The Spookiest Attraction in Every State
We scoured all 50 states to pinpoint the best spooky spots to visit this Halloween season. Here's where to find them.
To celebrate Halloween, we’ve rounded up the spookiest places in every single state. From ghosts (lots and lots of resident ghosts) to a creepy collection of clown dolls and an abandoned amusement park, here are some of the most spine-chilling spots in the United States. Proceed at your own risk.
In This Article
Mobile, AL: The Malaga Inn
Now a boutique hotel in downtown Mobile, these twin mansions were constructed as a wedding gift for a pair of sisters and built atop a secret tunnel rumored to be a hiding spot for during the Civil War. Guests at the Malaga Inn have reported seeing chandeliers swing back and forth, furniture being mysteriously rearranged, lights flickering, and sightings of a woman dressed in white pacing back and forth. The inn was even featured in a reality TV drama about haunted hotels.
Portage, AK: The Sunken City
The Good Friday Earthquake in March 1964 registered at a magnitude of 9.2, twisting the ground and sinking the tiny town of Portage more than 6 feet while flooding the area with salt water. A survivor recounted the surreal disaster, saying it was like “riding an open elevator.” As you drive south from Anchorage along Seward Highway, you’ll spot this eerie-looking, sunken ghost town, complete with a forest of barren “ghost trees” and the crumbling remains of homes and businesses that are melting into the glacial silt.
Bisbee, AZ: The Bisbee Seance Room
Just 15 miles north of the Mexico border, Bisbee was once one of the world’s most productive gold, copper, zinc and lead mining towns. Today it’s a creative enclave that’s reportedly haunted. Set in a Victorian parlor is the Bisbee Seance Room, where visitors communicate with the town’s ghosts and enjoy paranormal magic shows.
Little Rock, AR: Arkansas State Capitol
The Arkansas State Capitol, a neoclassical building in Little Rock, was built on a former state penitentiary’s grounds. During the excavation in 1899, rotted wood coffins were unearthed, revealing remains of the state’s criminals. But adding to the creepy creds of the Capitol was a 1932 tragedy: Ira Gurley, a representative, was fatally crushed by the Capitol’s south elevator. Unrelated, visitors and state employees have reported seeing the likes of a woman in period clothing floating around the Capitol’s marble staircase.
San Jose, CA: Winchester Mystery House
As baffling as it is beautiful, the Winchester Mystery House is a 160-room mansion filled with architectural puzzles. There are trap doors and staircases that lead to dead ends and the number 13 is incorporated into many of the design elements, from the 13 glass cupolas to a spider web window with 13 blue and amber stones. Sarah Winchester, the widow of rifle magnate William Wirt Winchester, built this massive labyrinth. Did she build this maze in her mansion to thwart ghosts? The house is open for public tours, so that’s definitely a theory you can explore.
Estes Park, CO: The Stanley Hotel
With a commanding presence in a picturesque Colorado mountain town, The Stanley is a Colonial Revival-style hotel where horror author Stephen King awoke from a nightmare and started penning “The Shining.” Known as “Disneyland for ghosts,” you can hear some of this historic hotel’s spirited tales during an hour-long night tour. Have your camera ready on the staircase of The Stanley’s main guesthouse: It’s a known hangout for spirits and a popular spot to catch orbs in your photos. Plus, parts of Estes Park sit on a quartz and limestone mineral belt, which according to paranormal investigators, is known for retaining residual energy, making it conducive for ghostly activity.
Wethersfield, CT: Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum
A little-known history fact: The nation’s first witch trials and hangings occurred in Connecticut, three decades before the more well-known trials in Salem. The state heard 43 witchcraft cases, with 16 of these ending in execution. The story begins in Wethersfield, where three executions occurred between 1648 and 1668. Learn the chilling history of the Wethersfield Witch Trials at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum.
New Castle, DE: Amstel House
A 1730s colonial building, the Amstel House was built by the town’s wealthiest landowner Dr. John Finney. His son erected a house across the street and it’s said a tunnel connected the two residences. A ghost is believed to haunt both buildings, opening and closing windows and doors. Be on the lookout for the mysterious “Lady in Blue” while visiting the 350-year-old town of New Castle.
St. Augustine, FL: St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum
From the voice of a woman asking for help to the unexplained smell of phantom cigars, there’s a long history of paranormal reports at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. Dark of the Moon Ghost Tours leads nighttime paranormal investigations inside America’s first official light station. Still want more? Take a walk around the city. St. Augustine is more than 456 years old.
