5 Of The Weirdest Places To Visit In North America

In our series on bizarre travel destinations around the world, we're heading to North America, where artists hone their craft using dirty dolls and busted cars instead of charcoal and paint.

If that’s not strange enough for you, how about a desert in the middle of frigid Maine, or inexplicable lights that could very well be extraterrestrial?

Strap on your weird goggles. It’s time to explore the most bizarre places you can visit in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.

1. Carhenge, Nebraska, USA

5 Bizarre Destinations - North America - The Wise Traveller - Carhenge - Nebraska

In 1987, Nebraskan artist Jim Reinders decided to create a memorial to his father completely out of cars. As if that weren’t strange enough, Jim decided to arrange those cars – all 38 of them – as a perfect replica of Stonehenge in England.

The result is an eerie Midwestern homage to the ancient structure, with spray-painted cars buried up to five feet deep in the middle of a field of wheat.

Because nothing says “I love you, dad” like an artistically rendered automobile graveyard!

2. La Isla de la Munecas, Mexico City, Mexico

5 Bizarre Destinations - North America - The Wise Traveller - La Isla de la Munecas, Mexico City

If you like weird travel destinations that are also kind of creepy and sad, you’re gonna love the Island of the Dolls in Mexico City.

Located on Teshuilo Lake in the Xochimilco borough of Mexico City, the island was home to a man named Julian Santana. Legend has it that Santana left his wife and daughter to move to the chinampa alone. While there, he witnessed the drowning of a young girl, and spent the remainder of his days collecting dolls in remembrance of her.

Here’s where it gets bizarre: Santana hung the dolls – most of which were missing eyes, limbs, and clothing - from trees around the island. He also hoarded them inside his small cabin and dressed them in strange costumes.
In 2001, after displaying hundreds of limbless, eyeless dolls all over the island, Santana was found drowned in the exact same spot where he had witnessed the girl’s drowning years before.

3. Desert of Maine, Maine, USA

5 Bizarre Destinations - North America - The Wise Traveller - Desert of Maine

What comes to mind when you think of Maine, the easternmost state in the U.S.?

Probably lobster, rocky coastlines, and freezing winters.

That’s why it’s so bizarre to think about the Desert of Maine, a 300-acre desert located near the state’s southern coast in Freeport.

And this isn’t just a landlocked beach; the Desert of Maine boasts soft, white sand, bad soil for farming, and warmer temperatures than the cooler coast nearby. An ancient glacier is to blame for this sandy anomaly, which can be accessed by tram throughout the year.

4. Narcisse Snake Dens Conservation Area, Manitoba, Canada

5 Bizarre Destinations - North America - The Wise Traveller - Narcisse Snake Dens Conservations - Manitoba - Canada

The only thing better than seeing a bunch of snakes in the wild is seeing a bunch of snakes mating in the wild.

At the Narcisse Snake Dens in Narcisse, Winnipeg, you can do both!

During the spring and fall seasons, tens of thousands of garter snakes make a pilgrimage from grassy marshes to their nearby mating dens. Visitors can stand on platforms and look down to see dozens of male snakes rolling themselves into a ball around a female snake in a bizarre mating ritual reminiscent of a rubber band ball on steroids.

5. Marfa Lights, Texas, USA

5 Bizarre Destinations - North America - The Wise Traveller - Marfa Lights - TexasSince the late 19th century, someone (or something) has been lighting up the sky in Marfa, Texas. When viewed from the nearby Mitchell Flats, it’s possible to see yellow-green balls of light bouncing, floating, vanishing, and reappearing in a mysterious dance that has yet to be explained by scientists.

There is a year-round viewing center or you can visit during the Marfa Lights Festival, which is held each Labor Day and features live music, vendors, and plenty of talk about aliens.

Stay tuned for the next in our series, where we’ll reveal the strangest travel destinations in South America.

Rebecca Anne Nguyen is an author, travel writer, and the creator of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.