Spooky Destinations to Visit This Halloween

If you’re looking for ghost towns, haunted houses, and creepy attractions to visit this fall, look no further than these destinations below. From dark local histories to paranormal investigative hot spots, there’s something for every Halloween enthusiast looking for a perfectly frightful October getaway.

An autumn day in Salem, Massachusetts by Laura Michalski – Unsplash

One of the most quintessentially “Halloween” towns is Salem, Massachusetts, thanks to its unique history. New England, in general, offers a great destination for fall getaways, too. Along with the autumn colors and fantastically crisp weather, this part of the country has some of the oldest buildings as well as key historic sites from early American military conflicts (a perfect combination for hauntings!). For a classic Halloween activity, Better Than Fiction’s Salem Walking Tours offers tours around witchcraft as well as dark local tales beyond the infamous trials.

A boarded up building in Kirwin, Wyoming – courtesy of Wyoming Office of Tourism

Along the Wood River near Meeteetse and situated on U.S. Forest Service land is Kirwin, one of the most intriguing abandoned places in Wyoming. During the 1890s, Kirwin had 38 buildings and approximately 200 residents, many of whom journeyed to the settlement during its gold and silver boom. In the winter of 1907, a massive snowstorm caused an avalanche, taking lives and thus beginning the slow deterioration of the town itself. In the 1930s, the land became part of the Double Dee Guest Ranch, visited by Amelia Earhart and her husband, George Putnam. A cabin was under construction for Earhart when she disappeared during her around-the-world flight in 1937 that was never completed.

If you wish to explore the ghost town and its potential haunting, you want to make sure you have four-wheel drive. You can book private tours or snag an ATV for an off-road adventure. View the remnants of her cabin, which are visible about a mile from Kirwin, as well as an old hotel, small log structures, and mining machinery at this old West ghost town.

After visiting Kirwin, be sure to stop the Irma Hotel in nearby Cody, Wyoming. In 1902, Buffalo Bill opened the Irma Hotel, naming it after his daughter. Stay a night in Room 35 if you’re brave—known as the Paul Stock room, it is one of the original 15 rooms in the hotel and has been the scene of the most ghost stories in the hotel. Elsewhere, down the hall in Room 16, many guests have reported seeing an apparition of Irma Cody Garlow sitting in a rocking chair in the corner of the room. She died of influenza and pneumonia in the hotel when she was 35, and just a few days after her husband and hotel manager Fred Garlow died of pneumonia. Employees of the hotel have even said they’ve seen Buffalo Bill wandering the hallways at night, or have heard the jangle of spurs in the bar when it’s closed for the evening.

The sun on the horizon over Franklin, Tennessee by Josh Withers – Unsplash

Just outside of Nashville, in Franklin, Tennessee, is the Lotz House. It is considered one of the most haunted places in the country, and with its history, one can easily see why. The house, which has been on the National Historic Register since 1976 is located at “ground zero” of the Civil War’s Battle of Franklin. Historians describe the fighting that took place at the Battle of Franklin and in the Lotz front yard “some of the most severe hand to hand fighting during the four year long war.” Ten thousand Americans were killed, wounded or missing. The Lotz House served as a hospital for the wounded soldiers on both sides until the following summer. Book a special evening ghost tour and take a chance to experience the spirits and other unexplained phenomenon that are said to haunt the historic home.

Tennessee is home to several other great spooky attractions that visitors can add to their itinerary. Nearby, in Nashville on October 27th, visitors can also plan a trip to experience The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, an interactive one-man play about the classic horror tale at The Hermitage with showings at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. In Manchester, the Manchester Zombie Walk and Halloween Faire takes place on Friday, Oct. 13 at Fred Deadman Park will feature vendors, face-painting, axe throwing, food trucks, live bands and a spooky good time.

Crescent City is full of creepy sites. This city offers the highest number of haunted hotels and ghost tours, and ranked number 5 overall in the best cities for paranormal activities. Used as a hospital during the Civil War, Hotel Provincial allegedly houses a few ghostly guests. Spirits spotted at the Old Absinthe House include infamous pirate Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson, and Louisiana Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau. Visit sites iconic to “The Vampire Chronicles” author on the Unofficial Anne Rice Tour.

A graveyard in Yountville, California by Melissa Mullin – Unsplash

This, Los Angeles, California was ranked the #1 city to visit for paranormal activity by LawnLove. Their metrics show that the City of Angels has the most paranormal conventions and events, the 5th most ghost tours, and the most haunted sites; interestingly, it is also the second best city to visit for witches and 4th best for vampires, according to additional LawnLove studies. California also comes in as the best state to look for UFOs.

Ghosts seem to haunt the City of Angels with a dramatic flair at performance venues The Comedy Store and Pantages Theatre. Book a night at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for potential encounters with the star-studded spirits of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. In nearby Burbank, find oddities and interactive exhibits for paranormal activity lovers and horror fans at the Mystic Museum.

Nearby, San Diego took 4th place in the best paranormal cities rankings. Book your own paranormal investigation at the Whaley House, the self-proclaimed “America’s Most Haunted House.” A short drive from Downtown San Diego, a ghost reportedly haunts the beachside Hotel del Coronado. Learn more about the phantoms haunting Downtown San Diego at the Ghosts of the Gaslamp weekly walking tour.

Also in California is Willow Creek, the so-called Bigfoot Capital of the World. Learn more about the Pacific Coast Bigfoot at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, or search for it yourself in the Redwoods.

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