Dark tourism and haunted attractions have been a growing trend in the United States, with over 300k searches for haunted house in the US alone during the past year. As the season changes, the crisp air and the rustling of autumn leaves are sure to send tingles down your spine. Fall is officially here and people are ready to get spooky just in time for Halloween. But did you know some of your favorite tourist attractions are actually haunted?
Holidu, the search engine for vacation rentals, set its mission to find out which are the must-visit haunted destinations in the United States. The US is home to some of the most haunted attractions in the world, which means there was fierce competition. This list will take you on a journey through real life haunted houses, demonic dolls, and celebrity haunts. Start creating your perfect spooky season bucket list now with Holidu’s top 10 most popular haunted US tourist destinations to help you get into the Halloween spirit! These bone chilling picks were found using the Google searches and the data highlighted that:
- The Brooklyn Bridge took first prize as the most searched haunted attraction
- California dominates the list with 3 of the top 10 spooky spots!
- Florida & Pennsylvania have a haunted face-off, each having 2 locations in the top 10
1. Brooklyn Bridge: Brooklyn, NY – 110k+ Google searches in past year
Do you have the nerves to visit our number one on the list? This one may surprise you! Coming in first is one you may have visited before and never even knew was haunted, that’s right, we are talking about the Brooklyn Bridge. Construction took over 13 years (spooky) and 20 workers have died over the course of its construction. There have been sightings of headless figures and most notably a stampede on the bridge that tragically left 12 civilians dead after a rumor of its collapse. There have also been reports of shadowy figures and screams on this bridge. Scared yet? Grab a friend and join one of the many ghost tours offered in Brooklyn to get your fright on this Halloween!
2. The Alamo: San Antonio, TX – 110k+ Google searches in past year
The next fright fest on our list is in San Antonio, Texas. The battle of the Alamo in 1836 was a moment ingrained into Texas’ history, as the Republic of Texas lost the fight with Mexico, and virtually all Texan soldiers perished. With such a bloody battle, it makes sense why the site of this historic event would have so much unrest, but did you know the Alamo is actually one of San Antonio’s most haunted locations? This gruesome battle had only one survivor and to this day, it is rumored, on the south side of its roof, you can spot an apparition of a guard. People have also reported feeling overwhelming emotions to the point of tears just walking through the building. You can catch one of the local ghost tours that is put on at the Alamo for a spooky adventure on your next trip, but only enter if you dare!
3. Stanley Hotel: Estes Park, CO – 74k+ Google searches in past year
This next sprawling mansion is set in the Rocky Mountains and has a bone chilling atmosphere. This four-storied building has over 138 rooms, many of which housed famous guests, including Stephen King, who actually used it for the inspiration for his book; The Shining. Many paranormal shows have even documented evidence of the reported activity in the hotel, including the most known, Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. It is said that Room 418 is the most haunted room, some say you can hear the ghosts of children playing. Room 217 is also quite active, doors are rumored to open and close by themselves, as well as have lights turn on and off. Are you brave enough to visit the real life Shining hotel?
4. Philadelphia Zoo: Philadelphia, PA – 60.5k+ Google searches in past year
Are you ready to test your bravery with this next one? As one of the most haunted places in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Zoo opened in 1874. The source of its paranormal activity is rumored to be due to it being built on Native American burial grounds, but this has not been confirmed. Most famously, Ghost Hunters investigated the most known haunted areas including the Solitude House, the Penrose Building, and the Shelley Building. Here they captured evidence of shadow figures disembodied voices, and doors slamming! Frightening!
5. Biltmore Hotel: Coral Gables, FL – 60.5k+ Google searches in past year
This next haunted hotel is located in Miami-Dade County. The Biltmore opened its doors in 1926 and has housed many famous guests including Judy Garland, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Al Capone. The 13th floor is said to be the most haunted due to the famous mobster Fatty Welch who was fatally shot directly on this floor. He is known for being a trickster, especially towards women, and is said you can smell his smoke at random moments throughout the 13th floor. Could you face the ghost that allegedly wandered these halls?
6. Robert the Doll: Key West, FL – 60.5k+ Google searches in past year
If haunted and dolls don’t sit well with you, this next one is sure to give you a fright. Robert the Doll is housed at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, which is one of the most haunted sights in the state. This cursed doll is a master of mischief with previous owners claiming to be terrorized by the doll and even that it moved on its own. Now the doll is locked in a glass display at the museum for safekeeping so it cannot wreak immense havoc on anyone else. It is however still known to haunt those who dare to take a photo or disrespect the doll. Would you be able to sleep after visiting this spooky Museum?
7. Winchester Mystery House: San Jose, CA – 60.5k+ Google searches in past year
One of our more bizarre places on the list comes straight out of a scary movie. The Winchester Mystery House has been a puzzle since its creation in 1884 in San Jose, California. After the death of her husband and infant daughter, a psychic told Sarah Winchester that she needed to confuse the spirits, so she would also not have an early death. Thus born the Winchester Mystery House, with 12 million visitors every year, this house contains 160 rooms, 47 staircases, 2,000 doors, some of which lead to nowhere. Touring this property is a must if you don’t mind a gentle tug here or there from the spirits. This house does tours year round but just in time for Halloween this autumn you can book their new seasonal special events including a ‘Lost In The House Tour’ with a theatrical paranormal investigation, and a trip through their Victorian gardens on the Jack O’ Lantern Trail.
