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Okay, I know it is super touristy and kind of silly even, but I love quirky little places offering unique activities. I’ve always wanted to visit a ghost town, and I was so excited to check this off my list on my recent trip with my mom! Our morning at Goldfield Ghost Town really made our trip, and I think this is seriously the top of the list of fun places to go in Phoenix for people who have never been to this area.

Going to a ghost town is such an iconic thing to do in the American Southwest. Goldfield Ghost Town definitely caters to tourists, so if you are looking for a more historical, serious experience – maybe check out the Lost Dutchman Museum up the road. But I don’t care that they play it up so much. It’s just plain fun. 

Goldfield Ghost Town entry with water tower

Between seeing the local plant life up close at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and making the trip out to the ghost town, I feel like we really “saw” a good glimpse of Arizona during our short trip – which I’m not ashamed to say, mostly involved laying by the pool!

11 Things to Do at Goldfield Ghost Town Near Phoenix

Just stopping by the Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction, AZ, is a fun activity. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Phoenix – way out into a dusty mountain area flanked by the iconic Superstition Mountains. As you pull up, you really do feel like you’ve gone back in time (if you ignore all the cars in the lot). We went on a weekday, so some of the attractions weren’t open, but we still had a great time. Here is a rundown of what to do at Goldfield Ghost Town:

1. Take in the Views

superstition mountains in arizona with cactus

As soon as you get out of your car, you’ll probably want to immediately start snapping photos of the nearby Superstition Mountain range. I’m admittedly not a huge fan of desert, dusty landscapes, but these mountains are jagged and rugged in a wonderful way.

2. Wander Along the Dusty Roads, Through the Shops & in the Galleries

Goldfield Ghost Town for Fun Places to Go in Phoenix

If you want to spend zero dollars during your visit to the Goldfield Ghost Town, you totally can! I’m not a shopper at all, but even I enjoy wandering through to check out the offerings in that kind of quirky place. There is some really fun and colorful artwork on offer as well.

3. Take a Train Ride

The narrow gauge railroad train ride only takes about 20 minutes but will sure to be a hit with any little kiddos or train enthusiasts! It’s also a great excuse to get off your feet and into the shade. It costs $12 per adult.

4. Get an Old Timey Photo Taken

old timey photo with mom at goldfield ghost town in arizona

Every time I see these silly, dress-up photo opportunities at parks or other places, I always want to try it out. However, it is usually way more expensive than I want to commit to! Luckily, Goldfield Ghost Town’s Old Timey Photo experience is extremely reasonably priced.

For about $40, my mom and I had a photoshoot with about four to five different poses with props and our fun outfits from that period. That came with an 8×10 photo. Plus, we added on another photo of one of the other poses for about $10 extra. If we had really loved all of the photos, we probably would have just done the download of all of them for about $100. But we both were able to pick one favorite pretty quickly, so we just went with those.

5. Go into the Mystery Shack

This is one of those silly places tourists and kids love where everything is at an angle and it makes you feel all wonky. We decided to skip it, but it is only $9 per adult if you want to give it a try!

6. Take a Mine Tour

mine tour goldfield ghost town near phoenix

The underground tour of the mine takes you back 100 years into the history of Goldfield Ghost Town – an iconic activity in this area of the country. It only takes about half an hour and costs $12 per adult.

7. Go on the Zipline

If you are looking for a thrill, there is even a zipline in this quirky little place! My mom and I aren’t big on this specific activity, but it would probably be a hit with older kiddos.

8. Stop in the Saloon for a Cold Drink

goldfield ghost town saloon

The Saloon was a trip. It really felt like just this old hangout spot, with people chilling at the bar and the bartender, donning a large cowboy hat, joking as he poured our drinks. Since we had a long drive back, I opted for a lemonade and he convinced me to add prickly pear juice which was a great addition!

They also have food at the saloon, if you want to grab a bite to eat! 

9. Watch the Shootout

We didn’t get to see the shootout since it only takes place on the weekends, but this would be fun to plan your visit around! During high season, they do the gun fighter show multiple times a day on Saturday and Sunday.

10. See if You are a Good Shot at the Shooting Gallery

My mom totally dominated me at this game (similar to other shooting arcade games), which was honestly not a surprise at all since I’m awful at anything like that. But, it was fun to give it a shot (get it?) and laugh as the little cans whizzed up and other items twirled or made noise. At $3 each, it’s definitely worth the stop.

11. Take a Tour of the Bordello

goldfield ghost town Bordello and saloon

I thought this would be a funny activity to do, but unfortunately they usually only do Bordello tours on weekends – especially when it starts to get really hot and there are fewer visitors. But, for $5 you can get a tour from a costumed actor “floozy” who shares some historical insights.

Final Thoughts on Goldfield Ghost Town

We really loved this little stop back into 1800s Arizona for our mother-daughter getaway! It seems like it would be a great time for families with little kids as well. They also have a gold panning activity, museum, reptile exhibit, and other tour options – including a ghost tour!

graveyard at goldfield ghost town near phoenix

If you like to hike, the Superstition Mountains nearby are supposed to have some nice trails! Plus, there are tons of other attractions and fun day trip options in this area of Arizona, including the Grand Canyon!

If you plan to make Phoenix a base for exploring, I would recommend staying out of the city if possible because traffic was pretty rough at certain times of day. We loved being in a slower-paced area! We got to spend a few days at a great home my aunt rents out just south of Phoenix. We absolutely loved the pool and hot tub area, plus all the space to spread out, cook, and relax after we had too much sun!

Other Fun Places to Go in Phoenix & Beyond

While we thought the Goldfield Ghost Town was one of the best things to do in the greater Phoenix area, there are also plenty of other fun places to go in Phoenix and beyond!

Our other favorite activity in the Phoenix area was Desert Botanical Garden. We absolutely loved wandering around and getting to take in the local plant life and landscape. Read more about our tips for visiting here.

cactus flower blooms

However, here are some of the other top things in and near Phoenix we read were great to check out:

  • Museum Hop on a Hot Day:
    • Phoenix Art Museum
    • Musical Instrument Museum
    • Hall of Flame Fire Museum
    • Arizona Science Center
    • Tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West
    • Arizona Museum of Natural History
    • Children’s Museum
    • American Indian Art Galleries
    • Wrigley Mansion
    • Mystery Castle
    • Many museums have interactive exhibits or unique displays, these are a great place to cool down on a hot day!
  • Check Out Some of the Miles of Trails & Other Outdoor Activities:
    • South Mountain Park
    • Camelback Mountain
    • Papago Park
    • South Mountain (highest point in Phoenix)
    • Tempe Beach Park
    • Play at Golf Course (not ideal in summer months)
    • Tempe Town Lake or Canyon Lake Paddling
    • Hot Air Balloon Ride
    • Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix
    • Many trails have picnic areas and mountain biking options as well! 
  • Wander Around Town:
    • Downtown Phoenix
    • Old town Scottsdale

You could also easily do a day trip to the Grand Canyon or go down to Tucson. Las Vegas and Los Angeles are even less than a half-day drive away!

goldfield ghost town apache junction arizona

Phoenix may not have any world-renowned attractions like some other cities in the United States, but it is a fun base for adventures, especially at the right time of year. I hope this article helps you have a great time!