The Most Fascinating Abandoned Location in Every State (#21 Was in Four Films)

While some of these abandoned locations are downright spooky, others provide a fascinating look into a state’s history.

Traveler holding a vintage camera
Updated May 30, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

From long-abandoned psychiatric hospitals to actual ghost towns, there are plenty of deserted structures and areas across the U.S. that are downright frightening to visit.

Excursions like ghost tours tend to be a big hit, particularly around Halloween, but you don’t necessarily need a holiday or even a tour guide for some eerie exploration.

If you’re ready to step up your travel game, here are the top abandoned destinations in each state and how to visit them.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Alabama: Sloss Furnaces (Birmingham)

WANDER/Adobe sloss furnace

Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham was once the largest manufacturer of pig iron in the world and is a relic of the area’s industrial past.

While it no longer operates, it has become a national historic landmark, and visitors are welcome to take self-guided tours of the old facility.

Alaska: Kennecott Mines (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park)

David/Adobe kennecott copper mining camp

Kennecott is a historic mining town that was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

It’s considered one of the best examples of early 20th-century copper mining still available to visit today — and it’s packed with fascinating old buildings, tunnels, and trails.

Arizona: Hackberry (Mohave County)

ehrlif/Adobe mobil gas station on route 66

Hackberry was once a silver mining town, but now it’s a mostly vacant ghost town that still draws visitors traveling along Route 66.

In addition to the spooky allure, this is at least partially due to Hackberry General Store, which is filled with funky knickknacks.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

Arkansas: Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium (Booneville)

Andriy Blokhin/Adobe steam room at sanatorium

Although part of the grounds has now been taken over, the former Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium — which treated over 70,000 patients while it was active — still stands and now features a museum where visitors can get a glimpse into the horrors the disease once posed.

California: Hobbiton (Phillipsville)

frank/Adobe darkest depths of mordor

There was once a time when Lord of the Rings fans could take a scenic stroll through J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, specifically through scenes from “The Hobbit,” in northern California.

Unfortunately, Hobbiton, USA, shut down in 2009 — but you can still find some magic on the old grounds (word is Gandalf is still there).

Colorado: Central City Masonic Cemetery (Central City)

thenikonpro/Adobe blank tombstone in cemetery

Set above an old mining town and covered in wispy desert grasses that add to the eerie feel, Central City Masonic Cemetery has its own lore.

It’s considered one of the most haunted cemeteries in the state, and its ghost is known as the “Lady in Black.”

Connecticut: Seaside Sanatorium (Waterford)

Susan W/Adobe harkness memorial state park

Once a major tuberculosis hospital, Connecticut’s Seaside Sanitorium has a storied past — but after many failed attempts at restoration, the buildings have been in disrepair for years.

The grounds have been turned into a beautiful park, and plans are underway to remove the deteriorating facilities.

Delaware: CineMart (Wilmington)

Nejron Photo/Adobe red seats with numbers in cinema

The building that once housed the grand CineMart theater, a one-screen movie theater that sat close to 1,000 people, has been abandoned for decades.

The structure still stands, and visitors can check out the former, now-boarded-up grounds.

Florida: Sugar Mill Ruins (New Smyrna Beach)

Phil Lowe/Adobe yulee sugar mill ruins state park

Though much of the remains of a 19th-century sugar mill still in New Smyrna Beach were damaged during the Seminole War in 1835, several structures still remain on the site.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Georgia: Old Atlanta Prison Farm (DeKalb County)

Norm/Adobe shabbona lake state park

The Old Atlanta Prison Farm was once a site where prisoners were put to work on farmland, as the name suggests, but operations shut down in the mid-90s.

Since then, the grounds have experienced much turmoil and vandalism, making them a fantastically eerie site to visit.

Hawaii: Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement (Molokai)

Billy McDonald/Adobe broken hearted grave site

The remote Kalaupapa Peninsula on the Hawaiian island of Molokai has a fascinating history.

Leprosy patients were once banished to the islands before a cure was brought to them in the mid-20th century. Today, many residents live there by choice, but you need a permit to visit.

Idaho: Bayhorse Ghost Town (Custer County)

MelissaMN/Adobe abandoned bayhorse ghost town

What was once a thriving mining town that produced lead, silver, and gold has become a legendary ghost town.