Covington, GA: The Hollywood of the South
Known as “the Hollywood of the South,” Covington has been featured in dozens of movies and TV shows like “Halloween II,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and one of the Friday the 13th movies. But are the haunts here just made for the movies? You be the judge on one of the southern city’s walking tours, like the Official Covington Ghost Tour.
Maui, HI: Iao Theater
Featured on SYFY Channel’s cable series, “Haunted Collector,” the Iao Theater is purportedly haunted by a friendly and feminine ghost named Emma. In addition, witnesses have reported feeling cold spots in the theater, which opened in the 1920s as a movie and vaudeville house. Plus, you’re in Hawaii, so what could be better?
Boise, ID: The Egyptian Theatre
Joe, a former 1920s projectionist, is believed to haunt the historic Egyptian Theatre in Boise. He died of a heart attack in the theater during the 1950s while ascending the stairs to the projection booth. Today, theater-goers report doors opening and closing on their own and lights being turned off and on. For a supersized scare in this haunted theatre, attend the Idaho Horror Film Festival that takes place each October.
Alton, IL: America’s Haunted Headquarters
Because of its reputation as one of the most haunted small towns in the country, Alton plays host to the Haunted America Conference. In addition, you can take a tour of this Illinois city with Alton Hauntings and search for ghosts at the infamous Mineral Springs Hotel. There’s also a Curiosity Museum, formerly known as The Historic Museum of Torture Devices. On top of all that, did we mention the lore surrounding a man-eating bird here?
Fishers, IN: Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie
Each October, the Headless Horseman rides through the town of Fishers during a festival at Conner Prairie, a living history museum. In addition to the Headless Horseman marionette show, there’s a spooky corn maze and haunted hayride. Sun King Brewing serves an Icabrewed Crane beer at the on-site Sleepy Hollow Tavern. Clever, right?
Villisca, IA: The Villisca Axe Murder House
More than a century ago, eight people (including six children) were murdered in their sleep by a killer who was never caught. Visitors today can tour the Villisca Axe Murder House or, gulp, make a reservation to spend the night. Be warned, though: Overnight guests have reported being pinched and hearing children playing with toys in empty rooms.
Lawrence, KS: The Eldridge Hotel
This historic boutique hotel in Lawrence is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Colonel Eldridge. The Colonel is known to randomly turn on the air conditioning in the middle of the night and rattle guests’ luggage. If you’re up for an extra spooky stay…book Room 506, which is his favorite room to haunt. Still not convinced? The Eldridge Hotel was featured on A&E Biography Channel’s show “My Ghost Story.”
Wilder, KY: Bobby Mackey’s Music World
Country music bar Bobby Mackey’s Music World has a long and haunted history. The bar site is a former slaughterhouse built in 1850 and is speculated to have been used for Satanic cult activity. The building was demolished and turned into a nightclub and speakeasy during Prohibition, which brought about mob violence. That’s a lot of fodder for hauntings! Featured on the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures,” the bar regularly hosts tours and paranormal investigations.
Lake Charles, LA: Calcasieu Courthouse
With more than 300 years of history, New Orleans is regarded as one of the most haunted cities in the United States. From ghost, cemetery, and swamp tours, it’s truly a choose-your-own scare adventure in the Big Easy…more like the Big Queasy. But one of the spookiest spots in the state is outside the city in Lake Charles at the Calcasieu Courthouse, which is believed to be haunted by Toni Jo Henry, the first and only woman executed in the electric chair in Louisiana. In 1939, she set out to break her husband out of prison, committing a brutal murder during her mission. As a result, workers report unexplained electrical malfunctions in the building and random wafts of burnt hair and cheap perfume.
Poland, ME: Route 26
Local legend has it that there’s a ghost girl who hitchhikes along the darky roads of Route 26 near Poland. Travelers have reported seeing her dressed in white, asking for a ride to the chapel, frantically stating she’s late for her wedding. One prevailing theory is that she’s the spirit of a murdered bride who was killed in the 1850s in her farmhouse along Route 11. Another is that she is the ghost of a girl killed on her way to prom. Some who have encountered her say she’s relayed creepy warnings.
