There’s something unsettling about Savannah, Georgia. Maybe because it was a battleground during the American Revolution. Maybe because several hurricanes once ravaged the area. Or it may be due to Savannah’s history of fires and yellow fever outbreaks. Whatever the reason, Savannah’s shady past has earned it a reputation for being one of the spookiest cities in the US, and maybe the spookiest in the South.
Stay in a Savannah GA cottage rental in the center of town, near the scary sites (but far enough away to sleep soundly). Sign up for a petrifying pub crawl, a trolley tour or a hearse tour. Visit haunted hotels like the Kehoe House and Olde Harbour Inn. Stop by the Historic Savannah Theater or have a pint at The Pirates House tavern. Safety tip: hold your breath when wandering around the Bonaventure Cemetery to avoid rousing the dead.
New Orleans, LA
Though it’s known for Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street and fresh beignets, there’s no escaping New Orleans’ voodoo, vampires and above-ground burial vaults. The spookiest cities in the US certainly know how to party. Fall prey to the Big Easy’s dark side, with its narrow alleys and dimly lit store-front windows. You’ll find running into shadows from the past is a given.
Rent a New Orleans condo in the middle of the French Quarter – the oldest area in New Orleans. Immerse yourself in its Cajun culture and be close to ghost tours and well-known museums. Not to be missed: Saint John’s Bayou, LaLaurie Mansion, St. Louis Cathedral, and the home of voodoo queen Marie Laveau. Take a guided tour or explore the Crescent City’s twisted streets alone – if you dare.
They say the dead shall not be forgotten. The soldiers in Gettysburg are doing their best to make sure they aren’t. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania may be the most haunted place in the United States, acre for acre. The Civil War’s most horrific battle happened in Gettysburg which provides a ripe breeding ground for ghosts. Each year, the ruins beckon history buffs and thano-tourists alike searching for the next best scare.
Several spooky sightings and unexplained events have been reported in and around Gettysburg. Tourists often have trouble using their cameras at Devil’s Den. Set up your tripod there and see if you run into the same problems (don’t forget to load fresh batteries!) Other frightening haunts include Pennsylvania Monument, the Gettysburg National Military Park, and Cemetery Lodge. Dont worry - Gettysburg PA rentals are scattered all over the city and haven't been reported as haunted (yet).
Key West, FL
While Key West’s motto may be ‘One Human Family,’ it’s really a hub of creepy activity that keeps its ghosts busy at night. Located off the coast of Florida, Key West is the United States’ southernmost point. The island is peppered with stories of pirate legends, voodoo spells and strange superstitions.
Key West rentals in the Old Town District let you live like a local. There you’ll find haunted Victorian mansions, ominous bungalows, and faint remnants of souls from the past. The third floor suite of the Ocean Key House is known for its ghostly goings-on. The Hemingway House, Hard Rock Café and Captain Tony’s Saloon (the original Sloppy Joe’s) should also be on your paranormal radar.
Salem, Massachusetts is home of the famous witch trials of 1692 and a hangout for ghosts with some serious bones to pick. Its eerie seaside location inspired famous writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe. Tourists looking for a scare flock here year-round, but “Witch City” is a real treat during Halloween and the perfect time to check into a Salem vacation rental.
Salem’s rich history provides texture to any kind of tour. Stop by the Custom House on Derby Street which makes an appearance in The Scarlett Letter. Delve further with a visit to the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion - literary buffs will recognize as it as the Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables. Other spine-tingling spots: The Ropes Mansion, the Salem Jail and the Joshua Ward House.
Located off of Texas’ Gulf Coast, old Galvez Town was once a bustling seaport city. Now, it’s gone the way of several abandoned ghost towns. From blood-thirsty pirates to civil war soldiers to victims of the Great Hurricane in 1900, Galveston is full of phantoms who refuse to rest in peace.
Stay in a Galveston beach house rental close to town. Spend an afternoon walking up and down the Strand – a street where several historical shops and buildings still stand – a great opportunity for paranormal activity. Be on guard for signs of the late pirate Lafitte who left the island and was never heard from again – while he was living.