As the summer vacation season begins many frugal families are looking for inexpensive, nearby events and destinations to explore. And there's nothing better than a trip through a real quiet, dead-as-a-door-nail, lost city to get you in the mood for a weekend of camping with ghost stories around a campfire.

These are legitimate, abandoned villages, hamlets, and towns around our state that were once alive (if not thriving) with people - some with churches, post offices, schools, saloons and businesses.

Changing times, natural disasters, shifting economies all contribute to their abandonment. But some say they still hold the spirits of former residents who simply do not want to leave.

From Instagram and Only In Your State, we have posted several "ghost towns" within driving distance, including Buckhorn, IA for you to view in anticipation of your weekend tour:

Here is another image of Buckhorn:

 

Do you remember Rochester, Iowa? Neither does anyone born after 1837:

 

This is Downey, Iowa:

 

Here is another nearby ghost town, Elkport:

[source: Only In Your State, Instagram]