Travel round the States and it’s easy to see the many different influences that have played their part in naming their towns, cities and even states. For example the French heritage is most apparent in places from Lafayette to Louisiana, the Spanish influence in San Francisco and San Diego and the British behind the likes of Raleigh, Richmond and Dover.
But then there are some names that are just downright weird and wacky – and if you’re hiring a car in the USA it could well be worth making a detour to any of these places, if only to take a selfie by the city sign.
You’ll find the first on our list on the I-25 between Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Once known as Hot Springs after the many – you’ve guessed it – hot springs you’ll find there, it changed its name in 1950 as part of a publicity drive for a radio game show – and the name just seemed to stick. With a population of 6,000 it’s not a large place but there are plenty of places to eat and somewhere to stay.
70 miles north of Lubbock, Texas you’ll find yourself coming down to Earth, hopefully not with a bump. It’s a small farming community whose name is believed to be derived from the “Good Earth” that made the land such a fertile place for growing crops. Pay a visit and don’t miss out on a visit to The Wolverine restaurant - not, as you might hope, a favourite of Hugh Jackman’s, but according to the town’s website, this long-standing restaurant predates the comic character by some 50 years.
If this town’s residents had been given a dollar every time they’d heard someone say they’ve been to Hell and back, they’d probably have earned enough to live comfortably on a long time ago.
The town of Hell is located in Livingston County, Michigan; one of the highlights for any visitor is that they can visit an official US weather station there to see just what the temperature is in Hell.
On the road between Natchez, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama why not stop off for some refreshment in this strangely-named town? In fact, providing weary travellers with hot coffee is exactly how it earned its name and reputation, as a place where the old-time wagon trains could stop for some much needed caffeine on their way across country – and they promise visitors the same warm hospitality today.
We’ll move quickly on from this one – just to let you know that, much to their reserved horror Intercourse is a traditional Amish community, and several scenes in the Harrison Ford film “Witness” were filmed in its picturesque streets.
These are just five of the weirdest place names in the United States to look out for, but you’re sure to find many more of your own on your travels.