18 Top Abandoned Places in America

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By Jonathan Trent

The U.S. is awash with abandoned places to explore, including small buildings, massive mansions, and spooky ghost towns. Filled with extensive history and plenty of eeriness, we’ve decided to compile the following list of the 18 top places abandoned in America!

Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania

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Once one of the biggest and most famous prisons in the world, Eastern State Penitentiary closed in 1971 and is now an abandoned shell of what it used to be. The Pennsylvania property is known for its imposing architecture, which still attracts visitors through its museum and guided tours.

Bodie, California

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Bodie, in California, was once a gold-mining town, but now, it has become an abandoned ghost town, with over 100 empty buildings and nothing left of its 10,000 residents. The town has been turned into a historic location where visitors can learn more about its fate; it’s well worth a visit!

Centralia, Pennsylvania

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Our next abandoned American location is Centralia, Pennsylvania, which not only stands empty but has a fire beneath it that has been burning since 1962. Once a coal mining town, History.com reveals that this coal fire resulted in the evacuation of the entire town, leaving a smoky ghost town in its wake.

The Salton Sea, California

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The Salton Sea was once a popular tourist destination in the 1950s and 60s for those looking for an idyllic resort escape. Unfortunately, environmental problems caused the water to become toxic, meaning it had to be abandoned. While empty, it still remains an eerie yet stunning stretch of landscape.

The Domino Sugar Refinery, Brooklyn, New York

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Once the biggest sugar refinery in the world, the Domino Sugar Refinery of Brooklyn, New York, is now an abandoned industrial site, which closed down in 2004 after almost 150 years in operation. Found along the East River, it’s now a rotting building that hasn’t yet lost its sense of history.

Six Flags, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Next on our list is one of America’s eeriest abandoned places: Six Flags, Louisiana. This was once a bustling amusement park, although its rides now stand empty and forgotten. After Hurricane Katrina caused significant damage, it had to be closed down for good, leaving only a shell of the amusement it once offered. 

Rhyolite, Nevada

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A ghost town that was once a flourishing gold-mining community, Rhyolite in Nevada is now abandoned. It hit its peak in the 1900s but is now crumbling and deserted, but visitors are allowed to visit the remains, which include an eerie old schoolhouse. Yikes!

The Missouri State Penitentiary, Missouri

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The Missouri State Penitentiary was the biggest prison in the United States as far back as 1836, but it’s now totally abandoned. However, you can take a historical guided tour through its empty cells and eerie underground dungeon, learning about all the inmates who once called it home. That’s super spooky.

Bannerman Castle, New York

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On Pollepel Island in New York, there lies an abandoned location named Bannerman Castle. Originally a military warehouse, it was left empty after an explosion in 1920. The castle remains a vacant, haunted ruin overlooking the scenic Hudson River, a must-visit for adrenaline seekers.

Hell Town, Ohio

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In the Cuyahoga Valley National Park lies Hell Town, a fitting name for this creepy, abandoned village. Many urban legends surround Hell Town, including a creepy ghost bus and a Satanic church, as Atlas Obscura recalls, not to mention stories of chemical spills. We’ll give that a miss, thank you!

The Goldfield Hotel, Nevada

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If abandoned, creepy hotels are more your style, you might be interested in the Goldfield in Nevada. A once luxurious place to stay during the Gold Rush, it now stands as a haunted ruin. Its eerie atmosphere is popular with ghost hunters, and it’s no surprise why!

Kennecott Mines, Alaska

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What was once a copper mining camp is now an abandoned historic landmark in Alaska, yet the buildings and equipment left behind at Kennecott Mines have been well-preserved. Guided tours are popular at this location to learn more about the region, and there are no ghosts present, so there’s no excuse to miss it!

The Packard Automotive Plant, Detroit, Michigan

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The forgotten Packard Automotive Plant is a spooky example of Detroit’s industrial decline. This crumbling ruin has been victim to graffiti and decay over the years because, thanks to its terrifying atmosphere, it has become hugely popular with urban explorers.

Ford Ord, California

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Originally a U.S. Army base, Fort Ord in California is now another top abandoned place on our list, which closed down in 1994. This huge, sprawling space is filled with deserted buildings, forgotten streets, and even some remains of military equipment!

Holy Land USA, Connecticut

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Another frighteningly abandoned theme park in America is Holy Land USA, originally built in the 1950s as a religious attraction. Sadly, it now feels like a rather morbid place, all the more morose because of the death of its owner, which sparked its eventual decline and ruin.

Letchworth Village, New York

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There’s nothing more disturbing than an abandoned mental institution, which is where our next location comes in: Letchworth Village in New York. Closing in 1996, it’s known for its haunting atmosphere and tragic history, including previous residents living in “overcrowded, dirty and neglectful conditions,” says Hudson Valley Magazine.

The Glenrio Ghost Town, Texas and New Mexico

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Once located on Route 66, The Glenrio Ghost Town was once a thriving stop during a road trip, but now it’s only a rotting relic of what it once was. It still houses gas stations, classic road signs, and original buildings, but they’re all abandoned now.

The Winchester Mystery House, California

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Last on our list is the Winchester House of California, which, while technically filled with tourists instead of standing empty, remains one of the eeriest abandoned structures in the U.S. Its strange architecture was left empty after Sarah Winchester’s death in 1922 before it was eventually turned into an attraction. It’s well worth visiting!

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