Traveling is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And thanks to modern technology, doing so has never been easier. Between ride-share services like Uber and Lyft and built-in GPS navigation systems, our phones serve as an accessible tool that makes getting from A to B seamless and effortless.
Most of the time, anyway.
Every now and then, technology fails us, as was the case for these people who recently shared stories about the weirdest place they accidentally visited using Google Maps.
45. Not With The Tan
I once applied for a job at a tanning salon at the next town over. The online ad made it seem really chill and like it would work well with my school hours. They were specifically looking for high school or college girls, so that fit the bill. Plus, free tanning or whatever. I sent in my resume and they emailed me to come do a job interview.
When I followed Google Maps to the address (there weren’t any street views of it) it was a dilapidated looking old house. A scraggly looking guy opened the door and waved for me to come in. I got out of there really fast.
44. Creepy Cementland
Cementland in St. Louis.
An artist known for creating the town’s renowned City Museum, basically an adult jungle gym in an old downtown office building, tried to outdo himself by turning an abandoned cement factory into the same thing. He did a lot of it himself and died when his bulldozer flipped over.
The site now has these creepy carnival-style painted concrete domes along the street and giant abandoned machinery behind them.
43. The Mistaken Mansion
I think my creepiest detour was when I accidentally stumbled across this really odd mansion-like building that had spiked fences all around with trees encompassing the entire thing.
Gave me the impression of it being something like a concentration camp — just a few large buildings with a single house in some non-popular area of southern California.
About 2 years later, I find out the church of Scientology has a private prison in southern California and I had skimmed its entrance.
42. Not Welcome In NC
I’m from New England but was traveling for work in the south. I was heading back to my hotel in NC, coming back from a small town in SC (I forget the name). At some point, I made a wrong turn and was lost on some back roads in the middle of nowhere that wasn’t on the map. I started noticing how old and rundown all of the houses and shacks were. Some places even had outhouses in their yards. Very Southern backwoods stuff.
I went down a dead-end and turned around in the entrance of a trailer park. There were at least 20 messed up people staring at me like I was an alien. Here I am, a northerner in a dress shirt and tie driving a brand new rental in the middle of Carolina. As I start to pull away, they all start chasing me and throwing stuff at my car. I tore out of there, afraid they would pursue me in one of their vehicles. Fortunately, they didn’t and I eventually found my way back to the highway.
That was a bit of a culture shock for me. We have some hillbillies and rural/poor areas in New England, but nothing like the South.
41. Alone In The Amazon
I found it years ago and haven’t been able to find it since.
I was scrolling around the Amazon, deep near the middle of South America, following rivers and just seeing what I could see. Far away from civilization, I found this house. One single house. It was on the edge of a river and the house had a square yard, not much bigger than the house, cut out from around the bush. It looked well kept and had a dock and boat which seemed like the only way to access other people. I remember being in awe at how different their life must be, how it must feel to step into their yard only to be surrounded by miles and miles of dense jungle. It was the most terrifying thing I can think of.
40. Wrong Bar
Given the name of a bar to meet friends, put it into Google Maps. I’m new to town so I don’t know I’m going the wrong direction. It wasn’t the right bar. I finally found my friends at the correct bar, and discovered the one I went to was known for criminal activity (it was shut down a couple of months later).
I guess I didn’t look like I belonged in that wrong bar because people literally stopped dancing to stare at me — I didn’t think anything of it at the time. A guy held the door open for me and besides the staring, it was just fine. But my friends were shocked that I had gone in there alone.
39. Red In The Road
I found myself in Mexico, tried to find some road signs by going down a road. Found patches of red liquid instead. Then a lot of red liquid. Saved some screenshots and ran away. No idea what I’d found but it didn’t look very wholesome.
38. A Little Off Base
We were somewhere near Pensacola Florida on vacation, trying to find our vacation house.
Our GPS took us off on some weird road toward a military base. That was fun, trying to explain what had happened to the guard who regulates who goes in and out.
He redirected us towards Niceville, where the House was located.
37. Eerie In Australia
During my trip to Australia, I drove around the Atherton Tablelands. It was a relaxing drive for the most part and I got to enjoy the Australian countryside. I wanted to visit one of the sights on my bucket list, but Google Maps kept redirecting me to some secluded back way. I must’ve followed it for at least 40 minutes, and before I knew it I was far from civilization. Paved roads turned to gravel roads turned to dirt roads.
As I was driving along, I remembered how isolating and eerily quiet the surroundings were. I thought if something were to happen to me, no one would know where I was. Needless to say, I was creeped out and my gut was telling me something bad might happen. Eventually, I come across a sign that said BEWARE DO NOT ENTER. That was enough for me to make a u-turn and high-tail it out of there.
