These creepy roadside attractions aren’t for the faint of heart. Add a few of these scary spots to your next road trip if you dare.
We’re all about roadside attractions! From educational to inspirational, hilarious to puzzling. But today we’re talking about the creepy ones. Whether it’s an incident to mark a dark day in history, a haunted spot, abandoned theme park, or just something a little spooky, these are the creepiest attractions in 49 states!
Creepy Roadside Attractions in the United States
If you’re looking for roadside attractions to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, look no further than our list of creepy roadside attractions in the United States.
If you are passing through Huntsville, don’t miss the chance to visit the home of Spiderweb Artist Anne Clopton. When Anne lived in this house, she created delicate oil paintings on spider webs found in a closet of the home. While the home is now The Dreammaker, a holistic shop, they’ve kept the closet intact with a video and photos of the spider web paintings.
If you’re on an Alaska road trip to Denali National Park, stop by Wal-Mikes, a roadside curio shop. Located on the Parks Highway near Talkeetna, Wal-Mikes sells a little bit of everything you might expect from a roadside attraction in Alaska, but the creep factor is from the human hand they have preserved in a jar. If that’s not creepy….
Anyone who’s driven I-10 between Phoenix and El Paso has seen advertisements for “The Thing.” Even the handwriting on the billboards has a creepy look to it. After the third billboard, you just have to know…what is “The Thing?” In reality, The Thing is a ploy to get you to stop at the travel center on a lonely stretch of highway between Benson and Willcox. Don’t forget your wallet; the Thing is not free!
The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs is allegedly the most haunted hotel in America. While the late 19th-century hotel still offers overnight accommodation for those who are brave. Otherwise, you can take a ghost tour if you are passing through in the evening.
California & Louisiana
It can’t get much creepier than Hollywood’s Museum of Death. The museum includes a collection of serial killer artwork, crime scene photographs, Manson family memorabilia and many more creepy items from funeral homes and coroners offices. There’s also a location in New Orleans, naturally.
The Cannibal town of Lake City, Colorado makes a very scenic, and creepy roadside attraction in the San Juan mountains. Donner Pass isn’t the only cannibal story in the States! Rumor has it that Alfred Packer and a group of companion travelers were stranded in the mountains in wintertime. Alfred was the only one to survive come spring, and he was not a bit malnourished.
Not to be outdone by Alaska’s hand in a jar, there’s a chapel on Enders Island in Connecticut that has an entire human arm on display. Heavily mummified, of course. The arm supposedly belongs to St. Edmund Rich, 13th-century archbishop of Canterbury and is housed at a chapel run by the Brothers of St. Edmund.
You can’t miss the Skull Silo as you drive through Middletown on US13. The barn silo is painted as a giant skull at an attraction called Frightland, which is a Halloween attraction and haunted house. The silo, however, is visible year-round.
Leave it to Florida to have one of the creepiest museums on the list. The Medieval Torture Museum in St. Augustine is based on historic documents and engravings, with exhibits all about torture and torment. You’ve been warned!
A different kind of creepy can be found at the CDC Museum in Atlanta. Taking a walking tour of the diseases that might like to kill you and learn how diseases like malaria and swine flu were discovered and researched.
Travelers in Idaho may wish to stop in Wallace at the North Idaho Trading Company. In addition to antiques, oddities, and curiosities, this roadside stop includes a mummified mermaid and a whole lot of taxidermy pieces.
Creepy in the way that only cemeteries can be, Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery is a pretty cool place to visit. See where many of Chicago’s founding fathers like Marshall Field and George Pullman are buried.
Peru Indiana’s Miami County Museum houses a creepy collection of oddities, including a preserved two-headed calf and a siamese pig. These are hidden within the collections of a “normal” museum so you have to hunt a bit for the creepy stuff!
Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa, but it’s also where you can find the Black Angel. Visit Oakland Cemetery to see the 100-year-old statue that has inspired creepy campus tales. Legend has it that if you kiss the Black Angel, you will die instantly.
