Check Out Five Of The Most Unusual Roadside Attractions In California

One of my favorite memories as a kid was driving to California with my foster parents.  

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It was a great time and I got to see some amazing stuff including Disneyland but I thought it would be fun to spotlight some attractions in California that don't get the love.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash
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Whether you’re a local tourist ready to explore your backyard or an adventure seeker on the hunt for the next hidden gem, California promises a trove of eccentric experiences that cast new light on this iconic destination and I think this top 5 is pretty unique.

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From the hauntingly beautiful to the marvelously bizarre, here are five unusual California attractions guaranteed to pique your curiosity:

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1. Salvation Mountain, Niland California

Deep in the California desert lies a man-made mountain swathed in colorful hues and biblical messages. Leonard Knight’s magnum opus, Salvation Mountain, stands proudly as a testament to one man’s unwavering spiritual dedication. Constructed from adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of lead-free paint, visitors are invited to take a walk over this folk art wonder – just be ready for a splash of color and a whole lot of heart.

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2. The Winchester Mystery House, San Jose California

Once the residence of Sarah Winchester, the wealthy widow of the Winchester Rifle magnate, the Winchester Mystery House is an architectural anomaly with a twist of spine-chilling lore. With staircases leading to nowhere, doors opening to brick walls, and countless rooms, the mansion is said to have been designed to confuse the ghosts of those felled by the infamous rifles. Take a tour and step into a real-life puzzle that combines history with mystery.

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3. The Museum of Death, Hollywood California

Not for the faint of heart, Hollywood’s Museum of Death offers an unflinching look at the macabre. With exhibits ranging from crime scene photographs to serial killer artwork, the museum showcases the darker side of human nature across a variety of mediums.

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4. Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch, Oro Grande California

Imagine a forest where the trees are iron rods and the leaves are colorful glass bottles. Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch is exactly that – an enchanting collection of whimsical sculptures that chime in the desert wind. Rooted in the Route 66 tradition of roadside attractions, this eclectic art installation offers a dreamlike experience and the perfect photo opportunity against the backdrop of a California sunset.

By Jessie Eastland - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63265201
By Jessie Eastland - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63265201
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5. The Integratron, Landers California

The Integratron is a historical structure famed for its acoustics and the claims of its maker, George Van Tassel, who said it was capable of rejuvenation and time travel.

While no one is promising you'll reverse aging or jump through the time-space continuum, visitors can enjoy "sound baths" where the dome’s perfect resonance envelops you in a blanket of soothing tones.

So there you have it, five crazy and unusual tourist attractions worth checking out in California. If you live or are traveling to California this year, you might want to put these on your road trip lists.

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