The town of Bayhorse began to decline and was nearly abandoned by the 1930s, but visitors still stop by to this day to see the old buildings, hike, and camp.

Illinois: Old Joliet Prison (Joliet)

EJRodriquez/Adobe old abandoned prison

Despite many reports of unsanitary and dangerous conditions, prisoners were housed in Old Joliet for well over a century before it shuttered in 2002.

Years later, the Old Joliet Prison Preservation Coalition began work to stabilize the site, which is now open for public tours.

Indiana: Central State Hospital (Indianapolis)

Alex/Adobe abandoned hospital with medical equipment

Central State Hospital opened in the mid-1800s and treated thousands of psychiatric patients over its 150-year history.

After several scandals involving alleged patient abuse, it closed in 1994. Now, visitors can tour some of the grounds, including the Old Pathology Building.

Iowa: Historic Iowa State Penitentiary (Fort Madison)

celiafoto/Adobe old hospital beds

There’s plenty of folklore and local legend surrounding the old Iowa State Penitentiary, which first began housing prisoners back in 1839.

While the old prison stands vacant now, a nonprofit has been created to preserve the grounds and its deep history.

Kansas: Stull Cemetery (Stull)

Lisa F. Young/Adobe old cemetery

In the largely vacant town of Stull, a cemetery and the remains of an old church are the subject of an urban legend that claims the grounds are home to one of the “Seven Gateways to Hell.”

It’s unclear exactly how to get there, but the cemetery is certainly a bucket list-worthy spot for paranormal fans.

Kentucky: Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Louisville)

yegorov_nick/Adobe abandoned hospital in prison

Another former tuberculosis sanatorium, Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, is fascinating to visit — not only because of its history but also because of its stunning Tudor Gothic architecture.

Today, visitors can take guided historical or paranormal tours.

Louisiana: Six Flags New Orleans (New Orleans)

Romy/Adobe abandoned six flags new orleans

While there are plenty of spooky endeavors and ghost tours in New Orleans, the abandoned Six Flags is a particularly eerie experience.

The massive theme park has been abandoned since Hurricane Katrina, though local officials are looking to revamp the space.

Maine: Fort Gorges (Portland)

Seven Palms Studio/Adobe fort gorges

A military fort built on Hog Island during the Civil War, Fort Gorges is long-abandoned as the military gave up ownership to Portland in 1960.

Since then, the property has largely deteriorated, but it is still standing for visitors to explore at their own risk.

Maryland: Marshall Hall (Charles County)

Sved Oliver/Adobe creepy attic interior

Marshall Hall, also known as the Marshall family mansion, is an eerie abandoned building with a rich history.

The hall is located next to the Potomac River near Mount Vernon, where George Washington once lived, and is now part of the National Park Service’s Piscataway Park.

Massachusetts: Medfield State Hospital (Medfield)

weiguo1/Adobe abandoned medfield hospital

For more than a century, Medfield State Hospital housed and treated mentally ill patients before closing in 2003.

The grounds still stand — and they’re spooky enough that several movies, such as “Knives Out” and “Shutter Island,” have used them as filming locations.

Michigan: St. Agnes Catholic Church (Detroit)

Andrew/Adobe abandoned st. agnes church

This once lively Catholic Church has been abandoned for years. In its heyday, the beautiful Gothic church was a well-known house of worship so popular that even Mother Teresa visited.

Though repurposing plans have been proposed, the forsaken structure still stands today.

Minnesota: Gilfillan Estate (Redwood County)

Mitch/Adobe minnesota wild flowers and lake

Once home to the Gilfillan family, the 13,000-acre estate in Redwood County features a beautiful home, offices, farmland, a library, and more.

The now-abandoned property was ultimately given to the Redwood County Historical Society and is now open for guided tours.

Mississippi: Mississippi Industrial College (Holly Springs)

BONNIE C. MARQUETTE/Adobe country lane

Mississippi Industrial College was established to educate Black students in the early 20th century.

The college was in operation for decades but closed down in 1982 and has been largely vacant since. However, the grounds have been designated a Mississippi Landmark.

Missouri: Times Beach (St. Louis)

MelissaMN/Adobe peeling paint in a damaged

Times Beach, which was once a lively resort town, met an unfortunate end when it was declared uninhabitable due to contamination (from toxic chemicals used to control dust).

