Every road traveler needs roadside gas stations, food, and hotels. Many small towns understand this and have carved a niche to attract visitors. From being extremely weird to cute, some towns have managed to set historic records. And there are few of them in the United States.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the weirdest small towns around. You’ll probably be familiar with some of them since you may live closer. However, others may be unheard of to you. These small-town stories are creepy, fascinating, and funny. You can see some for yourself here.
Adams, TN – The Bell Witch Cave
Adams, Tennessee, wouldn’t be strange if it weren’t the home to the Bell Witch Cave. A woman named Kate Batts was involved in a bad land deal. Before her death, she cursed the Bell family whom she had dealt with. The family claimed they started seeing ghosts near their home.
The story about the ghost eventually spread to every part of the country, and it brought people’s attention to the town. The folklore became a thing that inspired others beyond the South-eastern areas. According to numerous stories, former U.S. president Andrew Jackson had an encounter with the ghost-like image.
Whittier, AK – Where Everyone Lives Together
Whittier, Alaska, is probably the only registered town where all the residents live together under one roof. Everyone in Whittier lives in a large cinderblock building that used to be an army barracks. The 14-story tower has a church, a police station, an inn, and a clinic.
You can access the town from a small tunnel. It might, however, be out of service for a long time so taking a boat is a better option, too. The inn has the best interior décor in the tower, and it comes with binoculars.
Colma, CA – The City of Souls
Colma is a small town in California, also called the ”city of souls.” This is because the lowly populated town has around 2 million burials and 17 cemeteries. In the 1880s, there was no place to bury the dead in nearby San Francisco, so they decided to hold funerals in Colma.
The two-square-mile town now holds a huge number of cemeteries. Travelers who pass through Colma can also visit the graves of some famous American icons like Wild West sheriff Wyatt Earp, Levi Strauss, and William Randolph Hearst. It clearly deserves to be called the “city of souls.”
Tangier, VA – The Locals Have British Accent
Tangier, Virginia, is located on Tangier Island in Chesapeake Bay. You will find one of the oddest accents in America here. It is pretty much isolated, and the locals’ accents sound more British than American. Linguists who studied the accent say it is a long-forgotten American accent.
They suspect the early colonists and the founding fathers sounded similar. However, like in many small towns, the youths are moving out, and some are worried the accent will be erased eventually. If you are curious to hear how early American English sounded, just take an island vacation to Tangier.
The Villages, FL – The Wild Old Folks Village
Florida is widely known for many things, but its older population is worthy of note. The villages in Florida aren’t your regular retirement home. They have one of the highest rates of STDs in the country. Visitors have reported seeing old folks making love in public places.
The people in the area are also known for excessive drug use and sexual acts. The residents, who number about 70,000, don’t seem to have a problem with this. Quite frankly, it doesn’t sound like the worst place to live at the end of a long day.
Alma, AR – The World’s Former Spinach Capital
This isn’t a widely known fact, but there is a canning factory in Alma, Arkansas. The town’s factory once boasts of producing over 65% of the world’s spinach. Presently, the town still celebrates the achievement with a statue and water tower illustrating Popeye, the sailor.
The town also hosts an annual spinach festival where everyone can take part in a spinach-eating contest. You can visit to channel your inner Popeye. There are other events such as rock climbing, bull riding, and a petting zoo. There is also a waterpark and a couple of museums.
Miracle Village, FL – Where Ex-Convicts Find Peace
Richard Witherow, a minister, founded Miracle Village in Florida. The town is more of a community and haven for registered sex offenders seeking refuge after serving their jail terms. Florida, like other states, has laws preventing said offenders from living within a certain radius of schools, libraries, and playgrounds.
So, this means a large percentage of Miracle Village’s residents are registered offenders. It makes sense since it is one of the places, they can legally live in. Most residents who lived there before it became a legal community for said offenders say that the town is quiet and peaceful.
