Haunted destinations for spooky travels

Haunted travel destinations creepy room

Experience the chilling, mysterious and sinister at the world’s greatest haunts

by Jennifer Mitchell

With Halloween right around the corner, we’re ready for all things strange, supernatural and downright scary. So we couldn’t help but write about traveling to notoriously haunted destinations. This is the perfect time of year for visiting ominous locales not only because the dark, chilly nights and Jack-o-lanterns give everything a spooky flare, but because many of these popular spots offer Halloween-themed events and tours. 

So whether you’re looking to add a frightful tour to your vacation, take a weekend trip to a sinister city or are trying to make it through the night at one of the world’s scariest hotels, here’s where you’ll want to visit.

Haunted travel destinations - Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA

5 spooky destinations to add to your itinerary

  1. Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia: Considered one of the most haunted destinations in the U.S., this prison housed notorious criminals like Al Capone and Willie Sutton. Shortly after opening in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary became a place of corruption, rebellion and terror with inmates going mad and committing murder. Eastern State Penitentiary offers year-round tours as well as a seasonal haunted house experience that includes six chilling attractions.
  2. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia: Located two hours from Pittsburgh, this historical landmark was once an asylum for people afflicted with psychiatric illnesses. Though designed to hold 250 people, it once held 2,600 patients. When it was a functional asylum, it was shrouded in mystery and has recently been a hotbed of paranormal activity. Visitors can choose from a variety of tour options, including paranormal tours and flashlight tours.
  3. St. Augustine Lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida: The site of several shipwrecks during the Civil War, St. Augustine Lighthouse is still haunted by the ghosts of the lighthouse keeper and those who encountered tragedy there. Book a historic tour during the day or a ghost tour at night.
  4. Winchester Mystery House in San Jose: A curious place, this literal labyrinth was designed by Sarah Winchester, wife of rifle magnate William Wirt Winchester. After her husband passed away, Winchester feared the souls of those killed by her husband’s guns would seek her out for revenge, so she commissioned the building of this house, which is four stories tall, has 160 rooms, 10,000 window panes and 47 stairways, some of which lead to nowhere. There are a number of tour options, but we recommend the seasonal Halloween candlelight tour.
  5. Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania: A well-known historical site, the Gettysburg Battlefield was home to one of the bloodiest battles on American soil. Nearly 50,000 men died in three days, many of which never received a proper burial. It’s rumored that the souls of these soldiers still roam the fields, which visitors can be on the lookout for on a walking or bus ghost tours.

5 most haunted cities in the world

  1. Lafitte's Old Absinthe House New Orleans, LANew Orleans, Louisiana is not only the home of jazz and Cajun food, it happens to be one of the most haunted cities in the world. Start your trip at the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which houses more than 700 crumbling tombs including that of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, who was a legend for practicing occult magic. Next, you’ll want to swing by Mortuary Haunted House, which was once a funeral home but now is one of the best haunted houses in the country. Finally, grab a drink at the 200-year old tavern, Jean Lafitte’s Old Absinthe House, where General Andrew Jackson met the outlaw pirate Lafitte to discuss plans for an attack in the War of 1812. You may even spot the spirit of Jackson himself.
  2. Poveglia Island, Italy is just a short trip from Venice. Though now a scenic island, it was once a quarantine zone for people suffering from the plague. Then, in the early 20th century, the island was used as an insane asylum. The chilling past has led some to believe the island is still occupied by the spirits who were wronged there.
  3. Salem, Massachusetts is a must-do when it comes to haunted destinations. Home of the infamous Salem witch trials in 1692, the town has a number of attractions that provide a portal to the sinister past. Be sure to visit the Joshua Ward House, Salem’s most haunted spot, which sits on the foundation of witch-hunting Sheriff George Corwin’s house, the Salem cemetery, the Old Salem Prison, the Salem Witch Museum and the Salem Wax Museum.
  4. Cahawba, Alabama was originally Alabama's capital, but later became the country’s first ghost town. Abandoned after the Civil War, the town is now filled with empty, crumbling buildings and old cemeteries filled with stories of paranormal activity. At night, be sure to visit the former garden maze of Colonel C.C. Pegues to see the luminous, floating orb thought to be Pegues’s ghost.
  5. Bran Castle, Transylvania, RomaniaSighisoara, Romania is the ideal destination for all vampire fans. This Transylvanian city is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the vicious prince who inspired Bram Stoker's, “Dracula.” While visiting, tour Vlad’s childhood home, including a small torture museum, and tip toe up the creaky stairwell of Holy Trinity Church after dark.








5 haunted hotels that will keep you up at night

  1. Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana: One of America’s most eerie sites, Myrtles Plantation is arguably the scariest place in the U.S. to spend a night. Not only was the plantation built on a Native American burial ground, but it was home to at least one murder, though several more were rumored to have occurred there. Today the house is home to at least 12 ghosts and is a bed and breakfast for brave souls.
  2. The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California. This beautiful ship became permanently docked in Long Beach after 30 years at sea. During that time, there were nearly 50 deaths onboard and some of those spirits are said to roam the halls of the ship today. You can actually spend the night aboard the ship as well as book a number of frightening tours and attractions.
  3. Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado, California. Just off the coast of San Diego, the Hotel Del Coronado is a luxurious resort with a dark past. In 1892, Kate Morgan checked into a room (where the bravest of visitors can still stay) and waited for her lover to meet her there. After her lover didn’t show, Morgan took her own life. Ever since, there have been reports of a pale figure in a black lace dress on the property along with mysterious odors, sounds, moving objects and self-working TVs in the room where she stayed.
  4. Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts. Once the home of the infamous Lizzie Borden, this haunt has been turned into a bed and breakfast. The same year Kate Morgan took her life at the Hotel Del Coronado, Lizzie Borden was accused of killing her father and stepmother with a hatchet in their home. Since then, guests have reported strange sightings and paranormal activity throughout the house.
  5. The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado. A gorgeous resort in the Rocky Mountains, this hotel not only has an eerie past, but it served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel, “The Shining” and hosts The Shining Ball every October. The hotel supposedly has a number of haunted rooms, including 217 where the ghost of a maid packs guests’ clothing when they aren’t looking.


Think you’re brave enough to encounter the ghosts and ghouls of these happy haunts? Grab a map and your ghost hunting gear and drop them in your NoSmallPlan tote bag before taking off on your next adventure. And if you encounter any supernatural beings, share your experience in the comments below or on social with the hashtag #NoSmallPlan.

Jennifer Mitchell is a blogger, comedian, freelance copywriter and travel enthusiast.  

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