Ever heard of a town called Hell or wondered Why you’d visit a place called No Name? How about a quick trip to Accident or a scenic drive through Boring? Believe it or not, these are real towns with names that inspire a chuckle… or a raised eyebrow. If you enjoy a good laugh and a quirky piece of trivia, then you’ll get a kick out of some of the world’s most unusually named places.
This small village located on the island of Anglesey in Wales boasts the longest name in all of Europe. The name is Welsh and roughly translates to “The church of St. Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio by the red cave.” The name was officially lengthened in the 19th century as a means of attracting tourists.
Fun Fact: Despite its tongue-twisting name, locals often shorten it to Llanfairpwll or Llanfair PG. It also has one of the longest domain names in the world.
Hell, Michigan, USA
Located in the U.S. state of Michigan, Hell was first settled in 1838. The origins of its name are uncertain, but one popular theory suggests that it was named by the German settlers who described the area’s marshy conditions as “so schön hell,” meaning “so beautifully bright.” Over time, “hell” also came to refer to the low-lying “hell-like” conditions during the rainy season.
Fun Fact: Hell, Michigan, has fully embraced its unusual name, offering tourists the chance to become the “Mayor of Hell” for a day.
Chicken, Alaska, USA
Chicken is a small outpost in Alaska that was settled during the gold rush. When it came time to incorporate the town, locals wanted to name it after the plentiful ptarmigan (a type of grouse) in the area. However, disagreement over the bird’s correct spelling led them to settle on “Chicken” instead.
Fun Fact: Chicken, Alaska, is one of the few remaining gold rush towns in Alaska. It’s also one of the few places in the U.S. where mail is still delivered by plane, but it only comes on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Batman is a city in the southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey. The name is thought to come from the nearby Batman River, which itself may have been named after the unit of measurement used in the Ottoman Empire, known as “batman.”
Fun Fact: In 2008, the mayor of Batman attempted to sue Warner Bros. and director Christopher Nolan for using the city’s name in the Batman film franchise without permission. The lawsuit was not successful.
No Name, Colorado, USA
No Name is a small town in Colorado, USA. There’s more than one version of how the town got its name, but the most popular is that the state sent out a questionnaire, and the town’s people wrote “No Name” under the section for Name of Town. The state took them seriously and that’s been the name ever since.
Another version claims the town received its unusual name after Interstate 70 was built. When the exit for the town was being constructed, a temporary sign with “No Name” was placed, and it never got replaced, so the name stuck.
Fun Fact: The No Name hiking trail and No Name tunnels in the Glenwood Canyon are popular attractions for visitors.
Why, Arizona, USA
The community of Why, Arizona, gets its name from the shape of the two major highways, State Routes 85 and 86, that used to intersect in a Y shape. As Arizona law required all city names to have at least three letters, “Y” was changed to “Why”.
Fun Fact: Why, Arizona is the gateway to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Despite its unusual name, it has become a popular tourist stop due to its proximity to the monument.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, USA
This city in New Mexico was originally named Hot Springs for the local geothermal waters. However, it was renamed Truth or Consequences in 1950 in response to a radio show challenge by host Ralph Edwards, who promised to broadcast the show from the first town that renamed itself after the program.
Fun Fact: Each year, Truth or Consequences hosts a fiesta celebrating the city’s unique name change, with Ralph Edwards attending every year until his death in 2005.
Middelfart is a town in central Denmark. The name Middelfart means “middle journey” or “middle passage” in Danish. This likely references the town’s location in the middle of Denmark, as well as its history as a ferry crossing town.
Fun Fact: Despite its unusual name in English, Middelfart is known for its beautiful location by the sea, and is a popular location for bridge-walking – an activity that lets you walk on top of the old Little Belt Bridge.
Peculiar, Missouri, USA
Located in Cass County, Missouri, the origin of Peculiar’s name is a tale of perseverance. When the residents were trying to decide on a name for their town, they sought the help of the postmaster who sent several suggestions to the Postmaster General. Each name was rejected because it was already in use elsewhere. The exasperated postmaster reportedly wrote back, “We don’t care what name you give us so long as it is sort of ‘peculiar’.” The Postmaster General responded, “That suits us. It will be Peculiar.”
Fun Fact: Peculiar’s motto is “Where the ‘odds’ are with you,” in a playful nod to their unusual name.
Punkydoodles Corners, Ontario, Canada
The origin of the name for this hamlet in Ontario is unclear, but local folklore suggests it may have been named by a local innkeeper who used to sing “Yankee Doodle,” but he mispronounced the words, sounding like “Punky Doodle.” Another story suggests that “Punkydoodles” is a term that was used to describe a lazy person, and the name stuck.
Fun Fact: Punkydoodles Corners is frequently cited as one of the most unusually named places in Canada. It also hosts an annual summer solstice party and is prone to frequent sign theft by those wanting to commemorate their visit to this strangely named location.
Boring, Oregon, USA
Named after Civial War veteran, William H. Boring, who settled in the area in the 1870s, the town’s moniker, Boring, is actually an homage to its founder. The community, which officially became Boring in 1903, has embraced its dull name, partnering with Dull in Scotland and Bland in Australia.
Fun Fact: Every August 9th, the town celebrates “Boring and Dull Day” to honor its partnership with Dull, Scotland, and to promote local tourism.
Accident, Maryland, USA
The small town of Accident in Maryland got its name from the time of colonial land surveys. The land which Accident occupies was, in fact, “accidentally” surveyed. Two different surveyors included the same tract of land in their surveys by accident and hence the name.
Fun Fact: Every year, Accident holds an “Accident Homecoming,” where town residents celebrate the unique heritage and community of their town.
Sweet Lips, Tennessee, USA
Sweet Lips, a community located in Chester County, Tennessee, is believed to have gotten its name from soldiers during the Civil War. The story goes that soldiers from the area, away from home, would talk about the pleasures of coming home to Sweet Lips, referring to the locally produced honey.
Fun Fact: The town’s unusual name has made it a favorite for photographers and tourists, but there are very few businesses or shops in the area due to its small size.
Eek, Alaska, USA
Eek is a city in Alaska named after the native Eskimo word “Eek,” meaning “two eyes.” It’s been suggested that this might refer to two nearby lakes east of the city that resemble a pair of eyes when viewed from a certain angle.
Fun Fact: Despite its somewhat alarming name, Eek is a peaceful place. With less than 500 residents, it’s one of the smaller towns in the state.
No Passport, No Problem: You Don’t Need One to Vacation in These Countries
If you’re an American citizen traveling out of the country, you have to have a passport to be allowed into somewhere else, right? While that’s mostly true, there are some exceptions. Some are independent countries, while others are U.S. territories that largely operate independently.
Note: Before you visit any of these places, make sure you look into what the entry requirements are. For example, you may need an enhanced ID or proof of certain vaccinations.
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Do you think you’re smarter than most of the population? Check out these signs to see if you make the cut or if you should go back to school.
Could You Have Done What Lewis and Clark Did? Probably Not and Here’s Why
Lots of people are into hiking, although very few have the stamina to do what Lewis and Clark did. Can you even imagine making an 8,000-mile cross-country trek into unchartered territory? Take a minute to explore these 12 riveting realities of the Lewis and Clark expedition that will leave you questioning your own survival skills.
Step Into the Past: 10 American Ghost Towns to Explore
America may not have a history as old as other countries, but we do have our share of ghost towns. Around 3,800 of them, according to a recent report by the New York Times. From the largest ghost town in Jarome, Arizona, to quirky ghost towns like Calico, California, here are ten of the most well-known in America.
Featured Image Credit: Khosro/Shutterstock
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.