Since the early 1980s, Times Beach has been a ghost town.

Montana: Garnet Ghost Town (Granite County)

David/Adobe garnet ghost town montana

Garnet was once a thriving mining town where hopefuls came with their families in search of gold.

The community experienced many ups and downs but was ultimately largely abandoned after World War II. However, visitors can still see the sites and learn the history today.

Nebraska: New Pennsylvania Cemetery (Gretna)

Elena Schweitzer/Adobe old jewish cemetery

Certainly spooky and long-abandoned, New Pennsylvania Cemetery is one of the creepiest gravesites you can visit in the area.

According to its historical marker, the first person was buried in the cemetery in 1875, and the last was buried almost a century ago in 1935.

Nevada: Rhyolite Ghost Town (Beatty)

sumikophoto/Adobe rhyolite ghost town

Once a thriving gold mining town, the Rhyolite of today contains a few remnants of its past, including some run-down old buildings, a train depot, and a Bottle House.

You can visit the ghost town on your way from Furnace Creek Visitor Center (part of Death Valley National Park) to Beatty, Nevada.

New Hampshire: Madame Sherri's Castle Ruins (Chesterfield)

Yggdrasill/Adobe madame sherri forest

Legend has it that famed costumed designer Madame Sherri used to host elaborate parties for her theater friends in a “castle” in the woods of Chesterfield.

The foundation and stone staircase are all that remains of the castle today, but visitors are welcome to come see it as they hike along the trails surrounding it.

New Jersey: Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (Jersey City)

Yuriy T/Adobe central railroad of new jersey

The historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal shuttered in the late 1960s but was recently restored — so visitors can check it out when visiting Jersey City’s Liberty State Park.

While it was largely vacant for decades, it now serves as a ferry departure point for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

New Mexico: Fort Bayard (Santa Clara)

Adrian Skiles/Wirestock/Adobe beautiful sunset at santa fe

Fort Bayard was founded in the mid-1800s to protect American soldiers while the region was being settled.

It later became an Army tuberculosis sanitarium and a VA hospital before ultimately being designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2004.

New York: Wonder Bread Factory (Buffalo)

zhu difeng/Adobe empty floor in abandoned factory

There are many fascinating abandoned locations in New York, but the Wonder Bread Factory in Buffalo is a particular favorite among explorers.

The massive, early 20th-century factory once left the surrounding area smelling pleasantly like fresh bread, but it's been vacant since 2004. Its new owner warns explorers about trespassing.

North Carolina: Henry River Mill Village (Hildebran)

BabettsBildergalerie/Adobe hildebrand's mill

A once abandoned mill town between Charlotte and Asheville, Henry River Mill Village had a moment of fame as the set for the apocalyptic District 12 in “The Hunger Games” films.

Today, visitors are welcome to tour and learn about the village’s rich history.

North Dakota: San Haven Sanatorium (Dunseith)

Perry/Adobe lost doctors house

Originally known as the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium, the Dunseith grounds underwent several name changes and treated many kinds of patients before shuttering in the 1980s.

Though it has been abandoned for decades, a revitalization project is reportedly underway.

Ohio: Chippewa Lake Park (Medina County)

designprojects/Adobe abandoned merry-go-round

Chippewa Lake Park was a popular amusement park that operated for about a century before shutting down in the 1970s.

While many of the park’s original structures are now gone, plans to revitalize the area include odes to its whimsical past.

Oklahoma: Picher (Ottawa County)

Caleb/Adobe abandoned baseball field

Once a productive mining town with plenty of lead and zinc, Picher’s population began to dwindle by the turn of the 21st century.

After damage from a tornado in 2008, the town was declared unsafe to live in. Today, it’s essentially a ghost town.

Oregon: The Witch’s Castle (Portland)

Sonnie/Adobe witch's castle

The Witch’s Castle, a long-abandoned structure in Portland’s Forest Park, has a storied past — from a shocking murder to a go-to spot for keggers.

It’s been abandoned since the early 1960s and makes for a spooky excursion (though its history has nothing to do with witches).

Pennsylvania: Centralia (Columbia County)

Billy/Adobe centralia road

Centralia was founded in the mid-1800s and was once a thriving mining town with thousands of residents.

