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57 "Creepy" US Towns People Think You Should Avoid

"I felt like I was being watched the whole time."

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the mysterious, cult-like, bad-vibes towns they came across in the United States. And, PHEW, there are A LOT. Here are their chilling responses:

Note: Some of these stories contain mentions of racism and sexual assault. Also, apologies if your hometown is on this list...but everyone's experience is personal, and, who knows, maybe you agree with what these people experienced?

1. "Denton, North Carolina — Somehow found myself dating someone from here. I’m half Mexican and when she took me to her town it was very weird. She took me to the local BBQ restaurant and she later told me the person who said hi in the form of, 'I’m sorry y'all lost the Civil War,' was the wife of the local KKK's grand dragon. Everyone in the town stared at me and gave me that, 'I’ll smile because you’re with a local, but don’t come back' vibe. Driving around I saw nooses in people's yards. It was so weird and bizarre!"

Outdoor evening scene at a dining area with string lights and patrons at tables

2. "Mooseheart, Illinois — They disguise themselves as a town for children, primarily orphans, but there have been terrible, awful stories about the treatment of those kids, including a sexual abuse case in 1994."

Woman standing by a child sitting on a bed, facing a wall, both in vintage attire

3. "Eastern Colorado — We were camping in a small town in the early '70s. My husband and two children, ages three and four, were on a cross-country summer trip. We went into a small town's cafe for dinner and a large group of redneck cowboys went silent. Then they started to spit on the floor and swear about the 'goddamn hippies everywhere.' The waitress came over to our table and whispered to us to leave quickly and quietly. We grabbed the kids, got in the car, and never looked back!"

Empty diner booth with glossy floor, focus on textured seat cushion

4. "Glenrio, New Mexico and Texas — This is a ghost town on the border of the two states along Route 66. I felt like I was being watched the whole time. There are still several houses there that I’m not entirely sure are unoccupied. I normally don’t have 'raised hair on the back of your neck' moments. But I couldn’t even get up the courage to get out of my car to take some photos of the derelict buildings left. It was very creepy."

Abandoned roadside motel and cafe with weathered signs, overgrown with vegetation

5. "Island Pond, Vermont — I know someone who has a second home there, and my family and I visited them a few years ago. The town was just very quiet and empty, which always creeps me out, but it wasn’t that bad until they decided to go into some cafe that I guess was run by the same people as the Yellow Deli (run by the Twelve Tribes cult). The people I was with who have the house there knew about the cult and just decided to go in out of curiosity."

A sign on a building reads "The Yellow Deli" with a decorative flower around it

6. "Harrison, Arkansas — There used to be several billboards on the main highway. Lots of white pride radio saying things like, 'Is it wrong to love your kind?' There is only one billboard now. It says, 'Let’s Go Brandon' by the Christian radio network. I think it is a KKK stronghold. There are YouTube videos of people protesting the old signs. Local people warning the protesters to watch their backs, etc."

Billboard in a field with provocative message on diversity and website URL

7. "Mack, Colorado — Once we had to stop here for gas...never do this! Real The Hills Have Eyes vibes. We immediately turned around because of the bad vibes but got stuck by a passing train. When we returned a woman, rail-thin with missing teeth, yelled, 'Fill up, I’ll open up!' So I start getting gas and noticed the 1980s-style pump had a piece of tape tripping the price. I go past the foul garbage can with flies everywhere and open the door to a horror movie. To my right, a boy eating cereal at a table stops and stares desperately at me, directly in front, up in a trailer, is a wolf growling. All the store racks were covered with plastic, and dolls were hanging from the rafters also wrapped in dust-covered plastic."

Welcome sign reading "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" at a state border

8. "Scotland, Indiana — Due to snow and an accidental detour, I drove through here on my way to the Indianapolis airport. The first thing we noticed was a giant banner stating that they are home to the annual Christmas festival, but the banner was dated about four years prior and falling apart. As we drove through the little town around 7:00 p.m. there wasn’t a soul in sight or a light in any window. There were, however, statues of people and mannequins in the front of people’s homes. It was quiet and terrifying and we couldn’t get through that town fast enough."

Mannequin legs sticking out of a toilet in a cluttered yard with a house in the background

9. "Pella, Iowa — Super conservative, religious culty vibes. people here live in a bubble where they think their views are the same everywhere. They are stunned when opposing views are expressed. So much so, that those who don’t agree are afraid to speak out. Plus, there is a small 'members-only' church with guards at the door to prevent non-members from entering."

