RV Vacation Idea – Exploring California Ghost Towns

We’ve had so much fun delivering the goods on great ghost towns in other states, we almost forgot to include California! For an RV camping vacation that’s hauntingly spectacular, use these tips for exploring California ghost towns on your next trip.

San Bernardino Area Ghost Towns
Very near our El Monte RV Rentals San Bernardino RV Rentals location, you can explore ghost and historic mining towns to your heart’s content. Twin cities along the Santa Ana River were once the largest between Los Angeles and New Mexico. A devastating flood in 1862, however, destroyed most of Agua Mansa and La Placita. Today, ghost town fans can visit the historic Agua Mansa Cemetery, with graves dating back to the 1840s, to learn more about San Bernardino County’s earliest non-native settlers.

Ten miles from Barstow, discover Calico Town, the historic silver mining town that’s a treasure for the entire family. With one third of this once-bustling mining town’s structures still standing, your RV camping trip to Calico Town will provide an unforgettable glimpse into the California silver rush. Pan for gold, shop at the Mercantile and take the kids for a ride on the narrow gauge railway. A large RV campground onsite offers the amenities you’ll appreciate after a day exploring Calico Town.

One more area for hardcore ghost town fans to explore is the Wildwash mining area east of Victorville. Numerous working mines, abandoned mines and rock houses can be found. Pay attention to private property signs and plan to hike this area to find clues of mining towns now vanished. While visiting both the Wildwash area ghost towns and Calico Town, why not park your RV at the Mojave Narrows Regional Park campground? These lakeside campsites are sure to soothe your spirits after a long day of hiking.

Sacramento Area Ghost Towns
Swing by our El Monte RV Sacramento Rentals location for the perfect motorhome rental, and then head south to the historic town of Locke. Locke is a delightful place to spend several days exploring. Built in 1915 by Chinese merchants, it has remained a marvelously quirky village with narrow streets, abandoned buildings mixed in with thriving businesses and its own unique atmosphere. Explore the only completely Chinese California ghost town, and stay in waterfront luxury at Snug Harbor RV Park in Walnut Grove.

While in Sacramento County, be sure to visit Folsom. Although still a living city, Folsom has incorporated its mining town past into an intriguing historic district. Located on the beautiful American River, just twenty miles from Sutters Mills, you’ll find plenty of gold mining history to keep you busy in Folsom.

San Diego Area Ghost Towns
There are several fascinating ghost towns in the San Diego area. Start your trip at Stonewall Mine in Cuyamuca State Park. The collapsed mine shaft and a few ruins, as well as a cabin/museum mark a place where over one million dollars in gold was mined.

Vallecito stage station was rebuilt in the 1930s so that visitors to the area could have a taste of California’s early history. To the north, visit Banner to see the remains of a mining town struck by three floods and a fire before being abandoned. While you’re in the area, don’t miss Julian, CA, a beautiful historic gold mining town that caters to history buffs. If San Diego County is your preferred ghost town exploration destination, be sure to reserve your RV first at our San Diego/Santee El Monte RV Rentals location.

Learning about the past while exploring abandoned or historic towns in a fantastic way to spend an RV camping vacation. Choose a comfortable RV as your home for the duration, and pack your camera and hiking boots. Who knows? Exploring ghost towns in California just might become a lifetime obsession!

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Great RV Camping Idea: Exploring New Mexico Ghost Towns

The Land of Enchantment may also be the Land of Haunted Places, if you’re really into ghost towns. We knew you wouldn’t want to miss the many ghost towns of New Mexico, so we’ve put together a list of places RV campers will want to go.

Northern New Mexico Ghost Towns
Glorieta: East of Santa Fe is a fascinating place called Glorieta. The Civil War battle that ended the Confederate threat in New Mexico took place nearby in La Glorieta Pass. Within a few years, a village grew where the railroad came through the Pass and Glorieta was born. Numerous businesses operate in Glorieta to serve the tourists who come to see the original 1870s buildings.

Western New Mexico Ghost Towns
Horse Springs: This former ranching center sits just off Hwy 12 in western New Mexico. A large natural spring for which the town was named drew ranchers to the area but didn’t make up for the poor soil, so Horse Springs was soon no more.

Aragon/Fort Tularosa: The former Fort no longer exists, but you’ll find signs of the early settlement as well as a few modern-day residents.

Eastern New Mexico Ghost Towns
La Lande: Interesting stucco ruins rise up in the desert of eastern New Mexico on the site of La Lande, a failed farming village.

De Baca: Farther west on Hwy 60, you can explore several abandoned homes and businesses at De Baca, another small town that faded when farmers failed to make a living.

Southern New Mexico Ghost Towns
Brice: Just north of Orogrande in southern New Mexico visit Brice, where visitors will find a cemetery and the remnants of a turquoise mining settlement.

