2020 is no time to think about going to Burning Man or Vegas.
But no matter how many times you've been to Nevada, you're probably missing out on some of its most offbeat attractions, including an artist-made car forest and one of the world's tiniest micro-nations where mint chocolate chip ice cream gets its own national holiday.
Quirky as they are, it's little surprise that these places aren't exactly packed. If you're looking for a Covid-friendly escape, these secluded Nevada escapes promise excellent photo ops.
A view of the International Car Forest of the Last Church.(via Facebook)
International Car Forest of the Last Church
Located on Highway 95 outside of Goldfield is theInternational Car Forest of the Last Church. Artists Chad Sorg and Mark Rippie started the forest many years ago when they noticed one lone car standing on its nose in the sand. They have since stacked and buried more than 40 junked cars, trucks and vans, many of which have unique murals and designs painted on them. Interestingly, Goldfield's home county, Esmeralda County, is one of the last remaining places in the U.S. with no cases of Covid-19. // facebook.com/carforest
The Republic of Molossia
Did you know that Nevada is home to a micronation? The Republic of Molossia in Dayton, Nevada is only 1.3 acres total, making it one of the smallest micronations in the world. Founded by His Excellency President Grand Admiral Colonel Doctor Kevin Baugh, Molossia has its own navy, space program, measurement system, and time zone. To visit, contact His Excellency via his website or Facebook page—and bring your passport. Time your visit with one of Molossia's unusual holiday celebrations, including the Misfit Regatta (taking place every two years in October), January's Emperor Norton Day (which is celebrated with a Cookie Dough Fest), and Chocolate Mint Day (Feb. 19) in honor of the president's favorite ice cream. But you'll need to plan ahead: All outsider visits to Molossia must be scheduled via email to the Foreign Ministry and take place during the official tourist season, April 15th through October 15th. // molossia.org
Wide open skies are on view at Nevada's Fort Churchill State Historic Park.
Fort Churchill State Historic Park
Need a spot to stop and watch the sunset? Check out Fort Churchill State Historic Park. This former military fort and Pony Express station on the famous California Trail consists of several crumbling adobe buildings, a museum, hiking trails, and a campground next to the Carson River. Some visitors claim that the fort's buildings are haunted, so after-dark activities can bring spooky results. The park is always open; entry is $5 per vehicle. (The park is also accessible via the American Discovery Trail, which remains closed during Covid-19.) // parks.nv.gov
Thunder Mountain is a kooky, handmade monument to the American Indian.(Photo by Tim Torrell)
Thunder Mountain Monument
Located on Interstate 80 near the small town of Imlay, Thunder Mountain is a five-acre park packed with architectural oddities and folk art created over three decades by the late Frank Van Zant, aka Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder, a World War II veteran an ersatz spiritual guru who described the roadside curiosity as both a museum and monument to the American Indian. Owned and maintained today by the chief's son Dan Van Zant, the three-story monument and various outbuildings are made of scrap metal, junk cars, old bottles and cans, and chicken wire and held together with cement. It was a popular hangout among hippies in the 1960s. // thundermountainmonument.com