Close-up of a map highlighting the names "Peoria" and "Pella" with surrounding geographical details

10. "Colorado Springs, Colorado — I don’t know if it’s still like this, but I grew up in Colorado Springs in the 1980s and it was a completely fundamentalist, evangelical town (and military, so also conservative). David Duke, a famous white supremacist, was still headquartered there, and there were always racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ+ crimes happening that weren’t prosecuted. I grew up mixed race and Jewish in that town. It was utter hell. Kids were not allowed to be my friends and people were always spray-painting swastikas on my locker and other belongings."

Person at a political rally holding a "DUKE for GOVERNOR" sign with supporters in the background

11. "Adams, Tennesse — It's the home of the Bell Witch cave. I had an extremely creepy feeling the second we entered that town. We were taking a walk early in the morning and would see people standing at their windows just staring at us."

Person exploring a cave through a metal gate

12. "New Square, New York — Only ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews live there. No one else. If someone not from the community drives through the town they will be pelted with rocks. They have almost no contact with anyone who is not Hasidic. They have their own schools, stores, doctors, police (unofficially), lawyers, you name it. Most families have a dozen children or more and as a result, they get public assistance. They rarely vaccinate their children and there have been measles and other preventable outbreaks. People are not allowed to watch TV or use the internet. I grew up nearby and as a (non-practicing) Jew myself I would never step foot in that town. It is very much like fundamentalist Mormon towns out west, but this is literally in the middle of a pretty affluent suburban county."

Sign with Hebrew text attached to a utility pole, with foliage and a building in the background

13. "Cinco Ranch, Texas — There are something like 8,000 homes in this neighborhood and we did not see A SINGLE PERSON outside. No joggers, no dog walkers, no kids…no one. The realtor said they must all be in church, but the 'Mexican people should be back at work mowing lawns soon.' It was just another sign to stay the fuck out of Texas."

Aerial view of a suburban neighborhood with uniform houses and tidy yards

14. "Hines, Oregon — Along the highway there's a really good spot to stop with a public park and bathrooms that's set back a bit from the highway. Kitty corner to the park is an old church that has been empty for a while. The town itself doesn't have a creepy vibe...for humans, but every single dog I have ever driven through there with was absolutely terrified of the place and only took the bare minimum amount of time and space to do their business. This was maybe six or seven dogs owned by different people over multiple years, going through town at different times of the year. I have never figured out exactly what spooked all these dogs, but friends who have traveled through Hines have also noticed this with their own dogs."

Puppy looking out a rain-spattered van window

15. "Coos Bay, Oregon — I spent one night there on a trip up the west coast. Very weird. The woman at the motel desk wouldn’t rent my friend and me a room with only one bed because we were two women. The towels definitely had blood stains. The only non-sketchy restaurant was Sizzler LOL. This was the early 2000s. We stayed in some random places on that trip but that place sticks out in my mind as just feeling off."

A truss bridge spans a river under a partly cloudy sky

16. "Woodland Park, Colorado — Some dude started an unaccredited 'bible college' there. He’s a total grifter and takes people's money and claims to be able to heal with his hands but you have to pay him a bunch first. People come from all over the country and then get stuck there after giving away their money to this greedy, evil, piece of crap human. Just like Moscow, Idaho — this dude is taking his followers to take over the town. From what I hear, they are starting to do so. Big nope!!!"

Aerial view of a town with the caption "Colorado School Board Standoff Over Classroom Content"

17. "Interlachen, Florida — Years ago, I was driving in north-central Florida along Route 20 near Interlachen taking my daughter to Girl Scout camp. Way outside of town where there is absolutely nothing, I see on Google Maps that there are streets laid out like a city of 100,000 people, but there are just trees as far as I can see. So I slowed down to see if any of these streets existed, and they did — but they were dirt roads. I spent an hour just driving around on all these dirt roads, and there is at most one house or trailer per block and everything else is just empty dirt roads. To this day, I have no idea why all those dirt roads are there and why Google knows about them. Maybe a real-estate developer went out of business during a big project? This was a few years after the 2008 real estate crisis, so maybe the market just disappeared. Whatever the reason, driving around a whole town with basically nobody living there was creepy."

A dirt road flanked by tall trees leading into the distance

18. "Laytonville, California — It’s a weed-growing town with two motels, two restaurants, a store, and one gas station. It was a hippie town for a long time. Now, it is a hostile environment with bikers, cartels, Wiccans, and wannabe drug lords. It's a creepy feeling going through there...feels like what I imagine a gold rush boomtown felt like, full of price gouging and danger."

