Are you a fan of all things spooky and strange? Summer is upon us, and if you’re looking for some of America’s weirdest, creepiest tourist attractions to add to your summer bucket list, look no further! Whether you’re a die-hard horror fan, history buff, or just plain weird, this recap has a spooky calling for everyone.
Voodoo Queen of New Orleans – New Orleans, Louisiana
This one is for history buffs and horror fans alike. Ever heard of the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans? Marie Laveau, born in the early 19th century, was the most alluring voodoo priestess of her time. Laveau, a hairdresser by day and a gifted voodoo practitioner by night, was said to sell charms, potions, and gris-gris (an ancient voodoo talisman believed to ward off evil and bring good luck) to her clients. Some even claimed she had the power to save condemned prisoners awaiting executions. She was an influential, well-loved member of all castes of society.
In 1881, New Orleans’s beloved Voodoo Queen was laid to rest in St. Louis Cemetery No.1. The cemetery’s famous above-ground burial structures, some dating back to the late 1700s, have made this one of the most intriguing, haunted tourist attractions in America, with Laveau’s tomb being its most popular draw.
Today, her since renovated tomb is often covered in flowers and other tokens of love and luck from eager tourists hoping to have their wishes granted from beyond the grave or from those who want to pay their respects to Laveau’s long-remembered kind spirit. Some guests have even reported seeing Laveau wandering around the premises, singing songs, and chants.
Uranus Sideshow Museum – St. Robert, Missouri
Uranus Fudge Factory is one of Missouri’s finest hidden treasures. This Route 66 roadside attraction is – creepy. The property features several attractions, including a tattoo parlor, an escape room, a general store, and “The World’s Largest Sideshow Museum.” What more could you ask for?
Uranus’s Sideshow Museum is full of strange oddities and freakish novelties galore. The extensive museum features over 100 exhibits, including live animals, sword swallowing, two-headed creatures, tarot readings, and even a Burmese python who loves to play with visitors! If you love pun-filled, bizarro curiosities with a slightly smaller side of bone-chilling, then Uranus’s Sideshow Museum is your perfect cup of tea. Is exploring the Uranus Sideshow Museum at the top of your list?
The World Famous Clown Motel – Tonopah, Nevada
Coined “America’s scariest motel,” this over-the-top (no pun intended) motel in Tonopah, Nevada, is many people’s worst nightmare. The World Famous Clown Motel was initially founded in the ‘80s by the David children, who wanted to honor their father by displaying his beloved, 150-piece clown collection.
Since then, it has grown into one of America’s largest clown décor collections. Home to over 3,000 individual pieces of vintage clown memorabilia, including dolls and figurines, this place is jam-packed with every kind of clown that you can imagine. The dedicated clown theming continues throughout the motel, including each guest room, which also features theming inspired by classic horror films such as It, The Exorcist, and Friday the 13th.
As if this wasn’t creepy enough, the whole property sits just feet away from an old desert cemetery. Yep, you heard that right—The Old Tonopah Cemetery was founded over 100 years ago and marks the graves of hundreds of victims who died in tragic mining accidents during the early 1900s. How could this place not be haunted? If you’re feeling brave, consider bunking in rooms 108, 111, 210, or 214, where guests seem to experience the most paranormal activity. Are you daring enough to add this spooky roadside attraction to your bucket list?
International UFO Museum and Research Center – Roswell, New Mexico
Calling all conspiracy theorists and galactic nerds! What’s creepier than the possibility of alien life? How about the possibility of alien life on Earth? Roswell’s International UFO Museum and Research Center explores the infamous 1947 Roswell UFO crash and other similar UFO encounters worldwide.
The lengthy museum exhibits all close encounters of the third kind, covering everything from crop circles and UFO sightings to possible abductions, Area 51, and the Roswell incident. Home to a research center library with over 35,000 individual pieces of UFO information and phenomena, this is the perfect place to do all the extraterrestrial research you’ve always wanted to! Whether you’re just passing through or hunkering down in Roswell for their 75th annual UFO festival this summer, Roswell’s International UFO Museum and Research Center is a must for any believer and non-believer!
Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Once the most expensive and architecturally-advanced prison of its time, Eastern State Penitentiary still stands today and is one of America’s most chilling haunted spots. Built in 1829 in Philadelphia, the prison was designed to bring radical social change to the idea of imprisonment. The Penitentiary has housed historically-notorious inmates such as Al Capone and “Slick Willie” Sutton, whose cellblocks you can now visit— nearly 200 years later. The extravagant, 19th-century gothic castle-like structure is now a crumbling ruin of what it once was, haunted by past inmates who were forced into solitary confinement as means of reform. Today, the prison is open to all guests willing to explore its haunted halls, long-abandoned cellblocks, towers, and hidden rooms. They even offer exclusive night tours… if you’re up for it.
Have you been to any of these locations? Are any of these making it onto your bucket list this summer? What are some of your favorite weird & underrated tourist attractions? Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org!