The Coolest Offbeat Attraction in Each U.S. State

Jon Mayer
The World’s Largest Pistachio, New Mexico.
The World’s Largest Pistachio, New Mexico. / Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

From strange roadside attractions to wonderfully weird museums, the United States is full of delightful sights that don’t show up in all the guidebooks.

In the latest episode of The List Show, host Justin Dodd takes an off-kilter roadtrip through the country, with stops at a self-flushing latrine, a collection of human brains, and much more.

That self-flushing latrine, incidentally, is found at Alabama’s Fort Gaines. It employs some very old technology: the tides of the Gulf of Mexico. The 10 adjacent privies—which did not afford soldiers much in the way of privacy—are located right along the coast. The fort was built before the Civil War, and visitors who want to get off the beaten path can still visit today to experience a unique window into history.

Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace. / Douglas Peebles/GettyImages

Hawaii’s Iolani Palace is one of the less quirky items on the list. But it is definitely unique in one respect: It’s generally considered the country’s only royal palace.

History buffs will recall that the U.S. has generally not been too enthusiastic about monarchies. But our 50th state, Hawaii, was another story. It was an independent kingdom until the end of the 19th century. 

Queen Lili’uokalani lived at the palace until she was deposed by the euphemistically named “Committee of Safety,” a group composed mostly of businessmen who had the support of powerful figures in the U.S. After a failed attempt to reclaim the throne, the queen was actually imprisoned in a room at the palace for almost eight months. 

You can learn about 49 other offbeat attractions (yes, we show some love to Washington, D.C.) in the full video. Subscribe to Mental Floss on YouTube for more fun lists and interesting facts.