Posted October 18, 2022

Top Spooky Destinations in the U.S.


When you were a kid, Halloween was a time to wear costumes and knock on doors and essentially beg strangers for candy. When you were a bit older, Halloween was a time to wear costumes and flirt with strangers and party. And now? Halloween is a sneaky-good excuse to travel. Maybe “Spooky vacations” aren’t a thing, but perhaps they should be. Themed vacations have merit. A theme can spice up your trip, give it focus, and you can do worse than spooky. (Also, real talk? You’re probably not going to spend your entire trip doing spooky things, so we’ve chosen destinations that also have plenty more to offer.)

Photo by Carlos Nunez

5 Spooky Destinations:

Boston / Salem
1692. Over 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. Thirty were convicted. 19 were killed. For the next three centuries and counting, ghosts and apparitions are said to haunt the cemeteries and streets of Salem. An easy way to soak up the spookiness is Kimpton’s new “Witch Way to Salem?” package, starting from the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston, which provides roundtrip private car service to Salem, two tickets to Witch City Walking Tours, Candy Caldron (because of course), an in-room (spooky) movie, and two witchcraft cocktails (think apothecary style).

Kimpton Nine Zero, Boston, MA, Photo by @jeffmindell

San Francisco
Alcatraz is known for more than just “The Rock” and bad Sean Connery imitations: the inmates who have been confined to the solitary misery of “The Hole” — which often led to psychological damage — are said to exact their revenge by haunting the island. And at The Curran Theatre, in 1933, a man once pulled a gun on the ticket-taker and demanded to see “Show Boat.” (Apparently the “Hamilton” of its day.) The ticket-taker was shot and killed, and allegedly his ghost still haunts the theater…as do ghosts throughout the city at the Queen Anne Hotel, the Haskell House, and Stow Lake at Golden Gate Park. And good news for lovers of all things spooky, the Kimpton Alton Hotel is in the middle of it all.

Kimpton Alton Hotel, San Francisco, CA, Photo by @evmeg

San Antonio
March 6, 1836. This was the final day of the battle of the Alamo, a thirteen-day siege that killed thousands of soldiers. The battle cry “Remember the Alamo” was born… as were rumors that the ghosts of these soldiers remained to haunt the stone building. They’re not alone. Some locals swear that poltergeists have creepily lingered at the Aztec Theater, Emily Morgan Hotel, and San Fernando Cathedral — ghosts are kind of a thing in San Antonio.

New Orleans
Voodoo queens. Warlocks. The occult. Cemetery tours. Ghosts of yellow-fever victims. At the French Quarter’s “Boutique du Vampyre,” the proprietors happily sell their wares to both humans and vampires. It’s the setting for “True Blood,” “American Horror Story Coven,” and of course “Interview with a Vampire.” It’s arguably the spookiest city in the nation if not the world. (It is also, of course, guaranteed to entertain you in every other respect.) Grab a room at Kimpton Hotel Fontenot and keep the spooky times rolling.

New Orleans, LA

New York
True, New York’s calling card or claim to fame is not “spooky,” but the city likes to be good at everything, so of course it can deliver the haunted thrills. At The White Horse Tavern, for example, the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas drank 18 shots of whiskey before dying in 1953, and allegedly his ghost still skulks the bar (drink in hand). St. Mark’s Church, Morris Jumel-Mansion, and One if by Land, Two if by Sea are all famous for alleged ghost-sightings. And is there anything creepier than an abandoned psychiatric center (which performed lobotomies and electroshock therapy), which you can find at Kings Park in Long Island? Actually maybe there is: The legendary Sleepy Hollow itself, only an hour away by train, where you can find haunted houses, haunted hay rides, and maybe a chance encounter with the Headless Horseman. It’s not haunted, but the Kimpton Eventi Hotel is still pretty cool.