With a country as vast as the USA, there’s always something new to discover on the daily. World-famous destinations like The Empire State Building in New York, the Venice Beach in Los Angeles, and Chicago’s Bean always take center stage in travel photos, especially for people exploring Northern America for the first time. However, there’s so much more to see and experience if you only knew where to look.
If you’re daring and willing to uncover America’s uniquely odd tourist attractions, the 705 best family vacations in the US list can help you whip up an unusual itinerary so that you can get to know the US in all its unboxed glory. Here are some of the strange yet undeniably charming landmarks to visit at least once in your life!
- 1. Carhenge in Alliance Nebraska
- 2. Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California
- 3. Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard in Waterbury, Vermont
- 4. Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
- 5. Marfa Lights in Marfa, Texas
- 6. Weeki Wachee Mermaids in Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida
- 7. Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama
- 8. Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California
- 9. Fly Ranch Geyser in Reno, Nevada
- 10. Centralia, Pennsylvania
- 11. International Banana Museum in Mecca, California
- 12. Museum of Bad Art in Boston, Massachusetts
- Ready to travel to these one-of-a-kind destinations?
1. Carhenge in Alliance Nebraska
If you’ve always been captivated by the eerily beautiful Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, Nebraska’s very own version might just be a fun and delightful sight for you. The Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska, is a modern take on the popular international destination. However, instead of standing stones, you will see vintage American cars spray-painted in gray.
The Carhenge is made of 39 automobiles welded on supporting models and assembled in a circle. The site also has other artworks installed, which are all made from cars painted in different colors. It’s perfect for fans of automobiles and public art! Also, there are some free things to do in Nebraska that you can check.
2. Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California
The state of California is quite popular for its breathtaking beaches, but there’s one standout that boasts an unconventional beauty to it. Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach features glass shards right at its shoreline. Mother Nature got to work by washing up all the garbage dumped in the area from 1906 to 1967 as smooth pieces of glass towards the shore, hence its name.
The area is protected, which means that it’s illegal to take a shard as a remembrance. However, you can take unlimited pictures and bask in the unusual sight before you.
3. Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard in Waterbury, Vermont
When you think ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s is one of the most American brands that bring a flavor for every palate. However, the novelty of this company not only applies to its confectionaries but can also be experienced through its Flavor Graveyard right beside the company’s Waterbury, Vermont factory.
The Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard has 34 “de-pinted” flavors (for now), each having an epitaph on a granite headstone. You can check the unusual attraction out along with the factory tour experience offered by the company.
4. Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
With over 100 years of history, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, is proof that the state boasts a rich agricultural climate. This tourist attraction is the only one in the world to show creative murals all made out of corn. There’s a designated theme every year—2017’s Rock of Ages was a hit and depicted Elvis, John Travolta, and Willie Nelson in corn forms.
Tourism in the area has grown steadily because of the site alongside other top road trip spots, raking more than half a million visitors all over the US every year.
5. Marfa Lights in Marfa, Texas
Glowing orbs in the sky are always a sight to behold. The Marfa Lights in Texas remain a mystery despite being first found in the 19th century. This bright display on the desert sky on the outskirts of Marfa remains a bizarre yet utterly enchanting destination for those with a fascination for meteorology. Even when you’re not, witnessing these orbs can be a fun experience, too.
There’s currently no known schedule for when the lights might appear, especially since they have been noted in various seasons all year-round. However, they only happen at least a dozen or so times a year. If you’re lucky enough to catch it, be sure to take memorabilia of this rare display!
6. Weeki Wachee Mermaids in Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida
If you believe in mermaids, you might want to check out the Weeki Wachee Mermaids in Florida. The Weeki Wachi Springs State Park is a haven for wildlife entertainment, such as the regular mermaid shows featuring experts who swim and perform like they live and breathe underwater. It’s the perfect family getaway that your kids will love to watch.
You can also enjoy other forms of entertainment while in the park, like the River Boat Cruise or wildlife shows that will open up your eyes to the spectacle of nature.
7. Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama
Ever wonder what happens to the luggage that gets orphaned in airports across the globe? Some of them go to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama to be sold, recycled, or donated to a new owner. It has built a strong relationship with airlines and transportation companies, making the center grow to what it is today.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center gets over a million visitors per year and is now spans a city block at 40,000 square ft. The site also has a store map and a café on-site for people who come and check out some surprising finds. If you want to find out more such quirky and cheap things to do in Alabama, check out our dedicated sampling.
8. Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California
The Winchester Mystery House was built in 1884 in San Jose, California and is widely known for its bizarre architecture and history. It’s also one of the most infamous haunted houses in the US, with many rooms, stairs, and doors that add to the spookiness. The legend tells the story of Sarah Winchester being guided by spirits upon building the house, which lasted for over 30 years until her death day in 1922.
The family descendants still own the property but have opened the doors of the mysterious house for public tours. It’s the ultimate destination for travelers who crave a bit of horror and adventure.
9. Fly Ranch Geyser in Reno, Nevada
Not many people know of the Fly Ranch Geyser in Reno, Nevada, but it’s undeniably one of the coolest attractions to find in the city. The geyser about five feet of water into the air, which makes a spectacular sight. The site cannot be accessed by the public, but a ride along the state’s Route 34 can let you get a glimpse of this wonder.
The Fly Ranch Geyser used to be a human-made well in the early 1900s but has since become a geyser due to geothermally-heated water seeping through the cracks. There have been attempts to cap it off but to no avail. It’s an interesting destination to look at from a safe distance away.
10. Centralia, Pennsylvania
What if you find a near-ghost town with a coal mine fire that’s still burning today? You can experience all that in the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, with its underground fire that started in 1962, said to burn for 250 years. In 2017, there were only five residents in the borough.
It’s highly dangerous to enter the town, but you can witness the graffiti-covered Route 61 that leads to it. Centralia is also featured on many documentaries, video games, and movies, but it’s fascinating indeed to witness it in person.
11. International Banana Museum in Mecca, California
Yes, there is a museum dedicated to these yellow finger-like fruits! The International Banana Museum is located in Mecca, California, and is home to a wide array of every banana-related item you can recall and more. It is also a Guinness Book of World Records title holder for the largest collection devoted to a single fruit worldwide.
Aside from the display found in the museum, the banana ambassador Platty hops on the plane now and then, advocating for the fruit and museum globally. It’s worth a visit at least once if ever you’re in the area!
12. Museum of Bad Art in Boston, Massachusetts
There are plenty of art museums in the US, but only a few that showcase the not-so-good pieces. However, if you have a knack for art, albeit unpretty, you should try to visit the Museum of Bad Art in three galleries across Boston, Massachusetts. You can find one in the lobby of Brookline Access Television, the Somerville Theater basement, and the Dedham Community Theater.
These MOBA galleries are dedicated to celebrating and preserving bad art from talented artists, although it’s a stretch to call these artworks bad. If you love a unique museum experience, you can pay a visit to any of these displays and find pieces that will move you in a different yet enriching way.
Ready to travel to these one-of-a-kind destinations?
Explore the US in its quirkiness when you come to these destinations, and see what makes America one of the best countries to tour. Find something new about this country with every place you visit. You’ll be falling in love with the US over and over again!
You can fly by plane or take the classic route by going on a road trip for that all-American experience. When you go on a driving tour, you’ll also be able to make stops and plan an itinerary that will make it worthwhile and fun.