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A knock at the door, an unexpected otherworldly guest and things that go bump in the night…check out the best ghost tours in the U.S.
At no time during the year is the presence of ghosts and goblins felt more in legendary cities throughout the country than on Halloween. In cities that are haunted by their ghostly pasts, ghost tours offer far more than what you’d expect to find at a tourist attraction. Here, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites that are eerily delightful.
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CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
The Ghosts of the South is a fun and educational ghost tour through this magnificent historic city. Walk through the old and historic districts of Charleston to see and learn about the city’s haunted hotels, houses, and graveyards. The 80-minute tour covers a one-mile area. Tour guides are licensed by the city and have ten years of experience. Tours depart from Shiela’s Shamrock at 84 Market Street.
T-Bonz Gill and Grill
After the tour, head a few doors down to T-Bonz Gill and Grill for their famous Low Country Fried Pickles with Ranch Dressing.
Hearse Ghost Tours is arguably the most unique tour you’ll find anywhere in the country. Ride around the Historic and Victorian districts and drive through Savannah’s famous cemeteries in a real hearse. After more than 15 years of service at local funeral parlors, the retired hearses take on a new life as tour vehicles. If you’ve seen the grave of Johnny Mercer at the Bonaventure Cemetery, make sure you can stay in town long enough to spend time at Mercer’s former home at the Mercer Williams House Museum.
Make time to stop by Barracuda Bob’s on River Street to enjoy the “fried gator” appetizer.
St. Louis Cemetery
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Experience the famous French Quarter in New Orleans like never before. Haunted History Tours offers many exciting and frightening tours, but the New Orleans Haunted History Ghost Tour is a must for Halloween. The two-hour walking tour takes participants to some of the spookiest spots in this historic part of the city. NOLA Ghosts is another walking tour of the French Quarter that is sure to fill participants with terror.
Cafe du Monde
Complete your tour of the French Quarter with a stop at the famous French Market Café du Monde for some coffee with chicory and their legendary beignets.
Photo by Jason Voss
Choose between the Spirits of Jerome Tour and the Just Jerome Tour, from Tours of Jerome, or spend a long weekend in the Sedona area so you can enjoy both. The Spirits Tour is a five-hour experience in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle that goes through Clarkdale and Cottonwood en route to Jerome. The Just Jerome tour is a two-hour walking tour. Both take you to landmark and legendary places in the town that was once referred to as “the wickedest town in the West.”
The Asylum Restaurant
No haunted tour of Jerome, Arizona would be complete without a stay at the historic Jerome Grand Hotel. It gained landmark status in 1976 and is said to be one of the most haunted places in Arizona.
Haunts of Mackinac Ghost Tour
MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN
Mackinac Island is sandwiched between the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan in a narrow strip of water known as the Straits of Mackinac, which separates Lake Michigan from Lake Huron. The island is probably best known for the famous sailboat race from Chicago to the island—a distance of 400 miles. Michigan is known for its beautiful fall foliage, and the Haunts of Mackinac are well worth the effort that it takes to get to this remote island. The 90-minute Downtown Haunted History Tour is a real-life opportunity to learn about the places that are discussed in the popular Haunts of Mackinac book series. You’ll have to plan your trip carefully because ferry boat service to the island only runs during the day.
For more on Mackinac Island, read our travel guide
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Chicago is famous for many things, especially the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the story of the Devil in the White City. Chicago Hauntings is the oldest ghost tour operation in the city. Ursula Bielski, an established paranormal researcher and investigator, and her team of historians and paranormal investigators lead tour participants on several tours of different parts of the city. The Loop and River North Ghost Tour is a two-hour, two-mile walk that covers the heart of the city’s downtown area. The Lincoln Park Ghost Walk covers this trendy area that includes the Chicago History Museum and the Lincoln Park Zoo. A stop at Pizzeria Uno is a must if you’re in the Loop. It’s home to the first-in-the-nation and world-famous deep-dish pizza.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company
After the Lincoln Park tour, head a short distance north to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company for their famous Pizza Pot Pie.
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There are two options for walking tours in Salem, Massachusetts, a town that has a reputation as one of America’s most haunted towns. It is also known for the 1692 witch trials. Salem Night Tours offers a 75-minute walking tour of Downtown Salem. Spellbound Tours’ Voodoo, Vampires, and Ghosts Tour takes participants on a 90-minute walk to legendary places like the old Witch Dungeon, and the Joshua Ward home, which is considered the most haunted house in the nation.
Witch’s Brew Cafe
After either tour, stop at the Witch’s Brew Cafe for a late-night snack of New England Clam Chowder or Crab Cakes.
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