For those into Halloween and all things that go bump in the night, there’s no better vacation than a spooky sleepover at a haunted hotel, inn, or vacation rental.
If you’re a fan of history, most of these places also include small museums or libraries that contain old newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and information about the reason for the haunting.
From the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas to the Shamrock House in Rocky Bottom, South Carolina, these nine places offer overnight accommodations for those who are fans of the supernatural and are planning their next spooky vacation.
1886 Crescent Hotel: Eureka Springs, AR
Perched high above Eureka Springs, the 1886 Crescent Hotel is an Arkansas landmark that revels in its haunted pedigree, touting itself as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel” and offering vacation packages for thrill-seeking tourists.
In the 1930s, the building was a sham hospital where a charlatan named Norman Baker conned patients with his "miracle" cure for cancer. Said to be haunted by former patients, the hotel now hosts nightly ghost tours (you can even tour Baker's morgue) and paranormal-themed performances in the on-site theater.
The hotel keeps a list of all of its named ghosts, including Michael, an Irish stonemason who died in 1885 while constructing the building; Theodora, a cancer patient of Dr. Baker's who calls out for help finding her keys; and even Morris the cat, a mysterious patient in a white nightgown who appears at the foot of your bed.
Known for its grand architecture, magnificent setting, and renowned visitors, the Stanley Hotel is also famous for its role as a setting in Stephen King's novel, “The Shining.” Nearly every guest room is said to be haunted, and guests report hearing children laughing, experiencing sounds of a piano playing, or even having their bags mysteriously unpacked for them.
A staple on haunted hotel lists, this Colorado hotel offers a ghost adventure package and three different Halloween tours. Special events during the haunted holiday include a murder mystery dinner, the Shining Ball, and a masquerade costume party.
On Royal Street in New Orleans' beautiful French Quarter, the Cornstalk Hotel is a must-see for its famous cornstalk-motif wrought-iron fence and castle-like turret. Built in the early 19th century by François Xavier Martin, the first Attorney General of Louisiana, the hotel has a reputation today for being haunted by apparitions of children at play. Also, some guests have reported a strange and creepy phenomenon: their cameras mysteriously contain photos of themselves asleep in their hotel guest room.
New Orleans is an excellent city for other haunted adventures, featuring some of the most beautifully maintained and oldest gothic-style cemeteries in the United States as well as a number of other locations known to host ghostly visitors.
In a town infamous for its 17th-century witch trials, Room 17 at the Salem Inn is said to be haunted by a woman named Elizabeth, who was murdered by her husband in that very room. According to accounts from psychics and guests, Elizabeth particularly likes to shake things up when men stay in the room.
Legend has it that if you leave a glass of liquor for Elizabeth, she’ll leave you alone. Bring an extra sweater—the innkeeper reports that room 17 is always colder than other rooms, despite the innkeepers' efforts to turn up the heat.
In Savannah, billed as the most haunted city in America, the ghostly backstory at the Foley House Inn can be traced to the original owner, Honoria Foley.
Legend has it that when a suspicious hotel guest attacked Miss Foley, she struck him over the head with a candlestick and killed him. Fearful that she would be imprisoned for murder, Ms. Foley hid the body. On her deathbed, Miss Foley confided about the murder but never revealed the location of the body—during a renovation in 1987, human remains were found in the wall.
The murdered attacker and Miss Foley have both been seen as apparitions in this haunted hotel, so if you plan to stay in one of the 19 rooms available at this quaint bed and breakfast, don’t be surprised if you wake to a shadowy image of Miss Foley crying in the corner of your room.
On a gorgeous stretch of sugary sand in St. Petersburg lies an iconic pink palace. Built in 1928 by developer Thomas Rowe, the hotel quickly became a playground for the rich and famous and remains so to this day.
However, the hotel itself has a frightening backstory. A heartbroken Rowe built the hotel as a tribute to his true love, Lucinda, who died in Europe. It thrived through much of the early 20th century, even making it through the Great Depression, but it fell into disrepair after Rowe was found dead in his hotel room in 1940.
Originally built as a girls' finishing school following the Gold Rush, the Queen Anne Hotel is said to be inhabited by the school's late headmistress—dozens of guest accounts speak of Miss Lake appearing in mirrors or her presence being sensed as hot or cold spots.
There's even a report of Mary Lake tucking in a napping traveler with the blanket all the way around the bed. While the innkeeper has never personally seen the ghost, guests report encountering spirits at least a couple of times a week.
Situated between two cemeteries, Captain Grant's is on the National Register of Historic Places and is said to be frequented by no fewer than 10 ghosts, including a 5-year-old girl named Deborah Adams. The lingering spirits are children that are believed to visit from their resting places nearby.
Captain Grant’s 1754 (the year the home was constructed) first served as a home to Captain Grant’s family and their offspring (for three generations) before passing on to serve as a bed and breakfast known to have sheltered both Civil War soldiers and escaped slaves. As a result, guests have reported seeing ghosts from every time period in American history.
Bring the whole clan and a big sense of adventure to this family compound in the Blue Ridge Mountains, available as a vacation rental. Originally constructed in 1925, Shamrock House sleeps up to 24 people in eight bedrooms and is said to come with a ghost named Nancy.