If you consider yourself a traveler, chances are you’ve stopped in some pretty gross and sketchy places – or at least you did before you had to worry so much about other people’s germs.
It takes quite an impression, then, for a spot to earn the title of “worst” in your mind, right?
That should tell you something about these places that these folks will never forget (for all the wrong reasons).
1. It literally stinks.
The Salton Sea made me sad.
There was so much hope around this place. Now if you visit: it’s a very poor town, the sand sucks your shoes off and smells awful, and the stench of dead fish permeates the air.
Now their only bar presents as a David Lynch nightmare if you go.
It’s the closest I’ve ever seen to a post-apocalyptic wasteland. And due to the fact that most of the rotting abandoned buildings are from the 1960s, it’s eerily similar to a Fallout game.
This documentary can save you a trip there, but it doesn’t quite capture the feeling of driving through a rotting ghost town in 115F heat, completely empty except for a couple of meth heads staring at you from under an awning.
Slough. Where the UK version of “The Office” is set.
It’s grey. The mood. The city. The sky.
A very depressing city.
3. Sounds appealing to someone.
Barstow, CA. Imagine if an entire town was one big sketchy ass truck stop.
“We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”
4. Those stabby hobos.
I owned a pistachio farm 25 miles northeast of Barstow and it wasn’t that bad. The REAL shithole is the group of crap cities to the south, Victorville/AppleValley/Hesperia. I could walk around Barstow (and I did because of pokemon go) and not feel like, oh god, in victorville I wouldn’t even want to get out of my car. Stabby hobos abound.
Barstow has a train museum, a drive in movie theater, the Mojave desert museum and the fairly fun Treasure house antique mall. Gateway to Rainbow Ridge, a really pretty place, home to tons of amazing fossils of camels, big toothed cats and other exotic mammals.
Plus, great place for rock and mineral collecting, as seen in the field guide, Rockhound Barstow.
5. He just had a feeling.
I was helping friends move across the country and I called my husband one night when we stopped. He said, “Where have you gotten to?” and I said, “I don’t know but it’s the ugliest place I’ve ever seen in my life,” and he said, “Oh, you’ve gotten to Midland Odessa,” and he was correct.
I have seen a lot of the world and Midland Odessa, Texas, is by far the most terrible place I’ve ever looked at.
6. Can you judge a place by its gas stations?
It was a gas station about an hour from Myrtle Beach. We had to pee and get just a little bit more gas. (Me and my husband) We both walked in ad it was super crowded. Which didn’t really shock us as much as overwhelm. But what really got us, was the bathrooms.
Both toilets had fecal matter on the lids and seat. And not just a smear, like if someone accidentally got it there or didn’t realize they left a streak from their cheek. There was actual little clumps left on the seats. Pee in the floor, no paper towels, or soap. The walls in the women’s were covered in fecal matter and menstrual blood. I ended up hovering over the toilet because a part of me still felt bad peeing anything in the floor.
The toilet paper had poop on it so after I was done I pulled on my pants and left. Didn’t care. My husband did the same. He said he had to aim father than normal. The toilet was already full and he was not planning on flushing when he say fecal matter on the handle.
Another gas station story. Years before that, me and my mom were driving at night to Texas. Somewhere along the way we stopped at a station. I had to pee. To get to the bathroom I had to walk into a outward concrete overlay. Dirt ground and the door only locked by a little hook and eye. Literally looked like I walked into a murder bathroom. Walls and lighting was a eerie shade of blue green you see in the horror movies.
Leaving texas we stopped at a Dairy Queen. It used to be a person’s house and when you walked into the “restaurant ” It smelled like old mildew. Didn’t even have a bathroom. And the counter was a regular kitchen counter. Imagine a 60’s-70’s style house with a dairy queen inside. That was it . Haven’t found anywhere else yet but those were…interesting.
I used to visit schools to give science presentations. Based in the Midwest, I elected the ‘Western tour’ one year, which landed me in Midland, TX. I took a drink from the school drinking fountain and spat it out.
One of the teachers, who knew I was from the Great Lakes area, laughed and said, “Was it the salt or the petrochemicals that got you?”
8. It just hits you.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Hanoi and most of Vietnam but the in the old quarter of Hanoi the sewage tends to seep up into the gutter due to ancient broken pipes.
