So you’re cruising along on a road trip when you come across a bizarre sign. “Welcome to Hell, Michigan.” Or, “Welcome to Santa Claus, Indiana.” The back roads and byways of America feature hundreds of towns with bizarre names. These offbeat names might have made perfect sense 150 or 200 years ago when the towns were founded, but now they just serve as an excuse for people to stop their car and take a selfie. Here are a few bizarre town signs from America’s blue highways.
10. Chugwater, Wyoming
In a sparsely populated state, perhaps it’s fitting that tiny Chugwater (population 212) has played such a huge role in Wyoming’s legacy. The iconic state symbol, the bucking horse and rider seen on everything from the Wyoming license plate to the University of Wyoming athletic teams’ logo, is modeled after a horse and cowboy from the Chugwater area.
9. North, South Carolina
This town is home to the North Air Force Auxiliary Field — which happens to be in the southern part of town. In case you’re wondering, there is not a South, North Carolina.
8. Chicken, Alaska
There are only a dozen of so full-time residents in Chicken, and the Taylor Highway into town is closed in winter. So are all of the local businesses. Best visit there in the brief summer.
7. Whynot, North Carolina
This tiny unincorporated community in the Piedmont region is home to a Whynot General Store and not much more.
6. Boring, Oregon
Located just southeast of Portland, Boring is named after a Union soldier named Boring, not because it’s “there’s-nothing-to-do-here” boring. We checked out Boring on TripAdvisor.com, and one of the community’s top attractions as rated by visitors is an alpaca farm. And alpaca farms can’t be boring … can they?
5. Accident, Maryland
The 325 or so residents of Accident, Md., refer to themselves as Accidentals. That’s a very negative self-image to carry around.
4. Santa Claus, Indiana
Originally known as Santa Fe, this town changed its name to Santa Claus in the 1850s. Predictably, the Santa Claus post office receives thousands of letters from children each Christmas; a team of volunteers answers each letter, a tradition going back more than 100 years.
3. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Back in 1950, a popular radio quiz show named Truth or Consequences promised to host an episode from the first town to rename itself after the show. Thus, the town of Hot Springs became Truth or Consequences. Let’s hope none of today’s popular shows, such as Dancing With the Stars, issue a similar challenge.
2. Intercourse, Pennsylvania
The Amish village of Intercourse earned its name because it was a place of “fellowship” and “social interaction.” The name has a wholly different meaning in modern society, making it the butt of jokes; pranksters have frequently stolen signs around town.
1. Hell, Michigan
“It will be a cold day in Hell” is a true statement for much of the winter in this southeastern Michigan town. Hell really is off the beaten path, but it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area looking for a kitschy experience. Pick up a T-shirt (“I’ve Been to Hell and back”) or other souvenir. Have an ice cream cone (from our personal experience, the ice cream doesn’t melt any quicker in Hell than anywhere else).