However, after much turmoil and a burning garbage pit, which ultimately led to the town's mostly condemnation, it became the ghost town it is today.

Rhode Island: Ladd School (Exeter)

jayfish/Adobe old abandoned building

The Ladd School in Rhode Island was meant to cater to people with developmental disabilities, but throughout the years, it became embroiled in many scandals.

Today, just a few of the original buildings remain, and two have been repurposed.

South Carolina: Lando School (Lando)

Peter Zeedijk/Wirestock/Adobe  walls covered in newspapers

Once a grand schoolhouse in a thriving mining town, Lando ended up shuttering in the mid-20th century.

Today, the long-abandoned three-story building can be viewed from Schoolhouse Road (though visitors are advised not to trespass).

South Dakota: Holy Terror Mine (Keystone)

Oleksii Zelivianskyi/Adobe old mine entrance

The Holy Terror Mine was once a top gold producer, but it was plagued with issues from excessive underground water to fires.

Today, the old mine is abandoned, but the Keystone area is a popular spot for tourists who want to learn about its rich history.

Tennessee: Tennessee State Prison (Nashville)

Meng He/Adobe antique abandoned prison cell

Tennessee State Prison, which opened back in 1898 and was forced to shutter in 1992 due to reports of overcrowding and inhumane conditions, has a storied past.

The castle-like building served as a filming location for “The Green Mile” and, according to many legends, is haunted.

Texas: Terlingua Ghost Town (Brewster County)

mikesch112/Adobe desert town of terlingua in texas

Terlingua is a long-abandoned mining town that has found a second life as a tourist attraction and the site of a famed championship chili cookoff.

Visitors can enjoy a fascinating view of the town that once was, plus natural landmarks, gift shops, art galleries, restaurants, and more.

Utah: Thistle Ghost Town (Fairview)

Brett/Adobe flooded house in marshy bog

Thistle was once a lively community made up of farmers and ranchers, but a massive landslide in the 1980s flooded and completely destroyed the town.

Today, visitors passing through can still see some of the structures of what is now a long-forsaken ghost town.

Vermont: Walloomsac Inn (Old Bennington)

jechm/Adobe creepy room of a damaged hotel

A product of the 1700s, the Walloomsac Inn in Old Bennington has had many lives but has not functioned as an inn since the 1980s.

Today, the historic building still sits vacant — and its fate is up in the air as its owners debate what to do with the property.

Virginia: Paxton Manor (Leesberg)

pictureguy32/Adobe interior abandoned house prairie

The long-abandoned Paxton Manor, a 150-year-old massive home, has been given a second life as a haunted Halloween destination.

The home dates back to 1790, and its history is used to make its “Shocktober” haunted house event all the more frightening.

Washington: Northern State Mental Hospital (Sedro-Woolley)

Melastmohican/Adobe northern state hospital

Northern State Mental Hospital was once the largest facility for the mentally ill in Washington State, but it ultimately shuttered in 1976.

While many of the old buildings have been knocked down or repurposed, visitors are still welcome to explore the former hospital’s massive grounds.

West Virginia: Lake Shawnee Amusement Park (Princeton)

Edward/Adobe haunted amusement park

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park may have been doomed from the start, as legend says the grounds were previously home to much violence between Native Americans and settlers.

Today, the former park is a favorite among ghost hunters and paranormal fans.

Wisconsin: Tower Hill State Park (Iowa County)

Derek Victor/Adobe path trough ferns in forest

Though Tower Hill State Park is not technically abandoned, visitors can check out a 19th-century tower that was built along the Wisconsin River to produce lead shots.

Part of the tower has been recreated, but the original, long-abandoned tunnel is still there and can be explored.

Wyoming: Fort Laramie (Goshen County)

72 Images/Adobe ruins at fort laramie national historic site

Fort Laramie was originally a fur trading port but went through many lives as a military post on the Northern Plains and a witness to America’s western expansion.

It was abandoned in the late 19th century but ultimately was taken over by the National Park System.

Bottom line

MYDAYcontent/Adobe walking through green woods

From ghost towns to ghost stories, many of these abandoned homes, villages, and hospitals have rich histories to learn from.

Before you grab your best travel credit cards and hit the road, make sure you research their visiting and trespassing policies.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards

Benefits

Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
4.1
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee

$0

+

Why we like it

Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.