When a waft hits you in +30c heat and high humidity I’m not sure there’s much worse than that.
9. Well that sounds terrifying.
It felt like I stumbled into the movie set for House of Wax, Children of the Corn and Deliverance all in one place. They had a hair salon/mechanic/courthouse/ jail all in one building. The judge’s wife was the hair stylist, the judge was also the mechanic and the sheriff was his son.
10. A classic.
I was trying to think of the shittiest place I’ve been to and everything I came up with all had their bright spots, Mexican slums, Indian slums, broken down rust belt towns, etc.
But you nailed it: Skid Row LA is the worst place I’ve even seen.
11. No hope at all.
For me it is Hope, Arkansas.
I was a kid and my family stayed the night at the Holiday Inn on our way to somewhere else.
When we checked in they gave us a complimentary fly swatter.
12. Just sand and dirt.
Two hotels, a pizza hut, and a DFC (Duqm Fried Chicken).
Also can’t forget the hundreds of miles of new roads that led to… more sand and dirt.
Like it was built like the first five minutes of a Sim City 2000 game.
13. I mean it is jail.
Oklahoma County Jail. I’ve spent some time in a few other jails for various misadventures, but that place may have well as been a prison camp in a third-world country.
Computers were down for 36 hours so everyone was crammed into holding cells awaiting processing, there were lice crawling everywhere, some asshole threw his lunch bag in the toilet (not that I blame him, the green bologna sandwich isn’t very appetizing) so it backed up all over the floor, the entire staff looked like the My 600-pound Life All-Star Team, and you were lucky to get a 6 oz. styrofoam cup of water once every six hours.
Absolutely disgusting, especially when my crime was a 6-year-old failure to appear charge for a speeding ticket.
14. Feral, eh?
I live in New Zealand, and to get from my city to the country’s biggest city Auckland you used to have to drive through a town called Huntly.
I don’t care how nice the locals might make it seem, it is the ugliest, dirtiest most feral place I’ve been in this country.
Thankfully, they put in a highway about 1-2 years ago so you can now bypass it.
15. Oh, the 80s.
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, 1985. I think my Mom and aunt went to buy cheap liquor. Great idea. Take three kids under five to what seemed like a war zone for booze.
Ahhhh, the 80’s.
16. Improvements were made.
Tashkent – Uzbekistan about 30 years ago. Was on a stopover flight from London to Delhi. There was literally piss and shit all over the floor in the toilets of international airport, and the whole area was horrible, filthy, stank.
Flew via Tashkent (unwillingly) 20 years later and was pleased to find everything was modern, clean and nice.
17. Not appealing.
Clovis, New Mexico. It permanently smells like cow poop there.
I spent 4 miserable years in that s*%thole. Clovis is basically a giant meth lab next to an Air Force base.
18. But there’s that whole song!
Gary, Indiana. Apologies to those who live there, but it’s kinda like the armpit of America.
It reeks of a town that was once a cool place to be but has just been left to the wayside.
19. A total downer.
Killeen/Ft. Hood, TX. I was stationed there for three years, but I was in the Air Force. Don’t know how I got that lucky.
That place is an armpit.
20. For reference.
Clovis NM is the worst place I have been in the 30-ish states I have been to.
There are places in the US that are as bad as third world countries, but they have a McDonalds or beat down Walmart. I have been to several third world countries for reference.
21. Not like he imagined.
Roswell, NM. It was a bucket list destination for me, but the town was such a disappointment. The Alien museum felt lackluster and the whole area gave me sad burnt-out vibes.
Bottomless Lakes State Park just outside of town was beautiful, though.
22. Terrible conditions.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia ??
Went in late March, but was still very cold. Half the homes there are warmed by coal fires inside their gers (yurts). Every morning you could literally taste the pollution. Traffic was terrible, took an hour to go a mile during rush hour. Every car is at least 10 to 15 years old, and is imported from Japan, but they drive on the right side so the steering wheels are wrongly placed.
Getting out into the suburbs or the ger district, terrible conditions, I felt so bad for them. Do plan on going back, but this time in the summer when it’s not so cold. However, I’ve never met a friendlier people than Mongolians.
