the case and very entertaining. Really, the entire experience is amazing and one of the best tours I’ve ever been on. Touring the house is a unique activity away from the tourist norm in Boston. In Fall River, you will also be able to visit the cemetery where the Bordens were laid to rest.

The shark slide at the Golden Nugget

Slide down a shark tank in Vegas

Shark tank water slide at the Golden Nugget in Vegas

Lots of unique attractions can be found all around Vegas, not just on the Strip! For those of us who have visited Vegas a time or 2, it’s time to explore some of the unique attractions off The Strip! One of the most exciting and interesting things to do involves sliding through a real shark tank!

This unique pool is found at the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street. You have to be a hotel guest to use the pool, but you can still catch a glimpse of the famous tank. Ttaying at the Golden Nugget isn’t such a bad idea as its’ the nicest hotel on Fremont Street. Plus, the rates are typically way lower than The Strip’s 4 star options!

Location: 129 Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas, NV 89101

The end of Rt.66

The official end of The Mother Road

Santa Monica Pier End of Route 66 sign

Most tourists head to the Santa Monica Pier for the old-fashioned amusement pier rides and the beautiful coastal views. Did you know that the pier actually marks the end of the historic Rt 66? You can get a really cool photo here and also shop for all sorts of nostalgic memorabilia – it’s a must-do for Rt. 66 fans! And do not leave without a ride on the classic coaster – what a view!

Location: 200 Santa Monica Pier Santa Monica, CA 90401

Alligator Alley

A narrow path bordered by the 2nd most densely populated gator lake in Florida

Alligator Alley at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida

Alligator Alley is a name given to a very narrow trail loaded with alligators on both sides at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida. After walking the trail, you will understand why this trail was nicknamed as so! In fact, I have seen more than 2 dozen gators on a single visit! Most of us are a bit cautious doing anything gator related, not surprisingly so, as attacks seem to be more prevalent in recent years. However, if you feel like taking a risk, this trail is pretty awesome as you get to see so many gators up close in their natural habitat.

The preserve is home to Lake Hancock, one of the most densely populated alligator lakes in all of Florida. It is estimated that there are more than 600 gators per mile of shoreline! Take caution, view only from a distance, and do not allow kids or dogs anywhere near the water!

Hocus Pocus filming sites

Several real life sites used for the Halloween cult classic are found in Salem

The Hocus Pocus house in Salem, Massachusetts

Memorabilia related to 90’s Disney Halloween classic Hocus Pocus can be found throughout the Salem area. They even screen the movie outside in Salem Common around Halloween time! Plus, there is a wax figure of Winifred at Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery! This is no surprise as this movie is pretty awesome – a yearly tradition for me for over 20 years! Anyone who grew up watching this Halloween favorite in the 90’s must plan a visit to Salem to check out several memorable filming sites. All these sites look exactly the same today!

Note: Some of these are private residences, do not bother or trespass on property! Max and Dani’s house, Allison’s house, Old Town Hall (scene of the parent’s party), and Pioneer Village (location of the Sanderson’s house) can all be viewed via a self-guided tour. For those who haven’t seen the cheesy Disney story of 3 witches being brought back from the dead on Halloween night – what are you waiting for?!

More info & where to find the Hocus Pocus filming sites

Petrified National Forest

Explore 200+ million year old fossils from the Late Triassic period

Petrified wood at the Petrified National Forest

The Petrified National Forest is one of the most strange and fascinating places to visit out West. If you find yourself looking for interesting things to do on a Northern Arizona vacation, a day trip to the Petrified National Forest is a must.  This park is really unique as you will be able to get an up close look at ancient petrified wood. Petrified wood occurs when fallen trees plant material is replaced with minerals. This turns the wood into a fossil.

225 million years ago silica replaced the wood in the trees in this area with quartz, which in turn, turned the wood into petrified wood, which gives it a shiny appearance which resembles a crystal. It’s a really incredible sight to witness in person! There are various ways to explore this park including a scenic loop drive, several hiking trails, numerous historic sites, and a great educational visitor’s center. The Petrified National Forest is a perfect day trip for anyone vacationing/staying at nearby areas like the Grand Canyon, Sedona, or Flagstaff.