36. Alphabet City
Went to a hospital in Vegas. Google Maps had me drive through an area I later found out is called Alphabet City. One street dead-ended, and there was a tent city on the sidewalk full of homeless people. Under a bridge was the main meeting place with like 20 people. It is considered one of the worst crime areas in the city.
Leaving, I saw that the freeway on-ramp was a block away in the opposite direction, so I could have avoided it entirely.
35. Pet Cemetery
One time, I was playing around on Google Maps, showing my boyfriend, at the time, where I was hoping to live when I got my teaching position in Japan and I realized you could drop the little navigation guy INTO some buildings. Thought it was awesome and tried going into a temple. Well, it threw me into the building next door. I was like, “Wow, this must be a shop… there’s a lot of really intensely ornate cabinets.” Then I saw pictures of dogs on the shelves along with vases. “Oh…this is a pet cemetery…” I don’t remember exactly where it was though, at this point. I just know it was somewhere in Kanazawa.
34. Chased By Canines
In Balmorhea, Texas, driving across the country with my girlfriend from NYC. Google Maps takes us off the main road, but I zoom out to double check and it looks like a good shortcut to get where we’re going. The trail gets dustier, and suddenly we’re at an open gate through which the “road” keeps going. I check the map again, and it looks okay, so we enter. I figure, if the gate is wide open, we’re probably safe.
Passing a large barn, suddenly about 15 huge dogs come running after us. Real big dogs. Barking, angry dogs. We keep driving as per Google’s instructions, but the “road” suddenly ends and there’s a creek that we could in no way cross to keep driving. So we manage to turn around with these huge dogs surrounding us and slowly drive back the other way. Only when we get back to the gate this time, it’s closed. In our rear-view, we see a golf cart sputtering towards us. It’s an old lady. We roll down the window, not long before we hear, “Y’all better get out of here NOW!”
We try to tell her we’re sorry and explain what happened, but she’s not hearing it. “If y’all hurt one of my dogs, I’m gonna SHOOT YOU!” My girlfriend is freaking out, but the gate is closed, so the old lady pretty hilariously has to explain to us that it will open automatically if we approach it closer. “It’ll OPEN automatically if you just PULL UP!” So we drive up and it starts to open, but we’re too close to it, and awkwardly back up to let it open all the way before hightailing it out of there. Never taking the “shortcut” in the middle of nowhere ever again.
33. Scientology School
My mother was trying to find a school for me. We toured one of them and…
It turned out to be a Scientology school. Or at least run by Scientologists. It was creepy.
32. Steps In The Woods
I was driving home from my friend’s house that was two hours away in Michigan. It was roughly 1 am, and at some point on my drive home, my phone switched from car to bicycle mode. I turned unknowingly down a muddy off-roading trail.
About halfway down the trail, there was a single pool ladder in the middle of the path with no houses around. I drove through the bushes next to the trail because I was not getting out of my car to move it. Luckily, my car was 4-wheel-drive and I was able to get through without being stuck because I lost all cell phone signal and had to just keep following the trail. Eventually, I found an actual road and stopped listening to my GPS because it wanted me to take another trail.
About 45 minutes later, I figured out what was happening when it wanted me to take a bike trail instead of the road right next to it. It was absolutely terrifying at the time, but now it’s a great story to tell.
31. Painted Cement
Not necessarily creepy but weird and eerie. In North Korea, they paint the ground to make it seem like it has huge parks and waterparks but if you zoom in its all just painted cement. And the houses… terrible. It’s still fun to just explore NK on Google Maps satellite though.
30. Caught In The Cornfields
Google Maps glitched once and took me to an empty cornfield in the middle of nowhere with a sign stapled to a fence post. The words, “trasspassers shot on sight” were hand painted on it. (Yes, they spelled it TRAS-passers.)
Absolutely terrified, I turned around and called my mom for directions.
29. Nuclear Mistake
So, my partner and I visited Kiev in the autumn of 2015 and we picked up a cat from the street. So we moved to a different room, one that allowed cats. The owner had a dog. I asked him if he knew any good vet clinics and he recommended one nearby.
We were visiting it semi-regularly. With the cat we went per public transport, but to pick up some stuff we went by foot because it’s just cheaper. Also, to note, it was in a pretty central area of Kiev, definitely not the outskirts.
So the first time we were going back from the clinic I whipped out my phone and we just lazily followed the blue line.
