10 of the spookiest ghost tours around the country

From the olden Puritan graves of Boston to the darker side of glamorous Hollywood, America has no shortage of ghosts.

We look at 10 ghost tours with AAA savings where members can get up close to the spectral realm.

1. Austin Ghosts

Austin, Texas

"Keep Austin Weird" is this city's official slogan, and there are few things weirder than its ghostly past. The Austin Ghosts tour begins at the downtown Omni Hotel, where it's said that a guest who leapt to his death still haunts his room (and, allegedly, the hotel's billing system too).

An even more haunted hotel on the tour is the Driskill Hotel, whose namesake and owner Jesse Driskill lost it in a game of poker soon after opening. His phantom is still there today, perhaps trying to win it back. He shares his haunt with a number of other ghosts, including an uncanny portrait of a child and a jilted bride. But the most famous are President Lyndon Johnson and wife Lady Bird, who enjoyed their first date at the Driskill and came to love the place. Visit the ballroom and perhaps you too will catch a glimpse of the 36th president.

AAA members save over 30% on the Austin Ghosts standard tour

Visit 8 haunted locations around Austin on this 60-minute, 1-mile walking tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

John Hancock's grave in Boston

2. Boston Ghosts

Boston, Massachusetts

From the first English Puritan settlers in the 1600s to the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, there's no getting around Boston's central role in early American history. It's no surprise, then, that Boston would also be one of the most haunted places in the country.

The tour includes a visit to the Puritan graves at King's Chapel, Boston's oldest cemetery. After centuries of use, there are far more buried dead here than gravestones, and it's rumored that at least 1 person was buried alive, so don't be surprised if specters come out after dark. Other highlights include the ghosts of Boston Common, many of whom were hanged by the British; and the revolutionaries buried at the Granary Burying Ground, including Crispus Attucks, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams.

AAA members save over 30% on the Boston Ghosts standard tour

Visit 8 haunted locations around Boston on this 60-minute, 1-mile walking tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

3. LA Ghosts

Los Angeles, California

Many aspiring performers have dreamt of the bright lights of Hollywood Boulevard. Almost as many dreams have died there, along with more than a few of the dreamers. The LA Ghosts tour explores this ghastly past at historic places like the Chinese Theatre, Magic Castle, and Roosevelt Hotel.

The Roosevelt in particular is said to be a "playground for the dead," according to the tour's website. Many spirits call it home, most notably Marilyn Monroe, whose apparition has been seen in the Roosevelt suite where she lived for 2 years—and which guests can stay in to this day. The Magic Castle is another focus of paranormal activity, including a piano played by an unseen spirit who takes song requests.

AAA members save over 45% on the LA Ghosts standard tour

Visit 8 haunted locations around Hollywood on this 60-minute, 1-mile walking tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans

4. French Quarter Phantoms

New Orleans, Louisiana

For centuries, New Orleans has been a bustling melting pot of cultures, religions, and superstitions from Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and beyond. French Quarter Phantoms offers 3 different tours that each take in an important part of the Big Easy's haunted past and spooky present:

  • The Saints & Sinners tour of the French Quarter is the spookiest of the bunch, focusing on New Orleans' conflicted past of revelers, outlaws, missionaries, and priests. The famed voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau factors in heavily—her spirit has been seen at the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.
  • The Garden District/Lafayette Cemetery tour visits some of the city's grandest mansions, along with the magnolias and crape myrtles that provide respite from the Southern summer. Then it's off to the oft-filmed Lafayette Cemetery, the oldest burial ground in town and home to more than a few undead notables.
  • The Treme tour focuses on the rich music and culture of America's oldest African-American neighborhood. Learn about Creole history, hear the music of Treme, and visit the Tomb of the Unknown Slave.

AAA members save on top attractions with a Go City New Orleans Pass

The 3 French Quarter Phantoms tours above are all included with a New Orleans All-Inclusive Pass from Go City. Each tour is about 2 hours long and 1 mile of walking.

Learn more and buy online

Gettysburg National Military Park

5. Civil War Ghosts

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Thousands of soldiers died over the course of just 3 days at the Battle of Gettysburg, making it the deadliest battle of the Civil War, and one of the nation's most haunted spots. Civil War Ghosts takes visitors through the town of Gettysburg to hear authentic tales of troops and residents alike, from the first arrival of the armies to the thousands of wounded who filled the town's buildings—many of whom succumbed.

Visit the Farnsworth House, used by the Confederate army as a headquarters, hospital, and sniper's nest. Holes riddle one side of the building, allegedly from Union soldiers returning fire. Also included is the home (now a museum) where 20-year-old Jennie Wade was struck and killed by a stray bullet, becoming the only civilian casualty of Gettysburg. Learn about Jennie's tragic story, and see for yourself whether her ghost still roams her home. 