Homosassa, FL – The Man-Made Island
How Homosassa Island, Florida, exists is pretty much a coincidence. The story of the island is a bit crazy. The place was a bunch of small rocks that took out unsuspecting boats. To get rid of them, a local developer instructed his crew members to “throw some dirt on it.”
By the time he returned to the spot, they had built it up into a little island. The place is also filled with monkeys who were originally brought to the town to research a potential polio vaccine. However, they became a nuisance and were banished to the island.
Philippi, WV – Where You Can Find Mummies
To be clear, the mummies in Philippi, West Virginia, didn’t come from ancient Egypt. They were two American women diagnosed with mental disorders who had to live at an asylum. After their deaths, the corpses were embalmed and moved across the country with P.T. Barnum’s traveling circus.
Currently, they can be found at the Barbour County Historical Museum, where visitors can still view them. The town is also the site of the U.S. Civil War’s first land battle. The area might eventually break away from greater Virginia in favor of the remaining union.
Dudleytown, CT – The Haunted Town
Dudleytown is an abandoned town in Connecticut, existing like something out of a horror story. According to legend, the Dudley family, who had some scrapes with royalty and the plague back in England, inspired the naming of the town. A member of the family even had his head chopped off.
The residents of Dudleytown started leaving when people were going crazy and dying for no reason. Soon, there was nobody left. However, there are a couple of private homes still left in the area, and the site is a nature park for tourists.
Casey, IL – The Home of the Giants
Casey, Illinois, was founded in 1834, but it took the town several decades to begin carving a niche as a town known for housing comically large items. You’ll find a 32-foot-tall pencil and a 56-foot-tall rocking chair, among a few other oddities there.
Today, the town has become a tourist center for passing travelers and visitors. Most of these items were built by a man called Jim Bolin, who wanted to make the town more attractive to tourists and boost the local economy after the Great Recession. It clearly worked!
San Luis Obispo, CA – The World’s Largest Bubble Gum Alley
San Luis Obispo in California is the home of what is likely the largest bubble gum alley in the world. No one knows exactly how the alley started, but one of the theories out there says that it began as a graduating class event or as a school rivalry.
Some locals say the alley dates to the 1950s. The majority think it is a work of art, while some people just don’t see beyond the rocks. Regardless, the wall, which stands 70 feet long and 15 feet high, is still a place many tourists wish to visit.
Slab City, CA – The Last Lawless American Town
Slab City, as its slogan implies, is regarded as one of the last lawless places in the U.S. The town is the home of hippies, misfits, the homeless, and regular people who hate civilization. Today, the town has been incorporated and charges $30 a night to stay there.
However, don’t be shocked to see police patrolling occasionally. The law obviously has a place everywhere in America. The community in Slab City likes to get together to party or just karaoke. Just be prepared to embrace your inner free spirit while in the town.
Cottonwood, ID – The Site of a Dog-Shaped Hotel
Cottonwood, Idaho, is probably one of the only places where you can see a giant dog-shaped hotel. The place called Dog Park Inn is a hit with children and dogs though it was initially built as a weird roadside attraction for travelers. Every visitor has to book a reservation.
Coupled with the Dog Park Inn is a monastery built by the locals and situated in the small town. The Benedictine monastery says it is open to people of all faiths, and it also serves as an accommodation for travelers visiting or passing through the town.
Clark, SD – Host of the Mashed Potato Wrestlers
Clark, South Dakota, holds the record for one of America’s most unusual events. It hosts a yearly mashed potato wrestling match. Wrestlers wear costumes and face off with opponents in what must be some riveting storylines. It becomes more interesting because travelers can also take part in the events.
The festival isn’t just about wrestling in a giant container filled with mashed potatoes. As it turns out, tourists and travelers can also take part in other events they are familiar with. However, a friendly match on mashed potatoes will certainly give the best experience.
Scottsboro, AL – Where to Bid on Unclaimed Luggage
There is a story that Scottsboro, Alabama, was created out of the frustration of every airline traveler over the last half-century. Scottsboro is the place where the world’s unclaimed luggage ends up. Travelers can show up and bid on luggage that has been declared lost.