The whole area was built a little bit like the blocks in NYC and in many other places on Earth — straight streets with intersections spaced out somewhat evenly. Imagine my surprise when I started to turn onto one of the intersections, led by the always trusty Mr. Google Maps and saw a huge sign that said to beware of increased radiation. We were about to walk into the territory of a nuclear reactor.
28. Lost Train Of Thought
Exit 421A on I-70 in Kansas City. Google said you take it to turn around from westbound to eastbound I-70. It’s a 12-foot wide train tunnel under the highway, leading to the train yard. The whole time I was driving through it, I thought a train would start coming at me at any moment!
27. Backroads To The Pentagon
Driving from Maryland back to (northern) Virginia. The obvious thing to do would be to take I-95S. Google Maps prefers to take you through the roughest parts of DC, then have you exit to The Pentagon.
Eighteen-year-old me driving my friend back to my grandma’s place was not amused.
26. The Lake House
I was trying to go to a lake in Austin. We went through a series of hills and turns and we show up to a half-opened gate with a castle-like home in front of us and the lake not too far off. It was private property and it just looked rough as death, so we turned around.
25. Animal Hide Island
My family was in Hawaii on vacation in Lahaina Maui, trying to find a restaurant. It was dark out and the directions kept leading us farther and farther away from town. We’re just thinking that there’s another town farther out where the restaurant must be. We’d been driving for a long time, and there were animals running across the road.
We eventually decide that there’s nothing out there and turn around. Eventually, we find the restaurant. The next day we go back, cause we were exploring, and the road we were on is at the top of a 100+ foot cliff. At one of the lookout points, there are animal hides drying on the rocks. It freaked us out.
24. Long Drive Into A Lake
I almost drove into a lake. I was on the way to a little quaint ski resort in West Virginia. Google Maps takes us off the main road onto a shabby path with cracked pavement. Weird run-down shacks appear on either side, and gradually the pavement becomes more and more cracked, then turns to gravel. There’s really tall grass on either side now, taller than our car.
Squinting through the stalks, I screamed at my then-boyfriend to stop because I realized we were already on marshy ground, about to drive straight into a lake. I think I saw rotting remains of a wooden bridge that used to be there. Thanks, Google, but not today.
23. Dog Food Disaster
In South Korea, I wanted to do something “touristy” so I look up a “dog cafe” to cuddle up with some pups. Google Maps instead gives me recommendations for “dog” cafes — as in dog meat is served. Yep.
22. A Satanic Stay
My sister once told me one of her friends was visiting Hungary. This was in 2011 or 2012, and her friend was lost in Budapest trying to find a hotel. She and her friends put in a GPS to find the nearest hotel and found a sort of shanty hotel. When they got there, she realized it was abandoned.
For some reason, these dummies decide to explore the place. On the top floor, they found evidence of a satanic ritual. There was a goat skull in the middle of a pentagram written in blood and had random candles and animal body parts everywhere. Thankfully, none of the people who did that were there and the guy got out of there.
21. Rocky Road
I had just recently bought my Jeep and the owner before me put bad tires on it to the point where each one warped. Well, I was on my way down to the dealership on a spare when Google Maps brings me to a “shortcut.” Or at least so it says. Next thing I know, I’m winding through the mountains on a dirt road. It’s a single lane road and there are boulders I have to drive over and a cliff to my right. There was no place for me to turn around so I had to white knuckle it until I came back to the highway. I still have NO IDEA why it took me that way.
20. Rainy Reservation
Driving from Nebraska to south Texas was originally going to take me down a main interstate, but I opted to take the fastest route. I was driving south through Oklahoma, and Google Maps takes me through a huge Indigenous reservation. This was fine, but as soon as I reached the reservation land, I was hit with rain so hard that I could only do 25 mph in a 70 mph zone. This persisted for 60 miles through the reservation, and I thought the entire time that I was going to die. It immediately stopped raining as soon as I left the reservation.
Oh, and the next morning my car would not start because the timing chain tensioner failed. This is why I thought I may have died if I got stranded in the middle of nowhere.
19. Old Man In An Old Truck
A street in Jeju Island, South Korea.
I was dropped off at a bus stop, but unfortunately didn’t catch the bus I was supposed to hop on next, and the next bus was not coming until an hour later. Google Maps says it’s just a 2.4km and 35 mins walk and it’s broad daylight anyway. So I say, “I’m walking.”
The map brings me through a small walking path instead of the highway.
This is the countryside, so it’s all tangerine trees, horse barns, small houses, and rock fences. First few minutes of the walk I was like, “Super nice, this must be a dream.”
