Get off the Beaten Path with Atlas Obscura’s Travel Guides

published Aug 18, 2015
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(Image credit: Ken Lund)

If you’re up for getting down with offbeat destinations on your late summer road trips (abandoned asylums! A ventriloquism museum! Ghost towns! A house made of newspaper! The world’s largest six pack!…of beer), check out Atlas Obscura, a gem of a resource for discovering the curious and the wondrous.

Atlas Obscura is a collaborative online travel guide celebrating hidden and lesser-known treasures, and their motto is that something worth exploring exists around every corner. The site provides information on a plethora of interesting finds along with a search engine where visitors can plug in a region or city and receive a gold mine of destinations ranging from the beautiful to the unusual to the eerie (like, say, the situation happening below). Here are but a few examples…

(Image credit: 5chw4r7z )

First up: If you’ve always bemoaned the fact that there isn’t a museum filled with ventriloquist puppets, you’re in luck. Oh yes, hundreds of these eager-eyed characters are traumatizing people, I mean housed at the Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, the only ventriloquism museum in the world. The museum contains thousands of photos, memorabilia, and over 800 ventriloquist dummies. Fascinating, but I do wonder how long they haunt your dreams.

(Image credit: Maggie Deegan)

Now on to the beautiful: this is Natural Bridge in Virginia, a natural wonder that was once a sacred site for the Monacan tribe, who called it “the Bridge of God”. George Washington is said to have surveyed the formation and legend has it that he carved “GW” into a side of rock (thus making him our first graffiti artist president).

(Image credit: american_rugbier)

Speaking of graffiti, Leake Street Tunnel, also known as Graffiti Tunnel, is a 200-meter long tunnel running underneath Waterloo Station in London. The bridge became a legal spot for graffiti artists to show their work after a Banksy-organized art show in 2008. Artists continue to add to the visual conversation so there’s a good chance you’ll see an artist in action. Bonus music nerd tip: to get very meta, listen to “Waterloo Sunset” by the Kinks at Waterloo Station before heading into the tunnel, as it’s a song about young lovers meeting at the station.

(Image credit: flickr/pwbaker)

And finally: ruins! The Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia are the remnants of a mansion built for the Carnegie family in 1884. The estate, which included a pool, gardens, golf course, and housing for 200 servants was abandoned during the Great Depression and much of it was destroyed in a fire in 1959, leaving behind haunting ruins. And apparently some lovely horses.

Head on over to Atlas Obscura for many more strange and wonderful points along the way.