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2.9
37 votes

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park (abandoned)

4213 Beckley Road, Princeton, West Virginia 24740 USA

Free
Free to Visit
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • No Public Restrooms
  • No Wifi
Add to Trip

“Abandoned and extremely haunted”

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park is a thrill for more reason than one. It closed its gates in the 1960's after about 40 years of business bringing joy to most... and fright to others. The park lay abandoned and unattended for years before the White family purchased the property, which Chris White continues to manage today. The White family intended to re-open Lake Shawnee Amusement Park until they realized that there was a use for the park just the way it was-- rusted, crumbling, and overgrown. People were intrigued by the creepy, eerie pictures of Lake Shawnee... and surprisingly, they wanted to visit.

This abandoned amusement park is pretty overgrown these days. It shut down in 1966 and has been derelict ever since. Lake Shawnee was the site of both a Native American burial ground and the massacre of the Clay family. 

The Clay family were settlers who were attacked by Native Americans. Two of their children were killed in the attack and the third was burned at the stake. 

The land was later bought in the 1920s and developed into an amusement park...how lovely.

Several tragic accidents happened at the park when it was in operation. A little girl died on the mechanical swings, when a truck backed out from a stand and struck and killed her. The second accident was a boy drowned in the lake. After this the park was closed down. 

It's believed you can still hear children laughing, and some people claim they see a swing moving all by itself.

This location was featured on the Travel Channel’s Most Terrifying Places in America, the Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab, and ABC’s Ten Most Haunted Places in the World. Digital cameras and audio recorders are welcome. You must bring a flashlight.

"Lake Shawnee is a closed amusement park with some attractions still visible. It was constructed on the site where some early settlers were killed by Indians. Supposedly, several people died at the park over the years also. Around 2004, a television show filmed an episode of "Scariest Places On Earth" at the site and re-ignited interest. Today, catfish tournaments are held at the site weekly. Otherwise, do not trespass. A monument to the early settlers is visible from the road as are several old rusting amusement rides."

When you visit Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, you'll have a chance to explore the abandoned grounds on your own. It's a great time to take some really rad pictures that will spook your Instagram followers, and it will give you and your friends a chance to meditate on the eerie juxtaposition of the innocent fun of the carnival rides and the creepy effects that time has had on the rusted attractions.

Of course, Lake Shawnee is also the perfect setting for a Halloween ghost story. According to White, when the county was first settled, the land where the park stood was the site of a skirmish between a family of farmers and some local Native Americans, further corroborated by the fact that the Whites discovered a treasure trove of Native American artifacts when digging on the land. There were also several incidents at the park while it was operating, and as a result, the park is allegedly haunted. I don't want to give too much away, since the ghost stories are best heard while at the park-- in fact, White asked us not to reveal the nature of the paranormal activity reported at Lake Shawnee. 

Since eerily similar incidents have been reported by various guests, White wants to make sure that all the paranormal happenings reported are as authentic, genuine, and organic as possible (and as someone who has heard about the various reports, I can confirm that they are seriously strange and mysterious). Besides, not knowing the specifics of ghostly happenings adds another layer to the park's spooky aura. The White family and Lake Shawnee have been featured on various TV shows, and allow paranormal investigation groups to book overnight stays during the offseason. 

If you don't wind up seeing an actual ghost during your visit, don't worry... the park also features a theatrical haunted house that should give you a fright or two! Plus, the setting of the park adds a whole other level of thrills and chills-- how often can you say you went to a haunted house that might actually be haunted?

They also feature talks given by not only people who have expert history on the land, but also by people who have experienced ghostly happenings, and even occasionally from people who visited Lake Shawnee as kids, back in its glory days, which is always interesting to hear. If you're feeling brave enough to pay the park a visit, they're open on Friday and Saturday nights in the month of October between 6:30pm (for picture-taking and exploring) and midnight. For more specifics and details, or to enquire about overnight stays during the off-season, just give them a call. -Roadtrippers  

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Reviewed by
angela.wernerward

  • 1 Review
  • 8 Helpful
October 27, 2013

I noticed that you stated in your review that there is a monument to the early settlers. What about the NATIVE AMERICANS! This area is THEIR SACRED GROUND and should not have been settled on. Perhaps a memorial to them is in order?

