The Key West Ghosts and Gravestones Tour, Key West
Historic Tours of America

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

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.
The Physick Estate in Cape May, New Jersey
Hillary McNamara
Cape May, New Jersey
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: $30 per adult, $25 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
advertisement
The oldest graveyard in Bar Harbor, Maine
Stephen Byrne
Bar Harbor, Maine
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: Wednesdays through Mondays, May 1 to October 31

Cost: $18 per adult, $10 per child (ages 6-12). Advance reservations required.

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

Photo: The oldest graveyard in Bar Harbor
A cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina
Tetra84 / Shutterstock
Charleston, South Carolina
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: Three tours nightly, year-round

Cost: $30 per person ($25 if you book online and in advance)

More Info: Ghosts of the South (www.charlestonghostsofthesouth.com)
advertisement
Cell blocks in the Ohio State Reformatory
Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site
Mansfield, Ohio
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 Ghost Hunts will prove, there are more spiritual sides roaming around this former penitentiary than people. And yes, this is the prison used as a set for The Shawshank Redemption.

Dates: Periodic Fridays and Saturdays, year round

Cost: $99 per person for a hunt. There are private and public ones available, along with more standard ghost walks.

More Info: Mansfield Reformatory  (www.mrps.org/paranormal)
Sunset on the beach in Honolulu
EarthScape ImageGraphy / Shutterstock
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Master storytellerLopaka Kapanui has been leading ghost walks in Hawaii since 1997, each of which try, in his own words, to pull back "the thin veil that separates our world from the place where the shadows talk back." He gives his participants "chicken skin" with tales of the Night Marchers, dog demons, witches, and shape shifters who come out once the tropical sun has set.

Dates: Year-round

Cost: $40 per person, groups limited to 25 participants, so advance reservations are a must.

More Info: Mysteries of Hawaii (https://mysteries-of-hawaii.com)
advertisement
The Hood County Jail in Granbury, Texas
Nicolas Henderson / Flickr
Granbury, Texas
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)
Washington Square Park at night
Tom Lhasa/Flickr
Greenwich Village, New York City, New York
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)
advertisement
A Denver Ghostly Pub Crawl
Nightly Spirits
And a Bonus: A Scary Pub Crawl Near You
What makes ghost sightings even more likely? Well, the stars could align...or you might put back a pint or two at a historic watering hole. The company Nightly Spirits hosts creepy pub crawls in major cities across the U.S., from Austin to New Orleans (pictured) to Washington, DC (there are 19 cities in all). Each takes its themes from local history, so in Chicago you'll be haunted by gangsters, in Salem witches are the focus, in Tampa deceased rum runners are discussed, you get the picture.

Dates: Year-round

Cost: Varies by city and type of tour (in addition to pub crawls, there are food tours, and haunted walks)

More info: Nightly Spirits (http://nightlyspirits.com)
advertisement