47 votes

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park (abandoned)

4213 Beckley Road, Princeton, West Virginia 24740 USA

Free to Visit
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    not Accepted
  • Not Wheelchair
  • No Public
  • No Wifi
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Private Property

This location is on private property and is presented for information purposes only.

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“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

  • 1 Review
  • 18 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?

18 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 7 Helpful
October 26, 2014
Rated 2.0

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.

7 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 5 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.


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?

Louisville, Kentucky

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 5 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!!!

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 3 Helpful
December 27, 2015
Rated 1.0

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...

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
October 09, 2015

The owner is a dick.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 2 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.

2 people found this review helpful
  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
October 06, 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.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 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
  • 15 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
July 20, 2015
Rated 4.0

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

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Lake Shawnee Amusement Park (abandoned)

4213 Beckley Road
Princeton, West Virginia
24740 USA

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Outdoor Seating
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Parking, Dining

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Nearby Hotels

Mullens, West Virginia
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