These historic hotels offer a scary thrill long after Halloween ends. Take your pick and book a room—if you dare.
Gettysburg Hotel, Gettysburg, PA
Gettysburg Hotel is at the heart of one of the nation’s most haunted places. Guests have reported drawers opening on their own and seeing apparitions of wounded soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Rachel, the Gettysburg Hotel’s most famous ghost, wanders the halls in search of the dead she couldn’t save. In the 1800s, when the hotel was a tavern turned sick bay, a Union Soldier named James Culbertson died—and it’s said that he never left. If cold spots pop up, Culbertson’s spirit may be close by.
The hotel is in the heart of downtown and across the street from where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. It’s also conveniently close to other historical sites, from the Gettysburg Battlefield to Devil’s Den, a natural rock formation where one of the most gruesome clashes of the Civil War took place. If you’re a history buff with a curiosity about ghosts, Gettysburg can’t be missed.
Queen Mary Hotel, Long Beach, CA
This spooky ship in Long Beach isn’t for the faint of heart: Queen Mary Hotel appeared on Ghost Hunters and Britain’s Most Haunted. Once a lavish cruise liner in the 1930s, it transited soldiers to the frontline in World War II. The spirits of crew members and passengers have played innocent tricks on guests for decades. But others aren’t as subtle: expect flickering lights, slamming doors, screams, and more.
Unlike other haunted hotels, Queen Mary likes to give their guests a scare on weekend paranormal investigation tours. For extra thrills and chills, they recently reopened its most haunted cabin, Stateroom B340, after 30 years. It comes with a Ouija board, a crystal ball, tarot cards … and plenty of spirits, according to the general manager, Stephen Sowards. (To some, the $499 per night price tag might be the scariest thing of all.)
Casa Monica Resort & Spa, St. Augustine, FL
Guests who claim that the Casa Monica Resort & Spa is haunted aren’t alone: even staff can attest to bizarre incidents. Located in downtown St. Augustine, a slew of tragedies made the upper floors a hotbed for paranormal activity. Housekeepers have reported hearing children running down vacant hallways and handprints appearing in the mirrors of the Flagler Suite. Many refuse to clean suites on the 4th floor without being accompanied.
The hotel was popular during the roaring 20s, and its resident spirits still like to dance: ghosts in formal attire are said to waltz through the lobby late at night. If you can’t get enough of the hotel’s atmosphere, take the Dark of the Moon tour at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. You might see the shadows of the dead or witness furniture moving by itself.
Bally’s, Las Vegas, NV
A Vegas vacation isn’t complete without hitting the casinos—how about trying your luck by booking a room in the city’s most haunted? Before there was Bally’s on the Strip, there was the palatial MGM Grand Hotel. Tragedy struck on November 21, 1980 when a fire tore through the top floor and spread rapidly due to a lack of exits and alarms. 87 guests died, and some stayed behind to haunt the halls.
From the time that MGM reopened as Bally’s, guests have attested to smelling smoke and seeing a female spirit whose dress is on fire. It’s common for guests to hear screams and moans in the stairwells—the only exits were on the first and last floors. Ghosts have reportedly wandered around the slots in a group of 12, and card dealers have claimed to witness ‘players’ vanish into thin air.
Hotel Monte Vista, Flagstaff, AZ
After exploring the Grand Canyon, head back to your room to get some shut eye… if you can. Located off Route 66 and two hours north of Phoenix, the Hotel Monte Vista is one of Flagstaff’s eeriest historic landmarks. The hotel is so haunted that the bar, Rendezvous, serves a special blend of coffee called Ghost Story.
Famous stories of hauntings in the hotel started with John Wayne: Wayne stayed in room 210 and heard someone call “room service,” but no one was at the door. Legend has it that the call came from a bellboy who insists on helping guests from beyond the grave. Hotel Monte Vista also boarded real cowboys and bandits, including a bank robber who died while drinking. Guests have reported an unearthly presence at the bar, and staff swear that the rocking chair in room 305 is possessed.