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A Tour Through One of California’s Coolest Ghost Towns

Joanna Kalafatis - California Ghost towns
“Abandoned Southern California” author Joanna Kalafatis at an abandoned mining site in Randsburg, CA. Photo credit: Anastasios Papapostolou

Greek American travel blogger and author of “Abandoned Southern California” Joanna Kalafatis takes us on a tour of Randsburg, California, a ghost town that was once a thriving mining community.

Though most people associate California with beaches, glamour, and cool cities, the West Coast state is also filled with some of the spookiest abandoned places in the entire US.

Thanks to the quick rise and decline of mining towns, other Old West towns and Route 66 stops, all often in remote locations, ghost towns are a common feature of the California landscape.

One of the best-preserved ghost towns, Randsburg, boomed thanks to gold mining in the area, which led to several others towns cropping up around it. Now, it’s a shell of its former self, a so-called “living ghost town”, because its old buildings are somewhat preserved by the few residents left there — currently fewer than 70 out of a peak population of over 4,000 in the area.

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Its old mines and iconic Old West stores have been deserted and left to crumble in the winds and heat of the high desert. The general atmosphere of frontier lawlessness that prevailed during the heyday of the towns has contributed to many legends in surrounding area.

Randsburg, and other towns like it, are featured and examined in “Abandoned Southern California”, the first book released by Greek-American travel blogger and photographer Joanna Kalafatis.

The first of a two-part series, “Abandoned Northern California” is out and is an excellent guide for on a journey through the many spooky, abandoned Old West ghost towns, buildings, and Route 66 stops that are spread out across the southern part of the Golden State.

“Abandoned Southern California” is available through Amazon and other retailers.

Going beyond the photos and locations to examine the different waves of migration that made California the intriguing, diverse place it is today, “Abandoned Southern California” steeps its readers in some of California’s quirkiest history and legends.

Kalafatis has been writing about and photographing her travels on her blog at, and was named one of the Top 40 Travel Bloggers to Follow last year.

The book is available at Target and Barnes and Noble as well as on several online retailers, including Amazon. The author will also be holding a book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Burbank, California, on December 2. If you are in the area, stop by! If you can’t make it, you can also follow Joanna Kalafatis’ adventures on Instagram.

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