If reading about real life scary ghost stories isn’t enough for you, then maybe it’s time for the real thing.
Going on tours specializing in ghost adventures is a fantastic way to learn about history and increase your odds of actually witnessing proof of the paranormal. After all, if your ultimate goal is to have an encounter, these tours are concentrated in areas with high levels of paranormal activity and it definitely makes more sense to loiter where spirits are regularly spotted.
Even if you don’t end up experiencing anything unusual, you’ll still be treated to an entertaining romp through the specific building’s or town’s history. It’s also common for tour guides to showcase concrete evidence of ghost sightings which occurred during other tours. While several areas keep their ghost tours running all year, there’s a huge increase in the availability of these functions during the month of October.
With so many to choose from, it could become difficult to make a wise decision to get the most bang for your buck. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the 10 best ghost adventures in America well-known for featuring high quality guides, intriguing history and the occasional real-life spirit encounter.
1. New Orleans Ghost Tour (New Orleans, LA) – There might not be a more haunted and superstitious place in the U.S. than New Orleans so it makes perfect sense this tour is one of the very best in the world. As part of the package, participants are given the opportunity to tour the Haunted Mansion located on Royal Street which was the home of criminal Delphine LaLaurie. The screams of her many victims are reportedly often heard during this portion of the tour. To make things even more interesting, this exploration of the creepy side of the French Quarter departs from the Reverend Zombie’s Voodoo Shop affording ticketholders the opportunity to learn more about the city’s virtual obsession with voodoo and magic rituals
The two-hour tour is presented with a theatrical and quirky quality making it highly entertaining regardless of whether or not you actually see any ghosts. The walking route will take you to areas proven haunted by well-known paranormal researchers and you’ll be able to add to the next group’s experience by submitting any photographic evidence you obtain from your romp with the French Quarter ghosts.
2. Haunted Heartland Tours (various locations throughout KY, OH, PA and WV) – The group behind the Haunted Heartland Tours takes a different approach to providing paranormal lovers with the opportunity to view some of the most haunted locations in America. Instead of focusing on just one location or town like most ghost tours do, this company hosts an intriguing schedule enabling people to choose between famous haunted sites such as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and State Penitentiary in West Virginia, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania, Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky and the Ohio State Reformatory.
Unlike many other tours of these locations, the Haunted Heartland group reserves the entire building and enforces a much lower limit on ticketholders so everyone can truly enjoy the experience without feeling like they are tripping over others or unable to hear the tour guide. There’s also a big emphasis placed on helping to ensure every tour participant is fully prepared to get the most out of the experience. For example, tours are often combined with ghost hunting classes so everyone learns the necessary tricks of the trade to assist them in their goal of finding at least one paranormal entity.
3. Salem Witch Walk (Salem, MA) – One of the best locations for great ghost adventures is Salem, a city with a fascinating and macabre history. Most people taking a trip to this area are intrigued by the possibility of stumbling across one of the many spirits haunting the town. If you have never been to Salem before, it will be especially beneficial to sign up for the Salem Witch Walk to get a brief overview of the city’s most interesting locations for paranormal activity.
During the tour, you’ll learn about Salem’s long and storied history, including the witch trials that caused many innocent women to be put to death. Additionally, you will be taken to sites considered enchanted and have the opportunity to participate in a modern-day witchcraft ritual inside of one of the oldest cemeteries in America. As an added bonus, you will be given a blessed crystal to take home with you and your ticket also provides you with a discount at local shops run by witches. Speaking of which, your tour guides for this exploration of one of the most interesting cities in the U.S. will be real-life witches who practice the Wiccan religion.
4. Haunted Haight Walking Tour (San Francisco, CA) – Take a look into the macabre secrets of San Francisco by touring the streets for two hours as part of the Haunted Haight Walking Tour. Although the Haight-Ashbury district is now most well-known for being an area critical for social change in the 60s and 70s, it has a much darker history that has caused numerous spirits to continue lingering throughout the nearby streets and buildings. Shockingly, this neighborhood which became a haven for hippies was once home to multiple cult leaders and experienced several infamous murders.
Your tour guide will tell you all about San Francisco’s creepy past, ending the tour at a haunted bar where you’ll have the opportunity to potentially share a drink with one of the area’s many resident ghosts. Another nice perk of choosing this particular ghost adventure is each participant is entered for a chance to win spooky prizes. Please note that the shocking content contained during the walking portion of the tour makes this event unsuitable for anyone under the age of 14.
