Have you always wondered what it would be like to spend the night in a haunted house? Are you eager to find out if any of the alleged ghost stories are true? What if we told you that there are real haunted houses in the U.S. -- with frequent ghost sightings and reports of otherworldly activity -- that you can actually stay in?
The best part -- you don’t have to wait until Halloween for your annual dose of spookiness.
We’ve identified eight haunted houses that are definitely worth adding to your travel bucket list, and asked travel bloggers and vacationers to share their experiences at some of the scariest haunted houses in the U.S. What they shared has us gritting our teeth and shaking in our boots.
You can judge for yourself. Pack your bags, assemble your ghost protection kit, and allow us to give you the U.S. haunted house inspiration you need to plan a supernatural overnight stay.
1. The Lemp Mansion Restaurant And Inn
St. Louis, Missouri
The first stop on our spooky U.S. haunted house tour is the renowned Lemp Mansion. Located in Benton Park, a vibrant neighborhood nestled in South St. Louis City, Lemp Mansion Restaurant and Inn is bound to bring together the comforts of an ornate, charming Victorian home and a nightly dose of ominous ghost activity.
The house was built in the late 1800s for William J. Lemp Sr., owner of a family brewing company in St. Louis, and his family. After U.S. prohibition banned the production and sale of alcoholic beverages, Lemp sold the brewery in 1919 for only a fraction of what it was worth. Shortly thereafter, he slipped into a major depression and took his own life. Following suit, some members of his family would eventually do the same, trapping their souls in the house and creating the ghostly sightings reported to this day.
Over the years, the house was transformed from the stately home of wealthy families to a decaying boarding house. Today, Lemp Mansion has been restored and functions as a restaurant, theatre, and bed and breakfast for local St. Louisans and vacationers.
Guests of Lemp Mansion can enjoy a delicious meal as a part of a mystery dinner or even go on a ghost tour of the property. You can book a room by reaching out to Lemp Mansion directly. As you finalize your trip plans for the Gateway to the West, be sure to add this spine-chilling venue to your list of haunted houses.
2. Lizzie Borden Bed And Breakfast
Fall River, Massachusetts
The next stop on our haunted house tour is the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast. In the summer of 1892, the bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden were discovered bludgeoned beyond recognition in their own home. The only suspect? Andrew’s daughter, Lizzie Borden.
Capturing the attention of the nation, the Borden case was one of the first crimes in U.S. history to unfold under media spotlight. While many believed that Lizzie had financial motives for the murder -- she feared losing her inheritance to her step-mother Abby Borden -- she was ultimately acquitted as there was no physical evidence to tie her to the crime.
Following the trial, Lizzie and her older sister Emma would live out the rest of their days as spinsters -- ostracized by their neighbors, ridiculed, and morally scrutinized until their deaths.
Over time, the Borden home has been converted into a museum and bed and breakfast where guests can see gruesome photos of the butchered bodies and sleep in one of its reportedly haunted rooms. Legend has it that Lizzie and her family still haunt the home to this day. You can book a room and a tour all in one stay, but you better act fast. The bed and breakfast fills up rather quickly.
The question is, are you brave enough to sleep in the home of an alleged axe-murderer?
3. The Queen Mary
Long Beach, California
Though not exactly a haunted house, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the notorious real-life ghost ship the Queen Mary.
As the story goes, the ocean liner sailed the high seas from 1936 to 1967. During the ship’s first three years at sea, the Queen Mary famously harbored Hollywood celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn and political figures like Dwight Eisenhower. It’s even noted that Winston Churchill signed the D-Day Declaration aboard the Queen Mary in World War II.
However, the ship’s days as a luxury cruiseliner for the rich and famous were short lived. In 1939, the ship was stripped of all its amenities and was reborn as a World War II troopship. During its time, the ship saw its fair share of death -- including the young sailor who was crushed to death by a door in the engine room and a crew member who was murdered in cabin B340.