8 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
gaberiel.akers

  • 1 Review
  • 4 Helpful
October 24, 2013

I used to live about 3 miles away from this place and my mother remembers going to the park .... people from all over used to come here and have a blast .... i myself did not have the pleasure of enjoying the rides because i was not born yet when the rides closed down but it is a spooky place to visit at night time .... also the Clay family's house still stands right next to the parks location ..... if you have a chance please ask some of the older locals to tell you storys of the place they are the most welcoming people in the world ... know wonder they call call west va. almost heaven because i honestly believe that heaven is filled with people like us!!!

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
whitney.n.price1

  • 1 Review
  • 3 Helpful
October 26, 2014

I went to lake swanee last night. I had been excited about going for the past 3 months I couldn't wait to get pictures of the swings and the ferris wheel and just enjoy walking around taking my time soaking up every pace of history I possibly could. I live a good hour and a half away. And thought it would be well worth the money to take pictures. I'm in love with any thing that has to do with history or horror. But I was absolutely disappointed when I drove that far and paid 20 $ to go in to this place for no longer than 30 min.and couldn't take any pictures of the beautiful history that surrounded me. And this is not to mention the Dark Carnival wasn't at any way scary yes it was funny and the people where very nice.but it's not wroth the drive nor the money.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
RosemaryCundiffBrown

  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
October 21, 2014

We drove all the way from Louisville, Kentucky (home of the awesome Waverly Hills Sanatorium--come and see us) and were SO disappointed in the Lake Shawnee Dark Carnival.

We weren't allowed to photograph any important parts, like the swings or ferris wheel. And we waited in line in the rain for over 90 minutes to walk through the mud and get only a 20 minute event.

GOOD THINGS:

The staff at the ticket booth was nice.
The barker at the first stop was AWESOME.
The clowns were good.

Can't say much other than that. I understand that this is a new event, but why not allow us to take photographs (I am a professional shooter and would have loved to document it) and also give us more of a historical tour? And how about some REAL scares?

Thanks-
Rosemary
Louisville, Kentucky

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
NuNu925

  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
August 27, 2014

Is this still there? I heard that the rides have been torn down and there is nothing there....can someone verify this for me?

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
ChelseaAnneViljoen

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
December 27, 2015

Absolutely horrible. My friends and I did a trip all the way from Washington, D.C. to see this. All the way there we tried contacting the owners to set up a tour but no one ever answered or contacted us back. On our arrival we called the owners again and still got no answer. We stepped on the property as we read on a website that the owners live next to the park. Reading the NO TRESSPASSERS sign, we decided to walk back to the car and wait patiently for the owners to contact us back. When we got to the car, an older woman sped up with her minivan, and blocked our car from the wrong side of the road. (Blocking other traffic). We were absolutely shocked as she shouted at us historically and called us trespassers. We politely asked her for a tour of the park and she informed us that the police were on their way and that we owed her $30 pp. As we are tourists, we agreed to it and afterwards asked for a tour, she said that they would not offer tours to trespassers and that we would most likely get arrested for trespassing ( even though we had paid the admission ).....
Note: Even if the owner actually answered the phone and arranged a tour with us, from what we saw, it is DEFINITELY not worth the drive or the $30 we each paid.

The only scary part of the park are the owners...

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
JohnRife

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
October 9, 2015

The owner is a dick.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Lizz

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
July 20, 2015

Just an FYI, my friend and I just called to book a tour (super excited!!!!) but the website, address, facebook page and cost associated with this page are incorrect. There is a $30+ fee (depending on what tour you book). Their website is http://www.lakeshawneeevents.com/ and the park address is 470 Matoaka Rd, West Virginia.

