21 Creepy Travel Destinations Across The US That Live Rent-Free In My Nightmares

You can visit all the "haunted" attractions in the world, but there's something particularly unsettling about being in a space where real tragedy occurred — or a place where unexplained phenomenon have become the norm.

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If you're craving a real scare this Halloween, head to one of the destinations on the list — including eerie asylums, prisons, and mansions. Our advice? Go with a friend.

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1.The Stanley Hotel, Colorado

Sprawling white hotel with a red roof

Ever read Stephen King's novel The Shining? Or seen the Jack Nicholson film of the same name? The haunting story was inspired by the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. In addition to the eerie association, guests have reported hearing mysterious piano music and seeing ghosts.

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2.Ohio State Reformatory, Ohio

Man stands outside cells

The Ohio State Reformatory is as creepy as it looks. The looming, Gothic facade hid inhumane conditions, and more than 200 people are said to have died in the reformatory before it closed in 1990. Now, the building, which was the filming location for The Shawshank Redemption, is said to house several ghosts — including an old guard who jabs visitors with his baton.

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3.Jonathan Corwin House, Massachusetts

Old grey house

The Jonathan Corwin House, also known as the Witch House, is the only structure you can visit in Salem with direct ties to the Salem witch trials. The almost 400-year-old home was originally owned by Judge Jonathan Corwin, the man who sentenced 19 people to death for witchcraft. Cold spots and strange presences have been reported in the home, which is now a museum.

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4.Lake Placid, New York

Mist on Lake Placid

As the story goes: In 1933, Mabel Smith Douglass went for a row on Lake Placid and disappeared without a trace. Her body was found — almost 30 years later — at the bottom of the lake, almost perfectly preserved by the cold water. Sightings of Mabel's ghost have become so common that she's become known as “The Lady in the Lake."

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5.Winchester Mystery House, California

Old house lit up at night

The sunny city of San Jose is the unlikely home of this extremely bizarre and extremely creepy house. The Winchester Mystery House was once the home of Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, a woman who moved out West after losing her daughter and husband. Sarah purchased an eight-room farmhouse and over the course of her lifetime turned it into a 160-room mansion that is as creepy as it is beautiful.

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6.Armour–Stiner House, New York

Pink victorian home

Just a few minutes south of Sleepy Hollow is the Armour–Stiner House, a building that is as beautiful as it is creepy. The Victorian-style, octagon-shaped house is said to be connected to the spirit world, with reports of otherworldly encounters and events — including sightings of "The Lady in White."

Courtesy of The Lombardi Family

7.Hotel del Coronado, California

Black and white photo of a beachfront hotel

These days, the Hotel del Coronado, which is owned by Hilton, appears to be just another beautiful, beachfront hotel. But look a little deeper and you'll discover that the historic property has a dark history. The hotel is said to be haunted by the spirit of Kate Morgan, whose body was found on a staircase in 1892.

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8.Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Red lighthouse on a rugged shoreline

On the shores of Lake Superior is a beautiful, unassuming lighthouse — but look a bit closer and, as some say, you might see a small girl looking out from the building's upper floor. The figure has been seen by many and is believed to be the ghost of a child who was left behind by her mother and father.

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9.Talbott Tavern, Kentucky

Brick wall of an old inn

Talbott Tavern is 240 years old, so as you might expect, there's been plenty of spooky sightings over the years. Legend has it that outlaw Jesse James has been seen walking the hallways, as has a pale woman wearing a white dress. The hauntings are so real that many guests have been known to check out early after a night of strange occurrences — including items being moved and lights flickering.

Courtesy of Bardstown/Nelson Co. Tourism & Convention Commission

10.Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania

Exterior of a penitentiary that looks like a castle

Within the looming walls of this castle-like penitentiary, solitary confinement was taken to the next level. Prisoners lived alone, ate alone, exercised alone, and were hooded anytime they had to leave their cell. Even after the solitary system was disbanded, there are reports of brutal punishments.

