With 50 states across its nation, the United States encompasses beauty and wonder across all its bordering states. Tourists can be intimidated when choosing what they’d like to see and do, with so many diverse options. From the extreme arctic cold in Alaska to the breathtaking beaches and volcanoes of Hawaii, it can be a lot to take in!
With so many varied climates and attractions, travelers will really have to narrow down what they’d like to see and do. Some may be craving the magic of Florida’s Disney World or Cali’s Disneyland, while others may be looking for something a little different than the conventional norm. By this, I mean locations that tourists may want to see but are actually forbidden by the country. Now when something is forbidden to visitors it’s usually for good reason and although we may question why it’s prohibited, it’s probably best we abide by the rules.
But for the real brave risk takers, there are some questionable and eerie places in the USA that you CAN visit, but all at your own risk. If you’d like to potentially test your luck feel free to make a trip to any one of these risky destinations… just take some precautions!
24 4. Forbidden: Farmhouse, Seneca Lake, New York
For some, creepy abandoned places bring excitement and curiosity but for many people, they rather stay far away from the eerie and unknown. What comes to mind when you see the rustic abandoned farmhouse and forgotten vintage cars which lie around Seneca Lake? Would you dare to walk through the 4-foot poison ivy to further inspect the ruins of a farmhouse which almost no one has any background information on?
Still private property today, we are left to wonder what caused the owners of the farmhouse and vehicles to simply desert their belongings and home to never return. To find out more you’d have to most likely risk your security by trespassing and your life as you walk through the collapsed roof of the farmhouse.
23 13. Too Nervous To Visit: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia
If you wanted to visit West Virginia’s former Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum you totally could, but it would be entirely at your own risk. The building is America’s largest hand-cut stone masonry building and was run by the government from 1864 to 1994 as a sanctuary for the mentally ill. Previously known as the Weston State Hospital, with its menacing exterior you wouldn’t need to hear any of the many ghost stories to be frightened of the place.
Along with overcrowdedness and unethical practices, there’s also a long history of violence at the asylum. It’s been reported that a patient perished at the hands of their fellow room-mate, and even one of the nurses had gone missing before her body was recovered.
22 1. Forbidden: Bohemian Grove, Monte Rio, California
Deep in Sonoma County lies a 2700 acre campground which is forbidden to all unless you are part of one of the Elite group members of the Bohemian Club. This exclusive and secretive club has traditions and roots dating back to 1872 in San Francisco where the private club for gentleman only originated.
The club meets annually for a campground retreat at the Bohemian Grove and has been described by poet and club member Will Irwin as a place “You come upon suddenly and one step and its glory is over you”. If you’re interested in joining, VanityFair has reported you’ll need an exclusive invite from various existing members and cover the $25,000 initiation fee.
21 21. Too Nervous To Visit: Salton Sea On Bombay Beach, California
At one point back in the 1950’s and 60’s, Bombay Beach was a prosperous and lively beach resort with a golf course, extensive marina and even a yacht club. Located on the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, the area now looks like a complete post-apocalyptic abandoned beach village.
Bombay Beach went from a popular tourist attraction to a ‘public health disaster’ with rotting fish and water that emits smells of petrol and garbage. Located not on the West Coast but rather by the Colorado Desert, tourism skyrocketed until the 1970’s when it slowly declined and the area became victim to a rapidly deteriorating ecosystem. Celebrities even flocked to Bombay Beach the most notably being Frank Sinatra.
20 2. Forbidden: Ni'ihau Island, Hawaii
Perhaps you’ve heard of Hawaii’s top-secret island, or maybe you haven’t because it’s been nicknamed The Forbidden Island and has been privately owned by the same family since 1864. Not much is known about life on the island but it’s been described as a place where time stands still and where its limited habitants follow an ancient way of life.
With no electricity, internet, restaurants, cars, roads, stores or plumbing, Ni’ihau remains a rare untouched island free from the advancements and hassles of modern life. One source has estimated they are about only 70 brave and free-spirited souls who reside on this private and majestic piece of heaven in Hawaii.
19 23. Too Nervous To Visit: Grossinger’s Catskills Resort, New York
The holiday destination that allegedly inspired the movie Dirty Dancing is now an abandoned and rotting 1200-acre resort in New York. The hotel and grounds were abandoned in 1986, just one year before the hit film with Patrick Swayze was released. Grossinger’s was famous at the time for being the first to use artificial snow for skiing in 1952 and had an on-site airstrip, lavish ballrooms, golf courses, auditoriums and extensive sporting facilities.
