With fall really beginning to kick in, school and work in full swing and Halloween lurking just around that dark, spooky corner, you might be tempted to put off any travel plans until the winter holidays. If you do that, you’ll be missing an incredibly fun and quirky way to get to know a new city, or even a familiar one — a ghost tour.
Virtually every major U.S. city has walking tours that highlight all things creepy and paranormal. With so much rich and often-eerie history embedded in these places, it’s no wonder tour guides have been running successful operations for years. Below are a few ghost tours that promise excursions to die for.
French Quarter Phantoms, New Orleans, La.
No shocker here — the Big Easy is filled with almost as many ghost stories as oyster houses, and tour guides have made it their job to relay the juiciest and most spine-tingling tales to those who dare walk with them through the city.
French Quarter Phantoms has nearly a decade under its belt in the ghost tour business. Tours are led by Master Storytellers, who boast degrees in history, forensic anthropology, music, education, literature and theater. Choose from the business’s ghost and vampire tour, cemetery tour, true crime tour and much more, and remember, Bourbon Street is just around the corner to soothe your raw nerves with a sazerac.
Reservations, ticket rates and more information can be found online at www.frenchquarterphantoms.com.
Spellbound Tours, Salem, Ma.
The city infamous for its 17th-century witch trials should naturally have some prime ghost stories, and the guides of Spellbound Tours are ready to share them with you.
The business’s Voodoo, Vampires and Ghosts Tour takes guests on a trip through the dark side of Salem’s past, including visits to actual locations from the infamous witch trials. Tourgoers will get a chance to see sights like the Old Burying Point cemetery — the final resting place of the Salem Witch Trials’ hanging judge, Judge Hathorne — and other reportedly haunted sites.
Spellbound Tours are offered every night at 8 p.m., from April through Nov. 15. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, tours are also offered at 2 p.m. On October Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the business also offers a 6 p.m. tour. Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $7 for children under 11.
Ghosts & Gravestones, St. Augustine, Fla.
Founded as a Spanish military base in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the country. With a city this old, tales from beyond the grave are sure to pop up. Take a tour with Ghosts & Gravestones to get to know this beautiful city’s spooky underbelly.
The business’s St. Augustine Frightseeing Trolley Tour takes visitors through the city with a Ghost Host, showcasing frightening sites like the Huguenot Cemetery, the final resting place of the victims of yellow fever, the St. Augustine Lighthouse grounds and the Old Jail, which is listed on the Florida and National Registry of Haunted Places.
Tours run from 7–10 p.m., seven days a week, and additional tour times may be available during the Halloween season. Tickets for Ghosts & Gravestones tours, as well as rates and more information, can be found online.
Winter in Boston is a magical experience; from a stroll across the frosted Public Gardens to holiday shopping on Newbury Street, the festive season comes alive in Boston.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips.
A perfect New England holiday season awaits in Central Massachusetts. West of Boston, the state offers plenty of small-town holiday charm and events.
Spain’s capital brims with historical sites, tapas and neighborhoods to explore. Home to world-class art museums, breathtaking architecture and a spectacular dining scene, Madrid is a feast for all senses. If you only have two days to explore the city, don’t worry. We spoke with Four Seasons Hotel Madrid’s concierge team to give you the best insight for your short trip to Madrid.
From the windy tip of Malin Head in County Donegal to the colorful harbor town of Kinsale in County Cork, Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way amazes at every turn. Feel the blast of fresh sea air with a lighthouse walk. Get up close to history, grab a fireside seat at a traditional music session, experience the world-famous Irish hospitality and explore some of Ireland's most exhilarating coastal scenery. It is a place that inspired dreamers and travelers, poets and painters with a landscape filled with stone walls, thatched cottages, deserted beaches and breathtaking views. Charming towns and villages, 1,500 miles of soaring cliffs, incredible landscapes and unique experiences await.
For travelers looking for a dessert escape this holiday season, Oasis at Death Valley awaits. Ancient waters bubble up from the ground to support an entire ecosystem at Oasis at Death Valley, a secluded resort tucked into the dramatic desert setting off Death Valley National Park.