Then come fields of green, barbed wires and nothing else. I suddenly get this ‘wrong turn’ kinda feeling, imagining an old truck approaching and an axe to my head. Lo and behold, out of the 20 mins or so of walking in quiet peace, I hear an engine revving. Someone is coming toward me.
I walk on the side to let it pass. It is indeed an old truck with an old man driving, and it passes me super slowly, as if matching my walking pace. And the old man just stares at me.
Still gives me the creeps, but I’m alive so all is well.
18. Out Of Gas
A dying town. I can’t remember the name.
We were driving back home from a long road trip and needed to stop for gas. Google Maps told us there was a gas station in the town off of the exit. We went into the town to find it desolate. All of the stores were closed and there were only two people: a young boy riding a bicycle, watching us as we walked around, and an old man loading equipment into a truck. The man’s ribs were showing and he wouldn’t even look at us. We asked him about the gas station and he responded with a gruff “it’s closed.”
It didn’t make it any less creepy that we were nearly out of gas. We left and made it to the next gas station by the skin of our pants. I’ll never forget how empty that place looked or how hostile those two seemed towards us. I wish I could know more about what happened there.
17. Abandoned Hospital
I was in Boston for a week and got bored just staying in the city, so I decided to head up to this lake and walk the trail around it. Well, the closest bus stop was at a hospital according to Google Maps, so I didn’t see anything wrong with that and I jumped on the bus.
I get there and it turns out that this is an abandoned hospital with just construction half finished on two buildings to either side. The abandoned building had a little waiting area, so I stepped inside to sort out my pack and the rankest, foulest smell hit me like a wall, someone or more likely several people had just been relieving themselves in the corner for probably a few months and then decided said poop mound made a good place to store used illegal substance materials.
I got out of there real quick and made my way to the lake. On my way back, I just stopped the bus driver early since I was the only one waiting. I was a bit worried about how safe an abandoned hospital located between two empty construction sites would be at night, especially considering that there were clearly some pretty messed up people running around the area.
16. Made Up Roads
I was walking home at around 8 pm and Google tried to tell me to go through a dude’s driveway then proceed to walk through a canal. I couldn’t see anything because it was dark. When I felt my foot start to sink in mud, I knew I had to find my own way home because Google had made up a road.
I ended up walking through a pretty bad neighborhood, which is unsettling, especially at 8 pm. Every now and then a car would drive past me and slow down for a bit, then go back to normal speed.
15. Cemetery Confusion
My mom had two jobs at one point in two different towns (central Texas towns are close together). One home-care job asked her to drop off medical supplies at a patient’s house. She put the address into GPS and after awhile it started behaving weirdly. The GPS randomly said, “I don’t know how to help you, San Francisco,” and she was like, “What?” My mom kept following the directions from the app until she realized it took her to a cemetery. To this day she has no idea why that happened.
14. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
I took a Google Maps “shortcut” which basically took me off-roading in a minivan for about a mile and a half. The road turned into a crude trail of mud and rock that led me down the other side of this mountain in rural Kentucky. There were no houses anywhere around, no cell phone service, and no other signs of life besides us.
About halfway down this trail of terror, I look over to see a man standing on an embankment with a chainsaw. I kid you not. There was a truck parked behind him full of wood from the trees he had cut down. It was late fall, so I guess he was just cutting some firewood. But for a moment there…
13. Fire Warnings
Not really spooky so much as just plain scary. Was driving up to Seattle when Google Maps took us off the main road, probably due to some accident, so we went through a few rural communities. Passed by a sign that said “Fire Warning: Extreme.”
12. Alligator Road
Was traveling to Ohio or somewhere. We were following instructions and we ended up on some road called “Alligator Road” in the middle of a field. It was a dirt road. In the distance, it led to some extravagant factory of sorts that looked like a metal beast. That’s when we knew we were in the middle of nowhere.
11. Piece Of Cake
When I was living in Manhattan, I had the biggest craving for specialty cheesecake, so I Google Mapped The Cheesecake Factory and found the nearest one. I made my boyfriend walk 2.3 miles, from midtown to Chelsea, to a decrepit building, only to find out that this was the home of a former hole in the wall known as “the cheeseSTEAK factory”.
And that is how I learned that there is no Cheesecake Factory on the whole of Manhattan island!
10. Traumatic Truck Bed
I can’t remember where it exactly was, but when I was about 12-years-old, I used to always go on street view and ‘explore’ the world. I decided to click somewhere (I can’t remember specifically) in the middle east. There was a flatbed truck with a mounted MG, about 10 people wearing head scarves wrapped around their faces, and one of them was holding a long sword. I couldn’t exactly make out what was on the blade, but it was either rust or dried blood. I’ve tried to find the location again, but it was years ago. All I have is the memory!