With nightly entertainment and comedy shows, Grossinger’s attracted celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Robinson who stayed in glamorous rooms during its heyday during the 1960’s. Swept into decay, explorers can still find deckchairs by the pool and salon hairdryers covered in graffiti and overgrown foliage.
18 3. Forbidden: Granite Mountain Secret Vault, Salt Lake City, Utah
All the way in Utah’s Salt Lake City is the world’s largest compilation of genealogical records to ever have existed. If you’re familiar with Mormons, you probably know they’re also renowned genealogists and have collected and cataloged documents and records on almost every family in the United States.
The process all began with the efforts of the LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) who began their collection and then needed an ultra-secure location for their fast-growing archive catalogue. This led to them blasting a cavern into the side of a mountain known as Little Cottonwood Canyon which now holds hundreds of thousands of genealogical records 700 feet beneath the earth. There is also maximum security to ensure these sensitive documents are never revealed to the public or curious tourists.
17 19. Too Nervous To Visit: The Biltmore Estate, North Carolina
You don’t have to spend a night at the Biltmore Estate to have a taste of creepiness but rather you can take a daily tour of the extravagant estate and learn about its haunting past. This property in Asheville was the vacation home to George Vanderbilt and his wife Edith who hosted countless notable parties and soirées for their family and guests.
It’s a known fact that George Vanderbilt, who passed away from appendicitis in 1914, still haunts the vast estate which is now open to the public. Ever since being opened to the public, it’s been stated by many the Vanderbilt family still resides in their former lavish home
16 5. Forbidden: Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado
Rising 9565 feet above sea level in Colorado is the rocky Cheyenne Mountain. This massive mountain is also home to the nations most secure and fortified military installation and 15 building complexes which alert officials concerning anything to do with ongoing threats of attack. For employees of the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, it’s no ordinary work environment where you can simply walk into your office. Workers must take a bus to their designated zone, some of them even 2000 feet below the ground.
Nicknamed ‘America’s Fortress’ for a reason, the Cheyenne Mountain Complex is the ultimate bunker built into the pure granite of the mountain, and can withstand just about any type of external threat.
15 15. Too Nervous To Visit: The Old Montana Territorial Prison, Maryland
In Deer Lodge, Montana you can tour a museum quite rich in history which dates back to 1871. That was the year Old Montana’s Territorial Prison admitted its first inmate, probably without knowing that more than 100 years later that very prison would become a museum.
Although not your average museum, Old Montana’s Territorial Prison held some pretty terrible criminals and just by walking through its halls today you can feel the spirits of its past. It’s not only the maltreated inmates who supposedly haunt this building but also the prison’s employees, many of whom perished as a result of a violent riot which broke out from an inmate uprising. This museum is not for just anyone!
14 6. Forbidden: Google’s Douglas County, Georgia (Google Data Center)
Since 2003, Atlanta has been home to Google’s efforts and successes in building the world’s most efficient data centers. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week Google is not fooling around with their maximum security in their data centers.
Only accessible to their employees, who better to ask about Douglas County than one of their very own loyal employees? Norman Martin of Data Center Operations eagerly has said “The internet never sleeps - we keep it going! Working here is like taking an extended field trip to a toy store”.
13 14. Too Nervous To Visit: The Crescent Hotel, Arkansas
If you’ve ever desired to stay at the most haunted hotel in the U.S. then head over to the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s been around for ages, and was first called the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa. Legend holds that their 78 rooms accommodate guests who “check in but never leave”.
Sitting atop Arkansas’ Ozarks Mountain is the palatial hotel, which is still up and running, but not without some familiar spirits who’ve been noted to roam frequently. One of the most known spirits is Michael who was an Irish stonemason and had fatefully fallen while working on building the hotel in 1885.
12 7. Forbidden: Dulce Base, New Mexico
Rumours of a top-secret US military base in New Mexico have been swirling for years now. You’d think Dulce, New Mexico would be just another small southwest town in America, but think again. This town, which doesn’t even have traffic lights, is known for the subterranean experimental facility below the ground of Dulce’s Archuleta Mesa.