5. Ghost Walk of Gatlinburg (Gatlinburg, TN) – This walking tour is the perfect way to learn about the folklore and history of the Smoky Mountain region. Your tour guide will be dressed in period garb and they will entertain you with rich tales of murder and ghost sightings throughout the last 100 years in Gatlinburg. You will be able to see some of the spookiest locations in the city during your hour-long walk and get the chance to effectively hunt for ghosts with an actual EMF detector provided to you at the beginning of the tour. The 60 minute romp through Gatlinburg’s historic and macabre past begins appropriately at the White Oak Flat Cemetery.
6. Ybor City Ghost Tour (Tampa, FL) – Every tour on this list has been highly rated by previous participants but this particular option was honored by TripAdvisor in 2013 with their Certificate of Excellence. This was at least partially caused by the highly entertaining and knowledgeable tour guides who are prepared to tell ticketholders all about the ghosts and legends of the historic Ybor city. There are many locations throughout Ybor reported to be haunted but this tour narrows its focus to the areas with the highest concentration of verified spirit activity.
Going on a ghost adventure can be an enjoyable experience, even if you’re not able to help search for spirits, but you will be able to become personally involved in this particular event. Everyone in the tour will be given an electromagnetic energy detector so they can participate in the investigations taking place at each of the paranormal sites along the tour route.
7. Chattanooga Ghost Tours (Chattanooga, TN) – This is another tour honored in 2013 with the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor; you can feel confident it will be worth the price of admission. Just like many of the tours on this list, you’ll have the opportunity to participate outside of the Halloween season which is beneficial because paranormal lovers are often left without a lot of high-quality choices during the rest of the year. Fortunately, the Chattanooga Ghost Tours feature a highly informative, spooky and humorous experience that relays the haunted history of the local area. The tour also goes through an old cemetery where you’ll listen to some of the most intriguing ghost legends from the town’s long and interesting history.
8. Sheriff’s Ghost Walk Tours (St. Augustine, FL) – This captivating look at the history of St. Augustine verbally transports participants back 400 years to the days when Sheriff Guy White patrolled the streets. You’ll be taken through cemeteries and streets in the part of town known as Old Saint Augustine and the 90 minute walking tour will teach you historically accurate facts about the deaths of the sheriff and deputy. This area is one of the oldest settlements in the U.S., containing many dark corners and well-researched haunted locations.
People who join this tour often experience supernatural encounters and it’s common for ticketholders to capture evidence of ghosts with their cameras and smartphones. The high rate of paranormal activity definitely adds to the ambiance of the creepy stories and macabre destinations you’ll encounter along the route while history buffs can also look forward to learning many new details about the area.
9. The Stanley Hotel Ghosts and History Tour (Estes Park, CO) – If you’ve ever seen the horror classic The Shining, you have already seen how creepy a hotel can be. However, you might not realize writer Stephen King drew inspiration for the novel during a stay at the very real Stanley Hotel. Located high in the Rockies, this hotel is the home of several ghosts who are not shy about making themselves known to the living. During your 90 minute tour, you’ll be treated to stories about the well-documented hauntings and even get to go inside the infamous room 217.
Certainly, the large quantity of spirits who linger in the hotel’s many rooms and hallways ensure people on this tour typically see and hear things which cannot be explained in any other way than as evidence of the paranormal. As an added bonus, you can do some independent exploring and get a discount on the tour if you decide to book a room for at least one night.
10. Colonial Ghosts (Williamsburg, VA) – This informative tour takes you to multiple interesting locations, including the Haunted Gaol; once the temporary holding place for several of Blackbeard the Pirate’s men. As a bonus, you’ll be treated to a walk past the Peyton Randolph House, commonly referred to as one of Virginia’s most haunted buildings. Visitors interested in history will also enjoy exploring and learning about the Wren Building and its use as a hospital during the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. In total, you will hear more than a dozen historically laced ghost stories while you participate in one of the best tourist attractions in this part of the country for lovers of the macabre.
Ghost tours are found in almost every major area throughout the country so this is by no means is an exhaustive list of ghost adventures you should try to attend during your lifetime. However, these 10 options are all top-notch and you’ll have an extremely good chance of encountering an actual spirit while you walk throughout, learning some of the creepiest aspects of its history.