8. Beverly Hills Hotel: Beverly Hills, CA – 49.5k+ Google searches in past year
One of the best-known hotels worldwide the Beverly Hills Hotel is synonymous with Hollywood, but did you know it is also known for its celebrity haunts? Just off the Sunset Strip, one of its many celebrity guests include Actor Peter Finch who, in the lobby, had a heart attack and is said to still haunt the grounds. Many have also reported seeing the apparition of the famous composer Sergei Rachmaninoff or hearing the music of renowned harpist Harpo Marx.
9. Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia, PA – 40.5k+ Google searches in past year
Known for its torture methods, Eastern State Penitentiary was not for the faint-hearted. Featured on Scariest Places on Earth, Ghost Adventures, and Ghost Hunters, this abandoned penitentiary is known for its ghosts. From full-bodied apparitions to lurking dark presences, this penitentiary’s troubled past has definitely earned its place on the top 10 list. They do both day and night tours most days of the week if you can handle the haunted. They also have a special Halloween Festival, including haunted houses and themed bars if you want to be festive without the risk of getting too close to the unseen.
10. Chateau Marmont: Los Angeles, CA – 40.5k+ Google searches in past year
The 10th and final place on the list is Chateau Marmont, this haunted inn is also known for its celebrity hauntings. John Belushi, in Bungalow 3, was pronounced dead and to this day it is reported guests still feel like they are being watched in this area. Although Room 79 is said to be the most haunted, with reports of furniture moving, unexplained knocks on the door, and even a floating head!! Creeped out yet?
Discover the rest of the ranking in the table below:
|Ranking||Attraction||City||State||Google searches in past year|
|1||Brooklyn Bridge||Brooklyn||New York||110,000|
|2||The Alamo||San Antonio||Texas||110,000|
|3||Stanley Hotel||Estes Park||Colorado||74,000|
|5||Biltmore Hotel||Coral Gables||Florida||60,500|
|6||Robert The Doll||Key West||Florida||60,500|
|7||Winchester Mystery House||San Jose||California||60,500|
|8||Eastern State Penitentiary||Philadelphia||Pennsylvania||40,500|
|9||Beverly Hills Hotel||Beverly Hills||California||49,500|
|10||Chateau Marmont||Los Angeles||California||40,500|
|11||Amityville Horror House||Amityville||New York||33,100|
|13||Queen Mary Ship||Long Beach||California||27,100|
|14||Pennhurst Asylum||Spring City||Pennsylvania||27,100|
|15||The Conjuring House||Harrisville||Rhode Island||22,200|
|16||Oak Alley Plantation||Vacherie||Louisiana||22,200|
|17||Cecil Hotel||Los Angeles||California||22,200|
|18||Lizzie Borden House||Fall RIver||Massachusetts||18,100|
|19||Waverly Hills Sanatorium||Louisville||Kentucky||18,100|
|22||Alcatraz Island||San Francisco||California||14,800|
|23||Castillo De San Marcos||St. Augustine||Florida||14,800|
|24||Union Station Kansas City||Kansas City||Missouri||14,800|
|26||Castle Hill Inn||Newport||Rhode Island||14,800|
|27||Crescent Hotel||Eureka Springs||Arkansas||14,800|
|29||Round Valley Reservoir||Clinton Township||New Jersey||12,100|
|30||Woodlawn Cemetery||Forest Park||Illinois||12,100|
|31||Pine Barrens||Pemberton Township||New Jersey||12,100|
|32||Biltmore Mansion||Asheville||North Carolina||9,900|
|33||Bannerman Castle||Beacon||New York||9,900|
|34||Ohio State Reformatory||Mansfield||Ohio||9,900|
|35||Brentwood Restaurant||Little River||South Carolina||9,900|
|36||Yosemite View Lodge||El Portal||California||9,900|
|37||Bell Witch Cave||Adams||Tennessee||9,900|
|38||Point Defiance Park||Tacoma||Washington||8,100|
|40||Cavalier Hotel||Virginia Beach||Virginia||8,100|
|41||The Knickerbocker Hotel||Linesville||Pennsylvania||8,100|
|42||Menger Hotel||San Antonio||Texas||8,100|
|43||Rancho Los Amigos||Downey||California||8,100|
|46||Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel||Los Angeles||California||6,600|
|48||Nazareth Hospital||Mineral Wells||Texas||6,600|
|49||St James Hotel New Mexico||Cimarron||New Mexico||5,400|
|50||The Drake Hotel||Chicago||Illinois||5,400|
The study was conducted using US Google Search Volume to find the most searched for attractions with a history of haunting. From the Haunted Journeys database (hauntedjourneys.com) we included more than 350 haunted destinations, first we filtered out all results that were not in the United States. Then we compiled a ranking based on the attractions that have been searched for the most on Google in the past year. In the event of a tie, we gave priority to those with the best ratings on Google.
Source: News release