Culture + Style

5 Weirdly Cool Places to Visit in the USA

The spray-painted autos comprising Carhenge are among the best weirdly cool sights in the USA. (Photo: Alamy)

The USA is home to all kinds of photo-worthy attractions, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Statue of Liberty. But there are some sites around the country that are just as weird as they are cool. From an alleged site of extraterrestrial visits to a castle constructed entirely of coral, there’s no shortage of one-of-a-kind, unusual sights to see in the USA.

Carhenge

You can’t get any weirder than Carhenge, a replica of England’s Stonehenge made entirely out of old, painted cars in western Nebraska. Located in the middle of the prairie about 250 kilometers northeast of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Carhenge is truly an “off the beaten path” attraction. In 1987, artist Jim Reinders created Carhenge out of 39 vintage automobiles as a way to study the design of Stonehenge and attempt to determine its purpose. Due to its popularity, a visitor’s center was constructed in 2006 to offer more information about this quirky U.S. treasure.

Death Valley’s Racetrack

Death Valley Racetrack
Rocks zip along at the Death Valley Racetrack. (Photo: Alamy)

Stretching along the California-Nevada border, Death Valley National Park is famous for its otherworldly landscape, complete with rolling sand dunes and towering mountain peaks. But the most peculiar part of the park’s landscape might be the Racetrack. Located in the California portion of the park, this stretch of dried lakebed looks almost as though it’s made of tiles, the geometric surface disturbed only by — wait for it — traveling rocks. Although no one has actually seen the rocks move, their paths are clearly visible. Scientists believe that the rocks are propelled across the hot desert floor when minimal rainfall freezes and then melts in the hot sun, causing the rocks (some of them weighing up to 270 kilograms) to slide.

Coral Castle

Coral Castle
Did aliens build Coral Castle? (Photo: Alamy)

Florida is home to many kitschy attractions and one-of-a-kind wonders that have beckoned tourists for decades. However, none is as uniquely eccentric as the Coral Castle. Located about 50 kilometers southwest of Miami, the castle was built by Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin using nearly 1,000 metric tons of coral rock. The construction of this magnificent structure is cause for a bit of speculation from Florida natives. Many believe Leedskalnin used supernatural abilities, since he constructed the castle by himself without any machinery. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the castle is a museum open daily for tours.

Area 51

You can’t watch a Twilight Zone episode or a sci-fi movie without hearing a mention of Area 51, the U.S. Air Force test site 134 kilometers north of Las Vegas, Nevada. Science fiction readers and conspiracy theorists believe the area houses unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and other proof of extraterrestrial life. Since it’s still an active top-secret government area, you aren’t allowed to tour or even park near the entrances of Area 51. You can enjoy the alien-themed gas stations, restaurants and gift shops along the Extraterrestrial Highway, (also known as Nevada State Route 375).

Fremont Troll

Fremont troll
The Fremont Troll lurks beneath a Seattle overpass. (Photo: Alamy)

Lurking beneath an overpass in Seattle, Washington‘s Fremont district, this troll has been a spooky presence since 1990. He was built by four local artists as part of a competition promoting urban renewal. Standing 5.5 meters in height, the bearded giant clutches a sculpture of a Volkswagen Beetle in one hand while propping himself up with the other, giving him the appearance of climbing out of the ground. The Fremont Troll has become a beloved part of the neighborhood, charming locals and attracting visitors from all over the world.


This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.