Family friendly ghost towns in Colorado

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Family friendly ghost towns in Colorado

Something I loved as a kid and something I am looking forward to doing with our own kids, is to visit a ghost town!   The spooky and the haunting beckons…ghost towns with family? Sounds like a crazy idea, but the idea of a haunted holiday is so much fun! Colorado’s mining boom and promises of quick money brought starry-eyed workers from all over the country.  Many of these towns are still around, but abandoned (or close to abandoned) and fascinating to visit.



Where to find family friendly ghost towns

There are quite a few Colorado ghost towns. Check out St. Elmo, 20 miles southwest of Buena Vista. Although St. Elmo is considered a ghost town, there are still a few inhabitants and renting a jeep or hiking are both very popular in the area.  Fishing is also popular.  The best part is, you can visit St. Elmo for a little Colorado history and then  make your way over to….

Tin Cup, another well preserved ghost town in Gunnison County, about a 4 hour drive from Denver.  Many people will recognize pictures of Tin Cup and it truly looks like a town that time stood still.  Tin Cup has a very colorful past and there were never really any laws back in it’s heyday, so the local cemetery is full of town sherifs.  Although many people call it a ghost town, it actually does have residents, so it technically isn’t.  However it is a fun place to see what mining towns looked like back in the day.  You can even rent cabins via VRBO.


A truly deserted ghost town, and a town that we have visited is Tomboy.  This ghost town is just outside Telluride and only accessible by a VERY small road, which is only open 3 month out of the year.  To get to this ghost town you must hire a driver unless you are very experienced in off-roading–it’s not for the faint of heart.  We thought it was fascinating and the kids loved it.  Broken down buildings, rocks with gold flecks and huge mining ruins.

family-friendly-ghost-towns family-friendly-ghost-towns


A Trip for Everyone

These 3 examples above are all family friendly ghost towns. Strange it may sound, children love the tours in these towns. There are trips to the mines and tours about the towns in addition to the hiking and jeep tours. All these mines have underground shafts and tunnels so consider taking a tour guide when visiting. In addition, most of the buildings are extremely old, and often tourists are warned about their weak construction. So if you are taking kids, please be aware of the buildings which have a tendency to collapse and better avoid them.

Things to do or see

Most ghost towns have an intriguing past and travellers are mystified with the supernatural element.  If you are a history enthusiast,  which Keith definitely IS, there is a lot to explore. In St. Elmo, be sure to rent a historical cabin and visit the general store and in Tin Cup have a burger at Frenchys and visit the cemetery.  In Tomboy, take a lot of pictures–it’s amazing! Reliving the Old West is a memorable experience and takes you a hundred years back. Family friendly ghost towns are like time travel sprinkled with spooky elements!

St. Elmo, Colorado

Tincup, Colorado

Tomboy, Colorado

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  • Willy

    I love ghost towns! Another cool ghost town is Dearfield, outside of Greeley, CO, that was originally developed as a community for African American residents in 1910. I have never been there but learned about it at the Colorado History Museum.

    May 14, 2015 at 3:42 pm
    • Melissa

      Willy have you ever been to any in California? There is one called Bodie that is absolutely amazing!!

      May 18, 2015 at 4:59 pm
  • The Adventure Ahead

    Our kids would love this, and so would we! As a history teacher, I love finding places to add a little education to our adventures – and these places look like they are practically dripping in history!

    May 18, 2015 at 6:09 pm
    • Melissa

      They definitely are! 🙂

      May 18, 2015 at 7:16 pm
  • Sarah Ebner

    I think these would be fantastic and fascinating places to visit – would love to do so. We went past some ghost towns in California and Nevada years ago and I have often thought that it would be great to go back and take the kids

    May 18, 2015 at 6:33 pm
    • Melissa

      Did you go to Bodie? Amazing huh?

      May 18, 2015 at 7:10 pm
  • samiya selim

    I have never been to a ghost time..I bet the kids and I would both love it!

    May 19, 2015 at 10:24 am
  • Valeria @ Rome, New York, London, World

    Not something I ever thought of doing – but now reading about it, it looks very interesting!

    May 19, 2015 at 12:10 pm
    • Melissa

      It’s worth is and really fun! 🙂

      May 19, 2015 at 7:28 pm
  • Beth at Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere

    This looks like a great way to spend a day or two! I’m always searching for new things to do within the States, and this one looks like a winner!

    May 20, 2015 at 6:34 am
  • Sue Reddel

    I’ve heard about real ghost towns before but have never visited one. Looks like it’s a great family friendly activity and full of history and imagining how it must have been.

    May 21, 2015 at 2:50 pm