The Explorographer

8 Awesome “Abandoned” Locations Anyone Can and Must Visit

I visit a lot of locations that you cannot just jump in the family truckster and check out.  But, there are some that you can, and should!  While not abandoned in the traditional sense, all of these locations were once abandoned and have now been converted into tourist attractions to help preserve the properties.  The one thing that sets these locations apart from other attractions is that in one way or another the caretakers have preserved the decay of the site which makes for some above average photography opportunities that should put them squarely at the top of your bucket list.


1. Eastern State Penitentiary ~ Philadelphia, PA

Located in the heart of Philly, this institution is most noted for being the home of Al Capone. Rich with history, you cannot but wonder the stories that these crumbling walls could tell. Free roaming and guided tours are available 7 days a week, cameras and tripods encouraged. For more information visit:

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2. Boldt Castle ~ Alexandria Bay, NY

Nestled on Heart Island in the middle of Alexandria bay is the Castle Boldt. Construction began in 1900 but never completed, this castle sat abandoned for over 70 years. Many of the locals will tell you the castle is haunted, but during my visits there I have never experienced anything. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority (TIBA) took over the property and has been “completing” Boldt’s vision for many years. While most of the castle and island have been completely refurbished, open access to the 3rd and 4th floors show the castle left in its decayed state, including thousands of signatures and artwork left by visitors during the castles abandonment. Learn more at:

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3. Eldorado Canyon Gold Mine ~ Nelsen/Searchlight, NV

Lost in the desert in the middle of nowhere, Nevada is the tiny mining town of Techatticup. Famous for music videos, photoshoots and a little scene in 3000 Miles to Graceland where a gas station goes up in a fireball. Still thriving as a secret tourist spot this ghost town is home to the most amazing stuff on earth! Free roaming of parts of the site and guided tours of a REAL gold mine daily! For more info check out:

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4. Singer Castle ~ Dark Island, NY

Loaded with secret passages, knights armor, and antiques from a bygone era, Singer Castle awaits. Built between 1905 and 1960, Singer castle would be home of self made millionaire Frederick Gilbert Bourne who was famous for being the Director and President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company at young age of 36. Tours are guided. Overnight stays are available. For more information visit:

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5. Lonaconing Silk Mill ~ Lonaconing, MD

The Lonaconing Silk Mill is located in Lonaconing, Maryland and has sat unused since 1957. It sat unused, but secure, until the 1970s when a private citizen bought it with hopes of restoring it and opening it to the public as a museum. Free roaming tours of the entire mill are available by request. This is the last intact silk mill in the US. If you would like to know more email Kathleen Erkert, a member of George’s Creek Promotion Council @ [email protected] and ask how you can help.

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6. Hollywood Theater ~ Gowanda, NY

Registered as a New York and national historic landmark, the Hollywood Theater is recognized as a architectural treasure in need of restoration. Every year the site hosts “Hollywood Happening”, an event to raise funds to save the site. Along with music, food, and more, the theater opens it’s doors to the public. To find out more about the event and how you can see the theater check out:

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7. Austin Dam ~ Austin, PA

Nestled in a narrow valley and along the winding stream of Freeman Run is the ruins of the Austin Dam. In 1911 the dam broke and water engulfed much of the town of Austin and claimed over 78 lives. Today the ruins of the failed dam sit preserved in a natural park. You can visit anytime but the summer and fall are recommended. For more information visit:

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8. Cascade Mill Ruins ~ Penn Yan, NY

In the 8 miles stretching between Keuka and Seneca Lakes in upstate New York the creek drops approximately 270 feet. This natural water flow made it prime lands for powering all sorts of mills. Today there is a maintained trail the entire 8 miles with many of the mill ruins, equipment, dams and waterfalls still standing making it a truly unique hiking, kayaking, and photographic experience. To learn more check out:

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Explore. Photograph. Write. Repeat.

A multi-award winning travel photographer and mentor. Most known for his "abandonscape" images. Creator and curator of and

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