The Spookiest Places in America: Where to Go This Halloween for Safe Scares

Oct 01, 2022|

Key Takeaways

  • Looking for a ghostly roommate? Online searches for “real haunted house for sale” are up 700%.
  • Stowe, Vermont; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; and Austin, Texas, are the spookiest cities in America.
  • The five cities with the most ghost sightings are Austin and Houston, Texas; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Roanoke, Virginia; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
A man and a woman picking out pumpkins.

With Halloween just around the corner, thrill seekers and horror fans across the country are searching for scary experiences to make the holiday unforgettable. That’s why we scraped Yelp to find the most haunted states and cities in the United States. From keeping your home safe amidst the scares and pranks of the season to finding the most ghostly places, read on to find out how to have the creepiest Spooktober yet.

Spooky searches

As Halloween fast approaches, thrill-seeking searches have spiked. From creepy houses for sale to local haunts open to visitors, here’s what has people’s blood running cold this year.

Data explaining internet searches for spooky locations in the U.S.

Buying a haunted house was on the minds of many scare seekers this past year. The top two trending terms were “real haunted house for sale” and “most haunted house in America for sale” — up 700% and 418%, respectively. But if you’re in the market for a ghostly home, be prepared to pay the price. Sometimes, otherworldly visitors can drive up the price. The other most common search terms focused on scary places around the country. Searches for “haunted places on Google Maps” and “ghost city near me” were up 200% and 100%, respectively, indicating that many are on the hunt for haunted experiences this year.

Paranormal places

If you’re looking to get scared, you barely have to leave the safety of home to scratch that spooky season itch with some nearby natural attractions. But if you travel to some of the following cities, you could be in for an even more frightful time.

Based on the number of ghost sightings and haunted locations, the top five most haunted states were: California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio. Spook-seekers visiting these locales are in for a treat. There’s a haunted forest in SoCal full of abandoned ruins from the state’s mining heyday. Michigan has its Doherty Hotel, where the deceased owners still reside. And last but not least, the Donkey Lady Bridge of San Antonio, TX, is home to a spirit searching for vengeance. But if you’d rather play it safe, stick to the least spooky states: Delaware, Alaska, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Montana.

Our city rankings make it easy to pinpoint the perfect place for your next Halloween trip. To find them, we accounted for the number of ghost sightings and haunted places, factoring in funeral services, haunted houses, and places where supernatural readings are on offer. According to our results, Stowe, VT, was the most haunted city in the U.S.

Stowe is a beautiful mountain town that draws many skiers in winter, but it’s also known for its paranormal activity. While visiting two of Stowe’s haunted hotels, the Brass Lantern Inn and Green Mountain Inn, guests have heard disembodied laughter, talking, and footsteps coming from vacant rooms. And drivers crossing “Emily’s bridge” late at night have reportedly heard screaming nearby and found scratches on their cars afterward.

If you’d prefer a warmer locale, Texas is home to many haunted locations like the Driskill Bar, the Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill, and the Alamo. California boasts countless ghostly attractions; the infamous Cecil Hotel, Griffith Park, and even the Hollywood sign are all said to be haunted. Meanwhile, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is home to the most haunted hotel in the country — the Crescent Hotel.

Creepy cities by category

After finding the most haunted places in the country, we ranked cities by various categories of spookiness, basing our rankings on the number of ghost sightings, haunted places, supernatural readings, funeral services, and haunted house attractions.

Information about the creepiest cities in the U.S.

It’s pretty clear why some of these cities top our lists. Gettysburg, PA, for example, is the final resting place of nearly 4,000 Union soldiers who lost their lives during a great Civil War battle in 1863. Austin and Houston, TX, are both home to haunts hailing back to the state’s founding, including the Rice Hotel. Roanoke, VA, features one of the country’s oldest and most enduring mysteries — the disappearance of an entire colony of English settlers in the 16th century.

Other categories we explored are somewhat less obvious but no less fascinating. If you’re more interested in supernatural readings than ghostly encounters, Stowe, VY, and Salem, MA, each have an impressive array of psychics and mediums to consult. But if you prefer spooky attractions, Estes Park, CO, takes the top spot. The city features a diverse array of exciting ghost tours, ranging from family-friendly to seriously scary.

We’ve already discussed Gettysburg above, but you might be unfamiliar with the other cities on our list. Estes Park is home to the infamous Stanley Hotel, one of the most haunted places in Colorado. Wilmington, DE, is home to too many ghosts to restrict them to a single attraction. But if morbid reality is more your style, the top spots for funeral services went to Eureka Springs, AR, and Stowe, VT. No matter your specific area of supernatural interest, our findings are sure to guide you in a spooky direction.

Spooktober awaits

While we can’t guarantee the security of these haunted cities and homes, we hope you’ve found the perfect spots to visit for a scary Halloween season! It will be here before you know it. So, whether you are interested in creepy hotels such as the Stanley in Colorado and the Cecil in California, or prefer history’s mysteries like the one in Roanoke, start planning your unforgettable spooktacular holiday today.

Let’s be neighbors.

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To find the scariest and most haunted places in the United States, we looked at a few specific variables. For state rankings, we equally weighed two variables: the number of reported ghost sightings and the number of reported haunted places. Our city rankings were weighed by five criteria as indicated below:

  • Number of ghost sightings (25%)
  • Number of haunted places (25%)
  • Supernatural readings per 100,000 people (20%)
  • Funeral services per 100,000 people (15%)
  • Haunted house attractions per 100,000 people (15%)

Keyword trend searches from the United States in the last 12 months were also included.

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