Gator Gal airboat rides

Alligator watch aboard the world’s largest airboat

Up close views of a gator at Myakka State Park in Sarasota, Florida

Myakka River State Park is one of the most interesting parks in Florida. This Gulf Coast treasure near Sarasota also happens to be one of Florida’s oldest and largest parks. There are so many fun things to do here, my favorite being an alligator watching tour aboard Gator Gal, the world’s largest airboat. The tours are both educational and fun. You will see lots and lots of gators, especially if you visit during the prime season.

An airboat ride is a great alternative for those who are squeamish over the thought of hiking and/or biking anywhere near alligators. An airboat rides allows you to safely view these beautiful historic creatures from a distance! This tour also happens to be a terrific value compared to most in Florida, at just 15 bucks a ride! Overall, Myakka is just a great park -definitely the hidden treasure of the Gulf coast!

Update: Pontoon rides have replaced the airboat ride.

Location: 13208 State Rd 72, Sarasota, FL 34241

A Christmas Story House

Tour the house used for filming the holiday cult classic

A Christmas Story House in Cleveland OH

I love A Christmas Story – it’s been one of my holiday favorites for over 20 years. It’s hard to believe that this movie was once a flop! Recurrent 24 hour marathons on TBS have made the holiday classic more popular than ever, turning it into a cult classic that many of us love. Did you know that the house used to film the movie is located in Cleveland, Ohio and that you can actually walk around and take pictures?! It has been remodeled to match the film set, so it’s pretty cool to walk around and recognize all your favorite scenes from the movie.

The tour is so much fun, with lots of trivia and tidbits to learn about the cast and filming process. And, there is a special museum loaded with all sorts of memorabilia and the best gift shop ever! Who knows so much “A Christmas Story” novelty gifts could be found in a single room? This is the place to stock up for future gifts for any hardcore fans! On a side note, the house puts on a super festive Christmas 5k each year. Runners dress up in crazy costumes and pass the finish line with the movie playing on a gigantic screen! For a unique race which combines holiday fun with movie memorabilia, this is as good as it gets!

The Monte Vista – Rt 66’s most haunted hotel

Dare to spend the night in Room 305

The historic hotel Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff AZ

Although you can no longer drive the entire Rt. 66, portions of “The Mother Road” from Chicago to California are still driveable. One of the most interesting and well traveled portions of 66 is found in Northern Arizona, near Flagstaff. This cool, high altitude towns sits at an elevation of 7000 feet. It’s a popular summer escape for desert dwellers escaping the intense heat.

The town is home to a historic downtown – a rare sight in southern Arizona due to the heavy suburbanization. Around town, you will find some older historic buildings, many of which are reportedly haunted.

The historic Monte Vista, built in 1927, is known to be the most haunted hotel on Rt. 66. Various celebrities guests (including John Wayne) as well as many tourists over the years have reported the same ghostly visions. Room 305 is one of the top places for ghost sightings in the country. An old woman in a rocking chair by the window is said to haunt the room. Dare to spend the night or simply enjoy a cup of great coffee while people watching at Cafe Rendezvous.

Treetop canopy walk at Myakka State Park

Walk across one of the only treetop canopy walkways in the world

Treetop canopy walk at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida

One of Florida’s oldest parks is quite unique in that it is home to Florida’s only treetop canopy walk. It happens to be one of just a few dozen in the world. You’ll have the unique opportunity to trek across a suspension bridge high up in the woods, before arriving at a 76 foot observation tower overlooking all the beautiful woody scenery.

Burial Hill

The final resting place of the Mayflower passengers

Historic Burial Hill in Plymouth MA

Burial Hill is an odd place in Plymouth which combines history, beauty, and the paranormal. Burial is gorgeous for its’ hilltop location and the resulting coastal views, and creepy for the old weathered gravestones which are no longer legible. Many of the headstones are so old that they are cracked in half, and if that isn’t eerie enough, ghosts have been repeatedly sighted throughout the years!

Many Mayflower passengers are buried here, so history buffs should definitely plan a visit. The oldest grave belongs to Edward Gray and dates all the way back to 1681! And, if you are up for a real scare, sign up for the Plymouth Night Tour (the best ghost tour in New England) and you will get to test out ghost hunting equipment in the graveyard, as well as other haunted locales in town (expectantly there are many!). Also near the cemetery is historic Leyden Street, which dates back to 1621, making it the oldest continuously inhabited street in the US!