Baltimore, MD: The Horse You Came in on Saloon
Claiming to be America’s oldest continually operating saloon, The Horse You Came in on Saloon was established in 1775 and endured Prohibition. The iconic Fells Point bar, known as “The Horse,” is rumored to be the last place poet Edgar Allan Poe was seen before his mysterious death in 1849. Belly up to the bar; there’s a seat marked “Poe’s Last Stop,” and bartenders have been known to leave a glass of whiskey out for his spirit.
Salem, MA: Salem Witch Museum
Known as the “Witch City,” Salem is the spot to be during Halloween. There’s plenty of candlelit walking tours, ghost tours and trolley tours that explore the city’s history. But to experience the drama of this city’s darkest chapter, visit the Salem Witch Museum, which includes an immersive look into the events of 1692, with life-size stage sets, figures, and narration.
Petoskey, MI: Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant
Guests at the Terrace Inn can ask the desk clerk for the inn’s “Ghost Files,” which is reportedly a thick folder of first-hand accounts from guests and employees who have had haunting encounters. The cute-as-can-be Victorian inn north of Petoskey is believed to have three prominent spirits, including a lady in white who wanders the hallways, a man in tweed often spotted on the balcony, and a young lad who inhabits the basement. If you’re up for a scary stay, Room 211 is a known haunt.
Anoka, MN: Visit the Halloween Capital of the World
For family-friendly fun this Halloween season, head to Anoka, which is known as the “Halloween Capital of the World.” It’s believed that Anoka put on the first Halloween celebration as a way to distract mischievous pranksters who had let cows loose to roam Main Street, soaped up windows and tipped over outhouses. More than a century ago, the town started its tradition of a Halloween parade and costume party. Of course, this Halloween-centric city has its fair share of hauntings (like a ghost who rocks in a rocking chair) that you can learn all about on a ghost tour.
Natchez, MS: Natchez Driving Ghost Tour
To get to know the ghosts of Natchez (nicknamed the “Little Easy”), take the Natchez Driving Ghost Tour, which includes stops at the city’s most haunted spots, including the Mayweather Hall and Under the Hill Saloon, where the ghosts of outlaws lurk. For those looking to book a spirited stay, spend the night at Monmouth Historic Inn, which was built in 1818 and believed to be haunted by the ghost of a general.
St. Joseph, MO: Glore Psychiatric Museum
The Glore Psychiatric Museum chronicles the 145-year history of the state hospital, which was originally known as the “State Lunatic Asylum No. 2.” Disturbing relics like surgical tools and treatment equipment, as well as nurse uniforms, personal notes, artwork from patients and other items from the hospital are on display. For example, one collection tells how a patient swallowed 453 nails.
Philipsburg, MT: Granite Ghost Town State Park
Whether Granite Ghost Town is haunted remains TBD. But, once Montana’s “Silver Queen,” this frozen-in-time mining town is an eerie sight to see today. Still standing is the dilapidated shell of Miners’ Union Hall, which was built in 1890 and had a third-floor dance hall, second-floor union offices, and a ground-level saloon. Once home to 3,000 miners, the ghost town is a state park today.
Plainview, NE: Klown Doll Museum
A fear of clowns and dolls collide at the Klown Doll Museum, population 7,000 “Klown dolls.” The Plainview-based museum even has an 8-foot-tall wooden Klown doll that serves as the mascot. The fact that clowns are spelled with a “k” somehow makes it even scarier.
Virginia City, NV: Mining Mayhem
A boomtown that turned miners into millionaires, Virginia City just west of Reno is now known as one of the most haunted places in America. Along with the silver mining bonanza that played out here during the mid-to-late 1800s, there were deadly mining accidents, a devastating fire, lover’s quarrels, plus brothels and secret fraternal organizations. To put it another way? It’s no wonder disturbed spirits linger here. Virginia City has been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” and SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters.” Tourists can go on a “Bats in the Belfry” ghost tour and communicate with the spirits through electromagnetic field detectors. Start at The Washoe Club, a wild west type of bar with a ghostly museum in the back and a haunted spiral staircase.
Lee, NH: Haunted Overload
A haunted house — but put it in the middle of a farm of a small rural town in New Hampshire. Haunted Overload is set on DeMeritt Hill Farm and has Hollywood-level props, like 50-foot monsters looming over crowds and movie-level sets. “Haunted Overload plays with your psyche like a Hitchcock movie,” one Yelp reviewer says.
