Suburban life can be so dull that its easy to overlook the number of uniquely interesting small towns dotting the globe. Some of these locations will leave you saying, "I want to go to there;" others... might not.
1. Hell, Michigan
We bet you never realized that you were actually telling people to visit Michigan all of those times that you said, "Go to Hell." Hell is a small town; consisting of less than 100 residents - unless they're hiding everyone else in some kind of horrifying subterranean dungeon. What they aren't hiding is the kitschy Hell-themed establishments. This town may be anything but boring, but you can still find a scoop of vanilla at Scream's Ice Cream. For those who are curious about their chances of winning the lottery, Hell has a pretty good chance of freezing over during the winter with record breaking temperatures like -27° F.
2. Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa
Maharishi Vedic City is a hidden gem in rural Iowa; and its certainly not what you'd expect. The little town calls itself a "model of ideal life."The Sanskirt word for knowledge is "vedic" and the term "Maharishi" is taken from the name of the Maharishi Manesh Yogi. Maharishi Vedic City claims that it is "probably the healthiest city in America" and boasts the superiority of their "vedic" ways. The city's website outlines their differing principals with the most eye-catching being the following:
"Vedic Defense: Founded to become a “lighthouse of peace” for America and the world. The City is working to establish a permanent group of peace-creating experts whose daily practice of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation™ and Yogic Flying techniques will promote coherent national and world consciousness and thereby prevent any negativity from arising in America or in the family of nations."
Flying yogi meditation experts to protect America. Just sit with that thought for a moment.
3. Longyearbyen, Norway
Norway can have incredibly difficult winters, and Longyearbyen is considered the world's northernmost city. Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in Svalbard and functions as the area's capital. The town was built on stilts to prevent the buildings from being damaged by the slight summertime thawing of the permafrost Svalbard ground. Most of the homes in Longyearbyen are painted in bright colors to combat the gloomy feel of the environment.
4. Monowi, NE
Nebraska is a sprawling landlocked state with a surprisingly small population. The modest little town of Monowi has only 1 resident. Elsie Eiler resides in a mobile home seated within walking distance of the only business left in Monowi, a tavern that she used to run with her late husband, Rudy. Eiler is also the town's mayor and librarian; it sounds like a busy job, but how many visits can a town of 1 get?
5. Coober Pedy, Australia
Coober Pedy is a town in Southern Australia that probably doesn't look like much from the outside; however, resting underneath the reddened soil lies a treasure trove of uniquely designed homes that were dug straight into the Earth itself. The town's name comes from the language of the local Aboriginal people; kupa-piti means "white-man's hole."
6. Thames Town, China
Named for the River Thames in London, the Chinese Thames Town is themed to look like a classic Victorian market town. Beautiful, old-style rowhouses line the cobblestone streets and old, stone churches reach up toward the clouds in mimicry of those which have been standing in English cities for centuries. The town itself is eerily vacant; except for the couples who choose Thames Town as a site for their wedding photography.
7. Giethoorn, Holland
Residents of Geithoorn never ask each other, "but who will build the roads?" when entering into a political debate; probably because the village doesn't have any. Travel is either accomplished on foot via the sidewalks, or in small boats via the canal system. Geithoorn is referred to as "The Venice of Holland," and the village is about as picturesque as one can get.
8. Neft Daşları, Azerbaijan
Referred to as the "Oil City in the Caspian Sea," "Oil Rocks," or "Stalin's Atlantis." Neft Daşları was constructed by soviet engineers looking to score some more black gold in the 1950's. Neft Daşları sits atop a man-made platform made of steel and sunken ships in the ocean; a network of bridges and roads connects the oil metropolis to the mainland.
9. Kunming, China
This is not a photo of Munchkinland, this is a photo of the real Kingdom of the Little People amusement park in Kunming, China. The park only employs people with dwarfism who are under 4'3" tall. The mushroom-style homes pictured are a part of the amusement park's performance space, but the little people actually live in on-site dormitory housing that appeal more to what humans actually like to live in, rather than something a Disney woodland dwarf would prefer.
10. Gibsonton, FL
Gibsonton, sometimes referred to as, "Gibtown," is known as the "home of the freaks." Carnies often choose Gibsonton as a place to retire when they've ended their careers, or just for the season. The strange town was one of the first in America to sport shorter counter-tops in its post office, out of consideration for little people.
11. Nagoro, Japan
The population of the small village in the valleys of Shinkoku has been steadily dwindling. Lonely Nagoro resident, Tsukimi Ayano filled the empty homes and buildings of this town with about 350 life-size dolls; each meant to represent a person that is no longer present.
12. Lilydale, New York
Lily Dale, New York calls itself "The City of Light." A town of palm readers and spiritualists, Lily Dale is host to the World Congress of Spiritualists. The town's website boasts that the Lily Dale Assembly is the World’s Largest Center for the Science Philosophy and Religion of Spiritualism after 134 years of activity. Lily Dale is home to unique features like its Forest Temple and Inspiration Stump.
13. Tianducheng, China
We're seeing a trend here. The second Chinese remake of a European-style town on our list is Tianducheng; a Chinese take on Paris. Tianducheng even has its very own Eiffel Tower. Not unlike Thames Town, Tianducheng feels strangely like a ghost town; Paris style.
14. Arcosanti, New Mexico
Arcosanti, New Mexico is the brainchild of architect, Paolo Soleri. The arcology compound has been in construction since the 1970's and is only 3% complete to this date. With a progress rate like that, this hippie-paradise may never see completion, but that could be due to its reliance on volunteer workers for construction.
15. Sheridan, Wyoming
The little town of Sheridan, Wyoming may be one of the last strongholds of the classic American cowboy. According to Western Horseman Magazine, Sheridan is the #1 Small Town for Cowboy Charm in America. The little town dates back to the 1880's and still maintains its "old west" charm in style. The historic Mint Bar is still operational to tourists and residents alike.
16. Tamarack, Minnesota
Most residents in the Northern Minnesota town of Tamarack believe in the existence of Big Foot; not only that, but many claim to have seen the elusive biped with its perma-blur shroud. Animal Planet's Bigfoot Hunters has paid visits to Tamarack in search of what could easily turn out to be an introvert with severe hypertrichosis who has chosen to live off-the-grid.