With so many ghost towns to explore and great RV parks to settle into, New Mexico presents real possibilities for RV campers who love the unusual. Start your trip with a call to El Monte RV Rental’s Albuquerque RV Rentals location. Our friendly staff will help you reserve a luxurious motorhome to keep you comfortable on your trip. Happy ghost hunting!

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Cruising Colorado Ghost Towns by RV

We have been sharing reports from friends about great ghost town destinations to include on your RV adventures. While you’re planning the itinerary for your next trip, don’t miss Colorado’s ghost towns. The Centennial State is home to dozens of former towns filled with artifacts, empty shacks and terrific Wild West history!

Let’s do a quick cruise of some of the ghost towns you can easily visit on your RV camping trip.

  • Florrisant: Thirty miles west of Colorado Springs, this former mining town has a school house and cemetery still in place, plus plenty of historical artifacts to discover. Stay at Lost Burro Campground in nearby Cripple Creek where you’ll find scenic RV campsites creek side.
  • Cripple Creek: While you’re in the area, don’t miss Cripple Creek itself. It’s one of Colorado’s most famous mining towns and area gold mines produced hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gold before 1930. Although Cripple Creek is now home to numerous casinos, there are plenty of mines, ghost towns and cemeteries to explore in the immediate area.
  • King: Turn your RV up the road to Park County and visit King, site of two major mining disasters in the late 1800s. Artifacts and ruins still exist in King, and the surrounding scenery is awesome.
  • Fairplay: Don’t leave Park County without visiting this once thriving gold mining town, where many of the original buildings still exist. Visit the grave of Prunes, the burro who worked the mines for decades and let locals tell you the story of Silver Heels the dance hall girl who nursed many small pox victims back to health. While visiting King and Fairplay, be sure to stay in Horseshoe RV campground in Pike National Forest.
  • Gold Hill: Northwest of Boulder is a cluster of former mining towns that will fascinate ghost town fans. Gold Hill was one of the first places in Colorado where miners actually put down roots. Like a lot of other mining towns, a large fire took its toll in the late 1800s, but the hotel, general store and many cabins are still in place. Stay in the area to visit Sunset, Crisman and Gold Hill Station and spend the night at Olive Ridge Campground located in the shadow of Longs Peak.

We can’t wait to hear your stories about your Colorado ghost town tour by RV! Let us know which ones become your favorites, and be sure to get in touch with our Denver RV Rentals location for the perfect RV rental for a Colorado ghost town vacation.

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A Road Trip Through Texas Ghost Towns

While we’re exploring the idea of traveling by RV to find ghost towns, let’s not forget some of the very best are in Texas. I’ve put together a top five list of Texas ghost towns recommended by my friends and clients:

  1. Washington-on-the-Brazos: This once lively center of early Texas politics is in part operated by Texas Parks & Wildlife. Visit Barrington Living History Farm, the Star of the Republic Museum and a recreated Independence Hall, where Texas leaders signed their Declaration of Independence from Mexico in 1836. Not your run of the mill ghost town, it combines historical displays and the ruins of what once served as the capital city of the Texas Republic. Park your RV in nearby Waller, Texas at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone RV Park & Resort!
  2. Fort Phantom: Located just north of Abilene, Texas, this ghost fort was abandoned three years after it was established in 1851 due to the lack of fresh water in the area. Several ruins are still on-site and are managed by a local historical society.
  3. Barstow: Ghost town hunters love this town, with plenty of structures still standing to be explored and photographed. In the desert west of Pecos, Barstow is the classic Texas ghost town, deserted after the loss of irrigation to local farms.
  4. Salt Flat: At the foot of the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas, you’ll find the town of Salt Flat. So-named because of the natural salt flats around it, Salt Flat features several abandoned buildings, the salt flats themselves and nearby Guadalupe Pass in the mountains. Two RV campgrounds in Guadalupe Mountains National Park make this trip easy to plan.
  5. Luckenbach: Founded in the 1850s by German immigrants, you probably first heard of this town thanks to Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson! The German inhabitants are long gone, but the attention brought to the nearly-deserted town of Luckenbach, Texas by a song of the same name now brings music fans from all over to hear new talent. Plan your RV vacation around one of the famous concerts and stay to explore the former general store, post office and other ruins.

For even more information on Texas ghost towns, I definitely recommend you visit GhostTowns.com. They’ve got plenty of fascinating tips for getting the most out of your ghost town tour by RV.

Come to El Monte RV to rent your motorhome and get your Texas RV vacation rolling. Locations include our Dallas RV Rentals location. By the way, if you find any ghosts out there, be sure to send us pictures to share on Monte’s Musings!

Photo by Lee Otis from his photo set Ghost Towns. Some rights reserved under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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