Haunted RV Destinations: Ghostly Getaways
Feeling fearless? Check out these haunted sites for spine-tingling chills and thrills where you can expect the unexpected.
The sun is setting earlier, there’s a chill in the air, Halloween is just around the corner, and we’ve got spirits … yes we do. Whether you’re looking for a good ghost story or you are a ghost hunter, here are a smattering of places around the US known for distinct paranormal activity. While many of them operate as businesses, there’s also a dark side that springs to life with supernatural vibes.
Let’s set the stage: The night is dark with a heavy cloud cover and the cold wind is howling, rain is pelting the cracked windowpanes in an ancient building where you’re the only occupant, the floorboards are creaking but you’re standing still, and the only light comes from a dim chandelier that inexplicably starts swinging … and then goes out. Wait … you need light to read by, so let’s light a candle so you can read on about some hair-raising otherworldly experiences people have reported. And later, sweet dreams and get some rest … though some never do rest … mwahahaha …
Savannah, Georgia: Ghosts and Southern Charm
Savannah is known as one of the most paranormal cities in the US, and for those looking for a haunted experience, this is one you don’t want to miss. From the Kehoe House, which once served as a funeral home, to the Hamilton-Turner Inn, made famous by the novel and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the city of Savannah is rolling in paranormal activity. Centrally located is the Marshall House hotel, built in 1851, which was used as a hospital during the American Civil War and through two yellow fever epidemics. Guests have reported faucets turning on by themselves and nonexistent children running down the hotel’s halls.
A favorite haunt is Moon River Brewing Company, with spirits other than the ones served at the bar and considered by many as the most haunted place in the city. Housed in a building that just turned 200 years old, Moon River has handcrafted beer with names like Swamp Fox, Yoga Pants, and Cone of Uncertainty, and is so haunted that the third and fourth floors are barricaded off because of past creepy incidents.
Explore on your own or catch a ghost tour led by guides who’ll take you on everything from family-friendly expeditions to the more macabre ones about the city’s history.
RV parks in Savannah
Chicago, Illinois: Chills in the Windy City
The city where Al Capone raked in millions of dollars selling illegal liquor is supposedly home to a host of ghosts. At the Drake Hotel, the Woman in Red, who attended a gala there in 1920 and leaped to her death from the 10th floor, is still checked in. Her ghostly apparition wanders the 10th floor and several of the ballrooms.
Parts of the Lincoln Park Zoo are reportedly haunted as a portion of it and Lincoln Park were once a city cemetery. During the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, all but one of the grave markers were destroyed so it’s estimated that thousands of bodies remain buried in the park. For ghost tours and an on-foot investigation of Lincoln Park, book a tour with Chicago Hauntings (chicagohauntings.com). Guests are supplied with EMF (electromagnetic field) readers to gauge paranormal activity. Guides go into the history of the city, its famous residents, and the ghost stories that multiple people have experienced.
If you’d rather explore the city’s great haunts by bus, Chicago Hauntings offers three-hour tours of the places known for paranormal activity like the Hull-House Settlement founded by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr that served European immigrants. Addams herself reported hearing footsteps in the room where she slept and attributed it to the original owner’s wife who’d passed away in that room. The Field Museum of Natural History is another hotbed of paranormal activity.
RV parks near Chicago
- Indiana Dunes National Park
- Leisure Lake Membership Resort in Joliet (Good Sam members allowed when availability allows)
- Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Millbrook
St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida: Follow the Light
It doesn’t come as a surprise that St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, is known for being one of the most haunted places in the US. Sites like Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, which is the continental US’s oldest masonry fortress, and the Old Jail, among others, are known for their lingering spirits.
Perched on the north end of Anastasia Island, 165-foot-tall, black-and-white-striped St. Augustine Lighthouse has had so much haunted activity that it was featured on Ghost Hunters in 2006. The story is that during the construction of the lighthouse from 1871–1874, three little girls drowned in a rail car that went over the edge into the ocean. People have seen child figures on the lighthouse landings looking down at them, on the surrounding nature trails and walking paths, playing tag on the front lawn, and heard children’s laughter and singing. Unexplained small footprints in the tower are associated with the girls, and large footprints are associated with the “Shadow Figure,” who is believed to be a former lighthouse keeper. Other incidents include seeing a figure running up to the lighthouse and hearing two male voices coming up the lighthouse stairs when nobody was there, and then fade away.
Various tours of the lighthouse include a Dark of the Moon Ghost Tour and more family- and children-oriented tours.
RV parks in St. Augustine
New Orleans, Louisiana: Round-the-Clock Nightlife
PHOTO: COURTESY GRAY LINE NEW ORLEANS
The party town of New Orleans has tons of bars you can belly up to, but there are also plenty of other spirits that are prevalent in this famous city. Rife with historic venues, iconic buildings, ghosts of parties past, elaborate cemeteries, and its wide array of architectural styles, you can find a ghost to chase in the dead of every night if you so desire. Yellow fever took many lives in New Orleans, and some say their souls are still not at rest. Some of the old buildings hold romantic but tragic stories. Almost all of the French Quarter, in particular, is purportedly haunted.
Gray Line New Orleans (graylineneworleans.com) offers tours for spooky fun for all ages, including exclusive access to the Bourbon Orleans Hotel Ballroom that was formerly a theater, an orphanage, and a convent. Or listen to unearthly tales from a guide during a two-hour Ghosts and Spirits Walking Tour.
