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The Seven Strangest Day Trips Outside of Vegas

Dipping a Toe Into Bat Country, When the Strip Isn’t Weird Enough

By Sam Eichner ·
Needing to get far from Vegas for a few hours.

That’s essential when going to Vegas for a few days.

Fortunately, you have an entire desert full of weirdness out there.

More specifically, a desert containing a classic car forest, a ghost town with a serious artistic streak and a clown motel. Wait, make that a clown motel beside a cemetery.

Point being, there are things to see just a few hours from the Strip.

So if you thought Vegas was pretty weird, with its fake Venice and skyscraping roller coaster and still-performing Britney Spears, read on for a truly bizarre itinerary out in Bat Country.


The Destination: The International Car Forest of the Last Church
Driving Time From the Strip: Approximately three hours.
Why It’s Strange: It’s an art installation involving a bunch of funky junkyard cars stacked on top of each other, buried nose-first into the ground or otherwise oddly situated in a giant “forest.” Oh, art.

The Destination: Tikaboo Peak
Driving Time From the Strip: Approximately two and a half hours.
Why It’s Strange: Standing on this mountaintop is the closest you can legally get to Area 51, which can be seen from up here. Inside tip: it’s the place with the little green Martians.


The Destination: Valley of Fire State Park
Driving Time From the Strip: A little over one hour.
Why It’s Strange: There are ancient petrified trees, lots of Aztec sandstone and some weird rock formations across 40,000 beautiful acres. In other words: it’s stranger on shrooms.

The Destination: Santa Fe Saloon
Driving Time From the Strip: Approximately three hours.
Why It’s Strange: At over 110 years old, this is one of the oldest running businesses in the state, with a ton of Wild West memorabilia—including the bathtub of legendary Virginia City madam Julia Bulette. It’s also home to Nevada’s meanest bartender. Though we haven’t met them all yet.


The Destination: Rhyolite Ghost Town
Driving Time From the Strip: Approximately two hours.
Why It’s Strange: Founded in 1901, Death Valley’s Rhyolite was almost completely abandoned by 1920. However, it’s still home to a house made from bottles, as well as the Goldwell Open Air Museum—an outdoor sculpture park that includes, amongst other oddities, a ghostly reproduction of da Vinci’s Last Supper. As Swayze taught us, ghosts are good with their hands.

The Destination: Eldorado Canyon Mine
Driving Time From the Strip: About 45 minutes.
Why It’s Strange: Here you have an eerily intact picture of the oldest, richest, most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada. It kind of feels like it could be the set of Westworld. Or the set of the set that is Westworld? Or actual Westworld? Hmm. Now we’re confused.


The Destination: The Clown Motel
Driving Time From the Strip: Approximately four hours.
Why It’s Strange: For one, it’s the final bastion of civilization before another long stretch of Nevada desert. For two, it’s a motel covered in clown stuff. Three, it’s right next to a cemetery. Four... let’s rejoice that there is no four.

Sam Eichner likes literature, reality television and his twin cats equally. He has consistently been told he needs a shave since he started growing facial hair.

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