8 Abandoned Towns You Can Still Visit

8 Abandoned Towns You Can Still Visit

Have you ever wondered what visiting an old, abandoned town would be like? Well, you’re in luck because the United States is full of ghost towns waiting to be explored. These abandoned communities once flourished, but they were eventually left behind due to illness, failing industries, or people simply moving on.

Ghost towns are an enigma. The mere mention of them evokes a feeling of mystery and intrigue. These abandoned relics of the past are a window into a bygone era, providing us with a glimpse of life as it was back then. These towns that once bustled with activity now lay silent, with empty streets, dilapidated buildings, and abandoned factories.

What Are Ghost Towns?

Ghost towns are typically once-populated settlements and have since been abandoned due to natural disasters, industrial decline, or economic downturns. Some towns were established during the gold rush, while others were built around mines, railroads, or factories. Whatever their origins, they are now a testament to a time long gone, telling the story of America’s past.

The Appeal of Ghost Towns

So why do ghost towns appeal to us? Perhaps it’s the sense of adventure that comes with exploring the unknown. Or maybe it’s the curiosity to know more about the lives of those who lived there. It could also be the romanticized vision of a simpler, slower-paced life that once existed. Whatever the reason, the allure of these abandoned towns continues to capture our imaginations.

Ghost Towns in America

Ghost towns can be found all across America, from the Wild West’s deserted towns to the Midwest’s abandoned mining towns. Each town has its unique story, and visiting them provides a glimpse into the region’s history. Some of the most popular ghost towns include Bodie, California, which was once a booming mining town and now boasts over 100 historic buildings, and Centralia, Pennsylvania, which has been abandoned since a coal mine fire broke out in 1962 and still burns to this day.

Here are eight ghost towns you can still visit today:

Nevada City, Montana

Nevada City was once a bustling gold mining community, but the Bovey family saved it from being just another forgotten ghost town. They restored the town between 1945 and 1978, preserving many of its original wooden structures. Today, you can visit Nevada City and see the old music boxes and player pianos that still exist inside. Admission is $10 for adults, and the town is open for visitors during summer.

St. Elmo, Colorado

St. Elmo was founded in 1880 and was once a thriving gold and silver mining town. Over 2,000 people moved here to seek their fortunes, but by the early 20th century, the mines ran dry, and the town was abandoned. Today, you can see perfectly preserved homes and storefronts by visiting during summer.

Terlingua, Texas

Terlingua was a successful mining town, producing the most quicksilver in the nation by the 1930s. But by the 1940s, the leading mining company went bankrupt, and many residents moved away. Despite its abandonment, Terlingua has seen a resurgence recently, with new residents moving in and making the town more inviting to visitors.

Silver City, Bodfish, California

Silver City is located in California’s Kern River Valley and was saved from demolition in the 1960s by Dave and Arvilla Mills. They worked tirelessly to move the structures to a safe location, preserving over 20 buildings that still exist today. These structures include mining camps, settler housing, and even an old jail. The town now operates as a museum and is open seven days a week for visitors.

Rhyolite, Nevada

Rhyolite was once a thriving mining town, with miners coming for the abundant quartz. At its peak, there were over 30 camps and a stock exchange. But when the mining industry failed, so did the town. Today, visitors can still see the old bank and former jail and imagine life in this once-thriving community.

Custer, Idaho

Custer was founded in 1879 and quickly became a popular destination for gold speculators. The town peaked in 1896 with 600 residents, but by 1910, it was abandoned. Many buildings were left intact; in 1966, the Challis National Forest took ownership. Today, visitors can explore the town with free guided tours during the summer months.

Goldfield, Arizona

In the mid-1800s, Goldfield was a hub for prospectors seeking gold at the Mammoth Gold Mine. The town was once so thriving that it inspired Wild West movies, and today visitors can still see its multiple saloons, hotel, and other structures from the past.

Centralia, Pennsylvania

Centralia was once a bustling coal-mining town, but a coal mine fire that started in 1962 has been burning underground for over 50 years. This has caused the town to be abandoned, with only a handful remaining residents. Despite the danger, visitors can still walk the abandoned streets and see the remnants of the once-thriving community.


Exploring ghost towns is a unique and fascinating experience that can transport us back in time. These abandoned towns remind us of the struggles and triumphs of our past and provide us with a glimpse of what life was like for those who came before us. So if you’re looking for an adventure or want to learn more about the history of America, a visit to one of these ghost towns might just be what you need.

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