America's Most Haunted: Travel Destinations Not for the Faint of Heart

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

Everyone loves a vacation and a good ghost story, so what could be better than combining the two? America is a big place, but no matter where you live, rest assured there is a devilish haunt nearby. If you're ready for a good road trip, these are America's most haunted travel destinations. They are not for the faint of heart, and most are too scary for kids.

…if you want to spend the night with ghosts including a serviceman crushed by one of the water tight doors and an employee murdered in his cabin, you can as the ship now serves as a floating hotel.

Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, Fall River, Massachusetts

Lizzie Borden took an ax and…You know the rest. But Lizzie was acquitted of the gruesome hatchet murder of her stepmother and father. No one else was ever charged, so the crime, which took place in 1892, remains unsolved.

The house where the murders took place is not only still standing but has been renovated to look much like it did on the day of the murders. The original furnishings were lost when the storage facility they were housed in flooded, but the owner has gone to great lengths to find nearly identical furniture, including the sofa where Andrew Borden was hacked ten or eleven times.

If you're feeling brave, you can spend the night in the house, including the bedroom where Abby Borden was murdered. It's a fully functioning bed and breakfast. If you're scared of things that go bump in the night, you can take a guided tour during the day.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you've ever watched a ghost hunting show, you've seen Eastern State Penitentiary, and for good reason. If you had to conjure up a stereotypical image of a haunted place, you'd come up with Eastern State. It's imposing and looks like the kind of place bound to be haunted.

The prison was built in 1829 and closed in 1971. It offers daytime tours, and each year around Halloween it's turned into a haunted attraction. You can see a regular old haunted attraction anywhere. Go to Eastern State when you can see the real ghosts!

The Bell Witch Cave, Adams, Tennessee

The Bell Witch is mysterious even for a ghost story. The haunting seems to be more of a poltergeist than a ghost. A spirit (or something) calling itself Kate Batts tormented a pioneer family in the early 1800s in rural Tennessee.

Kate is even blamed for the death by poison of the patriarch of the Bell family, John, for whom she seemed to have a vicious hatred. Kate is said to hide out in a cave behind the former site of the Bell property. You can tour the cave, and those who have report physical feelings including pinching, (something Kate did regularly to Bell daughter Betsy), hair pulling, and slapping.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia

What's spookier than an abandoned prison? An abandoned insane asylum. That's what Trans-Allegheny is, and the building is enormous and imposing. The hospital opened in 1864 and was meant to treat up to 250 patients at a time. By the 1950s, it housed some 2,400.

Even as late as the 1950s, mental health care was barbaric, so imagine what it was like in the 19th century.

The asylum closed in 1994. The building now offers overnight ghost hunting tours that start at 9 p.m. and end at 5 a.m., so if you ever wondered what it would be like to spend the night in an abandoned, haunted building, this is your chance to find out!

The Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

George Washington Vanderbilt had this home, the largest private home in America, built in 1895. The sprawling mansion and grounds are open to visitors and reportedly haunted by various members of the Vanderbilt family.

Visitors also often report the sounds of a ghostly party, perhaps an echo of the past when the family held lavish parties. There are several tours of the home offered, but there are no ghost tours. This one isn't for those on a student budget as tickets are a steep $65.

The Moon River Brewing Company, Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is a haunted city, and perhaps the most haunted place in the city is The Moon River Brewing Company. The building was built in 1821, initially serving as a hotel. It was used as a hospital during yellow fever outbreaks, and many people died in the building during those epidemics, which may be where the ghost sightings come from.

The building is now a restaurant. The restaurant does not offer tours, but a local ghost tour company sometimes makes the restaurant one of its stops.

The LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans, Louisiana

Like Savannah, New Orleans is a haunted city. There's something spooky in the air itself, but the air around the LaLaurie mansion is sinister because terrible deeds happened within its walls. Delphine LaLaurie and her doctor husband were 19th Century socialites who tortured and tormented their slaves.

In 1834, one of the slaves who was chained to the stove set the house on fire rather than go on living with the cruel LaLauries. When the fire department entered the attic, they found slaves chained to the walls, having been the victims of strange medical experiments by the couple.

The mansion is a private home, so the closest you can get to a ghost tour is to take one of the city's many walking ghost tours. Everyone stops at the LaLaurie mansion because it's so infamous.

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

If the ghosts in the Stanley weren't enough to scare you, the fact that Stephen King took inspiration from it when he wrote The Shining will. The ghosts of the Stanley though are said to be gentle and benevolent, unlike the ghouls in the novel.

The hotel was built in 1909 by F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora, and apparently the couple never left as they are said to be the most common ghosts sighted in the hotel. The building is a functioning hotel, but if you prefer to sleep undisturbed by the dead, they offer ghost tours too.

R.M.S. Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

The Queen Mary started life as an ocean liner in 1936 but was pressed into military action in 1939 as a World War II troop ship. She resumed life as an ocean liner after the war for another 20 years.

She is now permanently docked in Long Beach, and if you want to spend the night with ghosts including a serviceman crushed by one of the water tight doors and an employee murdered in his cabin, you can as the ship now serves as a floating hotel. It also offers ghost tours.

The Cecil Hotel Los Angeles, California

Built in 1924, the Cecil was a swanky hotel in Los Angeles, but when the Great Depression hit it became more of a flophouse very near LA's infamous Skid Row. Since that time, it has a sinister reputation.

Legend says the Black Dahlia drank at the hotel bar the day before her grisly murder, and the serial killer Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker, was a resident. There have also been verified murders and suicides within the hotel.

Perhaps the spookiest incident at The Cecil is the 2013 death of Elisa Lam. Her body was found in a rooftop water tank and footage later emerged of the young woman acting very strangely in an elevator inside the hotel.

Trying to shake its reputation, the hotel changed its name to The Stay on Main, but that wasn't enough to shake its ghosts.

Sleep Tight

Humans have been telling ghost stories in one form or another since we invented language. When you go to any of these haunted locations, you'll have your own ghost stories to tell. Sleep tight!