New Orleans had the first official licensed pharmacy in the US, now a museum, and, as stories will tell, the second owner had scary incidents to leave to history. One of the ghosts is a doctor who died in 1867 and is seen wearing his suit. After hours, his spirit likes to come alive and rearrange items on display in the museum, trigger the alarm system, and even throw books! And while on the subject of books, Faulkner House Books, a boarding house where William Faulkner—who was known for some rowdy shenanigans—lived while writing his first novel is another place to visit. Some say they have smelled the smoke from Faulkner’s pipe. Even if you don’t believe his ghost lurks nearby, the bookstore is a treasure trove of rare books on American literature and a meeting ground for readers of literary fiction and poetry.
RV parks in New Orleans
New York: Haunted History Trail
If you’re on the hunt for paranormal activity and your plans include New York, you won’t be disappointed as spirits are alive and well in the Empire State. And there are lots of RV parks along the way! The Haunted History Trail of New York State is partnered with 33 tourism offices and lists more than 90 spooky places you’ll be dying to explore, which includes the Albany State Capitol Building with several permanent residents.
One is night watchman Samuel Abbott, who made sure everyone was out of the building during a fire in 1911 before being unable to escape the flames himself. People hear this courageous fellow’s jangling keys, shadows walking the fourth- and fifth-floor corridors and his apparition has even reportedly passed through a visitor, giving her an icy chill.
On the trail’s website, you can search by experience, from mild to downright creepy, and by region. Every part of the state has paranormal activity, from haunted restaurants, spirited bars and wineries, forts, lighthouses, and museums. You’re welcome to stay in hotels with major paranormal activity based on how brave you’re feeling. Explore haunted sites on your own with the website’s trip planner or check for guided tours.
The town of Sleepy Hollow in the Hudson Valley about 30 miles north of New York City (Washington Irving wrote the short story about the headless horseman in 1819) presents a spooky tour and special exhibit on the grounds of Irving’s estate through November 8 this year. Tours are offered Fridays–Sundays and on Columbus Day.
For good old-fashioned family fun, check out Croton-on-Hudson’s Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, where you can gawk at more than 7,000 hand-carved illuminated pumpkins while meandering through an 18th-century landscape with synchronized lighting and music. Reservations are required for this year’s event, which goes through the end of October, November 3–7, 10–14, and 18–21. A second Blaze is on Long Island (check the website for dates).
The Myrtles Plantation, Louisiana: One of America’s Most Haunted Homes
Twenty-six miles north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in St. Francisville, this circa-1796 plantation home is on the National Historic Registrar. The bed-and-breakfast hosts not only curious earthly visitors but guests who have never left, including Chloe, a slave girl, and “The Ghost Girl” who is dressed in antebellum clothing. Mystery-guided and private tours are offered of the historic grounds laced with Crepe Myrtle and centuries-old live oak trees. Furnishings include gold-leafed French decor, marble mantels, Aubusson tapestry, a crystal chandelier, and hand-painted stained glass.
RV parks in St. Francisville
1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Arkansas: Haunted and Historic Landmark
In its resting place high above the Victorian village of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the 1886 Crescent Hotel is spread out on 15 acres and is known for its hospitality and guests who check out but never leave. In 1937, the Crescent was purchased by Norman Baker and remodeled into a hospital, complete with an escape route from his first-floor office through a hidden staircase. Baker preyed upon hopeful people, declaring he could cure cancer. Except that he did not have a day in his life of medical training. He was eventually jailed, ironically for mail fraud.
A 2019 discovery of strange medical-looking bottles, some with fleshy specimens, and surgical tools buried on the property of the same bottles used in Baker’s advertising poster led to an investigation, proving the hair-raising stories were true.
The historic hotel boasts ghosts in almost every room and they like to make themselves known. Michael, a former stonemason who fell to his death, hangs out in room 218. And then there’s Theodora in room 419 who is particular about how “her” room looks—if you mess it up or she doesn’t like you, she’ll place your luggage in front of the door. That would be your cue to leave and instead explore the beautiful city in the heart of the Ozark Mountains.
RV parks in Eureka Springs
Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon: Still Keeping Watch
First illuminated in 1894 and sporting the most powerful marine light on the Oregon coast, Heceta Head Lighthouse’s beacon can be seen for 21 miles. The lighthouse, 12 miles north of Florence, is open to the public for tours, and the assistant lightkeeper’s house is now a bed-and-breakfast. The light station stands on a bluff more than 200 feet above the Pacific Ocean and caretakers and construction workers have claimed strange and unexplainable occurrences. One family reported items being moved and missing, and once an 1890’s silk stocking replaced a box of rat poison. Some guests at the B&B have reported friendly encounters with the resident ghost, Rue, believed to be a lightkeeper’s wife who looks out the windows and wanders the rooms in search of her child. One worker claimed to see a silver-haired woman in a long dress.
If you don’t spot a ghost, you are sure to see wildlife, maybe even migrating whales and sea lions, from the spectacular viewpoint. A short trail leads up to the lighthouse, and there are many trails within Heceta Head State Park and a dazzling beach.
RV parks in Florence
- Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park
- Harbor Vista Campground
- Heceta Beach RV Resort
- Woahink Lake RV Resort
Bannack State Park, Montana: The Old West is Alive
Now a National Historic Landmark, the ghost town of Bannack has more than its fair share of ghosts. Founded in 1862 as a gold-mining community, stories abound of a sheriff who secretly led a ruthless gang, lynchings, hangings, and robberies. Bannack’s Hotel Meade, formerly a courthouse, has numerous reports of ghostly activity that include sightings of a teenage girl. The town is pristinely preserved, and the visitor center has numbered guides of the 60 buildings you can explore. The town keeps its past alive with events like its annual Living History typically held the third full weekend in September. While strolling the street, keep an eye out for women dressed in their best finery; they may not be from this world.
Bannack State Park has two campgrounds, with Vigilante being more suited for large RVs.