1 person found this review helpful
  • 15 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
July 20, 2015

Worth a drive by if you're in the area, but I don't think it would be worth the $20/person that apparently it costs if you call and make an appointment to walk around. Seems the only things worth seeing are the old Ferris Wheel and German Swings. Might be worth the money to do the haunted tour around Halloween if they still do it. We just took a couple of pics from the road. There are houses next to it and decent amounts of traffic, so I wouldn't go walk around without permission.

1 person found this review helpful
  • 15 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
July 20, 2015

Took a photo from the road. It would be really cool to get out and walk around, but from what I read the owners live right next to it. Apparently you can call and pay $20/person to walk around, but it doesn't look like it would be worth that kind of money. Maybe if they do the haunted tour around Halloween, but not worth the money to see old German swings and a Ferris wheel. Worth the drive by if you're not far though.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
nyy13

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
January 22, 2015

It is interesting to pass by but I feel like the photos posted are misleading. In person the area is incredibly small and there's not much to it. There's not even a place to pull over and take photos and that's the only reason I really wanted to go. We live pretty close but I wouldn't have even bothered had I known what I know now.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
C41T

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
December 28, 2014

Make sure you wear boots! It can get muddy.

1 person found this review helpful
  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
October 6, 2014

As a young teen, we had a blast at Lake Shawnee. You could swim, go dance to great rock n roll music and on the 4th of July, the best fire works I have ever seen.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
joestanley24067

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
September 26, 2014

The Lake Shawnee Dark Carnival will operate every Friday and Saturday, 8pmto 1am, October 3 through November1 2014. This uniquely, eerie tour takes you through this abandoned amusement park and offers a few unsettling surprises along the way.

Don't miss this rare opportunity! For advance tickets, visit www.lakeshawnee.eventbrite.com, and follow us on Facebook by visiting www.LakeShawneeEvents.com.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
ladynevermore

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 9, 2014

I'd love to check this out. What do I need to do?

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
natascha.purtlebaugh

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 2, 2014

I left them a message last Friday and then I called a day ago and haven't heard anything back? My friends and I are interested in doing a private tour and I dont know if we need a reservation or not? Would anyone know what else I could do? Any help would be great!! Thank you....

1 person found this review helpful
  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 2, 2014

Um really wanting to go, do i have buy tickets or what do i do about wanting to go

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Renee

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 1, 2014

I don't have a rating as of yet , but I would love to go !!!!!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
joyanna.moore.5

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 29, 2014

I called the number, no one but left a massage as you guys should to, explain our support to keep this place for future to people to visit, we will pay for them to let us come and they can keep it safe and NOT tear it down. ALSO that we can get a proper sign in telling the truth of what has taken place and the community around them will benefit too with people coming from around the world to visit, shit might be a job for us to be the reception center for it year round $$$$$, opportunity comes in all forms and a bit of thought...... everyone keep us posted if they are doing anything, maybe make it gathering for those of us who enjoy these things. Anything is possible

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
muddy.jeep.1

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 29, 2014

This looks amazing. Im in Florids
Road.trip sounds Gr8

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
penny.pipher

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 28, 2014

Im assuming there is not charge to get in?? Does anyone know??

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
pam.fletcher.984

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
August 27, 2014

I would like to find out about a private overnight.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
ElizabethBotkin

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 26, 2014

How much are the tours the week of Halloween and how do we sign up for them?

