To Explore: Bodie State Historic Park
One of the largest ghost towns in the country, Bodie still has more than 200 buildings from when it was a gold rush town of 10,000. See tins of coffee and spices on shop walls, cars slowly decaying on the side of the street, and interiors frozen in time.
To Learn: Mono Lake
Three times as saline as the ocean, Mono Lake is so heavy with carbonates and sulfates—baking soda, basically—that it’s dubbed a “soda” lake and gives rise to ghostly limestone towers called tufa wherever underwater hot springs bubble up. Visitors who join a one-hour Mono Lake Committee canoe tour on summer weekend mornings can paddle right over new ones as they form.