20 surreal attractions in the middle of nowhere
Located in the middle of nowhere, there are some tourist spots that almost look too beautiful to be real. You don’t have to pinch yourself, though, these surreal attractions really do exist—and are definitely worth dusting off your passport for.
Las Pozas – Xilitla, Mexico
Designed by British writer Edward James, Las Pozas boasts a unique sculptural space unlike any other in the world. This surreal attraction features concrete architectural structures and fantastic routes that make visitors feel as though they’re moving between fantasy and reality.
Prada Marfa – Valentine, Texas
You might not expect to find a fully stocked Prada store in the middle of the Texas desert, but that’s exactly what makes this art installation such a surreal attraction. Its grand opening took place on October 1, 2005, and it will stay there until it disintegrates back into the earth.
Salvation Mountain – Niland, California
Another desert attraction, Salvation Mountain is situated about an hour and a half from Palm Springs, and is billed as a “tribute to God and his gift to the world” by its creator, Leonard Knight.
Uros floating islands – Lake Titicaca, Peru
The Uros people have preserved their floating lifestyle for hundreds of years, occupying a small portion of the world’s highest-altitude navigable lake. In recent years, tourism has played a large role in sustaining this ancient people.
Mystic Hot Springs – Monroe, Utah
Harnessing the powers of a natural hot spring, Mike Ginsburg installed actual bathtubs at his Mystic Hot Springs resort, which allow travelers to soak in the natural minerals bubbling up from the ground.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Located in the Andes mountain range in southwest Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, resulting from a prehistoric lake that went dry. Its more than 4,200-square-mile landscape is home to a large population of pink flamingos, creating a spectacular visual experience.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves – Waitomo, New Zealand
Located on the north island of New Zealand, Waitomo Glowworm Caves is home to a glowworm species that’s exclusive to the island, with daily tours offering a chance for visitors to be greeted by these luminescent little bugs.
Airstream Ranch – Dover, Florida
Located off I-4, about 15 miles outside of Tampa, Airstream Ranch was originally set up as a marketing ploy to celebrate the iconic trailer’s 75th anniversary, and has since become an Instagram-worthy tourist destination. You might expect to see these trailers rolling down the highway, but instead they’re buried nose-down in the middle of a field.
Enchanted Well – Brazil
Located within Chapada Diamantina National Park, Enchanted Well features highly transparent water which allows visitors to easily see down to the cavern floor. Nestled within a dolomite cave, it is also home to one of the few populations of blind catfish in the world.
The Georgia Guidestones – Elberton, Georgia
Often dubbed the ‘American Stonehenge,’ The Georgia Guidestones sit atop a desolate hill in the small town of Elberton, Georgia. Each side of the capstone features an engraving in four ancient languages of the phrase: “Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason.” Adding to the surrealness of this attraction are the cryptic instructions for rebuilding society post-Doomsday, written in eight different languages.
Fly Geyser – Washoe County, Nevada
Located on private land, this geyser was accidentally created in 1964 after a test well was drilled on the property by a geothermal power company. As the local lore goes, the well was improperly plugged or not capped, and the resulting calcium carbonate deposits that formed as the scalding hot water shot from the well hole have become three large mounds boasting a splendid color display.
Igloo City – Cantwell, Alaska
Due to its undersized windows which failed to meet building codes, this four-story concrete hotel located right on the remote, but well-traveled, Alaska Highway never actually opened for business. Plans were drawn up to renovate the hotel, but work hasn’t yet started.
Lake Baikal – Russia
The natural ice sculptures at Lake Baikal in Russia boast surreal hues in sizes not seen elsewhere in the world. The naturally formed ice blocks occur due to extreme weather conditions in the area, and hold approximately 20 percent of the world’s freshwater supply.
Zhangye Danxia Landform – Gansu, China
The result of mineral deposits from more that 24 million years ago, Zhangye Danxia Landform offers breathtaking views of red rocks and rainbow ridges. Also known as the “eye candy of Zhangye,” this attraction is best visited at dawn or dusk for the ultimate experience.
Son Doong Cave – Quang Binh province, Vietnam
One of the largest caves in the world, Son Doong Cave boasts its own river and jungle, and was only discovered in 2009. It is believed that it was created 2-5 million years ago as river water eroded away the limestone underneath the mountain.
Lake Hillier – Goldfields-Esperance, Australia
Sporting a stunning shade of pink that could easily be mistaken for a strawberry milkshake, Lake Hillier in Western Australia is a sight to behold. Its rosy hue is believed to be the result of a particular type of algae growing in the waters, and seems to have no ill effect on the local wildlife or people who visit it.
Mendenhall Ice Caves – Juneau, Alaska
Situated about 12 miles from downtown Juneau, the Mendenhall Ice Caves have been dubbed one of the world’s most beautiful sites and with good reason. The Ice Caves are located inside a 12-mile-long glacier, and are only accessible by kayaking and climbing into the glacier.
Dragon’s Blood Trees – Socotra, Yemen
Dubbed the “Dragon’s Blood Trees” because of their red sap, these slow-growing, bizarre-looking trees offer a surreal attraction on the island of Socotra, part of the Republic of Yemen.
Mount Roraima – South America
Believed to have formed some two billion years ago, the Mount Roraima includes the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana, and offers a challenging hike for those up to the task. Its approximately 12 square miles of summit area is flanked by 1,300-foot-tall cliffs on all sides.
The Dark Hedges – Ballymoney, Northern Ireland
Offering a romantic, tunnel-like avenue of intertwined branches, the beech trees that line this highway in Northern Ireland were planted in the 18th century and have even made an appearance in the HBO drama Game of Thrones.
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