The desert is a mysterious place. Miles and miles of wide open land just waiting to be discovered. Here in Texas, scattered along the stretches of uncharted territory out west, you’ll encounter several odd attractions that will make you do a double-take. Here are 9 of the strangest things in the Texas desert:
1. A Prada store (Marfa)
Although fully stocked with shoes and handbags, this store will never be open for business. It's a project by artistic duo Elmgreen and Dragset meant to send a message about how fleeting our worldly desires are. The building was designed to slowly disintegrate into the earth, showing us that the possessions we covet and lust after so intently will one day mean nothing. To see this anomaly, head west on 90 out of Valentine for about 1.4 miles.
2. Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo)
Unlike most tourist attractions, vandalism is highly encouraged at Cadillac Ranch - so bring your graffiti and get ready to have a good time. It serves as a tribute to the "Golden Age" of the American automobile, and has been the inspiration for several other monuments across the country. It's located in a pasture between exits 60 and 62 on I-40 E.
3. The Marfa lights (Marfa)
There are various explanations surrounding the Marfa lights, but no scientific conclusion has been officially reached. Whether aliens or an atmospheric condition is responsible, these dancing orbs sure are neat to look at.
4. An abandoned mining town (Terlingua)
Terlingua was a booming mining town in the 1800s, but the Chisos Mining Company eventually filed for bankruptcy and the town was essentially left abandoned. A small community has been established there today as well as a world-famous Chili Cook-Off, but much of the town is still so empty that you'd almost expect a tumbleweed to blow across your path.
5. Hueco Tanks State Park (El Paso)
Once used as a source of water due to its natural catch basins, Hueco Tanks dates back to as early as 6000 BCE. You'll see pictographs covering the rock walls as well as a wide variety of wildlife. The park is located 32 miles northeast of El Paso on Highway 62/180.
6. A decaying military base (Mineral Wells)
Camp Wolters was deactivated in 1973 and sold to Lake Mineral Wells State Park, Weatherford College, and private businessmen. Some of the buildings are in use today, but many are empty and abandoned, drawing in explorers and military enthusiasts from all over. The history is rich here, that's for sure, and the weight of it can be felt immediately upon arrival. If you want to visit, the address is 517 Grant Road
Mineral Wells, Texas, 76067
7. An abandoned movie set (Redford)
This might appear to be a forgotten ghost town, however it's all a facade. It's actually an abandoned movie set called "Contrabando" that was used in "Dead Man's Walk," "Streets of Laredo," and a few other films. Take a drive out here and pretend you're back in the Old West - it really is a lot of fun. It's located at Farm to Market 170
Redford, Texas, 79846
8. A ghost town with a goat for mayor (Lajitas)
Texas sure is full of ghost towns, isn't it? This one just might have the best story of them all. The mayor of Lajitas is, in fact, a goat. And not just any goat, either - a beer-drinking goat. That's right, Clay Henry drinks up to 40 cold ones a day sometimes, and you can personally give him one if you visit the town. Head west on Ranch Rd. 170 from Terlingua to get to Lajitas.
9. Baker Hotel (Mineral Wells)
We've all heard of the Baker Hotel - I would argue it's become one of the most infamous hotels in Texas. In its heyday, famous people would travel from all over the country to drink the "healing" mineral waters and indulge in all the resort's lavish amenities. There are many ghost stories associated with the hotel, including a popular tale of a woman in red, presumably the owner's mistress, jumping to her death from a window after their affair was discovered. Although abandoned now, a walk on the grounds might uncover some spooky evidence...especially if it's done at night. The address is 200 East Hubbard St.
Mineral Wells, Texas, 76067
Have you visited any of these places? What do you think is the weirdest thing in the Texas desert?