K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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While there’s always pumpkin carving and trick or treating, why not celebrate Halloween in a more unusual way? There are more than a few properties across the U.S. that are not only open to guests. They have been housing some very long-term residents, too. These haunted hotels are some of the best if you’re looking for a truly spooky spot to spend Halloween.
One of the most legendary hotels in the world, The Stanley Hotel is said to have spooked horror author Stephen King so much that it inspired the setting for his novel The Shining. Open to guests for well over a century, paranormal occurrences have long been a part of its history, such as the sounds of children laughing while running down the halls heard on the 4th floor and appearances by Mr. Stanley (the original owner and inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile) and his wife who are said to walk through the lobby frequently. Mrs. Stanley can occasionally be heard playing the piano, and a former housekeeper who died soon after the hotel opened likes to help guests in Room 217 unpack and store their belongings.
San Antonio is no stranger to hauntings, with numerous places where spirits are said to linger. The Menger Hotel has been called the most haunted of them all, and it’s certainly in the top 5 haunted hotels in Texas. Opened in 1859, it has an interesting past that includes Teddy Roosevelt, who used the hotel to recruit men for the Rough Riders, his cavalry. He prefers hanging out at the storied Menger Bar. But there are said to be over 30 different entities here, so you never know who or what you might encounter while enjoying your stay at this grand Victorian-era hotel that now includes an outdoor pool.
Located in Arizona’s quirkiest small town, This Bisbee Grand was originally established to house traveling mining executives over a century ago. Today, the elegant rooms are filled with heirlooms, antiques, and several ghosts, including a female donning a Victorian-style dress who wanders around with a tea tray. Occasionally she stands at the foot of the bed watching over guests in rooms 2 or 3. If you hear the silent piano play notes on its own when all is quiet, you’ll know who it is.
Savannah is not only incredibly charming, it’s one of the country’s best small towns to visit for Halloween, with ghost tours that will reveal the highlights. One of them is the historic Marshall House Hotel with its red brick facade and welcoming veranda, just a 5-minute walk from the many galleries, bars, and eateries on the famed River Street. It was birthed by Mary Marshall in 1851, and you’ll see an oil painting of her behind the reception desk. Employees say she’s still greeting guests despite having departed long ago. There have been plenty of unusual sights, smells, and sounds, like marbles rolling down the hall when no one is there.
Besides being one of the best fall foliage getaways in the Midwest, Marquette has been the scene of hauntings and ghostly activities for decades. The town is located at the edge of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Landmark Inn is just one of the paranormal hotspots here, with The Librarian being its most famous ghost. She committed suicide, dying of a broken heart, in the 1930s after her lover lost his life in a shipwreck. She still looks out from the Lilac Room on the 6th floor, waiting for him to return. Nearby, on the upper floor of the photogenic Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, the ghost of a little girl is often sighted.
New Orleans is always a good time. It’s home to many haunted spots and hosts all sorts of Halloween festivities. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is a paranormal hot spot known to be haunted by hundreds of ghosts. There are haunted former hospitals, historic mansions with ghostly residents, and hotels where things often bump at night. Bourbon Orleans in the French Quarter has a rich haunted history, with many guests reporting sightings of a man dressed in Confederate army attire on the sixth and third floors. Others mention encounters with nuns and children. The apparitions of children and females are believed to have been from the time of the Sisters of the Holy Family’s convent, when a girls’ school, medical ward, and orphanage occupied the building.
The magnificent Queen Anne Hotel, a B&B-style hotel, sits within a restored Victorian in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, and it’s one of the most haunted hotels in the world. Guests can enjoy a number of complimentary perks like continental breakfast in the salon, afternoon tea, and sherry near the baby grand piano in the elegant sitting room. But many come for the chance to get a glimpse of the spirit of a woman who was the Head Mistress of the school that once existed inside the building. The spirit of Mary Lake is sometimes seen keeping an eye on her “guests” as she wanders about, occasionally unpacking and hanging up their clothes. She’s even tucked the covers in and around people in the middle of the night. Room 410 is said to be the heart of her haunting, which was Mary’s office, now an opulent suite.