National Monument to our Forefathers

The world’s tallest granite monument 

National Monument to our Forefathers in Plymouth, Massachusetts

The majestic National Monument to Our Forefathers is a gorgeous solid granite monument (the largest in the world!) dedicated to the Pilgrims. It’s quite an experience to pull up to a small park away from the touristy stuff in Plymouth and come across this gigantic statue which has a slight resemblance to the Statue of Liberty.

At 81 feet tall, it’s actually half the size of the Statue of Liberty! Dedication ceremonies took place in 1889 after 30 years of work! There is a nice plaque commemorating the Pilgrims. Overall, this monument is just amazing, one of the most overlooked historical sights of interest in the state.

Location: 71 Allerton St Plymouth, MA 02360

Horseshoe Bend

A natural Northern Arizona wonder formed by the unique curve of the Colorado river

Beautiful Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona

In Page, Arizona you will find a unique looking geologic feature known as Horseshoe Bend, named as so due to the unique horseshoe-like shape that the Colorado river forms around the sandstone rock formation. You can take some gorgeous photos here, however, be aware of the 1000 foot drop as many tourists sadly die attempting to take all sorts of crazy photos!

This breathtaking natural wonder (accessible via a short steep 1 mile hike) is located in Northern Arizona, thus making it a good detour on any national park road trip. I made my detour on the way to Zion National Park, although it’s also an easy day trip from Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.

Location: Hwy 89 Page, AZ 86040

The Lucky Horseshoe Palm Tree

Legend says that standing within this unique palm’s curve leads to 5 years of good luck!

The lucky horseshoe palm at Silver Springs State Park in Florida

At beautiful Silver Springs State Park in Florida, a unique horseshoe shaped palm tree grows. Not only is the tree quite an unusual sight due to its’ twisty shape, it also happens to be quite lucky. Legend says that if you stand within the loop, you will receive 5 years of good luck. If you end up taking one of the glass bottom boat rides (Florida’s oldest tourist attraction) for which the park is known for (and you should because they are fantastic!), your tour guide will point out this unusual tree, as well as explain the local legend in more detail.

El Tiradito Wishing Shrine

Legend says that wishes come true when a lit candle burns throughout the night 

El Tiradito wishing shrine in Tucson, Arizona

El Tiradito is a unique downtown Tucson historical site, dating back to the 1870’s. The “wishing shrine” is said to be the only US shrine dedicated to the soul of a sinner buried in unconsecrated ground. Stories differ on the legend of the shrine, with the most popular involving a shepherd named Juan Oliveros whom was having an affair with his mother in law (where the shrine stands today) when the husband caught them and killed Juan.

Visitors began lighting candles to free his soul. Various strange legends about the mysterious powers of the shrine are still an important part of the Mexican culture today. Legend goes that if you light a candle and it burns throughout the night that your wish will come true.

Location: 420 S Main Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701


A unique eroded sandstone rock used by ancient tribes to mark the summer solstice

Hole in the Rock at Papago Park in Phoenix

Hole-in-the-Rock is a unique geologic feature found in Papago Park in Phoenix. Even though this massive park is adjacent to the popular zoo, most tourists simply pass by it, which is a shame as the views here are pretty fantastic! Asides hiking trails and a nice stocked pond, the real standout here is a unique eroded sandstone rock formation which was created 6-15 million years ago.

A small pathway leads to the eroded rock, from where you will be able to enjoy some stunning views of the city, particularly at sunset. The Hohokam tribes used the opening to record the summer solstice by way of using a bedrock to measure where the sun’s rays fell through the ceiling opening.

Location: 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Paul Bunyan statue – A quirky roadside attraction worth stopping for 

The tallest known statue of Paul Bunyan

Giant 49 foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan at the Trees of Mystery in Northern California

There are numerous statues of Paul Bunyan throughout the country, the most famous being the gigantic statue of Paul Bunyan (49 foot tall) with Babe the Blue Ox (34 foot tall) at the Trees of Mystery in Northern California. These statues are quite hard to miss as they dramatically pop out seemingly out of nowhere amidst the woods as you are driving along the 101.

Of course, there is no way you can resist stopping for a picture on the famous boot. As soon as you walk up, you will notice that even the boot itself is so much taller than you! Great photo opp here! And while you are here, you have to take a ride on the amazing gondola – trust me, it’s worth it!

