The best of Quirky Travel Guy, 2013

arnold schwarzenegger statue

Before putting 2013 in the rearview mirror once and for all, I have to recap some of my favorite posts from the past 12 months. Last year was perhaps my most exciting travel year yet, with several trips throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The highlights of ’13 included visits to a recently-abandoned ghost town in Oklahoma, two small towns in Mexico, and one of the coolest little cities in one of the most unexpected places – Canada’s Yukon territory.

These were the most memorable travel moments in Quirky Travel-land.

Move Over, Picasso: Watch Elephants Paint at the Indianapolis Zoo


It’s just what it sounds like – elephants creating paintings at the zoo. You can watch them paint and even take home their masterpiece once they’re finished.

What’s it like to visit a ghost town full of toxic waste? Welcome to Picher, Oklahoma…

church abandoned bw

The most eerie travel experience I had in ’13 was visiting a town that went from thriving community to abandoned ghost town in less than ten years.

Reconnecting with my Amish roots in Berlin, Ohio


I’m descended from Amish royalty. Really. A trip to Amish Country in Ohio provided an opportunity to trace my ancestry back hundreds of years and meet some long-lost Amish relatives.

Meet Sid, the man behind the quirkiest museum in Canada

sid beaver creek bike

One of the coolest characters I met this year was Sid van der Meer Sr. from Beaver Creek, Yukon, who has a massive collection of bizarre antiques, like a 77-million year old turtle fossil, old Alaska Highway milepost signs, and unopened mail from 1920.

Nationality Rooms in Pittsburgh: Experience cultures from around the world in a single building

At the tallest classroom building in North America, the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, you can visit classrooms from more than two dozen countries in the span of less than 30 minutes.

Travel blogging couples share funny and inspiring memories in honor of Valentine’s Day

I let some of the coolest couples from the travel blogging world offer their advice and memories in this special Valentine’s Day post.

Visiting the Westboro Baptist Church and the Rainbow House across the street


This year, a group of activists bought a house across the street from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church and painted it in the colors of the rainbow flag. I paid a visit to see it for myself.

The 10 least-visited national parks in America

Wherein I try to give some love to the national parks that see the least traffic year in and year out. Give it a read and consider adding Dry Tortugas, Great Basin, and Isle Royale to your bucket list.

I tried 60 different Coca Cola products from around the world at the Coke Museum

At the conclusion of the Coke factory tour in Atlanta, you can sample Coke flavors from around the world. I sat there and tried all 60. Among my favorites: Smart Apple from China, Fanta Melon Frosty from Thailand, and Bibo Candy Pine Nut from South Africa.

The Newseum blows me away


The Newseum in Washington DC is my favorite museum in America. Find out why.

My 50 favorite sights at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame finally started allowing visitors to take pictures, and I put together one of the first photo essays from the place shortly thereafter. Lots of good pics here including artifacts from Michael Jackson, Little Richard, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and dozens more.


I freaking love Dawson City

There’s a town way up north in Canada’s Yukon territory that reminds me a lot of Key West, Florida due to its quirky, hippie, friendly vibe.

I’m a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club

drink sourtoe

I consumed the infamous Sour Toe Cocktail, a Dawson City drink that includes a real mummified human toe inside the glass.

Here’s what a small-town Mexican cemetery looks like

The colors and the unique remembrances are what stood out most at these small cemeteries in Villa Union, Mexico.

The character of the Yukon: A photo essay


The best photo essay I’ve ever published on the site. Check out 60 unique images from around the Yukon territory.

Hiking in the Hollywood Hills


The Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles are an awesome place to hike, because in addition to the nature, you can spot wildlife, celebrities, and the Hollywood sign.

The Penn Museum of Archaeology is just awful

I had to be honest about the sad state of this Ivy League-affiliated museum.


American Banjo Museum, Oklahoma City, OK
Arnold Schwarzenegger statue, Columbus, OH
Toronto Shoe Museum, Toronto, ON
Pops, home of 600 crazy soda flavors, Arcadia, OK
Mill City Museum, Minneapolis, MN

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

4 comments on “The best of Quirky Travel Guy, 2013

  1. You’ve had some great travels this year! I also did some hiking recently in LA and was pleasantly surprised at how lovely – and uncrowded it was. I’m heading up to the Yukon this summer so I’m going back to check out your photos.

    Have a great 2014.
    Leigh recently posted..Visiting Yosemite in Winter

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