For travelers that get a kick out of going to off-beat places, we’ve previously covered Islamabad as a great destination. But if flying halfway across the world is not your thing, why not check out places here in the U.S. that are steeped in history, like Washington, D.C. or Charleston, South Carolina? Or, why not visit some places that were once known to be ruthless – like the Wild West!
The Wild West helped form today’s America, and some towns and locations still exist for you to enjoy today. We’ll cover three-of-a-kind to ensure you’ll have choices on your Wild West adventure.
1. Tombstone, Arizona
In the 1870s – 1880s, Tombstone was known as one of the most rugged places in the Wild West. In fact, people called it “The Town Too Tough To Die,” which says a lot considering there were many rugged towns during that time. Tombstone was the place of probably the most famous shootout in Wild West history – the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The actual fight only lasted a quick 30 seconds, but it resulted in the death of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers. A man named Edward Schieffelin called the town, “Tombstone” because he was told he would find his own tombstone there.
Today, tourists can visit the O.K. Corral and see reenactments of the gunfight or check out the Tombstone Wild West Theme Park. The Bird Cage Theatre is another historic saloon famous for gambling and drinking, back in the days. The basement was converted into a poker area which held the longest poker marathon in history. It lasted from 1881 to 1889 – eight years, five months and three days to be exact. And you probably thought the WSOP was a long event!
2. Deadwood, South Dakota
If Deadwood sounds familiar, you’ve probably heard of HBO’s popular Deadwood series, which is what popularized the town. Back in 1874, deadwood was known for gold.
Gold was discovered in the Black Hills and people flocked to the area hoping to find riches and wealth. As a result, the word spread quickly and attracted many gamblers, outlaws, and gunslingers to settle in town. This, of course, transformed the quiet territory into a dynamic, and often threatening place, with lots of history and deaths. The old town of Deadwood was where the Wild West legend Wild Bill Hickok was killed while playing poker. Hickok even gave us the name of a poker hand – the Dead Man’s Hand refers to the cards he was holding when he was shot dead in the middle of a game by John McCall. Since then, Hickok’s cards have been known as the Dead Man’s Hand. Today, you can visit museums like the Days of 76 Museum and the Adams Museum to see Deadwood’s rich history, and if you want to gamble for real money, it is alive and legal.
3. Virginia City, Nevada
In 1859, Virginia City was established as a booming mining area that is rich with silver and gold deposits. There was a major silver deposit called the Comstock Lode which attracted thousands of prospectors to the area. As a result, this Wild West town became a major hub for gold and silver tycoons throughout the 1860s and 1870s. It’s recommended that tourists visit the city’s seventeen museums, like the Courthouse Slammer & County Museum, the Way It Was Museum, and the Comstock Gold Mill. If you want to feel what a traditional saloon in the 1860s is like, you could walk into the Ponderosa Saloon for a real Wild West experience. While you’re there, you might as well go all-in and tour the abandoned gold mine underneath the bar.
Traveling is exciting, especially when your destination immerses you in its rich history as you see it unfold before your very eyes. Walking through and touching history is always an adventure. Try visiting these places and experience the Wild West of America as it really was.