Thinking about a road trip? Common places road trippers love to visit include California and New York, among others. But what if you took a different route (literally)? Halloween is just around the corner, so perhaps this type of trip might make sense for the near future. Whether you like to get spooked or not, these abandoned areas can leave a lasting impression and definitely a memorable experience.
However as you’ll see on this list, not all of the destinations are worth the visit. Not even to observe from the outside. Some might be a little dull – though for the most part we would advise that you don’t visit these places due to the spookiness. We like eerie, but nine of the destinations featured might be crossing the line; one is considered the most haunted hospital in all of the US, and another is considered the most haunted hotel in the US (and a huge inspiration for one of the scariest flicks ever made). Yeah, that doesn’t sound like an ideal road trip for lots of tourists....
On the other hand, we’ll discuss places that do have some spookiness as well. However these areas are a lot safer and for the most part, they’re not completely abandoned, with tours being offered year-round. Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado here are 10 abandoned places in the US worthy of a road trip and 9 that might be too much. Let’s get started!
19 Worth It - Vulture Mine, Arizona
A place called Vulture Mine doesn’t exactly seem like an ideal family road trip. However tours are available at the abandoned area, and it can make for quite the experience given the history and eeriness of the location. Who needs another Vermont or Lake George trip when the hairs on your arms can stand at every turn when visiting Vulture Mine?!
It is known as one of the most haunted areas in all of Arizona. It was a gold mine at one point with 5,000 inhabitants. By the 1940s the mines closed down and most fled from the area. What remains today is pretty intriguing and it might be worth the extra miles.
18 Too Much - Santa Land, Arizona
If you’re thinking about a family road trip, don’t tell your kid about Santa Land. The spot might sound like a dream come true for various toddlers out there. However, the truth is this is an abandoned establishment and one that looks very creepy these days. If you want your kid to stop believing in Santa and humanity, then perhaps bring him/her to the Arizona location....
It was designed as a tourist destination back in the late 1930s. It was actually quite popular for a couple of decades. Then we believe folks lost interest in sitting on Santa’s lap in the month of May. Images of the location today make it look like the perfect setting for an evil Santa Claus flick that nobody, and we mean nobody, wants to see.
17 Worth It - Michigan Central Station
It was one of the many abandoned locations in the Detroit area. Sadly the district is filled with lots of unfinished projects and those that were completely abandoned. None however are more of a spectacle than the Michigan Central Station. It was formerly known as a rail depot back in the early 1900s. However in recent years it has just became a place littered with vandals and lots of other issues. Take nothing away from the building however, it is still worth checking out.
Unlike so many other buildings on this list, the Michigan Central Station might have the best chance of a rebirth. Ford recently bought the building with hopes of re-developing it in the future.
16 Too Much - Ohio State Reformatory
You can take a tour of this eerie facility, however it might be best to leave the memories alone. Sure, it is pretty cool that the film Shawshank Redemption was almost filmed in its entirety at the location, but still...
However aside from the Hollywood productions and a couple of other music videos, the location doesn’t have the best reputation. Not only is it said to be haunted but it was also a grungy jail back in the early 1900s. Conditions were so bad at the penitentiary that it was forced to finally close in 1990 due to a court ruling. Some might opt to keep it that way and avoid this facility.
15 Worth It - Six Flags New Orleans
Isn’t there something so creepy and unsettling about an abandoned theme park? However the Six Flags in New Orleans might be an excellent spot to snap a couple of photos these days despite the eerie state it currently lays in. The park was hit really badly back in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. It was one of the many landmarks to get destroyed with no hopes of resurfacing due to costs.
It is said that the plans are to completely scrap what’s left of the park while creating a shopping facility in its place. It might be best to pay this location a visit before it’s too late.
14 Too Much - Willard Asylum, New York
Just imagine a buddy asking you to take a trip down to New York. You would be pretty happy, right? Now just imagine the purpose of the trip was to see an old abandoned Asylum that’s home to a plethora of paranormal activity. Yeah, that same happy feeling might go away rather quickly.
Tours of the old hospital have taken place with several photos of the inside emerging. It’s quite chilling to look at the conditions in a photo. We can only imagine the feeling of seeing what’s on the inside directly at the location. Maybe it’s best to view the photos taken by gutsy travelers in the comfort of your own home!
13 Worth It - Bodie, California
The eerie ghost town might make for a really cool road trip. The area of Bodie provides actual tours during the summer and winter. It is very much open to the public and to those who choose to visit the eerie location.
According to Bodie.com, the town remains a landmark to this day. It was originally a mining town according to the website;
“Bodie is an original mining town from the late 1800’s. What’s left today stands in a state of “arrested decay” and is maintained by the California State Park's System, who took over the town in 1962 to make it a State Historic Park.”
12 Too Much - Holy Land USA Theme Park, Connecticut
Just by looking at photos of the abandoned Christian theme park, most road trippers might avoid this location. Heck for some of us, just reading the term “abandoned Christian theme park” might be enough to look elsewhere.
Located in Waterbury, Connecticut, the place was opened as a sign from God according to The Insider. The park closed in the 1980s due to renovations, however those renovations took quite a while as the park would never re-open. In years of its closure it became just another abandoned area known for vandalism. However it did open its gates in 2014 for on-lookers. Still, it might best to detour elsewhere.