View of various plants including cone-shaped flowers and a bamboo structure against a backdrop of trees

19. "Rhyolite, Nevada — Pulled into this ghost town in the early '90s with a friend to check it out. Someone who apparently had taken up residence immediately started shooting at us. We left as fast as we could."

Old wooden building labeled "Rhyolite Mercantile" with abandoned structures in a desert background

20. "Pulaski, Tennesse — It's a pretty creepy place. The KKK was founded there in 1865 and has always had some control over the town ever since. It’s a tiny, rundown town with not a lot going on. I’ve heard it’s still a sundown town. The only 'outsiders' who live there are members of the Twelve Tribes cult who run a Yellow Deli on the square. Even though I am white, I used to drive through the town sometimes on my way back to visit family and was told by my mother to never under any circumstances stop there for anything, not even gas. My grandpa was an FBI agent stationed out of the closest field office and apparently had heard some stories, too, so it’s a place we don’t go."

Image of a historical photograph depicting a cross burning with figures in robes

21. "Bullhead City, Arizona — It's across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada, a desperately poor man's version of Las Vegas. We couldn't find a restaurant on our phones that was open after dark and ended up buying salad bar food at the only grocery store in town. I think this place was an early impact zone of fentanyl because there were unconscious people slumped over in many dark corners and the sound of EMS sirens everywhere. We got up at dawn to wash our rental car, and there was an unconscious woman on the AstroTurf island between the deserted lanes. Just as I got out to check on her, a guy in a pickup pulled up, threw her IN THE BACK, and screeched away. Utter desolation."

View of a small town with houses along a waterfront, set against a backdrop of distant mountains

22. "Monticello, Mississippi — Dated a girl from there, and aside from the inbreeding that went on, the whole town seemed 'too happy.' I can't describe it. False cheeriness, like the townspeople had something to hide. It felt very surreal. Years later I learned it was near where they had The Valley Of The Kings cult, where the leader and his son were sexually abusing minor-age members of the congregation."

Welcome sign reading "Welcome to Mississippi, Birthplace of America's Music" with trees and sky in the background

23. "Guffy, Colorado — My parents bought land there and dreamed someday of building a log cabin and retiring there. At the time it was a charming little town with a population of 14 and a cute little general store. My mom passed away at a young age and they were never able to retire there as was their dream. While on a trip across the country with my husband, we stopped to see it again due to nostalgia for my mom’s dream about retiring in the little town. We arrived at the town and it was not the same cute town. There were cow skulls and bones everywhere. There was even a horse-drawn carriage with the skeletal remains of horses pulling it. We were freaked out and got out of there. When you look up Guffy, Colorado online, you will see these creepy images."

Old truck parked in front of a rustic building with eclectic decor and signs stating "Telephone" and "Tire Repair."

24. "Kemerer, Wyoming — I played bluegrass and country music in the '70s and ’80s. Did a gig in Kemerer. It exists because there is an open pit mine there. You haven’t experienced ugly until you’ve seen an open pit mine. We went into the local 'music store' to get some guitar strings (four white guys with a Black drummer) and when we walked in the lady behind the counter moved her kids behind her and said, 'I’m married.'"

Cattle graze in foreground with an industrial smokestack emitting smoke in the background

25. "Heritage USA — The theme park founded by televangelist Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye. Also, it was not me, but my younger brother (no longer with us). In the mid-'80s my brother returned to school as a journalism major at the University of South Carolina. One of his assignments was to write a story about the newly opened theme park. So, one weekend, off he went. He later told me that the whole time he was there he felt like he had to keep looking over his shoulder because he felt like a couple of guys were going to come up behind him, grab him, and say, 'You don't belong here.' Wish he was still here to tell you himself.'

Aerial view of a building complex with a bridge over water, displaying "2020 EXTRA" text overlay

26. "Newburg, Missouri — My friend dated a woman from there. Saw her a few times a week. Got pulled over by the local cop and was told to STOP seeing that woman. The cop said his life was in danger, and that he, the cop, couldn’t do anything to prevent violence towards him by other men wanting to date her."

Police car with flashing lights parked on a nighttime street

27. Pecos, Texas — Was traveling solo from Florida to Colorado and went through this West Texas town. It was like being in a Mad Max movie. I drive a Honda CRV and I’m sure I had the smallest vehicle in the town. Lots of huge trucks — it’s a big oil and gas spot. Unfortunately, I’d been on the road awhile and had to pee so bad. I found a gas station and ran in fast. The women’s bathroom had a Word document printed sign that read there was absolutely zero reason a man should need to use the women’s. I wish I’d have taken a picture of it but I was so focused on getting out of there I just went and left! Weird freaking town."