Asbury Park, NJ: Paranormal Books & Curiosities
Not your average bookstore, this New Jersey haunt has a coven book club, regular ghost tours, and a paranormal museum. Did we mention the wall of Ouija boards and haunted dolls? Seances and psychic readings at Paranormal Books & Curiosities are on hold for now. But you can still pick up interesting reads and ghost-hunting equipment here.
Albuquerque, NM: Hotel Parq Central
The 74-room boutique hotel has a storied past: It was originally built as a railroad hospital in 1926. The building later became a psychiatric facility in the 1980s before it was renovated into a hotel in 2010. Guests looking for a staycation or getaway can head to Hotel Parq Central and spend the night in the original chief surgeon’s residence or nurse’s dormitory this spooky season.
Lockport, NY: Lockport Haunted Caves
For a subterranean scare, embark on the Lockport Haunted Cave Tour. The cave’s history dates back to the late 1800s and served as a hydraulic raceway that would supply water to local mills. As you explore the tunnels, led by a guide with a lantern, you’ll hear hair-raising tales and the tour will have you thinking you’re going to run into the infamous sewer clown from “It.”
Kenansville, NC: The Country Squire Restaurant, Inn & Winery
Watch yourself! Darts have been known to fly through the air on their own at The Country Squire Restaurant, Inn & Winery, which is purportedly haunted by the original owner, Joe West, who likes to hang out and make sure things are running smoothly. People have reported hearing chatter and phantom footsteps in the Kenansville haunt. Liberty Hall, a historic house and museum that’s nearby, is also reported to be haunted.
Mandan, ND: Abraham Lincoln State Park
In the 1800s, when North Dakota’s Fort Abraham Lincoln was an important infantry and cavalry post, the Custer House belonged to Lt. Col. George Custer. It is where he and the 7th Cavalry rode out for the ill-fated expedition at the Little Bighorn. It’s rumored that the ghost of Libbie Custer, Lt. Col. Custer’s wife, still wanders the grounds waiting for her husband and 200 men to return to Mandan from the battle.
McArthur, OH: Moonville Tunnel
Ghost hunters flock to this abandoned stretch of railway that leads to an old coal-mining town. Some visitors to the Moonville Tunnel have reported seeing the flash of train lights and the ghost of Frank Lawhead, who in 1880 died in a head-on collision. The last family abandoned Moonville in 1947 and all that remains today is the schoolhouse’s foundation, a community cemetery and the train tunnel.
Guthrie, OK: Stone Lion Inn Bed & Breakfast
A mischievous ghost child is known to pinch the toes of sleeping guests at Stone Lion Inn Bed & Breakfast. The Guthrie-based B&B is believed to be haunted by an 8-year-old who died after a nurse gave her cough syrup with opium. Guests have reported hearing the pitter-patter of a child’s footsteps at night. Before becoming an inn, though, the home was a boarding house and then a funeral home. Paranormal investigators have also spotted an apparition who haunts the basement that housed the morgue. The inn has leaned into its spooky reputation and hosted murder mystery events in the past.
Salem, OR: Elsinore Theatre
This 1930s-era landmark attracted stars like Clark Gable and John Philip Sousa in its heyday. There’s rumored to be a “cold spot” on the stage at the Elsinore Theatre and some visitors have reported hearing voices echo through the empty theatre. Some speculate it to be the daughter of theater owner George Guthrie, who reportedly fell to her death from the balcony of the Salem theatre.
Gettysburg, PA: Drummer Boy Camping
Haunted hotels are one thing. But haunted campsites? In the middle of the woods? We double dare you to make it through the night. Drummer Boy is a 95-acre campground near downtown Gettysburg and where a Civil War battle actually took place. The employees in the front office say a ghost named George rattles cabinets and lights until one of them shouts: “George, stop it!”
Harrisville, RI: The Farm on Round Top Road (AKA the Conjuring House)
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more haunted home than the Farm on Round Top Road, which inspired the 2013 horror film “The Conjuring.” Andrea Perron describes her childhood home as “a portal cleverly disguised as a farmhouse” and says her family lived among the dead with a supernatural stronghold. The Rhode Island estate can be booked for paranormal investigations, though they book out far in advance
Charleston, SC: Old City Jail
The Holy City is perhaps the most haunted destination in the United States. Book a ghost tour with Bulldog Tours and see the city’s graveyards and cemeteries to hear some of the harrowing tales. You might even capture orbs in photos you snap of dark alleyways around Charleston. One of the most notoriously haunted spots is the Old City Jail, which once housed South Carolina’s first female serial killer Lavinia Fisher, who operated a hotel where men went missing. The jail is said to be haunted by thousands of disgruntled spirits.
