8 Spooky Ghost Towns to Visit in the U.S.
Are you tired of your boring old vacations to beaches and theme parks? Do you want to take an adrenaline-pumping trip to a place rich in history and shrouded in mystery? If you’re looking to take a trip back in time and don’t mind getting spooked by the unknown, then you’ve come to the right place. Pack your bags and muster some courage because we’re taking you on a tour of USA’s most spooky ghost towns.
Once thriving communities that bustled with activity, these ghost towns now sit abandoned, mere whispers of a time when the Wild West was still wild and the gold rush was in full swing. But like a gunfighter who refuses to stay buried, these towns refuse to disappear completely into the annals of history, beckoning us to stroll down Main Street and bask in their eerie yet intriguing, ghostly aura.
- Bodie, California
Visiting Bodie, California, is like stepping back in time to the Wild West. A gold-mining town with over 10,000 residents in 1876, by the end of the 19th century, once the gold ran out, it stood uninhibited and desolate.
Bodie is now a preserved ghost town and State Historic Park, with over 100 original buildings still standing. As you explore Bodie, you’ll come across old saloons, wooden buildings, and creaky boardwalks. You can take a shot pretending to be a gunslinger in the local saloon or pose as a robber in front of the old bank. Watch out for any sudden gusts of wind; it could be one of the resident ghosts coming to say hello! And make sure you don’t take any of the artifacts, not even a pebble or the “Bodie Curse” might befall you!
- Elkmont, Tennessee:
Elkmont TN, is a hauntingly beautiful ghost town located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which was once a thriving logging community and vacation resort. Elkmont now stands as a testament to a bygone era. Walking through Elkmont is like taking a step back in time, with its silent streets, overgrown vegetation, and dilapidated buildings. Visitors can still see remnants of the town’s former glory, including the old train depot, several original vacation cabins, and the historic Wonderland Hotel. The cabins, now preserved by the National Park Service, are a mix of styles, from rustic to Victorian, and offer a glimpse into the lives of the town’s former residents and visitors.
The abandoned ghost town can certainly create a spooky atmosphere for some visitors, especially when explored at night. Even without ghosts, taking a walk around the abandoned cabins in the silence and stillness of the town is enough to creep out the bravest of tourists. And if you end up meeting one of its former residents, well, good luck to you!
Thanks to its spooky atmosphere, Elkmont is a popular destination for tourists who come to explore its rich history and soak up its serene natural beauty. So if you’re a history buff who doesn’t mind getting the heebie-jeebies, Elkmont is a must-visit destination in the Great Smoky Mountains.
- Centralia, Pennsylvania
A town with a fiery past and a smoky present, Centralia, PA, was a booming coal-mining town in the 1850s.
Known for its underground coal fire that has been burning since 1962, this once-successful mining town has become a ghost town, causing sinkholes and releasing dangerous levels of toxic gasses resulting in only a handful of residents holding on.
There are varying accounts as to how the tragedy happened. One theory is that an attempt to clean up the town landfill quite literally set fire to the residents’ dreams of a prosperous life. In 1962, firefighters set the dump on fire near a mine pit and left it burning, thinking it would die down eventually. However, the fire spread to the underground coal mine through an opening in the pit, which burns to this day.
Don’t let the smoky haze fool you, though. Centralia is full of character and determination. The fire may have taken away the town’s livelihood, but it hasn’t taken away its spirit. It has become a popular destination for urban explorers and photographers searching for the surreal beauty that devastation leaves behind. So, if you’re a fan of unique and off-beat destinations and enjoy bizarre landscapes and abandoned structures, Centralia is just the place for you. Just make sure to bring a gas mask!
- Rhyolite, Nevada
Rhyolite, Nevada, is a ghost town located in Nye County and has a long history dating back to 1904. It was a rich mining town during the gold rush, attracting thousands of prospectors with the hope of striking it rich. However, as the deposits dwindled and mines began to close, the town’s population rapidly declined, and by 1920, Rhyolite was abandoned. It is now a ghostly desert wasteland and a popular tourist destination.
You’re sure to feel goosebumps as you walk past Rhyolite jailhouse with heavy metal locks on the doors. Visitors claimed to hear strange sounds in Rhyolite, especially near the ruins of the Cook Bank and the old Bullfrog-Rhyolite Cemetery. Several people have mentioned that it feels like they’re being watched through the windows of abandoned buildings in the town. Another unique marvel is the Rhyolite Bottle House, a home made entirely of glass bottles. The Death Valley National Park is nearby for those who wish to experience the unique beauty of the desert landscape. Whether you’re a history buff or a ghost hunter, Rhyolite is a must on your list of ghost towns to visit!