While most of the lost luggage probably contains clothes and other travel commodities, there have been some rare finds. The museum that houses some of these boasts of finding the guidance system of an F-16 fighter jet. People have also found expensive paintings and Egyptian artifacts.
Fall River, MA – The Haunted Hotel
Some of America’s most notorious murders are recorded to have taken place in Fall River, Massachusetts. According to rumors, Lizzie Borden killed her parents inside their house. She was, however, not formally convicted of the crime whose motive was said to be to inherit their properties.
Borden’s parents were murdered with an ax in broad daylight. Today, you can stay in the same house where the murders took house even though it is rumored to be haunted by the late Bordens’ ghosts. People get excited at the thought of staying at the house.
Centralia, PA – America’s Own Chernobyl
Centralia, Pennsylvania, in the 1980s, was only a small town of about 1,000 people. The population has now drastically reduced because the ground underneath the town is literally on fire and has turned into a natural disaster. This happened when coal reserves buried underneath blew up and killed 111 miners.
Today, the town has a population of less than a dozen people, and government officials have restricted new people from moving in. Scientists also predict that the fire will keep burning for 250 more years. America’s Chernobyl? Well yeah. You can still drive through and visit anyway.
Monowi, NE – Where the Mayor Serves Drinks
Monowi in Nebraska is the home of one resident named Elsie Eiler. The town used to have around 150 people in the 1930s, but they all left in search of greener pastures. After Eiler’s husband died in 2004, she now runs the town library and tavern and serves as the mayor.
Well, she isn’t excluded from paying taxes. So next time you happen to travel through Nebraska, consider paying the town and Eiler a visit. There’s no telling if it will last much longer. Don’t forget that the mayor herself will personally host and serve you drinks.
Seward, NE – The World’s Largest Time Capsule
Seward, Nebraska, currently claims to hold the world’s largest time capsule. The capsule was created by Harold Davisson, who in 1975 built a 45-ton vault to house all of the year’s memorabilia. The collections contain around 5,000 objects, including a car built the same year sitting below a pyramid structure.
The town is also renowned for something else asides from the large time capsule. It has also been renamed America’s Fourth of July city. Every year, the relatively small town of about 7,000 people attracts around 40,000 visitors from all over the country for its annual Fourth of July celebrations.
Williamstown, KY – Where You Can Find Noah’s Ark
Since 2016, Williamstown, Kentucky, has become popular for hosting the world’s largest reconstruction of Noah’s ark. The giant ark serves as a replica for anyone interested in the event, as described in the Bible. The boat is about 510 feet long and seven stories tall.
Although we are unsure whether it floats, we are certain that it is one of the biggest roadside attractions in the United States. The people who built it claim that it is the “largest timber-framed structure in the world.” For a reason, we agree.
Hell, MI – Hell on Earth
The town of Hell in Michigan was founded as a mining town in the 1840s. It used to be a popular bootlegging town, but it didn’t get its name for this. An original inhabitant paid local farmers with his own homemade whiskey. So, his wives told people who asked after him that “he’s gone to hell again.’’
Though there are a couple of unofficial stories about how the town got its name. Visitors in Hell can get married, drink at the local tavern called Hell Hole Bar and Grill, and even become the mayor. The website, however, says that elections are only held when Hell freezes over.
Ferndale, CA – The Town of Monuments
Ferndale, California, is on the country’s list of historical monuments and the town’s buildings clearly reflect the Victorian-era architecture of the 19th century. The town was founded in 1852 by two brothers, and it soon became filled with people searching for wealth during the Gold Rush.
Many of these settlers brought farming techniques from Europe, which brought about quick development in the town and made them rich. Most of the elaborate buildings were built by the successful men who resided in the town. The town is also a site for photographers due to its aesthetics.