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11.King's Tavern, Mississippi

Old wood and brick building

King’s Tavern has a long and dark history. Perhaps most notably (and creepily), bodies were found in the chimney, and the tavern was the location of many tragic tales — including that of Madeline, who was killed by the tavern owner's wife after she learned of her husband's affair with Madeline. The tavern is currently vacant and for sale.

Courtesty of King’s Tavern

12.Sica Hollow State Park, South Dakota

Wooded trail over a red stream

Sica Hollow State Park is beautiful in the fall, but don't let the bright-colored leaves fool you. According to legend, the Sioux named this area Sica, which means “evil” or “bad,” because the streams are blood-red (caused by iron deposits), and the phosphorous in rotting tree stumps made the wood appear to be a glowing green. Even today, visitors report hearing drums and war whoops, and some have spotted Bigfoot-type creatures prowling the woods.

Courtesy of Sica Hollow State Park

13.Providence City Hall, Rhode Island

Historical photo of the City Hall

It is said that 12 men lost their lives building Providence City Hall, a central structure that casts an eerie spell over the entire city. Even today, people report hearing unexplained footsteps or voices and smelling cigar smoke.

Courtesy of Go Providence / Via Providence Public Library

14.Cheyenne Depot Museum, Wyoming

The steeple of an old brick building

In addition to being a National Historic Landmark, the Cheyenne Depot Museum is allegedly haunted by three entities: a woman in a black dress, a man who reportedly fell to his death while painting the top floor, and an angry ghost. You can check out the depot, and several of Cheyenne's other haunted places on the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley.

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15.Sallie House, Kansas

White house with a tree in front of it

As the story goes, Sallie was a 6-year-old girl who died a horrible and painful death on the operating table. The house where she died — which once served as the operating room of a physician — continues to be haunted, with incidents reported up until the early 1990s. Brave (and perhaps, foolish) souls can even spend the night in the haunted house.

Courtesy of Visit KC

16.Camp Helen State Park, Florida

Remains of a pier leading out to the ocean at sunset

Even the sunny state of Florida has eerie sightings. Three spirits are said to inhabit Camp Helen State Park in Panama City Beach: Rose, a young woman who was killed after her ship ran aground; a little boy who wandered away from his nanny and drowned; and Captain Phillips, whose voice was heard yelling angrily, "This is my house. Get out of my house!"

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17.The Driskill, Texas

The exterior of an old hotel

The Driskill hotel in Austin, Texas has a history that dates back to 1886 — so as you might guess, it has its fair share of mysterious events and surreal sightings. Two women jolted by lovers centuries apart are said to have died in room 525, and a young girl tripped on the grand staircase and died. All are said to haunt the hotel.

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18.Brighton Asylum, New Jersey

Brighton Asylum, New Jersey

This asylum has such a dark past that it has been transformed into a popular haunted attraction. But don't let the ghost tours and escape rooms detract from the asylum's actual past, which includes disappearing patients and extreme violence.


19.Calcasieu Courthouse, Louisiana

Courthouse sitting on a green lawn

After a former sex worker, Toni Jo Henry, killed a man in 1940, she became the first (and only) woman to be executed by the electric chair in Louisiana. Her spirit is said to have remained in the courthouse, and some have even said they can smell her burning hair.

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20.Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia

Foggy day at the asylum

Conditions at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum are said to have been horrible. At its peak, the asylum housed over 2,400 patients — even though it was built to hold only 250. The asylum remained open until 1994, and now, ghost tours provide an all-too-real peek into how many patients lived and died.

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21.Lizzie Borden House, Massachusetts

Woman sits in front of house

The Lizzie Borden house (now a bed and breakfast) is at the top of the list for those looking for a haunted experience. In the house, a girl named Lizzie was accused of brutally killing her father and stepmother. Since then, guests and employees of the bed and breakfast have reported all kinds of strange events — including the sound of crying, people wandering the halls, and muffled conversations from supposedly vacant rooms.

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What is the most haunted place you've ever visited or traveled to? Tell me in the comments!