Those who believe in the supposed underground alien base, state that a seven-story compound exists beneath Dulce which houses top-secret extremely advances technologies and even human-animal hybrids! These rumours have been circulating since the 80’s but no conclusive data is accessible yet to the public so here we are left wondering what actually goes on down in Dulce.
11 20. Too Nervous To Visit: Kaluakoi Resort, Molokai Ranch, Hawaii
When you think of Hawaii images of eerie and deserted resorts aren’t exactly the first images that rack your brain. That’s probably because you haven’t heard of Kaupoa Beach village on the island of Molokai. Built in 1975 as the Sheraton Molokai Hotel, in its heyday it offered guests with luxurious ‘tentalows’ (bungalows made of canvas tents).
The owners were never able to maintain the hotel and it gradually became deserted and dilapidated. The eeriness of the rare abandoned beach village coupled with the spirits who supposedly live on the very isolated island doesn’t exactly make Molokai a hot-spot for tourists.
10 8. Forbidden: North Brother Island, New York
Not only is New York’s North Brother Island forbidden, but it’s also hidden, overrun by weeds and unsafe for the public (and its sensitive ecosystem is much safer without visitors).
The dystopian looking island was abandoned 50 years ago but prior to that, in the mid-nineteenth century North Brother Island was a hot spot. At this time in history, disease and illnesses were rampant in New York and this isolated island was a perfect location for the sick to be quarantined. Located not too far from the South-Bronx off the East River it’s been nicknamed ‘Hells Gate’ for its dangerous waters and is rightfully off-limits.
9 24. Too Nervous To Visit: Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Oregon
The Oregon lighthouse which came to be known as “Terrible Tilly” has quite the interesting and macabre past. In 1878 the lighthouse was built 1.2 miles offshore to provide lighting and guidance to ships sailing around the area of Tillamook Head. This operation went on for 77 years until 1957 but its history was not over yet. In 1980 “Terrible Tilly” became a columbarium; a storage area for urns of cremated humans.
In 1999 the post-mortem operation lost its license yet urns still remain inside the lighthouse to this day. Access to the lighthouse is through chartered helicopter due to the dangerous waters surrounding Tillamook Head.
8 10. Forbidden: Area 51, Nevada
You may have already heard about Nevada’s Area 51 and the supposed alien activity that goes down there in the desert. But what does America’s most famous military base really have to do with aliens? Enclosed only by a chained fence and one very intimidating 'no trespassing' sign, you’d think one of America’s most top-secret locations would be better guarded. However, don’t be fooled, even if you take a few steps by Area 51 your every move will definitely be watched and recorded.
More than 130 kilometers away from Las Vegas lies Area 51 with all its mysteries, myths and incredulous stories which will almost eternally remain undisclosed to us, the general public.
7 16. Too Nervous To Visit: Mackay Mansion, Nevada
This notable Victorian mansion in Nevada’s Virginia City is the very same mansion in which Johnny Depp had an eerie encounter with a little girl dressed in all-white plaid. Built in the 1860’s, Mackay Mansion belonged to John Mackay who was one of the first to discover silver ores in the U.S.
The restored rooms are now open in a museum-like style for visitors and even serve as a venue for weddings and events. The historic mansion must be really beautiful if people still wish to tie the knot on premises despite the countless paranormal activity reported.
6 11. Forbidden: Fort Knox, Kentucky
The expression “You’d think it was Fort Knox with all this security” is used countless times almost all over the globe, but what is Fort Knox and why is it known to have the highest level of security? It only makes sense that the hideaway for the United States’ gold reserves is known as the most guarded place on earth.
Kept away in intensely guarded vaults, no person alone would be able to make it into one of the esteemed vaults. Each is kept safe with numerous lock combinations, and with employees only knowing one combination at a time it’s almost impossible to ever attain access into Fort Knox.
5 17. Too Nervous To Visit: Mount Baker Theatre, Washington
The incredible Mount Baker Theatre is a spectacular masterpiece situated in Washington. Back in the 1920’s the area surrounding what today is the Mount Baker Theatre was a lively boardwalk with saloons and dance halls. At that time the building served as a boarding house, and legend has it that Judy, one of the house’s residents still roams the space today.
For decades employees of the theatre have recorded unexplainable phenomena and paranormal sightings. Occurrences other than the company of Judy include random bursts of cold air, the rustling of skirts and even loud yells calling out names from a distant past.