On Halloween 1967, the Queen Mary departed on its final cruise, eventually docking in Long Beach, California, its final resting place. While the ship was restored to its former glory after having traversed the Atlantic Ocean for almost 20 years, what was lost was never forgotten. To this day, it is said that the spirits of the soldiers who died gruesome deaths aboard the ship still roam the halls, trapped within its iron-plated cabins.
Today, the Queen Mary no longer sails the Atlantic, but it lives on as a floating hotel and restaurant on California’s Pacific coast. Guests are able to enjoy a night of fine dining and stay in one of its room.
If communing with the undead excites you, be sure to plan your visit and participate in activities such as the paranormal ship walk, dining with spirits, and so much more.
4. Talbott Tavern
Next on our tour is Talbott Tavern.
Since the 1700s, the old Talbott Tavern has provided food, shelter, drink, and merriment to the weary Kentucky traveler, including the radical outlaw Jesse James. Visitors continue to pour in from all cardinal directions to stay at this quaint Southern gem. With deliciously hot servings of country cooking such as fried chicken, mac ’n’ cheese, and a side of bourbon from the Bourbon Bar, the Talbott Inn is perfect for any vacation purpose with one little catch -- it’s haunted.
Guests have reported seeing ghostly apparitions of Jesse James and “the lady in white.” They’ve reported paranormal phenomenon such as “forks and glasses on dining tables moving without anyone touching them, keys disappearing from the front desk and showing up down the hall on the floor later that day.”
A spokesperson at the Kentucky Department of Tourism echoed the ghost story reports and told TravelAwaits, “Guests have been known to promptly check out after a night of spooky sightings such as lights flickering, electrical shock, and heaters running mercilessly through the night. Employees have had to deal with items such as keys and glasses moving.”
If you’re brave enough to listen closely during your Talbott Tavern stay, you might even hear the night creatures howling at the moon.
5. National Hotel And Restaurant
Located at the entrance of Tuolumne County, the heart of the California Gold Rush, Jamestown, California is an unforgettable vacation spot for all. With blood-orange sunsets and breathtaking nature views, this charming little miner’s town is two and a half hours outside of San Francisco and is chock full of amenities and unique historic sites, including the National Hotel and Restaurant.
The National Hotel and Restaurant has nine rooms which are beautifully fashioned with fine antiques. Bound to impress each of its guests, this locally lauded gem is known to be frequented by the hotel’s resident ghost -- Flo. The National Hotel is obviously more than just a romantic getaway with an award-winning restaurant; it’s also a haven for paranormal activity.
Ranee Ruble-Dotts, former guest and founder of Portland-based boutique design agency Paper Moon Creative, shared the story of Flo as she understood it from the hotel’s owner. She told TravelAwaits, “Flo traveled to Jamestown to marry her beau, a young attorney whom she had met just six weeks prior to their stay. They arrived in Jamestown, California, just a few days before Christmas and opted to stay at the Historic National Hotel. Enthralled and enamoured by the prospect of marrying her beloved, Flo was devastated to find the love of her life lying face-down in a pool of his own blood. He had been shot to death by some drunken patron who stumbled into the hotel that night. Flo sobbed uncontrollably for days on end. On New Years Eve, the hotel staff discovered Flo dead in her room, wearing her wedding gown, presumably having died of a broken heart.”
Ruble-Dotts went on to share, “I had hoped to meet Flo…but [she must’ve sensed I wanted to speak with her] so [she] avoided me. One couple had lowered the shade for an afternoon nap only to have the shade spring back up as they were lying on the bed. They also described walking through the hallway and feeling an icy cold waft of air pass alongside of them [and] described seeing chains that were strung across the open doorway of unoccupied rooms all swinging although there was no breeze to cause such movement.”
Planning a trip to the National Hotel? Be sure to protect yourself and your loved ones from Flo’s broken-hearted apparition.