Center, ND – The Center of America
Center town in North Dakota is literal in its meaning. The town is in the exact center of North America. It didn’t get its name because it is at the center of North America. It was originally thought to be at the center of the local county.
Years later, it was discovered to be the center of the entire continent. Rugby, North Dakota, was first believed to be the geographic center of the continent. That was until a study in 2015 discovered it was not true.
Gibsonton, FL – Where the Party Never Stops
If you are a carnival worker, there is no better place to take a vacation than Gibsonton, Florida. Several residents work as performers at carnivals. The town used to have a team called the “human oddities,” but they all left during the golden age of American traveling carnivals.
A “giant” and his wife founded this town. He was the local sheriff and made the town home for other carnival and circus workers. At its peak, the town had factories that produced Ferris wheels, and it had special laws that allowed residents to train exotic animals.
Hildale, UT – The Home of the Fundamentalist Church
Hildale, Utah, is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints, or a denomination of Mormonism as they were formally called. The town is also the church’s headquarters and one of the only places in the U.S. where polygamy is still allowed, or at least practiced.
The church, in recent times, has tried to distance itself from the practice, so it’s no longer practiced widely. The church owned much of the town’s land, and it has tried to rebrand the town as a tourist center, which is working. Still, it remains an interesting place.
Roswell, NM – A Town Where You Can Buy Aliens
We don’t think any weird American town listing is complete without mentioning Rosewell, New Mexico. An alien was allegedly found there in 1947. Although the event has been proven false over the years, travelers still flock to the town, and aliens have become a big business in the area.
It went viral when it was first reported, and the military only made it worse when they tried to cover up the story. Either way, this town is now a part of American folklore, and you can visit and buy alien gifts while in town.
Waterbury, VT – The Lost Flavor Graveyard
The Ben & Jerry’s flavor graveyard in Waterbury, Vermont, serves as a type of outdoor museum commemorating the brand’s past flavors. We bet this looks like a marketing stunt! It is a genius idea anyways. Each tombstone has a short write-up, and the years each flavor was produced.
Visitors can also visit the local factory to have a taste of the company’s flavors that are still being produced. So, if there is a particular flavor that you used to love and now miss, this is a great way to visit and pay your respects.
Santa Claus, AZ – Where Kids Write to Santa
Santa Claus is a desert town situated in Arizona. Of course, that’s the last thing that might come to your mind. The town was found to take advantage of road trippers passing the famous Route 66. However, since the interstate was built, the town’s tourism business also ended.
In the past, tourists could send their children to the neighborhood post office to write letters to Santa Claus and receive replies marked Saint Nick. There was also a local inn for visitors called the Santa Clause Inn. Don’t expect to meet Santa there, though!
Maharishi Vedic City, IA – Where Every Home Looks Alike
Maharishi Vedic City in Iowa has around 250 residents that follow a strict building code, so their homes look alike. This is because it is home to a large number of yogis who voted to instate the law. Their architectural style originates from Hindu yogis to protect the residents.
In line with Hindu practices, the town’s residents and the government placed a huge emphasis on healthy living. They also have a hotel for visitors who wish to immerse themselves in the lifestyle. If you wish to experience what being a Hindu yogi is like, you should stop by.
Nameless, TN – The Town Without a Name
That’s quite an ironic name! Nameless town in Tennessee was said to have gotten its name when the town officials left the name section on its application for a post office blank. Hence, the department gave the town the name, Nameless. No one is really certain of this, though.
Today, it is unincorporated with just a few stores left and no post office. However, it offers some stunning views for those looking to venture off the beaten track, similar to most small towns in Tennessee. The general shop in the town hosts events all year round.
Igloo City, AK – Home of The Igloo Hotel
Alaska’s Igloo City is situated in the far north. The four-story hotel in the deserted town, which is styled like an igloo, was built with tourism in mind. The hotel, which was constructed in the 1970s, was never able to comply with the required building codes.
Over the years, the building has been sold many times, but nobody has ever opened it to the public. However, anyone taking a road trip from Fairbanks to Anchorage can now stop by and visit as it is the halfway point between the two cities.
