3 Pine Barrens Ghost Towns to explore in Florida

Florida is known for its sunny beaches, theme parks, and citrus fruits, but it also has a hidden history of ghost towns that once thrived in the pine forests. These abandoned settlements are the remnants of various industries, such as bog iron, paper, and glass, that flourished and faded over time. If you are looking for a unique and adventurous way to explore the state, here are three pine barrens ghost towns that you can visit.


Harrisville is a genuine ghost town from the late 1800s, located deep in the Pinelands of Ocala National Forest. It was once a prosperous paper mill village, with a population of about 150 people, a school, a church, and a post office. However, in 1891, the paper mill went out of business and the town was abandoned. Today, you can see the evocative ruins of the mill, but they are fenced off for safety and preservation reasons. You can also hike along the nearby trails and enjoy the natural beauty of the forest.


Brewster is another ghost town that was once a booming industrial center, this time for phosphate mining. It was founded in 1910 by the American Agricultural Chemical Company, and had a population of over 1,000 people at its peak. The town had a railroad station, a hotel, a school, a hospital, a theater, and a power plant. However, in 1962, the phosphate deposits were depleted and the company closed the town. Most of the buildings were demolished or moved, but you can still see some of the foundations and the power plant chimney. You can also visit the nearby Mulberry Phosphate Museum to learn more about the history and geology of the area.


Centralia is a ghost town that was once a thriving lumber town, founded in 1910 by the Central Cypress Lumber Company. It had a population of about 1,500 people, and was the largest cypress sawmill in the world at the time. The town had a railroad, a school, a church, a commissary, and a hotel. However, in 1922, the lumber company ran out of trees and shut down the town. Most of the buildings were burned or dismantled, but you can still see some of the concrete foundations and the railroad tracks. You can also explore the surrounding Hernando Wildlife Management Area, where you can see various wildlife and plants.

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