Brussels has the Manekin Pis, Topeka has the grave of Carrie Kiene. At Mt. Hope Cemetery, the five-year-old girl was buried in 1885 and a statue erected in her honor. For whatever reason, it’s become a local tradition to dress the statue in clothes and accessories which change with the seasons.
It seems the central states are big on creepy cemeteries! At the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, there are many interesting monuments, but the creepiest one is the monument to the Porter family. The Porters run the local funeral home and their family tomb is marked by some gnarly hands reaching up out of the ground.
The state that spawned Stephen King has no shortage of creepy roadside attractions. King fans will definitely want to stop by the town of Hancock to see the house from Pet Sematary. It’s a private residence, but you can pull off the road to snap a few pics at 303 Point Road.
Camping in a haunted campground seems spooky enough, right? Maryland’s Point Lookout State Park was once a POW camp and rumor has it that there are a few POW’s still floating around, haunting campers.
Massachusetts is full of really old buildings and a lot of history, so naturally, there are lots of haunted places to explore. The Luther Museum in Swansea has some of the Borden family furniture on display. Borden, as in Lizzie Borden, the girl who took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks!
Losing a family pet is sad, but building an entire industry around pet deaths? A bit creepy! You can actually tour the Hoegh Pet Casket Factory in Gladstone and even see a mock fur funeral.
A department store in St. Paul found a mummified monkey in the air ducts of the building a few years back. It was donated to the Science Museum of Minnesota and is now on display for everyone to see and try to guess how a monkey ended up in the air ducts in the first place.
The Deep South has plenty of haunted places, including King’s Tavern in Natchez. Mississippi’s oldest standing building has plenty of skeletons in the closet, and as it turns out, a couple of skeletons in the fireplace, too! Learn all about it on a ghost tour.
Visit the Sidenfaden Funeral Museum in St. Joseph Missouri. It’s a small museum in the back of a funeral home with antique coffins and urns on display, including the corpse basket that transported Jesse James here in the 1880s.
It’s no surprise that there are multiple two-headed creatures on this list and that one of them is in Montana. The Yellowstone County Museum counts a two-headed calf amongst its collection of curiosities.
Of course, Nebraska also has a two-headed calf, but even creepier is the Klown Doll Museum in Plainview. With over 7000 “klown dolls” it’s thought to be the largest collection in the world. As if clowns weren’t creepy enough, they had to change the “C” to a “K.”
You don’t want to dig too deep for creepy things in Nevada because you never know what you’ll find. The Las Vegas Oddities Museum and Antiquities has a bunch of skeletons, skulls and even a human foot in a jar.
You may have to wait until fall, but Lee, New Hampshire is home to one of the creepiest Halloween attractions in the country. Haunted Overload at the DeMeritt Hill Farm puts on quite the performance for several weeks in October and November.
Asbury Park is home to Paranormal Books & Curiosities, which is much more than a bookstore. There’s a museum, ghost tours, psychics, zombie walks and seances. Satisfy all of your paranormal interests in one stop.
The “Roswell State” has enough creepiness to go around, but the St. James Hotel in Cimarron may be the creepiest of all. Haunted hotels are a dime a dozen, especially in the “Wild West” but the St. James has several resident guests and even keeps one guestroom locked so one of the less friendly ghosts is not disturbed.
The Iron Island Museum in Buffalo has been both a church and a funeral home in the past. Today, it’s a museum dedicated to local history and railroad history. It also happens to be haunted, and they host tours or you can even stay overnight.
Asheville has the regal Biltmore Estate and then there’s the Odditorium at the other end of the spectrum. This dive bar has a creepy collection of oddities, art and artifacts, including a taxidermied two-headed baby chick. There are also live performances like comedy shows, drag shows, and live music.
You wouldn’t think that the Fargo Visitor Center makes the list of creepy roadside attractions, but if you want to see the wood chipper from the movie Fargo, with a foot sticking out of it for photo ops, then this is the spot!
Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery is home to several interesting monuments and mausoleums, but the creepiest is the crying angel. The Haserot Angel marks the grave of the Haserot family, and the copper patina leaves an interesting pattern on the angel.
For a bonus roadside attraction, you may also consider a visit to the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield and spend some time along the Shawshank Trail. Mansfield is considered the most haunted destination in the state.
We share over 50 roadside attractions in the Buckeye State in our article on things to see in Ohio.
Perhaps not intentionally creepy, but I think most folks will agree with me that Oklahoma City’s Rattlesnake & Venom Museum has a definite creep factor. If you want to learn about snakes or other venomous critters, then this is the roadside stop for you.
The Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health is the filming location of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and a former mental hospital. Now a museum, there are several interesting exhibits, including one dedicated to the film.
Saturday’s Flea Market in Middletown is an indoor/outdoor flea market. Tucked away in the market is a small curiosities museum, with freaky exhibits you might have seen in a 19th century circus sideshow, like an alligator man and a dog-faced boy.
It’s funny that our smallest state is home to the world’s largest bug. It seems an odd way to compensate for size, but nevertheless, the Providence pest control company Big Blue Bug has erected a giant termite on their roof.
Nothing against reptiles, but with a name like “Serpentarium” you know it’s going to be creepy! This Edisto Island spot boasts a collection of live reptiles from around the world. Inhabitants include alligators, turtles, snakes and lizards.
Rapid City has a ton of roadside attractions and has been welcoming travelers for decades. The Hotel Alex Johnson is a haunted hotel that offers ghost tours or overnight stays as part of a “ghost package.”
Gatlinburg’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not is full of oddities and curiosities, including an entire Odditorium filled with creepy collectibles. The Ripley’s brand is built on oddities and they have locations around the world filled with strange specimens.
Just when you thought you’d had enough of two-headed creatures, Texas will not be outdone. The Frontier Times Museum in Bandera has multiple two-headed animals on display, as well as a shrunken head.
Salt Lake City’s Capitol Hill is home to many mansions from the 20th century. The McCune Mansion is not only a beautifully restored home, it’s also reputed to be haunted. Today it’s a private event space, but historic tours are offered by Preservation Utah.
Taxidermied specimens are not necessarily unique, but the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum in Marlboro has quite the collection of taxidermied albino animals on display. The fact that the collection began as a private collection is a bit…creepy.
You can’t get this close to DC without a few creeps running about! In Williamsburg, Eastern State Hospital is the country’s first mental hospital and is now a museum. Seeing how mental illness was treated in the 18th century is downright terrifying.
You’ll have to get out of your car and take a short walk under the bridge to see this giant troll that resides in Seattle. The Fremont Troll has been luring passers-by for a closer look since 1990.
Mt. Pleasant folklore has spawned a book, movie, and annual festival recognizing the Mothman, a winged man-like creature that appeared between November 1966 and December 1967l. The Mothman is even thought to have been responsible for the collapse of the Silver Bridge which killed 46 people. All is not lost if you’re unable to attend the annual Mothman Festival, The Mothman Museum and Research Center with the largest collection of Mothman souvenirs and memorabilia in the world is open year-round and the 12-foot tall silver Mothman statue is available for viewing day or night.
If you are among the majority of Americans who think clowns are creepy, then the International Clown Hall of Fame in Baraboo will definitely creep you out! Learn how clowns have evolved and maybe you can pinpoint when they tipped over from comical to creepy.
The spot itself isn’t creepy, but it’s become synonymous with the 1977 movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Devil’s Tower National Monument is actually a really cool geologic formation, but if you want the full creep factor, stay at the Devil’s Tower KOA where they show the film every night.
Interested in more roadside attractions across the U.S.? We list more than 50 attractions that you don’t want to miss in roadside attractions to brake for.
Have you been to any of these creepy roadside attractions? Do you have one to add to the list?
© 2020, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.