Best Ghost Tours in the U.S.: 7 Ghoulish Guided Walks

The Key West Ghosts and Gravestones Tour, Key West Historic Tours of America
From coast to coast, America has no shortage of ghost stories. Who better to explain the things that go bump in the night than a local tour guide? Whether you're an aspiring paranormal investigator or just a haunted history buff, these ghost tours are sure to thrill.

Photo: The Key West Ghosts and Gravestones Tour
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The Physick Estate in Cape May, New Jersey Hillary McNamara
Victorian Cape May is known as one of the most haunted towns in America. Paranormal activity is just a way of life here; any year-round resident will tell you which of the town's legendary ghosts they've seen wandering around lately. Psychic medium and paranormal writer Craig McManus has spent a lot of time figuring out exactly which spirits never left and why. The Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour details the first- and second-hand accounts he has unearthed while exploring the town in a fun, intimate setting.

Dates: Year-round

Cost: $12 per adult, $8 per child (ages 3-12)

More Info: Cape May Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts (www.capemaymac.org)

Photo: The Physick Estate in Cape May
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The oldest graveyard in Bar Harbor, Maine Stephen Byrne
Bar Harbor has long been a favorite summer spot of the wealthy and elite, making it the scene of many great scandals over the years (a jilted bride, life-changing bribery, and a murder, for example). These stories, along with the infamous fire of 1947, have certainly given this coastal town some spirits. The Bar Harbor Ghost Tour explores the town's most haunted sites, combining local folklore with history.

Dates: May 1 to October 31

Cost: $15 per adult, $10 per child (ages 6-12)

More Info: Bar Harbor Ghost Tours (www.barharborghosttours.com)

Photo: The oldest graveyard in Bar Harbor
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A cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina Charleston Area CVB
With a tumultuous three centuries under its belt, Charleston has seen its fair share of paranormal activity. Combining ghost stories that are firmly rooted in local lore with more recent sightings, the Ghosts of the South tour is a wildly popular guided stroll through old Charleston. The tour delves into the city's history, stopping at haunted hotels, houses, and graveyards over the course of a mile circuit. It's not recommended for children under 10. 

Dates: Year-round

Cost: $25 per person

More Info: Ghosts of the South (www.charlestonghostsofthesouth.com)
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Cell blocks in the Ohio State Reformatory Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site
The Ohio State Reformatory looks haunted even if you don't know its history. It was designed using Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque, and Queen Anne styles of architecture in an effort to inspire inmates to reclaim their spiritual sides. Today, as the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society Ghost Walk will prove, there are more spiritual sides roaming around this former penitentiary than people.

Dates: Year-round, periodic dates

Cost: $15 per person 

More Info: Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society Ghost Walks (www.mrps.org/ghost-walks)
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The Queen Mary ship at night in Long Beach, California The Queen Mary
Now docked in Long Beach, the famous Queen Mary was used as a troopship during World War II. Over its 75-year history, there have been 49 reported deaths and 239 sailors lost at sea. These former crewmembers are often blamed for the ghostly occurrences on ship, but there are other unexplained sightings: A woman in a white gown haunts the lounge, there's a phantom piano player roaming the decks, and several women in vintage bathing suits have been spotted diving into the shallow pool. On the Queen Mary's Paranormal Ship Walk, guests can join a ghost hunter on a mission to discover more about these spirits.

Dates: Year-round

Cost: $44 per person

More Info: The Queen Mary (www.queenmary.com/tours-exhibits/attractions-night/paranormal-ship-walk/)
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The Hood County Jail in Granbury, Texas Brian Hutson
With the variety of historical figures buried in Granbury, it's no surprise that residents have discovered some otherworldly unrest. You can see the graves of pioneer Davy Crockett's family, outlaw Jesse James, and Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth here—in fact, it's said that Booth still haunts the Opera House. On the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour, actors dressed in Civil War-era clothing lead guests on a haunted history expedition. Sites include the Historic Hood County Jail (pictured), the Nutt House Hotel, the Nutshell Eatery and Bakery (a former saloon), and Hank's (a former bordello).

Dates: The tour runs every Friday and Saturday night from March to mid-December.

Cost: $10 per adult, $7 per child (ages 12 and under) 

More Info: Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour (www.granburytours.com)
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Washington Square Park at night Tom Lhasa/Flickr
The Village, as its known in these parts, has seen some of New York City's bloodiest events: mob hits, the violent Civil War draft riots, crimes of passion, devastating medical plagues, and gruesome accidents. A number of "frightseeing" tours have emerged over the years to recount these tales, but we think the one offered by Haunted Manhattan supplies the most chills. It stops at 13 spots in 90 minutes, from an N.Y.U. dorm where a ghost supposedly haunts an elevator shaft to the Arch in Washington Square Park, which is built atop a massive, and uncomfortably shallow, unmarked graveyard.

Dates: Year-round 

Cost: $25 per adult, $20 per child (ages 16 and under)

More Info: Haunted Manhattan (www.hauntedmanhattan.com)
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