Rapid City, SD: Alex Johnson Hotel
This hotel in Rapid City is so haunted that it keeps a “ghost journal” for guests to record their experiences. In addition to ghost sightings, guests have reported water randomly turning on, flickering lights, and mysterious noises. Supernatural activity has been reported on all floors of Alex Johnson Hotel, but the largest concentration of ghostly activity happens on the eighth floor. The hotel offers a Ghost Adventure Package that includes a K2 meter to detect ghosts for the brave.
Adams, TN: Bell Witch Cave
Sure, there are friendly ghosts. But the Bell Witch was certainly not one of them. As Tennessee folklore has it, the Bell Witch tormented John Bell and his family in the 1800s. She was known to pinch and curse and pull hair and pull sheets from the bed. But her taunts escalated and became more violent. According to folklore, the Bell Witch was the spirit of Kate Batts, a mean neighbor who believed Bell cheated her in a land purchase and swore to haunt him and his descendants. Today, the bucolic Bell Farm is open for cave and cabin tours.
Marfa, TX: The Marfa Lights
Turn to the night sky in Marfa, and you just may witness one of the most storied mysteries: Seemingly sourceless lights dancing in the horizon! Glowing orbs and accounts of red, blue, and white lights have been reported over the years. Of course, skeptics will tell you the lights are atmospheric reflections of cars and campfires. But you can lean into this paranormal phenomenon each year at the Marfa Lights Festival.
Salt Lake City, UT: Rio Grande Depot
Lore has it that the Rio Grande Depot in Salt Lake City is haunted by the “purple lady,” who wears a purple dress and matching hat. In fact, some employees and travelers have heard phantom singing in the women’s restrooms and shuffling footsteps. It’s believed that the purple lady is the spirit of a woman who decades ago got into a terse argument with her fiancé. At some point, her engagement ring was tossed on the tracks and when she went to retrieve it, she was hit by an oncoming train.
Bennington, VT: Glastenbury Mountain
There are plenty of good reasons to visit Vermont in the fall, starting with the fantastic fall foliage. But the southern part of the state is steeped in spooky history. Native American lore described Glastenbury Mountain, near Bennington, as cursed. Over the years, there have been reports of apparitions and mysterious plane crashes. The area is referred to as the “Bennington Triangle” due to the multiple disappearances.
Richmond, VA: The Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Almost as soon as The Edgar Allan Poe Museum opened in Richmond nearly a century ago, ghost stories started emerging. A black figure presumed to be Poe will sometimes show up in photos, but more often is interacting with the letters and first-edition books preserved in the museum. The figure seems to be most attached to Poe’s walking stick and his wife’s hand mirror.
Forks, WA: Hoh River Trail in Olympic National Park
For an eerie hike, lace up your boots and set out on the Hoh River Trail. “Those trees are just so huge, their branches becoming clawlike in the right light,” according to the Washington Trail Association. “And it rains. A lot.” Let your imagination loose and you may spot some mythical creatures. Bigfoot? Fairies?
Rock, WV: Lake Shawnee Abandoned Amusement Park
Once filled with excited thrill-seekers, abandoned and empty amusement parks have an undeniably eerie feel. But the abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, which opened nearly a century ago, is especially chilling with Ferris wheels and swings covered in foliage. Unfortunately, the park was the site of several deaths and accidents that eventually led to its closures in the 1960s. For a scary slumber party, you can camp in the park overnight. Or, you can tour it during the daytime.
Milwaukee, WI: Pfister Hotel
The ghosts at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee have been known to taunt major league baseball players, spooking one so badly he slept with his bat for protection. Others have reported clothes and furniture being moved about while they’re asleep and one heard voices and static on his iPod. The MLB even did a round-up of the ghostly experiences that players have reported at the historic hotel because there have been so many.
Cheyenne, WY: The Historic Plains Hotel
Movie stars, presidents, and cattle barons have all stayed at The Historic Plains Hotel, which opened in 1911. But legend has it that this historically rich hotel is haunted by Rosie, a disheartened honeymooner who caught her husband picking up another woman at the bar, which led her to shoot them both before turning the gun on herself. Their spirits purportedly still linger in the Cheyenne hotel. Book a tour aboard the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley to get the full sultry and ghostly history of this Wild West town. In October, the trolley has a Frightseeing Tour.