This creepy roadside clown motel has been named America’s scariest motel

Clown Motel sign in Tonopah Nevada, is a kitschy roadside attraction.

If you’ve ever wanted to never sleep again, have we got the place for you. A motel that’s entirely themed around clowns in Tonopah, Nevada, is open for visitors looking for a thrill — or for people who just really like clowns. (Do they exist?)

The lobby is littered with clowns, including a life-sized clown sitting in a chair, cradling a number of smaller clown dolls in its lap.

Oh, and every room is clown-themed: There are clowns on the doors and portraits of famous clowns (hi, Bozo!) hang on the walls.

Want more creepiness? OK, we’ve got it: Tonopah is widely considered to be a ghost town.

The current population is around 2,000 people, but as a former mining town, it used to be a thriving metropolis of over 50,000. Tonopah was even the site of the second-largest discovery of silver in the history of the state of Nevada. Today, it’s got that desolate openness that you likely equate with many desert towns of the west.


Its status as a mineral mecca meant a lot of people — miners, frontier explorers and more — once lived and died in Tonopah. Some of them are buried in the town’s old cemetery, which dates back to 1901. So if the clowns weren’t enough for you, toss in some ghosts of miners and prospectors, too.

As luck would have it, the Clown Motel is located literally right next to the old cemetery, so you’ll have a nice view of the many wood-and-tin headstones marking the dusty graves.

That being said, the motel and the cemetery both seem to be devoid of otherworldly happenings. There are few strange stories here and there, but most of the reviews of the motel just note the free Wi-Fi and coffee.

Still, the Clown Motel has been dubbed “America’s scariest motel,” and it’s certain to continue to do a brisk business as long as the trend continues.

MORE: Donut shop uses a scary clown for Halloween deliveries


In 2017, the Clown Motel went up for sale and eventually found a new owner, who has apparently not tried to tone down its creepier aspects. The property was listed at $900,000 and sold for an undisclosed price in 2019 to a person who also owns a hotel in Las Vegas, which is about a three-hour drive to the southeast.

The new owner reportedly wanted to add themes to the rooms and add in a coffee shop. Clown cappuccinos, anyone?


If you can’t make it to the Clown Motel but are dying to bask in its creepiness, the 2019 slasher movie, “Clown Motel: Spirits Arise” was filmed on location there. Among its cast is Ari Lehman, who played the young Jason Voorhees in 1980’s “Friday the 13th.” Yes, that was him popping out of the lake in the chilling final shot.

So what do you think: Are you brave enough to spend the night? Sweet dreams…

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About the Author
Jessica Suss
Current high-school English teacher, native Chicagoan, and nut butter enthusiast moonlighting as a writer.

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