The American legend of UFO sightings has persisted since the late 1800s, and the following notorious locations are out-of-this-world travel spots for UFO enthusiasts across the nation. Pack up your best alien gear--radars, antennas, conspiracy theories, you name it--and hit the road this summer to crash these hot spots!
Most Americans know Roswell as one of the first major UFO crash sites. In 1947, a rancher, Mac Brazel, found unknown wreckage in his pasture that the military Air Force quickly claimed was a "weather balloon" that crashed in the area. The event was swept under the rug, yet theorists believe the crash involved what was in fact a "flying saucer," the term being coined during this incident. Tons of people still visit Roswell for its alien and space-inspired attractions, including stores, museums, restaurants and summer festivals. More info can be found here.
Area 51 remains one of America's biggest mysteries, as no one seems to know what exactly goes on within the perimeters of this enigmatic military installation--which could be housing UFOs and extraterrestrial specimens. Located just north of Las Vegas, the base remained hidden for years and is still labelled with orange poles and signs as a highly classified military area. Going anywhere near the place will result in an escort from the premises--that is, if you make it through the vast desert that surrounds it. Today, people can dare to hike up Tikaboo Peak to get even the slightest glimpse, but the best bet is to visit Rachel, Nevada, for more attractions. For more info on Area 51 exploration, go here.
Explorer Multimedia Inc.
Before Roswell, there was Aurora, Texas, the home of a buried spaceship pilot, deemed a "Martian" from "out of this world." In 1897, a UFO appeared to have crashed into a windmill and was buried in the Aurora Cemetery, where an unmarked gravestone once honored the pilot's death. Today, all that stands is a plaque reading, "This site is also well-known because of the legend that a spaceship crashed nearby in 1897 and the pilot, killed in the crash, was buried here." People are free to visit the cemetery, as well as the rest of Aurora, and devise their own theories regarding the crash. Here is more info.
For those interested in Area 51, but lacking the desire to trek through the open desert to be turned around by the "camo dudes," Rachel, NV holds promise for Extraterrestrial encounters. Along Highway 375 (aka "Extraterrestrial Highway"), people can visit the Area 51 Alien Center, Little A'Le'Inn, and the Alien Research Center. It's a great cheesy tourist spot for UFO junkies to admire and maybe meet some ex-military folk who have the inside scoop (well, as much as they can hint at). For more information, go to this article.
In 1965, citizens of Kecksberg reported to have witnessed a giant, glowing "acorn-shaped" object crash land in the woods. The government quickly disposed of the object and deemed the incident a meteor collision. Today, there stands a tall podium featuring a replica of said "space acorn," which people can visit and photograph. Even better, the town hosts an annual UFO festival every summer! Go here for more info on the crash and here for info about the festival.
Marcus Larson/News Register
McMinnville, Oregon, is home to some of the best-photographed UFO sightings in the nation. According to the story, farmer Paul A. Trent and his wife spotted a large disc-shaped object hovering in the distance, and they quickly snapped two photos of the mysterious object, which are recorded as the most credible evidence for a UFO sighting to this day. The town holds an awesome UFO Festival with costume contests, street vendors, live music, and other fun attractions! Get more info about the crash here and learn more about the festival here.
New England Historical Society
In 1961, a couple--Betty and Barney Hill--reported a strange encounter while driving home through Franconia Notch from their vacation in Montreal. Legend has it that the two stopped along the road to walk their dog and noticed an odd sight in the distance. While speeding away from what appeared to be a flying disc-shaped object, their car mysteriously started to vibrate and buzz. When they returned home, their watches were permanently stopped, the car had strange markings on the back, and they noticed that the trip took them 2 hours longer than normal. The Hills also reported memory loss in the incident, during which they suspected they were taken into an alien spaceship for examination. Today, the event is deemed an "alien abduction," and a roadside historical marker commemorates the tale. People can visit the University of New Hampshire to read Betty Hill's notes and memories, as well as hike through the picturesque Franconia Notch. Get more info here and here.
As far as organized UFO fanatics go, there's always MUFON, or the Mutual UFO Network, one of few unified UFO organizations. There is an annual gathering during the MUFON Symposium, which will be held this year in Irvine, California. At the symposium, you can hear speakers, go to lectures, engage in field investigator training, shop the various vendors, view the art gallery, and many other special events. For more info, check out their site here.
Any space enthusiast must venture to the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida. Some astronauts claim to have spotted signs of extraterrestrial oddities and UFO encounters during their time in space, although NASA has denied most of their claims. Visiting the Space Center is the experience of a lifetime, as you can have lunch with an astronaut, see the Saturn V rocket, learn about encounters on Mars, and even try out a realistic launch simulation! Learn more here.
The last stop for any UFO expert or fanatic is the International UFO Congress, which is annually held in Scottsdale, Arizona. There are various events held at the conference, including speakers from around the world, vendors, skywatching, feature films, and much more. The event is the Guinness World Record holder of the largest UFO conference to date! Might as well try to score some tickets while you're planning your "alien-inspired" road trip out West. Get more info here.
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