If you like ghosts and walking around abandoned towns, I have just the place for you. Bodie State Historic Park allows you to take a tour of a preserved ghost town in California, as easily as going to your local museum. Except instead of looking at painting in a modern building, you will be looking at period pieces from the 1800s in a town where people actually lived.
Bodie, California was a gold mining town. At its peak it had a population of 10,000 people, living and earning that living. It was named after Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had found small amounts of gold in the hills north of Mono Lake. The land was purchased by the Standard Company in 1877 after a mine cave-in. Word of gold got out to the general population, and people flocked for a chance of getting rich. The town has a church, school, saloon and at its height, had over 200 buildings. Bodie became designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962. The remaining buildings we see today are being preserved in a state of "arrested decay". What that means is that the town is being minimally preserved, only to the extent that the buildings will be stopped from collapsing, and there is minimal upkeep.
You can visit the park any time you please: the summer hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (March 18 to October 31) and the winter hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (November 1 to March 17). Tickets are also pretty dang cheap at $5, even considering the fact that the buildings are falling apart (watch your step?). But if you're looking for an even cheaper ticket, check out this video showing the current state of Bodie, California.
For some reason I did not expect the town to look so real in the video. I guess my impression of anything form the 1800s is in black and white. Seeing it in color is a little bit jarring.
The wood doesn't look so old, the buildings are admittedly a little crooked, and there are no cell towers. Besides any trace of modern technology — this town doesn't look that bad! It's also really cool to get a look at the inside of the buildings.
Stocked with supplies from the era, local saloons with billiard tables are covered in dust. It's a little creepy, but not as creepy as the abandoned school that looks like something out of a horror story.
Three times a year, people are invited to take ghost tours at night around the town. You get to the see the church and hear all of the local folklore surrounding Bodie, California. The tickets are a little more expensive, but I imagine the experience is worth the price (as long as you make peace with all the ~ghosts~, that is).