Virginia may be one of the smallest states in the country, however it is home to a number of uniquely awesome abandoned locations. From haunted amusement parks to ghost towns left for ruins, there is no shortage of places thrill seekers won’t want to miss. Whether you live close to the nation’s capital or further south, you’ll want to rack up the miles to check out these spots. Grab your best friends and jump in because these 8 Virginia abandoned places are worth visiting for a weekend adventure.
Maltildaville foresaw so much potentially, yet ultimately that hope amounted to nothing more than ruins. The Patowmack Canal spanned between Georgetown and Cumberland, as a way to link the east coast to the western frontier by trade. Matildaville was established as a stage stop for boaters needing a good night’s sleep after a long journey. The southern hospitality didn’t last long and Matildaville became a ghost town after the Patowmack Canal couldn’t keep up with the high costs and extreme water levels. The company came to an end in 1828, and so too did Matildaville.
McMillan Sand Filtration Site
Located in northwest Washington D.C., the McMillan Sand Filtration Site features the remains of a twenty-five acre decommissioned water treatment facility. Here, sand used to filter water from the Potomac River by way of the Washington Aqueduct. The slow sand filter design became obsolete by the late 20th century. Soon after Taft became President, he designated the site as a park. The site closed once WWII began, with the army constructing a fence around the site to guard the city against any sabotage to its water. Today, a new project is expected to be completed by 2018. This project includes a slew of brand new buildings and the ruins will be no more.
Wash Woods has no roads in and out, situated far from most of Virginia. Situated in southeast Virginia within False Cape State Park, Wash Woods is little more than ruins. The remnants of this old town can only be accessed by boat from the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge or via North Carolina’s northern Outer Banks. No one is quite sure how Wash Woods came to be, but some believe shipwrecked sailors are responsible for the small town centuries ago. At one time Wash Woods had a modest store and two churches. After the Hurricane of 1933, Wash Woods was nothing more than a washed up town.
What is the creepiest abandoned place in all of Virginia? I guarantee many would point to the structures found deep in the woods of Shenandoah National park, the Pocosin Mission. Pocosin Mission wasn’t your typical ghost town—there was no period of booming growth. This town had an eerie reason for existing, and some of that fear still can be felt today. In 1902 Episcopal priest Frederick W. Neve had the vision of building a mission for “troubled” people in need of spiritual guidance. The remote location was almost cruel and unusual punishment for those that lived there, and eventually the mission was driven out of the woods.
Abandoned Glavis Property in Falls Church
Just down Sleepy Hollow Road, past a church you’ll find a large abandoned home. It appears as though it would be the perfect set for a scary movie, decaying and desolate in the middle of the woods. While the home is off limits, few have ventured inside to explore only to find the interior is just as disturbing as the exterior. The house is said to have been owned by Margot Galvis, who recently passed at the age of 109. Due to its unstable structural support, it is not recommended to go into this house.
Virginia Renaissance Faire
It was a three-year affair, a hope to create a replica of a medieval square. There was a replica sailing ship, commemorative buildings, and a town center where “feuds” would ensue. Perfumers would also put on shows in hopes of getting a few laughs. The swamp land and muggy climate weren’t ideal for visitors and after just two years, the faire shut down and the property was abandoned. The Renaissance Faire might have moved on to a new location, but this location still stands, slowly rotting away with time.
Belle Isle Ruins
Aside from being one of the most beautiful state parks in all of Virginia, Belle Isle is also rich with history, conveniently left behind for exploration. The island first began as a Native American settlement site, and was even explored by the famous John Smith. The island since served several purposes: a nail factory in the early 1800s and a Confederate prison camp during the Civil War. Today, you can find the remains of an old oil and explosive materials storehouse as well as an abandoned hydroelectric plant on the south side of the island.
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
OK I know this isn’t technically in Virginia. West Virginia isn’t too far of a drive to see the creepiest abandoned place on this list. It has been a little over 50 years since the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park shut down, but many believe the grounds are still haunted by visitors of the past. The park was built on top of the site of a Native American burial ground. It was also the scene of a brutal massacre of settlers. When the amusement park was in operation, there was a death of a little girl from the mechanical swings and another drowning death in the lake nearby. Paranormal investigators claim they have heard children laughing and swings moving with the absence of wind. The rides may be over at Lake Shawnee Amusement Park but the opportunity to visit isn’t, if you dare.