Thursday, 1 March 2012 3:28 PM
One of the most interesting things to do as you travel around America's varied states is to stop off at a ghost town or two. These abandoned destinations have a fascinating history that you can learn more about as you drive through the former mining hubs.
Ghost towns are located across lots of states, including Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Illinois and California, to name just a handful, and you will more than likely come across one as you make your way across the nation.
The majority of ghost towns tended to have sprung up as the gold mining boom took off in the States, but have since dwindled to just a few or no residents as resources of the precious metal declined, or other minerals took precedence.
Incorporating an excursion to a ghost town on your USA holidays will certainly turn them into getaways with a difference and could even become one of the highlights of your time in the nation.
You might decide to visit abandoned towns in a number of states, as each corner of the country can vastly differ from the next and will enable you to learn something completely new.
Whether you are on a gap year or simply enjoying a shorter road trip, visiting ghost towns can be the perfect way to head off the well-trodden track and discover somewhere new that will most definitely become a talking point as you meet new people.
Below are three of the most popular abandoned mining towns you could factor into your itinerary:
White Oaks, New Mexico
New Mexico's White Oaks is perhaps most famous for the fact the notorious outlaw Billy The Kid frequently got into trouble on its streets.
The ghost town's Cedarvale Cemetery is where you will find one of his victims, the deputy sheriff James W Bell. He was killed by Billy The Kid in 1881 after he tried to prevent the outlaw escaping from the authorities.
Like most abandoned destinations, White Oaks used to be a thriving gold mining town, but residents moved away once resources of the precious metal retreated and it was decided a major railroad should not pass through the town.
However, the No Scum Allowed Saloon is still open, and if you drop by, you will likely spot some ranchers and cowboys enjoying a cold beer.
While not technically a ghost town, Oatman in Arizona is classed as one following a population plunge from thousands to between 100 and 200.
Many of the original buildings remain from its days as one of the biggest gold producers in the state, so you can certainly get a feel for how life used to be.
Wild burros roam the streets, and have been known to follow people into shops, which certainly adds an interesting twist to the excursion if you stop by Oatman on your USA road trips.
Hundreds of these animals live in the surrounding hills, but a handful have decided to head into Oatman and see what tasty treats visitors feed them.
Located off Route 66, the ghost town is easily accessible when travelling by car.
When you think of California, San Francisco and LA are likely to spring to mind. While the Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame and the Golden Gate Bridge are certainly major tourist attractions, why not also try something different by visiting the ghost town of Bodie?
Bodie, like many of the other former mining hubs, was known for its immoral goings on, drunkenness and recklessness, with the miners often spending large sums of cash in the red light district.
The once-thriving gold mining town became bust, like many of the others, and is today managed by California State Parks, which ensures Bodie remains in a state of arrested decay.
Visiting this ghost town today will not be as eventful as its interesting past, but makes a great excursion all the same.
If you want to get off the beaten track on your road trip in the USA make sure you visit at least one of these ghost towns to discover why centuries down the line they remain a fascinating talking point.