Spooky season is 100% underway, and we’re looking for haunted destinations to visit! Halloween is a perfect excuse to connect with your inner spirit hunter, seance holder, or scary story fanatic. If you’re looking to dial up the fear factor this October, read on for some fun travel ideas within the United States.
It’s not Halloween if we don’t mention Salem, Massachusetts. Best known for the witchcraft hysteria and subsequent witch trials in the 1690s, most Americans immediately associate Salem with all things spooky. After your obligatory re-watch of “Hocus Pocus,” enjoy a walking tour that will take you through the town’s rich history; then make sure you visit the Witch House, home to Jonathan Corwin, judge in the witchcraft trials of 1692. After the sun goes down, take a candlelit ghost tour and connect with all of Salem’s haunted sites and scary stories.
Search for flights to Boston.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Welcome to Headless Horseman HQ. Sleepy Hollow is just as iconic a Halloween destination as Salem, thanks to the epic “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” story by Washington Irving. October is chock-full of spooky events and scary fun for all ages, from haunted hayrides to cemetery tours to blazing jack-o-lantern displays. Check out the Historic Society for more background on Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, which are rich in culture and folklore. Just watch out for Ichabod Crane!
Search for flights to New York.
San Jose, California
Architecture fans will love this one: San José is also home to the Winchester Mystery House. Perhaps one of the most cursed construction endeavors in history, the residence of Sarah Winchester (widow of William Wirt Winchester and heiress to a large portion of the Winchester rifle fortune) is reportedly *extra* haunted. After the deaths of Sarah’s husband and young child, a psychic told her that they had been killed by the ghosts of gunshot victims. To keep the vengeful spirits at bay, Sarah moved from Connecticut to California and commissioned the Victorian estate that includes staircases to nowhere, doors that open onto brick walls, and windows that lead to secret passages. In total, there are over 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, and 2,000 doors.
Search for flights to San Jose.
Fall River, Massachusetts
Does the name Lizzie Borden ring a bell? She was accused of the brutal murders of her father and stepmother in 1892, though she was later acquitted. If you want to connect with a macabre murder mystery, stay at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum, where you can even stay the night – if you dare. Not surprisingly, the place is known to be a hotbed of supernatural activity, including apparitions, muffled conversations, and distant weeping sounds.
Search for flights to Boston.
Estes Park, Colorado
Look familiar? Fans of Stephen King will instantly recognize the Stanley Hotel, as the infamous Overlook Hotel from “The Shining.” Open since 1909, the property has drawn travelers the world over thanks to its stately Georgian architecture and top-notch whiskey bar. Once the book (and subsequent film) was released, however, the spooky factor grew exponentially. From ghost sightings to mysterious noises reported around the hotel, the Stanley offers nighttime ghost tours and even psychic consultations with its in-house seer. If you’re looking for a literary and luxe Halloween experience, this is a great alternative.
Search for flights to Denver.
This former mining town boomed in the 1800s but is home to less than 500 residents today. If you like your ghost towns with a hefty dose of the Old West, Jerome is a great spot for you to visit. It was once labeled as the “Wickedest town of the West” due to its haunted buildings, eerie history, and lingering ghosts. While you’re there, take a Haunted History Walk or a ghost tour and try not to lose your cool. Don’t miss the Jerome Grand Hotel, said to be one of the most haunted buildings in the State of Arizona.
Search for flights to Phoenix.