9. Fast Walker
Set to walking mode (which I like quadruple checked), Google Maps tried to get me to walk on the freeway. You’re not supposed to be walking on the freeway.
8. The Lost King
When I was in high school, I took a road trip with my little sister to Ligonier, PA for extra credit in a class. After seeing the famous fort and museum, we wanted to get some cheap food and found a Burger King a few miles away. I drove over and Google Maps said we had arrived. We were in the middle of a patch of gravel in the middle of the woods. No Burger King in sight and no reviews on Google Maps. We got food somewhere else later.
7. Backyard Blooper
My roommate and I were driving back to school and took a shortcut through a small Texas town. The map said to turn left, so we did, down a long dusty road. Turns out it was someone’s driveway. There was no way to turn around, as the road was narrow with thick trees on either side. We came to the end of it and were in someone’s backyard. An older man was sitting in a rocking chair with a shotgun over his lap. He spits into a cup and looks at us. I waved as apologetically as I could and did the fastest 3-point turn I was able to.
The fact that we were 18-year-old girls probably helped, but that’s also what made it all the more creepy for us.
This may sound absurdly stereotypical. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and the vast majority of us are nothing like this.
6. Surveilling Surveillance
I’m into true crime and I was watching a documentary about a child who murdered someone. I Googled the child’s name who has since been released from prison as an adult and was subsequently placed on a violent offenders list that published his address. So I looked up the address on Google street view and found the house — the image was captured around the time of the murder (his parent’s house) and there are cop cars outside of the house. I’m not sure if it has to do with what occurred, but it was certainly eerie. And, yes, I know I’m weird for looking it up, but whatever, I live for creepy stuff.
5. Suspicious Saucer
I remember searching around a Nintendo building on Google Maps street view, and when I was going down a road I looked up in the sky and saw some type of floating thing, looked like a flying saucer, no way it was a plane.
4. Isolated Island
I got a full zoom in and browsed the Pacific Ocean out of boredom.
Later on, I found some land, then realized it’s an island and Google Maps showed me many nameless streets and I could clearly see the houses. I tried street view, not expecting it to work, but it did. A nice tropical island. Then I look up to the left upper corner where the button to exit street view is and see the following name: Pitcairn Island.
Let’s just say I was surprised that I had accidentally found a needle in a haystack.
3. Strange Circles
I once was cruising along in Arizona using Google Maps, and I had gone way, way, way off the beaten path. There was nothing but desert for miles, and the only “road” I had seen was a dried up stream bed.
Then, suddenly, I came across this bizarre carving in the ground. It was huge. I can best describe it as a circle, with ever smaller circles inside. It had a small metal building next to it and that was all. No roads, no houses, no cars, just a circle. I thought it might have been a farm. But if it was, it’s the most nonsensical farm ever.
All that space and you made a perfect circle, in the desert, where it’s hard to grow things. Miles away from any road. And no water. If anyone can explain, I would appreciate it.
2. Definitely Not A Nature Preserve
I was going to a nature preserve to go hiking for a bit. I plugged in the address and instead of taking me to the nature preserve itself, I was taken to a worn-down looking shack a few blocks away from the nature preserve, where I parked in bewilderment. And I mean this thing looked like it was barely holding itself up. No animals, no farmland, no cars around, just a creepy-looking shack at the end of a dirt path.
Next thing I knew, this guy who looked to be in his early to mid-50’s walks out of the shack with a shotgun aimed right at me while I’m still in the car, screaming at me to get off his property. He didn’t even finish shouting at me before I hit reverse and got away.
I eventually found the preserve and went hiking but that’s the closest I’ve come to getting shot.
1. Special Delivery
My job sent me to deliver paper to a construction company on the south side of Chicago. GPS takes me to a brick building that looks like an old storefront, except the windows are all bricked over and there is no sign to indicate any sort of business.
Nevertheless, I can hear men talking loudly behind the door, so I decided to just walk in. The room I walked into kinda looked like a bar, with 4-5 rough looking dudes standing around a pool table. They immediately go silent and kind of surround me, blocking me from entering.
I explain I have a delivery and give the business name. Their demeanor completely changes and one guy is like, “Oh yeah, they really need to put up a sign. Deliveries go around back.” Going around back didn’t make me feel any better. It was like navigating a small junkyard, and the rusty padlocked door didn’t look like it had been opened in years. When no one answered the door, I left the paper under an awning and got out of there quick.