9 Spooky Towns in the USA That Belong on Your Bucket List


Bodie, a central gold-mining town abandoned in the late 1880s, is now a California state park. Old homes, automobiles, and a mining museum town hall are in this village an hour north of Yosemite National Park near the Nevada border.

Bodie, California

Centralia, the latest US ghost town, was abandoned in 2020 due to a 1962 underground fire. WGAL 8 in Harrisburg, Penn., said that someone lit a fire at the dump without knowing it was over an open seam to the Mammoth Vein, one of the largest anthracite coal reserves in the U.S. Experts predict it might last 500 years or more.

Centralia, Pennsylvania

Garnet, an 1860s mining hamlet an hour east of Missoula on the dirt Garnet Range Road, is well preserved. It peaked in the late 1890s and revived in the 1930s with gold discoveries and revival, but it died in World War II, according to its preservation association. Hotel rooms, houses, and evidence remain from the Gold Rush ghost town.

Garnet, Montana

Calico, a silver mining town in San Bernardino County two hours northeast of L.A., was founded in 1881 but abandoned when the mine dried up. Town became county park and quirky tourist attraction. The town is alive, unlike ghost towns. Museums, silver mines, gold panning, ghost tours, Mystery Shack optical illusions, and weddings are offered. It has five restaurants and an Old West bar.

Calico, California

Ghost village makes sense in Death Valley National Park. After miners found gold, this community two hours north of Las Vegas flourished dramatically from 1905 to 1910. In its heyday, Rhyolite had hotels, businesses, an ice cream shop, a school, and two electrical plants. Famous was the Bottle House, erected by a miner from 50,000 beer and liquor bottles. 

Rhyolite, Nevada

St. Elmo and other Old West ghost towns mined silver and gold. Mining dwindled within 40 years, and the railroad closed in 1922. More than 40 year-round amenities include a bar, courthouse/jail, mercantile, and homes, plus a summer general store.

St. Elmo, Colorado

Sleepy Hollow, New York, on the Hudson River, is a site of mystery and folklore that comes alive in October. Sleepy Hollow's history, frightening folklore, and seasonal festivities come alive as the leaves turn red and the temperature cools.

Kennecott, Alaska

The ghost town of Terlingua, founded in 1903, was a quicksilver hub for Chisos Mining Company and hosted the first championship chili cook-off in 1967. The tournament now draws over 10,000 "chili heads" from across the world on the first Saturday in November. Natural stop for Big Bend National Park visitors.

Terlingua, Texa

Goldfield, called for what laborers expected to find, was glad until 1897, when the gold ran out. After a 1913 flash flood and 1923 fire, residents left. Modern thrill seekers will adore its Superstition Mountains foothills location, nightly ghost tours, coffee shop, steakhouse/saloon, and bordello (with a historical tour). 

Goldfield, Arizona

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