The top-rated beachfront Hotel del Coronado is a National Landmark, famous for not only providing an unforgettable stay in a grand 1888 Victorian property but for hosting one particular guest since 1892. Kate Morgan’s spirit has lingered for decades, ever since she was found deceased on a staircase. Sightings and sounds of a grieving woman have long been reported, along with flickering lights and similar varying events. The hotel’s Victorian lobby will take you back to the time she checked in, and guests can also take the guided Haunted Happenings Tour to walk in Kate’s footsteps to learn where she likes to hide out.
The James NoMad is one of the best hotels in Manhattan and sits within one of New York City’s most iconic buildings, known for its Beaux-Arts architecture and as a place where some early 1900s guests never checked out. The Hotel Seville preceded it, and opened in 1901. At the time, there was a murder, suicide, and overdose. Today, guests enjoy impressive streamlined rooms with high-tech amenities, a 24-hour fitness center, an Italian eatery, and craft cocktails and DJ sets at The Seville, a funky speakeasy kind of lounge with a bohemian vibe. While you’re here, you might take a tour of the haunted churches in Greenwich Village or Broadway’s legendary haunted theaters.
Over 122 years old, the Hotel St. Nicholas opened at the height of the 1890s gold rush and was Cripple Creek’s first dedicated general hospital. Many paranormal investigators have visited Hotel St. Nicholas, one of Colorado’s most haunted hotels, to learn more about its haunts. Room 11 is particularly notorious for its many mysterious events, including spirits who took their caretaking skills into the afterlife by watching over guests as they slept. In addition to the chance to experience paranormal activity, enjoy a whiskey flight from the Boiler Room Tavern on the lower level of the hotel.
Located in one of the country’s most haunted cities, the century-old Casa Marina Key West is on the National Register for Historic Places, once serving as the US Navy office headquarters in the 1940s during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Railroad tycoon Henry Flagler conceived of the hotel, but he passed before construction, and his spirit is said to remain. Guests can also take a haunted tour of Key West’s cemeteries while listening to the ghostly tales of famous Captain Tony’s Saloon and a legendary “evil” doll named Robert, said to have haunted citizens here for over 100 years. The property itself boasts one of the rare swimmable beaches in Key West.
With a name like Deadwood, it’s not surprising that the town has been called the most haunted in the U.S. Numerous well-known characters have resided here, from Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane to Seth Bullock, Deadwood’s first sheriff. Some have never left. Seth built and owned the historic Bullock Hotel, and while he died in 1919, he still plays host occasionally. Some have claimed to see the former sheriff’s apparition, but many have experienced all sorts of other strange occurrences here. Alarm clocks that aren’t plugged into the wall go off, televisions change channels on their own, and guests have felt tapping on their shoulders only to turn and see that no one is there. Even if you don’t experience anything unusual, you’re still in one of the Midwest’s best small towns, and the hotel is in a prime location right on Main Street and full of historic charm.
Located between Reno and Las Vegas, Tonopah is internationally renowned for its stargazing, historic sites, and the creepy Clown Motel. It’s also home to The Mizpah Hotel, famous for the Lady in Red, who resided in a palatial fifth-floor suite where she made her living working in the oldest trade in the world. That is, until a former lover stabbed and strangled her in a jealous rage. Today, many men who stay at the hotel report hearing the whispers of a female with no one there, especially in the elevator. Hundreds have reported waking up to discover a pearl beneath their pillow – during the tragedy, her pearl necklace broke and scattered on the floor. Her original suite was split into three rooms 502, 503, and 504.
Arthur Manby, the victim in one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Taos, was said to have been beheaded in the former home that shares a kitchen wall with what is now Doc Martin’s restaurant at the historic Taos Inn. Reportedly, kitchen items like pots and pans occasionally fly from their resting places and crash to the floor on their own. The sightings of a man who matches Manby’s description have been seen in the kitchen, the restaurant, and room 109, next to the kitchen. Sometimes, the scent of roses is noticed in room 102 without explanation. Ghost or no ghost, the Taos Inn is one of the best places you could stay in Taos.
Just a few miles from the Gettysburg Battlefield, The Gettysburg Hotel dates all the way back to 1797, although its hauntings are generally related to the Civil War. Several times a year, guests report a friendly encounter with a Civil War nurse named Rachel, who wanders through the rooms as if she’s still caring for wounded soldiers. Sometimes, dresser drawers are said to open, and their clothes are mysteriously removed. Others have reported the ghost of a man said to be Union soldier James Culbertson strolling through hotel halls.