6. The Haunted Hotel At 623 Ursulines
New Orleans, Louisiana
If you don’t already believe in ghosts, you will after a stay at the Haunted Hotel at 623 Ursulines in the heart of the Big Easy. That is, if you live to tell the tale…
Alex Tran, an enthusiastic paranormal activity appreciator, travel blogger, and yoga instructor told TravelAwaits, “Stay here if you dare. The spirit of the Axeman, a serial killer from the 1800s, still haunts this hotel.”
The Haunted Hotel At 623 Ursulines was built in 1829 and is said to be the site of nearly a dozen murders and the home of one of the most notorious serial killers in New Orleans. To this day, his identity remains unknown but residents knew him as the Axeman. Like most serial killers -- including the covertly shy Jeffrey Dahmer or the handsomely charming Ted Bundy -- the Axeman lived a very unassuming life as a handyman for the property. He stayed at the hotel through his reign of horror as he left a bloody trail throughout the city. He was never apprehended by the authorities.
Could it be that the ghost of the Axeman and other residents, including the hotel’s owner still roam the halls, wreaking havoc, and striking fear into the hearts of the living? Guests have reported ghostly sightings and paranormal events such as someone resting on the bed or finding pillows ruffled. Additionally, some guests witnessed lights turning on and off at all hours of the night.
If you weren’t shaking in your boots before, then we're positive you will be after one night in this creepy hotel for the dead.
7. Ghost City Inn
The Ghost City Inn in Jerome, Arizona, a town known for its hauntings, lives up to its reputation with a spirit or two lurking behind its historic facade. As the legend goes, the inn originally served as a boarding house for miners. Later, it served a number of purposes -- including a private residence for a wealthy family, a restaurant, a spiritual retreat, a funeral home, and an art gallery.
Jerome, Arizona, was known throughout the early 1900s as the epicenter for various unsavory and risque activities in the American Southwest. Home to many upscale and lower-scale brothels and bordellos, Jerome was open range for those engaging in prostitution. As such, the area proved to be a difficult and dangerous place for the women who “entertained” their patrons there. Some women lost their lives, including the beautiful Sammie Dean, who was strangled by one of her customers. Her murder is a true mystery and remains unsolved to this day.
Allegedly, the historic building is said to be home to a female spirit who is most often seen in the Cleopatra Hill room. Another male spirit has been spied in the hall outside the Verde View Room. Other unusual things occur at the inn, including doors slamming shut by themselves and spectral voices heard when no one is in the building.
The Ghost City Inn welcomes the brave all year long. See if the rumors about this ominous inn and town are true as you make the most of your trip to the American Southwest.
8. The Myrtles Plantation
St. Francisville, Louisiana
Last but certainly not least, The Myrtles Plantation. This haunted house is touted as one of America’s most haunted places. It has been featured in several television shows, books, and even movies.
The plantation is said to be haunted by many ghosts, but its most famous resident is Chloe -- a former slave who was also the mistress of plantation owner Clark Woodruff. Young and eager, she desired to know if she was pleasing to her lover. So, she stealthily snuck up to the doors of his study to listen to his conversations. One day, Chloe was caught by Clark. As punishment for her transgression, he cut off her ears. Chloe vowed revenge on him and poisoned a cake she was asked to bake for him. Instead, his family got to the cake first. They all died, but Clark survived. Fearing persecution, Chloe hung herself on the property.
To this day, guests have reported witnessing the grand piano inside the home playing by itself, repeating the same haunting chord. Others have allegedly reported ghosts of former slaves asking if there’s any house chores that needs to be done. One guest captured a picture of the infamous Chloe, shifting this historical account from legend to something more.
As a bed and breakfast, The Myrtles Plantation continues to draw a lot of visitors and tourists, and is regarded for having impeccable services. There’s just one problem -- getting visitors to stay the full night. The Myrtles plantation has been investigated by paranormal researchers from all over the world, including The Atlantic Paranormal Society team featured in Ghost Hunters.
If a down South vacation is in your near future, be sure to include a night -- or at least part of one -- at the scariest place in the U.S.