- Jerome, Arizona
Formerly a copper-mining town, Jerome, Arizona, is now a one-of-a-kind tourist destination.
So what makes Jerome stand out from its counterparts? Once titled the “Wickedest Town in the West,” Jerome is a ghost town with a side of culture. It has become a hotspot for artists and galleries to showcase their work.
Whether you’re a history lover, an art enthusiast, or a seasoned ghost hunter, there’s something for everyone in Jerome. The Jerome State Historic Park is a historian’s paradise, offering visitors a glimpse into the town’s rich history. The park’s showstopper is the James Douglas mansion, with its stunning architecture and breathtaking views.
If you’re feeling gutsy enough, book a room at the Jerome Grand Hotel for a haunting good time! And if you survive the night, you can celebrate with a refreshing glass of wine as you soak in the splendor of Arizona’s red rocks landscape.
With its Victorian architecture, stunning views, and numerous haunted locations, this town is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a truly unforgettable experience.
- Calico, California
Calico, CA, should be your next destination if you want to experience the Wild West in its full glory. This historic silver-mining town, once home to over 500 residents, is located in the heart of the Mojave Desert and offers a unique and captivating blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty.
Visitors can explore the remnants of the town’s rich mining heritage, including original buildings, mines, and equipment, enjoy gunfight reenactments and learn about the people who lived and worked here during its boom years.
With its stunning desert landscapes, visitors can also enjoy various outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking. At Calico, history and nature combine to create a truly unforgettable experience.
However, Calico is not for the faint of heart, as it is also listed as one of the most haunted places in America. There have been reports of paranormal activity and ghost sightings that attract ghost-hunters, like candy attracts babies.
So grab your cowboy hat, lace up your boots, put on your brave face, and get ready for an adventure like no other at Calico, California.
- Garnet, Montana
In the heart of the Montana Rockies lies Garnet, a ghost town with a rich history and a mysterious present.
Garnet prospered as a mining community in the late 1800s and early 1900s and is now a popular place for historians and adventurers alike seeking to experience life in a turn-of-the-century mining town. What sets Garnet apart from other ghost towns is its impressive state of preservation. Many of its buildings still have their original furnishings and decorations, providing visitors with a rare and authentic look at life in a western mining town.
For ghost hunters, Garnet is a treasure trove of paranormal activity. There are numerous reports of ghostly sightings and strange happenings in the town, from the ghostly apparitions of former miners to the unnerving sounds of eerie music that fill the air at night; enough supernatural phenomena to make your blood run cold! So come visit if you dare!
The town is conveniently located near some of Montana’s most popular actions, including Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, and Bitterroot Valley, making it the perfect place to base yourself for a Montana road trip.
- Kennecott, Alaska
Founded in the 20th century, Kennecott was once home to one of the largest and richest copper mines in the United States.
In its glory days, Kennecott was a booming mining town with a hospital, school, general store, and even a skating rink, recreation hall, and dairy. Now it is a National Historic Landmark. Its remote location in the rugged wilderness of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve attracts adventurers from all over the country.
Kennecott offers visitors a taste of the historic Alaskan mining era and several recreational activities to choose from; it is a thrill seeker’s paradise. From hiking to glacier trekking and rafting to mountain biking, there are multiple outdoor pursuits to satisfy the adrenaline junkie in you.
Its abandoned railroad track that once serviced the copper mines is said to be haunted by the ghosts of miners and their families who died during the time of its construction. Travelers claim that they’ve witnessed tombstones disappearing into thin air. In fact, in the 1990s, an attempt to develop a government housing tract was quickly abandoned when the workers were scared off by ghostly encounters. Their tools went missing, and they reported seeing phantom visions and hearing cries of children and adults. So if your idea of the perfect holiday is to have your pants scared off you, then Kennecott is the ideal place to make your nightmares come true!
Its stunning mountain views, well-preserved mining structures, exciting outdoor activities, and resident ghosts make Kennecott a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Alaska’s history and natural beauty.
America’s landscape is littered with ghost towns offering a glimpse into a different time and way of life. Their abandoned, crumbling buildings tell haunting tales of vast fortunes and devastating loss, and for lovers of history and adventure, a perfect way to spend the holidays!
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