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
danelle.lenz

  • 3 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
August 26, 2014

Would love to do this tour in oct!!!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
jonn.oneman.31

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 24, 2014

Sure would like to work it with a metal detector! Should be plenty of silver there! I never leave a trace of my recoveries!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
tara71

  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
May 10, 2014

angela.wernerward, those poor Native Americans, waited until all the adult males were gone. They then killed Bartley, who was a teenager, and took Ezekiel, also a teenager hostage. Tabitha, their sister, enraged at what they did to her brother and trying to give time to her younger siblings to get to the house, attacked the Indian with her bare hands. She was killed but the rest of her siblings made it to the safety of the house. The Native Americans then took Ezekiel and the horses that they stole to Ohio, where they burned him at the stake. It took some real big men to kill children and steal horses. Perhaps they do need a memorial.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
helloiamprince

  • 4 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
October 27, 2013

It looks nice and peaceful and I would love to go there. Seriously, I love the view. Hmmm... perhaps in broad daylight.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
cincyjanelle

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
October 12, 2016

More info: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/west-virginia/lake-shawnee-wv/

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lake-shawnees-dark-carnival-2016-tickets-18584066443

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Reviewed by
aaron

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
August 24, 2016

Just looked on a satellite map... everything's demolished.

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Reviewed by
Corry

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
November 20, 2015

It is interesting that there are distinctly contradictory reviews of this place and event, the experience, from different commenters. Hard to know what to expect given the vastly different descriptions of what was there, how long the tour lasted, and what they got for their money.

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Reviewed by
AmandaSimko

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
October 26, 2015

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park has two attractions during the Halloween season- the abandoned dark carnival and for the first time this year a haunted house. It's in the middle of nowhere which adds to the creepy feel of the place. The dark carnival is a walking tour that takes about an hour and has "storytellers" who actually own the property and talk about the Indian burial ground excavations that took place there and the people who have died on the property who are apparently haunting the place now. It's really fun and my friend and I loved hearing all the stories and seeing the old equipment, and the family is very helpful and nice and made the tour really fun. The haunted house was awesome- we went on the walking tour first so the line wouldn't be so long and by the time we finished the tour there were only two people in front of us at the haunted house. It was a great haunted house- totally scared me but was really fun at the same time. The actors get really into it and were awesome. The usher at the front was also really nice and funny. Even the staff at the ticket booth were super nice. I would recommend the walking tour for anyone like families with little kids, but save the haunted house for teenagers and adults- too scary for little kids. But it was awesome!! My friend and I also went and walked to the Indian Burial Ground which is marked by a rock and was a spiritual experience, very interesting. If you're traveling here for the night, which I would definitely recommend, stay at the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson in Princeton, WV- it is a wonderful hotel and I had a great time staying there for the night. Lake Shawnee was so much fun and since they're going to tear down the haunted house and make a brand new one with a new story next year, my friend and I have already made plans to go back next year and do both attractions again- we loved it.

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Reviewed by
kayleehromika

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 7, 2015

So awesome. Got some amazing pictures and it was a fun time. If you're into creepy things, this is your cup of tea.

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Reviewed by
JocelynJadePopp

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
July 27, 2015

October 2015? How much and what times? Its only July but I don't want to get my hopes up

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Reviewed by
meg.kallemeyn

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
May 12, 2015

Can anyone just go whenever?

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Reviewed by
ally.clerico

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
January 19, 2015

So i called and no one answered . I wanted to know if me and a few people could go this weekend i like this type of stuff and i really want to go.

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Reviewed by
bettysue.nance

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
October 18, 2014

if we arrive between 9 an 10 will we still have time to see everything?

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Reviewed by
sniderr

  • 6 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
August 25, 2014

I was born in Princeton WV in 1960, and I remember going to this park and swimming in the lake. I moved away after high school and wondered what had happened to Lake Shawnee. I knew it had closed, of course, but not when or why. I hope to make it back home for the tour Where can I get info about tickets, signing up, etc?

5 people found this review helpful

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Lake Shawnee Amusement Park (abandoned)

4213 Beckley Road
Princeton, West Virginia
24740 USA

Hours not available

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • No Public Restrooms
  • No Wifi
  • Street Parking

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