11 Worth It - Bannerman Castle, New York
Known as the mysterious island on the Hudson River, this unique island is definitely worth the drive. When the castle was built its purpose was to hold various pieces of weaponry. Nowadays it’s a monument that we see lots of times in pop culture. Just in film, we saw the castle used in the Transformers flick, Dark of the Moon. It was also featured in various other films and music videos.
The location holds several tours throughout the year. It is definitely worthy of a visit based on the uniqueness of the island alone. And heck, it also helps that it isn’t haunted compared to some of the other entries on the list.
10 Too Much - Stanley Hotel, Colorado
Unless you like paranormal activity, taking a drive to the Stanley Hotel might not be the best idea. In fact, Stephen King’s iconic The Shining, uses this hotel setting as inspiration throughout the flick.
Lots of films have taken inspiration from the location. Horror movie enthusiasts might be inclined to take a look at the hotel. However steer clear of room 217, as haunted occurrences have been taking place in the room since 1911. We'll spare you the details.
9 Worth It - Calico Ghost Town, California
Reviews of this spot seem to be mixed. However if you’re thinking about bringing the kids on a road trip, this destination might be one of the best. According to Trip Advisor reviews it’s a worth-while destination for children but a bit of a tourist trap for adults.
It never hurts to visit a ghost town especially one with an actual tour guide and various restaurant locations at the area as well. It can make for a great day and let’s face it, the abandoned area is nowhere near as spooky as some of the other areas.
8 Too Much - North Brother Island, New York
You might want to pin North Brother Island for another time or a day that you’re feeling particularly brave. Because if not, you’re in for one heck of an eerie experience at this abandoned hospital building.
It was once the home for patients with contagious diseases back in the late 1800s. Years later it would re-open, this time as a rehab center. It would finally be shut down for good in the early 1960s. The place looks eerie as hell on the outside but is even worse on the inside with recent photos surfacing thanks to Business Insider.
7 Worth It - Silver City, Idaho
According to KTVB, this is the last original ghost town that remains up and running for tourists;
“Anchored to a valley in the middle of the Owyhee Mountains, Silver City stands as an almost untouched testament to Idaho's prospecting past. The country was two years into the Civil War when silver was found embedded in War Eagle Mountain. That was the spring of 1863 and fortune-hunters found their way here in a hurry.”
In truth, the eerie welcome sign at the entrance of the town might be creepy enough to make lots of cars U-turn out of there. However if a ghost town is your thing, this is among the better locations that remains today.
6 Too Much - Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky
If you were haunted by the Willard Asylum earlier, chances are you won’t have any interest in visiting this location either. The eerie Kentucky Sanantorim has the reputation of being the most haunted area in the US. That alone is enough to make most steer away and not even glance at the location from a distance.
It opened in the early 1900s. The massive hospital building took care of 50 patients with tuberculosis. There was an outbreak at that point, however due to various vaccines it would eventually close in the 1960s. Ghost Hunters filmed an episode at the hospital calling it the most haunted in the US.
5 Worth It - Cape Romano Dome House, Florida
Don’t be too alarmed by the photo. We don’t disagree that the location looks unsettling and creepy as hell. However the domes are quite the spectacle; rarely do you see anything of the sorts.
So what on Earth are they? At one point they were actual homes, hence the term “Dome Home.” It seems like the project completely tanked as in the same decade (in the 80s), the project completely disbanded. What remains are Igloos that look as though they were made for aliens. Despite lots of weather troubles the Domes remain standing.
4 Too Much - Letchworth Village, New York
From the outside, this place is absolutely chilling and one worthy of any horror movie flick. The inside is just as bad and completely abandoned. The institution opened up way back in the early portion of the 1900s. The intent of the facility was to aid the physically and mentally ill. The location was a massive one with numerous patients on the sight back in the day.
Lackluster funding, terrible care for the patients and lots of other negativity took place in the area, starting in the 1920s. It closed in 1996 and it looks creepy as ever these days.
3 Worth It - Goldfield, Arizona
“Come and visit Goldfield Ghost Town today! Walk down Main Street, explore the many shops and historic buildings. Tour the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the Goldfield Museum. Pan for gold then take a ride on Arizona’s only narrow gauge train. You’ll also get to witness an old west gun fight performed by the famous Goldfield Gunfighters! Spend a fun filled day, rich in wild west history!”
Okay, so that’s a lot more welcoming than some of the other abandoned areas we’ve discussed. This location is another ghost town that slowly faded. The area tried to be restored a couple of times in the early 1900s. However these days its another ghost town that might be worth the visit.
2 Too Much - Centralia, Pennsylvania
The population of this eerie location went from 1,000 in the 1980s to seven as of 2013. A coal mine fire caused a massive exit. This turned the area into the least populated area in Pennsylvania.
As of this day there is still a person living in the creepy ghost town area (according to Cracked). As for the state of the area it is mainly used for visiting purposes, but even that might be too creepy;
"We always had the smoke, and my wife felt sick if she was near it. We stay away from it. It's bad news. Only the tourists go into the damn thing."
1 Worth It – River Country Walt Disney World, Florida
We said it earlier, isn’t there something eerie, yet intriguing about an abandoned theme park? At least for photography purposes, this might be worth the road trip. The park actually lasted longer than most recall opening up in the 70s and lasting up until the early 2000s.
These days the area is completely deserted and abandoned. It is said that safety concerns were a major part of the closure. Now we're not suggesting that you touch or ride any of the rides, instead it might make for a cool road trip by observing the location from a distance.