Apparitions, spirits, and the paranormal are synonymous with Halloween. While you may be too old to enjoy the spooky haunted houses built and run by your next-door neighbor, there are plenty of bona fide fright fests in California for you and a group of skittish friends to enjoy. If you’re looking for a hair-raising getaway this Halloween, set your GPS to one of these historical attractions and get ready to be frightened.
1. Queen Mary
This Long Beach attraction has been named one of the top 10 most haunted places in America. Dare to explore this fantastic ship, which first embarked on its maiden voyage from England in 1936. After three decades of service, the cruise ship arrived in Long Beach where it is now a floating hotel and event venue. The ship offers tours after dark where you may just come face to face with the “lady in white” or hear voices of children who drowned in the ship’s pool. Choose from a paranormal ship walk, dinner with the spirits, or a chance to investigate paranormal activities with a ghost investigator.
2. Winchester Mystery House
There’s nothing more unnerving than a giant mansion with winding staircases that lead nowhere and doors that open into the abyss. Try exploring the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose in the middle of the night with no more than a flashlight and you’re bound to remember this Halloween excursion in your dreams. Many say this bizarre home of Sarah Winchester was built out of fear. The heir to the Winchester rifle fortune built this labyrinth of rooms and hallways to allegedly confuse and escape from ghosts and evil spirits. There are 160 rooms to explore during the October Flashlight Tour where you’ll hear never-before-released reports of recent paranormal experiences in the house.
3. Whaley House
The Travel Channel has called the Whaley House the most haunted house in the U.S. This San Diego historical landmark has been a courthouse, theater, general store, and the execution site of Yankee Jim Robinson who was convicted of attempted grand larceny in 1852 and hanged on a gallows at the site before the construction of the home. Over the years, family members, visitors and renters have recounted stories of strange occurrences, sightings, and noises at the Whaley House. Experience this haunted house first-hand through a ghost hunting tour or nighttime tour and learn about the spirits that go bump in the night.
4. Hotel del Coronado
This beautiful beach resort in San Diego was built in 1888 and is a popular wedding and business venue. It’s also reportedly home to the ghost of Kate Morgan, a former guest of the hotel in November 1892 who took her own life on the outside staircase leading to the beach. Guests and employees at Hotel del Coronado have reported seeing her ghost, hearing strange voices and footsteps, and experiencing numerous other unexplained phenomena. If you’re looking for a luxury Halloween getaway with the chance of a paranormal experience, book a night or two at The Del and watch out for the beautiful stranger.
5. Alcatraz Island
Located in the San Francisco Bay, “The Rock” is a former federal prison that housed some of the country’s most notorious criminals including Al Capone and James “Whitey” Bulger. Today, it’s a national recreation area and open to the public. However, there may have been some prisoners on Alcatraz who never left. Security guards, park rangers, and visitors have all reported strange and haunting experiences. Sounds of sobbing, clanging metal, ghostly figures, and unexplained cold spots plague this creepy U.S. penitentiary. Despite the paranormal activity within its prison cells, Alcatraz continues to attract thousands of visitors each year. Share in the mystery and book a trip this Halloween that is sure to keep you up at night.