Travelers looking for a super strange or off-the-beaten-path trip idea, look no further.
Ahead of National Plan for Vacation Day 2022, a day that encourages people to plan their well-earned time off, Travel Nevada is releasing its inaugural list of the state’s Seven Weirdest Wonders. Just like the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are proof of humanity’s ingenuity, Nevada’s Seven Weirdest Wonders are definitive proof that the Silver State is filled with abundant unique places. However, these locations aren’t just fun to see and talk about – experiences like these can transform vacationers by opening their eyes to things they never imagined.
The list was curated by the Travel Nevada team of experts who have traveled to every corner of the state. It includes historic, man-made, and natural places that have to be visited to be believed, all destinations specifically chosen for 2022 – as travel is expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, these locations will help visitors make up for lost time.
Republic of Molossia – Want to experience international travel but not ready to really travel overseas? The Republic of Molossia has you covered. Just a few minutes east of Nevada’s capital (Carson City), Molossia has been an official, independent, sovereign country inside of Nevada for more than 40 years. With 6.3 acres, Molossia has its own bizarre laws, as well as currency that’s tied to the value of cookie dough. Visitors can even have their passport stamped, as it’s recognized as a micronation.
International Car Forest of the Last Church – Rethink any preconceived notions of a typical forest with trees and greens. This open-air gallery comprises more than 40 graffitied cars, each a unique masterpiece. The “forest” has no artist statement or bulletin, so visitors are free to interpret the surrounding art in limitless ways.
Clown Motel – If you haven’t stayed in a hotel since… well, who can even remember? – make the first overnight one you’ll never forget. The Clown Motel in Tonopah is the perfect place to get over your fear of clowns — or maybe make it worse? We’ll let you decide. No matter your goal, this motel has arguably the largest private collection of clown-themed memorabilia, and is a landmark that makes Nevada unique. Oh, and did we mention it’s situated right next to a historic (allegedly haunted) cemetery? Of COURSE it is!
Goldwell Open Air Museum – Among some of the world’s most distinctive pieces of experiential art is the Goldwell Open Air Museum. More an “experience” than a “museum,” Goldwell boasts seven colossal structures, including a ghostly, life-size version of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper; a 25-foot pink woman constructed of cinder blocks; and a gleaming tangle of chrome car accessories. Forget the velvet ropes of a traditional museum – visitors are encouraged to step right into these pieces of art.
Garnet Hill – Think semi-precious gemstone treasure hunt meets extinct volcano. This incredible public recreation area has drawn national attention for its beautifully rich, dark red garnets, which were scattered after a volcano erupted 32-40 million years ago. While these garnets may not be the kind you find in your favorite jewelry store (with a corresponding hefty price tag), the chance to hand-pick gems scattered atop high-desert dirt makes for fun memories — and free souvenirs!
Alien Research Center – Almost everyone has heard of Area 51. While you definitely can’t storm it (seriously, you’ll be arrested before you can say “ET”), you can go inside the Alien Research Center and get a feel for what those little green creatures might have found after crash-landing in the area. As the gateway to the world-famous Extraterrestrial Highway, the Alien Research Center is the perfect way to start your own alien hunt. Extraterrestrial enthusiasts and skeptics alike won’t want to miss stopping at the giftshop to stock up on various alien-related knick-knacks at this one-of-a-kind Nevada experience.
Fly Geyser – Imagine digging a hole in the middle of the desert and suddenly getting sprayed by hot water as if you hit a pipe. You walk away, only to learn that years later, that hole is still spewing, but is now a 12-foot geyser with a rainbow of colored rocks surrounding it. That’s essentially how Fly Geyser came to be, and, after more than 100 years since the first “pipe” was hit, people can still come see this ever-spewing natural fountain in all its beauty.
Whether visitors experience one or all seven of Nevada’s Weirdest Wonders, they’ll leave with a travel story that will forever remind them of the Silver State’s unanticipated allure. Travelers are reminded to bring a charged phone to take photographic evidence of what they’ve seen and encountered. To share stories with others who’ve experienced the Seven Weirdest Wonders, visitors can tag #WeirdNevada.
For more Weird Nevada experiences, visit TravelNevada.com/Weird-Nevada.