Oil refinery tanks with a flare stack burning off gas and a tanker truck parked beside in a desert area

28. Las Vegas, New Mexico — My husband and I were 19 years old, traveling with our 6-month-old son. We stopped for gas and a carload of drunk men followed us, then tried to run us off the road. My husband waved a big knife at them. Also, it was midnight, New Year’s Eve! The cops were firing their guns in the air. The car wasn’t running right. It wouldn’t go over 40 mph. This happened in 1980. I’ll never forget it."

Historic train station building with 'LAS VEGAS, N.M.' sign

29. "Vidor, Texas — Went there for a funeral for my friend's wife. She was T-boned by a drunken cowboy in Houston. Stopped at a bar for a drink. Hard stares from everyone. One of the patrons went to the jukebox and deposited multiple quarters. Played the same song over and over: 'My wife ran off with a n-word.'"

Person selecting a song on a vintage jukebox

30. "Mount Ida, Arkansas — Publicly claims to be 'The Quartz Crystal Capital of the World,' but also ranks 10th on the '10 Most Historically Racist Places In Arkansas' list curated by roadsnacks.net. There is an active KKK Klavern there. Proud of being a 'sundown town.' Don't be fooled by the crystals! These folks are messed up."

A wooden tray filled with various pieces of raw smoky quartz crystals

31. "Adams, Tennesse — In 1994 my ex-wife (then-girlfriend) and I were traveling through Adams back to Nashville and stopped at a local restaurant. Like others have mentioned in other towns the place fell dead silent. Everyone stared and said nothing. We were both spooked, so we left and decided to stay at a local motel as we were both tired. The motel was right out of the movie Vacancy and many passing cars slowed down so the locals could stare at us. It was right out of a Stephen King novel or film….we decided to get back on the road and get the hell out of there instead. We didn’t care how tired we were we were out of there!"

Neon sign for Delta Motel at dusk, with a lit "NO VACANCY" notice

32. "McCarthy, Alaska — My family took a road trip through Alaska when I was 15 and my siblings were 12 and 8. We went to this town in the middle of nowhere that you could only access by pedestrian footbridge and it looked dirt poor, like a ghost town out of a western movie. My parents stopped at the only store that looked half open to see if they could get food and my sisters and I walked around exploring. Two miserable-looking kids followed the three of us around and pelted us with pebbles. They wouldn't talk to us. I felt so bad for them trapped there. According to Wikipedia, in 2010 the population was 28 people and in the 1980s they had 'the worst mass shooting in the history of Alaska,' so I have to say the chills I got from that town as a kid were not wrong. This was a long time ago though, I hope it's doing better now."

Two people and a dog are on a snowy road with equipment, dated March 1st, 1983

33. Vermillion, Ohio — During a youth group trip back in 2009 — 100 teens on a long-haul road trip from Atlanta to Niagara Falls — one of our stops was in Vermillion, right on the coast of Lake Erie. During the day, it was so charming and cute, it almost felt like a movie set. But it was almost too perfect… a lot of us started feeling a little unsettled, but figured it was just because we were all tired and had been on the road for days. Then the sun went down."

Old theater marquee with "COMING SOON" text, under renovation or awaiting a new release

34. "Leith, North Dakota — It was basically overtaken by white supremacists to turn it into a white supremacist haven."


35. West Plains, Missouri — My good friend bought 40 acres there. Went with him to frame his house. Found out it's a town lost in time. There were no people of color in the whole town. I asked a young guy at the lumber yard about it. He said 'Well the KKK is still pretty big around here.' Weird vibe for sure."

Dirt road leading to a green house with bare trees on the sides, captioned "RACIST NEXT DOOR"

36. "Elizabethtown, Kentucky — My son, 19, and I were traveling from Ohio to central Kentucky on I-75. We stopped in for gas, coffee, and to stretch our legs. We decided to get the coffee first cause we had just under a quarter gas tank. We pulled into a restaurant. We walk in and everyone stops and stares. People in the booths are craning their necks to stare at us. Everyone was white, and we are olive-skinned Puerto Ricans. We ordered two coffees to go and just stood waiting — quite uncomfortable. After much longer than it takes to brew a pot of coffee we finally got served, paid, and walked out. Decided to drive on to the next town to get gas and threw out the untasted coffee. It was a very strange experience. Especially since we thought Elizabethtown was a college town and didn’t expect to have that kind of experience there."

