"The Thing" roadside attraction in Dragoon, Arizona
Summer is coming and you want to enjoy a getaway. Beaches and mountain cabin vacations aside, consider incorporating a few unusual destinations into the road trip and you might just impress your family and give yourself the most crazy memories ever!
There are two great sources to find the oddest and creepiest places in your destination location - Atlas Obscura and Weird US.
Atlas Obscura has the nicest feature on their website. You can fill in the "find" and the "near" blanks. So, you can type in something like find "ghost town" and near "Arizona" and gives you a list of great finds!
If you don't own the Weird US book, you need to own it. It should be a basic in your library, as well as the individual ones written for the states so you can learn all about your state's oddities for daytime road trips or weekend getaways.
Their website allows you to look for either unusual things by category or by state. These guys seriously covered every urban legend, weird place, scary history, and mystery, cryptid, ghost... you name it!
The Weird US authors, Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman, have done the most amazing job gathering stories, interviewing folks, going to locations, and sharing some of the most freaky stuff out there from abandoned sites and urban legends to ancient mysteries and notorious people to ghosts and oddities.
Old House Woods, Diggs, VA
Before my BFF Julie and I went on our trip to Virginia, I got the Weird Virginia book and found legends that even this born-and-raised-in-Virginia girl never heard about. Since we were heading down to the southern part of the Chesapeake, we found legends to chase all along the way, cemeteries to photograph and even sat vigil looking for some pirate ghosts.
You can plan an entire trip based on these sites, books and videos for haunted places to stay, sites to photograph, weird things to experience from gravity hills to spook lights.
I hope these places inspire your summer plans!
Atlas Obscura website
Atlas Obscura YouTube channel
Weird US website
Weird US YouTube channel
If you're up in Oregon near Gold Hill between Medford and Grants Pass, you might want to check out the Oregon Portal. It's an optical illusion house that will blow your mind.
"Nowhere in the circle do you normally stand erect. Inevitably the visitor assumes a posture that inclines toward magnetic north. The corona of The Vortex, as well as the minor vortices, discovered during the continuous study of The Vortex, are among the unique phenomena to be observed here.
As another person, on a level platform, recedes from you towards magnetic south, they appear taller. When they approach you, coming towards magnetic north, they become shorter. This is contrary to the laws of perspective, as we know it, and must be seen to be believed."
In Northeast Oklahoma/Southwest Missouri is a location referred to as "The Devil's Promenade" where a spooklight reveals itself regularly. This orange ball of light floats around, dances up and down above the roadway.
If you're traveling into Kansas, you might stop by the Stull Cemetery where there is a location referred to as "Gates of Hell." You can't just go into the cemetery, and neighbors make sure you don't sneak in, but you can see it through the chainlink fencing. It is said on Halloween evil spirits take over.
Choosing locations -
Look for notorious UFO crash sites, haunted cemeteries, spooklights, haunted roadways, local monsters, ghost trains, vortexes, battlefields, and the like. Any road trip can have diversions to local oddities with a little bit of research.
I utilize Google Earth when planning treks so I can be sure I'm not missing anything cool and unusual. You can drop the figure down to the roadway to see what it looks like when you're driving it. I utilize it to for urban exploration - looking for abandoned sites to photograph.
Add some creepy oddity to your road trip and impress your family or friends.