Elizabeth is an experienced traveler and writer with bylines in several popular travel publications. She currently co-owns a small digital travel publication and spends her free time writing, taking photos, and traveling.
Are you ready for a tongue twister? These 10 cities have the oddest names that’ll leave you scratching your head. Toad Suck to Ding Dong, these municipalities have some serious character.
Keep reading to see what other quirky, weird, and wacky monikers we found hidden across the country.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, was originally named Hot Springs until it won a wager in 1950 with the popular NBC radio and television game show “Truth or Consequences.” The show’s host promised to make a visit to the first town to change its name to Truth or Consequences. Highlights in the town include the historic bathhouses, the annual Fiesta celebration, and exploring the Geronimo Springs Museum. Don’t miss out on the healing properties of the hot springs that helped put Truth or Consequences on the map.
Chicken, Alaska, gets its peculiar name from the miners who were trekking through the area in the late 1800s. They had hunted so much game along the Yukon River that they decided to call the town Ptarmigan, the bird they had been hunting. However, because the name was hard to spell, they decided to stick with Chicken instead. In this unique town, which is home to only about ten full-time residents, visitors can pan for gold at Pedro Dredge or experience Chickenstock, a week-long summer music festival.
Boring, Oregon may have a less-than-thrilling name, but its history is anything but dull. The city was named after William Harrison Boring, an early settler who made significant contributions to the development of the area. Despite its name, Boring offers plenty of attractions and activities for visitors, including hiking in the Mount Hood National Forest (one of the best Oregon vacation spots), exploring local wineries, and visiting the North American Bigfoot Center.
Intercourse, Pennsylvania, is a quaint town nestled in the heart of Amish country. While the name may sound scandalous, its origins are actually quite innocent. It is said the town was named after a crossroads of two main roads, making it a place of “intercourse” or exchange. However, the town embraces its quirky name, and visitors can explore unique shops selling handmade crafts, indulge in delicious Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, and even take a buggy ride through the peaceful countryside.
Uncertain, Texas is a small town located on the shores of Caddo Lake. Its name, coming from an account of early surveyors unsure about the area’s boundaries, makes for a fitting introduction to this town. Despite its size, visitors can spend their days fishing, kayaking, or touring the historic cabins and cottages nestled amid the cypress trees.
Why, Arizona may have an odd name, but its history is quite fascinating. The name is said to have originated from the native place name “Aleh-zon” or “Ali-Shonak,” which translates to “small spring” or “place of the small spring.” The town was once a mining community, and today it’s a peaceful place perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of city life.
If anybody’s ever told you to go to hell, then you might as well go ahead and visit Hell, Michigan. It’s said that George Reeves, one of the founders, was asked what he wanted to name the town and responded with, “I don’t care, you can name it Hell for all I care.” In all reality, it’s likely the name was a German translation of the word “bright,” which is “hell” in German. Despite its unusual name, the town offers many attractions, such as the Damnation University and the Scattering Yard, a place to scatter the ashes of loved ones with a sense of humor.
Ding Dong, Texas
Located near the banks of the Lampasas River, the pint-sized town of Ding Dong is far from ordinary. The story behind its name dates back to its founding when two brothers opened a store and hired an artist to create a catchy sign. He painted two bells with the playful words “ding” and “dong” scribbled underneath, and the rest is history. While Ding Dong might be small, its close proximity to nearby Killeen means there’s no shortage of things to see and do in the area. Unleash your inner explorer by hiking along the riverbanks, go fishing for catfish, or enjoy the sweet serenade of birds chirping around the expansive Belton Lake.
Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana, got its name in 1856 when the post office needed a new title (Santa Fee, the original chosen name, was too close to Santa Fe). Legend has it that a little girl from the town suggested “Santa Claus” during a Christmas Eve town hall meeting. Today, the town celebrates Christmas year-round with holiday-themed attractions such as the Santa Claus Museum and Village, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari amusement park, and the Santa Claus Christmas Store.
Toad Suck, Arkansas
Toad Suck, Arkansas, may have an odd name, but its history is rooted in the transportation industry. In the days of steamboats, the area was a popular stopping point where (reportedly) sailors could “suck” on toad, which is what they called whiskey, while they waited for the river to become navigable again. Today, visitors can enjoy the quirky name with a visit to Toad Suck Park, where they can fish, hike, and enjoy the scenic Arkansas River.
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