AAA members save over 25% on the Civil War Ghosts standard tour

Visit 7 locations around Gettysburg on this 60-minute, 0.8-mile walking tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

‘Iolani Palace in Honululu

6. Honolulu Haunts

Honolulu, Hawai‘i

The Aloha State isn't all fun in the sun; America's favorite tropical destination has plenty of dark history if you know where to look. Honolulu Haunts explores the capital's supernatural side, starting with the only royal palace in the United States. ‘Iolani Palace isn't far from an ancient burial ground for Hawaiian royalty, but the former residence of Hawai‘i's kings and queens is most notorious for being the place where the Hawaiian monarchy was deposed and Queen Liliʻuokalani was imprisoned in the 1890s.

Though the queen is interred at the Mauna ‘Ala Royal Mausoleum, some have claimed to see her visage, smell her beloved cigars, or hear her tapping piano keys to this day.

AAA members save over 30% on the Honolulu Haunts standard tour

Visit 8 locations around Honolulu on this 60-minute, 1-mile walking tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

7. Colonial Ghosts

Williamsburg, Virginia

The arrival of European colonists in Williamsburg was the beginning of centuries of conflict—between colonists and Native Americans, between alleged witches and self-described witch-hunters, and eventually between the two sides of the bloody American Civil War.

Colonial Ghosts unearths that troubled past at sites like the Peyton Randolph House museum, whose construction disturbed an Indian burial ground. Another is the Kimball Theatre, where a young Union officer made a grisly discovery about a dead Confederate soldier during the Civil War.

AAA members save over 30% on the Colonial Ghosts standard tour

Visit up to 12 locations around Colonial Williamsburg on this 60-minute, 1-mile walking tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

The Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida

8. Old City Ghosts

St. Augustine, Florida

A few states down the coast from old Williamsburg is the even older town of St. Augustine, founded by Spain more than 450 years ago. Because the town is so old, many of its most haunted locations have since become everyday cafes, inns, and parks. The Old City Ghosts tour peels back the centuries at places like the Moon and Sun Cafe and A1A Ale Works to rediscover a history rich with native peoples, conquistadors, pirates, and honest folks just trying to make a living.

St. Augustine's most notorious attraction is almost certainly the Castillo de San Marcos fortress. Built by the Spaniards to protect the town from English invasion and frequently besieged, it would go on to serve as a prison for American revolutionaries, Native Americans, and deserters, many of whom died there. Their stories are available on the extended Old City Ghosts tour, an optional add-on that visits the fort.

AAA members save 30% on the Old City Ghosts standard tour

Visit up to 8 locations around St. Augustine on this 60-minute, 1-mile walking tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

9. Windy City Ghosts

Chicago, Illinois

Frightening history is in ample supply in the Windy City, especially in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park. It's one of the many areas devastated by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It also saw violence during the Prohibition-era gang wars, including the notorious Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.

Windy City Ghosts lets ghost-hunters explore this troubled past, including how much of Lincoln Park was built atop the city's old cemetery after the Great Fire destroyed it. The wooden headstones are gone, but not the dead (or their spirits). Al Capone's ghost is frequently spotted here, as is that of fellow gangster John Dillinger—shot and killed at Lincoln Park's own Biograph Theater, a stop on this tour.

AAA members save over 30% on the Windy City Ghosts standard tour

Visit 8 spots around Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood on this 60-minute, 1-mile tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

10. Cincinnati Ghosts

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood doesn't look all that spooky to the uninitiated. There's Washington Park, Taft's Ale House brewpub, the Symphony Hotel, all with charming 19th-century architecture. A knowledgeable guide with Cincinnati Ghosts, however, can show you the supernatural side of each one.

Washington Park, for example, was a cemetery before it was a park, and it's alleged that hundreds of small skeletons were found during construction of the parking garage. Taft's Ale House occupies a formerly abandoned church whose steeple was destroyed by fire, but whose ghosts remain. And the Symphony Hotel, first built as a private mansion, was home to seedier hotels in the 1800s and early 1900s. See these and more on a Cincinnati Ghosts tour.

AAA members save over 30% on the Cincinnati Ghosts standard tour

Visit 8 locations in Cincinnati on this 60-minute, 1-mile walking tour.

Learn more and buy tickets online

Save on ghost tours nationwide with AAA Tickets

Get tickets for the tours above for less, find other tours (including San Diego Ghosts, Denver Terrors, Gatlinburg Haunts, and many more), and save on tickets to Halloween theme park attractions, too.

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