Aerial view of a town with a roundabout, buildings line the streets, and a cloudy sky above

37. "Fallon, Nevada — It's an oasis for lovers of dusty isolation and emu ranches just for the heck of it!"

Group of ostriches behind a fence, one with mouth open as if surprised, in an outdoor enclosure

38. "Lynchburg, Virginia — Home of Jerry Falwell and Liberty University. Is it really a cult if they’re so corrupt they fleece 40,000 students a year and convince the religious right to select a thrice-married con man for president?"

Man in a suit speaking into a microphone, gesturing with one arm outstretched

39. "The Villages, Florida — What started as a little community of 400 mobile homes has become a massive retirement compound of nearly 80K residents, many retirees but also families with school-aged children. Being so meticulously planned, with manicured landscaping and themed 'town squares,' and residents being predominantly white boomers makes it all very Stepford Wives. All of the big Republican candidates and Fox News pundits make a stop at The Villages during their campaigns and book/speaking tours."

Star-shaped balloon with the American flag design, golf carts, and people at a street gathering

40. "Redding, California — They tell stories about the aliens who live on Mount Shasta (Lemuines) and it brings a lot of interesting characters out. More recently a Christian cult has set up camp and will 'attack' people in stores with gold and feathers to save their souls."

Vehicles on a snowy road with a large, lenticular cloud over a mountain landscape

41. "St John’s, Arizona — My ex-husband’s family lives there and every time we visited I told my ex that if he ever tried to move us there I would never. It totally reminded me of the town Napoleon Dynamite was filmed in. When my father-in-law died we stayed in the home of a distant family member who had passed away and her son was there, and very intoxicated. He kept offering to let our small children sleep in the living room with him. After a completely sleepless night of keeping watch over our kids, we went to the crappy, only hotel for the rest of the visit. Around that time there was an incident where a child shot and killed his own father and a friend that made national news."

Developing story headline about an Arizona boy who committed homicide at age 8 and is set to return to school at 15, next to a police car

42. "Corinth, Mississippi — My sister and I took a road trip through the USA in the early 2000s. Passed through this little town, and saying the vibes were weird is an understatement. We drove around a little to see the place and figure out if we should explore. We both got very quiet and after a few minutes my sister said, 'This place is a bit…' My response was, 'YUP!' I don’t know how to describe it, on one hand, it looked like picture-perfect southern America but it was definitely an unsettling feeling. It felt like curtains were twitching like we were being watched; there were American and/or Confederate flags on all the residential and commercial buildings, and it was very quiet."

An American flag and a Confederate flag hang side by side on a house's front porch

43. "Gary, Indiana — Drove through on our way to Chicago after dark. The whole place felt deserted, we didn’t see a SINGLE soul or even another car the entire time we drove through. This might just be my imaginative memory but I feel like it was especially dark for a downtown area as well — not many streetlights and a few intersections where you had to stop under overpasses that weren’t lit at all. We were only passing through, but we sped as fast as possible out of there. Found out later it’s supposed to be a very unsafe area, full of crime!"

Aerial view of a damaged building with a burnt roof next to an intact building

44. "Gold Hill, Colorado — A leftover hippie town in the mountains from the 1960s. Stopped for gas in the early 1990s. Went into a gas station, Quickie-Mart. Practically ran back to the car and hightailed it out of there."

Old rusty fire truck parked in a field with clear skies and trees in the background

45. "Rainbow, California — It’s on the business loop of I-15 between San Diego and Riverside. Home to some tree nurseries and a vintage '50s-era truck stop. The diner has a B rating from the health department and a confederate flag on display. Stopped there for lunch once out of curiosity. Found out it’s a mainstay for neo-nazis and bikers."

A person relaxes in a chair on a sidewalk reflected in a window adorned with Confederate flags

46. "Provo, Utah — The town is 90% LDS. My husband (at the time) and I went to the mall there and got stares from everyone. They know you’re not LDS and that you’re not a local."

Historic buildings line a street with a mountain in the background

47. "Citrus County, Florida — I currently live here. I had the unfortunate experience of having to graduate from the local high school after only attending my senior year. Basically, there's a church on every corner. They all appear to operate individually. However, when you don't belong to one of the many cult-affiliated churches cluttering Citrus County you find yourself out in the cold and completely isolated. They have an antagonistic way of giving you lip service without any thoughts of good intentions."