23. The worst of it.
East St. Louis, Illinois. I worked on a project there for over a year and most of the town is a post apocalyptic landscape. Abandoned factories and houses, packs of wild dogs, and extreme poverty. We found a bloody clever in our porta potty one day. Witnessed numerous violent interactions with prostitutes, pimps, and John’s.
The soils around our worksite were contaminated with lead, gas, benzene, and just about any noxious chemical you can think of. The worst was the smells. On top of the usual garbage/burning garbage smell it alternated between a confection bakery and a dog food factory.
So depending on the direction of the wind it was either a sickly sweet smell or a smell we affectionately called “horse bacon”.
Honorable mention goes to Welch, WV otherwise known as Little Chicago. The town thrived in the mid-20th century evidenced by some cool old buildings. Now the town is run down.
24. It’s not the best.
Fresno California was pretty shitty when I was there in the early 2000s. I’d swear half the businesses in what I think was the downtown area were bail bonds places.
Coffee shop, bail bonds, yarn store, bail bonds, record shop, bail bonds…
25. It’s not like the pictures.
Despite the impression TV gives you that they are in the middle of a beautiful unspoilt desert, they are actually in the worst part of Cairo. Dirty, full of litter and polluted to buggery.
Getting off the coach you will be absolutely mobbed by beggers, scam artists and thieves. They will hound you every step of the way to the pyramids. I had one literally put his hand in my pocket and try to steal my smokes saying “my cigarettes! Mine!” They will beg anything off you on principle: if you are carrying a bottle of water they will beg you for it.
I thought Port Siad was bad because it looked like a bomb had hit it but The pyramids were something else.
I am sure Egypt is a lovely country with lots of natural beauty but Ciaro and the pyramids left a really bad impression on me.
26. A rotten soul.
Qatar. Terrible slave state with no culture of their own.
I was there for 6 months for work. Hated it. The glitzy glamour didn’t hide the rotten soul of the place. Some of my coworkers were blinded by the facade, but I and others saw right through it.
27. Just skip it.
Definitely the fast food capital of Australia ….Dub Vegas or more commonly known as Dubbo. I know the locals will take umbrage at this but essentially it is a low joint with not a lot going for it apart from a great Zoo called the Western Plains Zoo.
The crime is high and brain cells are low. It is a dusty, hot s*%t hole full of young red necks in hotted up utes with big driving lights and a lot of chubby girls in pink shirts and denim jeans.
It has more McDonald outlets per capita than any other place in Australia. The best part of Dubbo is the Newell Highway going out of it..
28. Like another planet.
The Tenderloin in San Francisco.
I’ve visited and grown up in some extremely crappy places but that area was the only place where I didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone and walked as fast as I could to get out.
People lying down in the middle of the street with needles sticking out of their arms, eating garbage, etc. It was another planet.
La Boca in Buenos Aires was pretty bad, too. The people seemed pretty happy, though, they were just extremely poor.
Tenderloin was like the end of Requiem for a Dream
29. Would not recommend it.
Queenstown, Tasmania takes the prize for worst town in Australia in my books.
The place is a moonscape because acid rain from the mines killed all the trees, and all the topsoil washed away. Vegetation will never grow back.
The town itself has a terrifying The Hills Have Eyes vibe. Everyone I know that has been there has said it feels like you’re being watched the whole time you’re there. Personally, I’ve never hightailed it out of a place as fast as there.
Its three main tourist attractions are (and I’m not even joking); the ecological disaster that is the surrounding landscape, the slagheap from the mines, and the football ground that has a gravel playing surface because you can’t grow grass there.
A 0/10 town. I recommend having enough fuel in your tank so you don’t have to stop there.
30. I’d have to agree.
Myrtle Beach SC is REAL gross.
Nothing but aging cement run down hirise hotels, breakfast joints, infinity t-shirt places and cheesy Ripley s believe it or not attractions .
And parking garages. And Crackheads.
So many crackheads and John’s trolling for 5 dolla blowjobs. Used to be a fun family place that also has great places to go dancing in the 80s. It’s hot garbage now.
These sound absolutely not delightful at all. Ugh.
What’s the worst place you’ve had the not-pleasure of seeing? Let us know in the comments!