Location: 15500 US-101, Klamath, CA 95548

World’s largest petrified tree

An Arizona oddity along I-40

"The world's largest petrified tree" at Geronimo Trading Post in Northern Arizona

As mentioned earlier, The Petrified Forest is one of the most interesting places to visit in Arizona. While you will get an up close look of this ancient wood at various locales throughout the park, the forest is surprisingly not home to the largest piece of petrified wood. Oddly enough, the largest petrified tree is said to be found on I-40 about 5 miles outside of the park at Geronimo Trading Post. Although other reports claim that the largest petrified tree is actually in Thailand.

Easily seen from the highway via a humongous billboard proclaiming “the world’s largest petrified tree,” it’s impossible to miss. The massive 45 foot ton piece of petrified wood is so big that there is no way it can ever be physically moved. The gift shop offers lots of unique trinkets like Arizona and RT 66 memorabilia, along with petrified wood of all shapes, sizes, and prices. If you are heading out to The Petrified Forest, Geronimo’s is a nice quick stop for a photo and browse around the gift shop, if anything just to stretch your legs a bit before getting back on the road.

Location: 5372 Geronimo Road, Joseph City, AZ 86032

Tumbleweed Christmas tree

A unique Christmas tradition in the Sonoran Desert

Tumbleweed Christmas tree in downtown Chandler Arizona

In Chandler, a quiet suburb of Phoenix, you will find a most unusual holiday tradition. The 60+ year tradition of putting up a special desert themed tumbleweed tree has been going strong since 1956. Starting in October each year, about 1500 tumbleweeds are collected, followed by a 2 week period spent constructing the frame, glittering and painting the tree, and adding decor. This is a really unique tradition,. It’s the last standing holiday tumbleweed tree in The Southwest, and definitely a sight to add to your to-do list if you happen to be planning a winter trip to Phoenix.

The World’s Largest Pistachio

Take your pic next to a 30 foot pistachio

the world's largest pistachio in New Mexico

A quirky roadstop along Hwy 54 in southern New Mexico, Pistachioland, helps to break up the boredom of long hours driving along the barren desert roads. At Pistachioland, you can take your picture next to the world’s largest pistachio, tour a pistachio farm by tram, sample all sorts of unique pistachio flavors, treat yourself to a cool pistachio flavored ice cream treat, sample fudge and wine, and pick up all sorts of unique gourmet food items and souvenirs. One of my favorite roadside stops!

Location:  7320 Hwy 54 70, Alamogordo, NM 88310

White Sands National Monument

Snow” in the Desert

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico

Where else can you go sledding in the desert? Popping seemingly out of the middle of nowhere in the  Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico are the mesmerizing rare white gypsum sand dunes that make up White Sands National Monument. The coolest part of all is that you can walk bare feet on the sand even on the 100 degree summer days as gypsum sand does not absorb heat.

This place is the strangest I’ve visited – you really feel as if you are walking on a smooth sandy beach here, similar to one of the Gulf Coast gems in Florida. You will also notice during your visit that sledding down the dunes is a very popular activity. White Sands is a really unique place like no other in the country and totally worth stopping for if you find yourself vacationing or traveling through the southern portion of New Mexico.

Devil’s Kitchen

Legend says the devil himself created this unique crack in the granite

Devil's Kitchen at Caesars Head State Park in Upstate South Carolina

While the Upstate SC park is more well known for its’ beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls, there is one odd attractions sure to please anyone seeking out the unusual. At Caesars Head State Park you will have the opportunity to squeeze through a narrow passageway located in between 2 giant rocks.

Appropriately nicknamed Devil’s Kitchen, the story involves the devil himself. Local legend says that the devil accidentally created the passageway by spilling a hot liquid over the rock.

While you are here be sure to hike to Raven Cliff Falls, which at 350 feet, is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Southeast.

Lowell Ghost Town

Tale a step back to the 50’s on abandoned Erie Street

Not much is left of historic Lowell Arizona, an old mining town near the now thriving tourist community of Bisbee. Take a walk down deserted Erie Street and see abandoned businesses, including an old gas station, greyhound station, and a theater. The ambiance is super creepy, and not surprisingly, the setting was used for the Stephen King horror flick Desperation.

Note: I will continue adding new strange, wonderful, odd, and off-the-beathen path attractions to this list as I make my way across the country. Check back often for updates!

What unique attraction should I visit next? What are some of the strangest places you have visited?