48. "Trade, Tennessee — Heading to Boone, North Carolina, a university town in the skiing areas, we passed through unincorporated Trade. It had a large old gas station and market on the roadside, and that's it. Something about that area made it feel like The Shining. I’ve never gone back."

Old gas station with two pumps and a blue building against a mountainous backdrop

49. "Gloucester, Massachusetts — I went to a wedding in the late '90s and after sleeping at the hotel, we stopped for lunch in town. A man was carrying in a fresh bag of steamer clams, so it seemed like a great spot for fresh seafood. As soon as we walked inside, it went silent. I’m from Massachusetts, lived there my whole life, I never expected to feel like a stranger or outcast anywhere. Turns out it was in the Perfect Storm movie and, apparently, the locals practiced this shunning to keep out visitors. I just wish there was a sign or private club situation to inform us that we were absolutely not welcome. So strange to feel it when you were just excited for lunch."

Fishing boats and dinghies docked by a waterfront with buildings and a red shack

50. "Colfax, Illionois — I had to go there to observe one of the teachers at the high school when I was in college. I pulled into the town and stopped at the gas station. I went in to use the bathroom, and it was such a creepy experience. I asked where their restroom was and both employees just pointed without saying a word. I really had to go, so I just went really fast. Then, the high school turned out to be a K–12 building with a TOTAL of 250 students. The high school was in the basement and the power went out while I was there. Apparently, that is a normal occurrence."

A neglected bathroom sink with visible stains and soap residue

51. "Elko, Nevada — I joke that the longest year I have ever had is a long weekend in Elko. Every place we stopped at made me wish that I was anywhere but there. I still shudder."

Interstate 80 sign beside a highway with distant mountains and clear skies

52. "Belvidere, Illinois — A single highway completely encircles this north-central Illinois city. The Grange, a formerly secret society, runs the city behind the scenes. In 1967, a tornado ripped through their high school at dismissal, killing 24. No one will speak of this event."

Aerial view of a small town with buildings, streets, and sparse vegetation

53. "Upper Merion, Pennsylvania — The people are the meanest in the US. Worst drivers. They act like being cruel is a strength. It’s the place where Echoes in the Darkness took place. I never forgave my parents for moving us there."

Man in a suit presenting a news segment with a graphic for "Echoes in the Darkness."

54. "Sunshine, Pennsylvania — One summer, about 10 years ago, some friends and I went on a road trip from Charlotte, North Carolina to rural Pennsylvania for a small niche music festival. It was five of us (three alternative-looking Black women, including myself, and two white dudes, one autistic and the other who looked like hippie Jesus). We stopped at a diner in West Virginia on the way there and immediately about faced when the whole place turned dead silent when we walked in. We continued our journey and ended up in Sunshine, Pennsylvania to grab food before heading to the festival."

ATM in a convenience store with snacks and drinks in the background

55. "Metropolis, Kentucky — I used to travel from Georgia to Illinois a lot, and we'd always pass the town sign. Stopped on one trip to get gas. It was, like, 11:00 a.m. and no one was around. No cars, no people. The shops in the square were all closed, except for the Superman Museum. The main courthouse has a HUGE Superman statue. The museum was shady AF and felt like the shop where the guy buys a Gremlin. We got out of there and never stopped in again."

Statue of Superman, standing with hands on hips, cape flowing, against a building backdrop

56. "Brattleboro, Vermont — my son and I were there for a college interview and tour. We went to dinner at a local restaurant. When we walked in the whole place stopped talking and looked at us. I didn’t want to seem nervous about it, so I said nothing. Halfway through dinner my son said, 'Is it me, or is everyone staring at us?' They continued to stare throughout dinner. I don’t know if it’s because we were dressed up, brown, or outsiders. He ended up going to that college and a woman who owned a B&B told me that it was like that for her for years when she first moved there. She was from Brazil."

Scenic view of a town with buildings amid autumn trees and distant hills

57. Finally, "Riverside, California — The only town I’ve ever been to that has a logo — they call it a raincross, and it is EVERYWHERE. It's on street signs, etched in concrete freeway walls, on people’s houses, literally everywhere. It turns out Riverside is where indigenous children were sent en masse to be 're-educated' in the ways of the white man, and the raincross symbol is a combination of the Christian cross and the cross to which Native Americans prayed for rain. It’s a very conservative county with several huge megachurches (including Harvest, of the Harvest Crusades) and although it has beauty and history, it is a strange place for sure."

Neoclassical building with columns and sculptures atop its facade, flanked by greenery under a clear sky

Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.