Dublin, Ohio – Host of Cornhenge
Dublin is simply the best name for a place that hosts something called Cornhenge. The massive corn sculptures in Dublin, Ohio, were built by Michael Cochran to honor Sam Frantz. Frantz, while he was alive, worked at the University of Ohio. The massive sculptures have become an attraction to travelers.
Frantz became famous for developing seven types of hybrid corn. He actually used this site for his work at one point, and travelers can still see a row of orange trees from when the site was a farm. This portrays the area’s love of public art spaces.
Clarksdale, MS – Where A Legend Met the Devil
Mississippi is popular for its musical heritage. However, Clarksdale, Mississippi, is said to be the town where Robert Johnson, a renowned blues legend, made a deal with the devil. According to legend, Johnson carried the instrument that gave him his amazing gift to the crossroads of routes 49 and 61.
Of course, that is probably not a fact, but we will let you be the judge. What is certain is that the town still has plenty of live music venues and some pretty good BBQ joints for any traveler seeking the history of blues.
Burnt Corn, AL – The War on Corn
You read that right. Burnt Corn is a small community located in Alabama. Its name comes from an event that happened in the Creek War of 1813. Nobody is certain if the settlers’ corn was burned by the Native Americans or if it was the other way around.
Today, travelers passing through stop to take pictures of the town’s historic buildings. These include an old general store, churches, and a Coca-Cola mural from the 1930s. The town’s census hasn’t been recorded in a long time, but the population is apparently small.
Phindeli Town Buford, WV – The Coffee Magnate’s Town
PhinDeli Town Buford in Wyoming is another town that has been brought down to only one resident. The town was initially owned by a man named Don Sammons in 1992. However, Sammons sold the town to a coffee magnate for $900,000 after his children moved out and his wife died.
A Vietnamese man bought the town and served his coffee brand at the local gas station. He also renamed the town and made it the only place you could buy his coffee in the U.S. Travelers can stop by and have a sip of the famous coffee.
Williamsport, PA – The Little League Museum
The little league version of America’s pastime was first held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The game was held on June 6, 1939, and a team sponsored by Lundy Lumber competed against a team sponsored by Lycoming Dairy. They sure had funny names for things in the 30s.
Today, the town has a little league museum travelers can visit to learn about the sport’s history. The Little League World Series is now played in the town. Many small towns in the U.S. also have a baseball park that hosts little league games.
Lakeview, OR – Where Japanese Killed Americans
The Pearl Harbor attack was not the only time the Japanese attacked American soil. The Japanese launched 9,000 balloons packed with explosives targeting the continental U.S. Unfortunately, Lakeview in Oregon was hit, and a balloon killed a woman named Elyse Mitchell and her five children.
Around 1,000 out of the 9,000 balloons sent reached the country, but the only one reported to cause a death landed in Lakeview. Travelers can now go to a memorial remembering the site of the Americans who died after the war began. Some of them were discovered as far away as Michigan.
Salt Lake City, UT – The Home of KFC
Salt Lake City, Utah, is quite larger than most towns and known for a lot of things. It is also the home of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s first franchise location. Although the original restaurant was destroyed, the current one still has a lot of artifacts.
The colonel sold the formula and a pressure cooker to Pete Harman, who lived in Salt Lake City and opened the first franchise store. And this is how one of the first KFC restaurants got its start. Visitors can see old advertisements and the colonel’s original uniform.
Houston, TX – Memoir of the Dead
Houston, Texas, is home to the National Museum of Funeral History. The museum documents the history of funeral services in the U.S. People visit the museum to learn about the different practices and how they have evolved. The museum also has an extensive collection of coffins and hearses.
The museum’s website says that visitors can also learn about the late U.S. presidents’ funerals, memorials across the country, and the history of mourning with photographs. Though it may be a bit unusual, it is worth a detour and has even been named among the city’s top attractions.