If your idea of a good time is having a brush with the supernatural, there are plenty of haunted locations to seek out. These creepy spots are historic landmarks with dark pasts, unexplained accidents, and potentially paranormal activity. From hotels and houses to ships and restaurants, you can spend anywhere from an afternoon to several nights at haunted locations around the country... if you dare.
Built in 1909, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, inspired Stephen King's novel "The Shining," and it may be the king of haunted destinations. Many guests report ghostly apparitions and unexplained noises. The hotel's most famous ghost is a young girl named Lucy, the daughter of one of the hotel's old proprietors.
The Lizzie Borden House is the site of one of the most famous murders in US history, where a young woman in Fall River, MA, gave her parents the infamous "forty whacks" with an ax. Lizzie was acquitted of the crime, but the legend of the grisly murder grew over time. The house is now a bed and breakfast, but you can take a ghost-hunting tour as well.
This small-town Iowa spot is where eight people were brutally murdered in 1912. The killer was never caught, and amateur sleuths have been fascinated by the story ever since. The Villisca Axe Murder House is now a museum where you can learn about the unsolved case and all the ghostly occurrences that have been reported. Private overnight stays are also available with advanced booking.
The Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, AZ, has hosted famous guests throughout the years and is known for its connection to Hollywood's golden age. The hotel is still in operation, and you can request a haunted room for your chance at first-hand ghost sightings, strange noises, and unexplained occurrences. Hotel management provides a helpful binder detailing the haunted happenings in each room.
The Queen Mary is a former ocean liner that sailed the seas from 1936 to 1967. It is now permanently docked in Long Beach, CA, and serves as a hotel. Visitors and staff have reported ghostly apparitions, unexplained noises, and—creepiest of all—the feeling of being watched. Even if you don't bump into a ghost, the hotel provides a luxurious stay that's reminiscent of a glorious maritime past.
The Savannah Theatre in downtown Savannah, GA, dates back to 1818 and is reportedly haunted by the ghost of an actor named Wilbur. Visitors and staff have noted eerie occurrences in the dressing rooms and on the stage. You can still attend live performances here, so keep your eyes open for ghosts as the lights go down.
The Union Oyster House in Boston, MA, is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the United States. It's rumored to be haunted by a number of ghosts, including a sea captain and a customer who died in the restaurant. The pub's location in the historic North End makes it easy to imagine that you've been transported back in time. Catch it on a local ghost tour or grab a drink at the most haunted bar in Boston.
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, KY, is an abandoned hospital where patients dying of tuberculosis were treated in the early 1900s. It's said to be one of the most haunted places in the United States, and it's open for tours. This site actively encourages ghost hunting and allows extraordinary access with a reservation for paranormal investigation.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is a historic prison that operated from 1829 to 1971. The prison was famous for its solitary confinement policies, which some say led to mental suffering and death. Today the Gothic ruins are scary enough during regular tours, but the Pen goes all out with special events at Halloween. If you come in October, book tickets well in advance to enjoy several themed areas as well as food and drink on the premises.
The USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, CA, is a decommissioned aircraft carrier that was active in World War II. Visitors and staff members have reported strange occurrences on the ship, including ghostly apparitions and unexplained noises. After-hours tours are the best way to see for yourself if all that creaking and moaning is natural or supernatural.
All cemeteries are at least slightly creepy, but Union Cemetery in Easton, CT, takes the cake. With over 400 years of hauntings reported by travelers through this small town, modern visitors come hoping to catch a glimpse of the "White Lady" in her ghostly nightgown and bonnet. If you're lucky, you might also see an apparition known only as "Red Eyes" spying on you in the moonlight.
The Whaley House in San Diego is said to be haunted by the ghost of Thomas Whaley, a former resident. Come in the daytime to enjoy the gracious, historic architecture, or book a tour at night to join the paranormal investigations seeking to capture evidence of the house's ghostly inhabitants.
The Wild West had plenty of murders, so you'd expect a few ghosts to still be rattling around. The St. James Hotel in Cimarron, NM, hosted all sorts of characters along the Santa Fe Trail, and its ghostly residents include a gunslinger named Jack Harris. Book a room to stay overnight, or sign up for a tour to meet these ghostly cowboys for yourself.
The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in San Jose, CA, built by the widow of the inventor of the Winchester rifle. The house is said to be haunted by her ghost as well as the ghosts of those killed by the rifle. Even without the presence of spirits, the house is sinister, with staircases that lead to nowhere and doors that open onto walls.
The Hotel Chelsea in New York City was once home to many famous artists and writers, including Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious, and Jack Kerouac. The hotel is said to be haunted by the ghosts of former guests and residents, and visitors have reported ghostly sightings and strange noises throughout the hotel. Even if you don't hear any bumps in the night, you'll enjoy your stay in the elegant accommodations.