October is the perfect time for a spooky road trip. The leaves crunching on the ground, thick fog, and a chill in the air can make even the most regular places seem a little bit scary. If you love the thrill of feeling creeped out, why not ditch the horror movies and visit some of the places on this list instead? With destinations all over the US and Canada, you are sure to find some scary fun not too far away from your home.
Whether you want to spend the night at a haunted hotel, walk through a spooky cemetery, or explore the site of a crime, I have the perfect destination for you. Visiting these locations might let you have a brush with the supernatural or just make the little hairs stand up on the back of your neck. But make no mistake—you will definitely feel spooked! Don't forget your camera so you can try to capture some orbs on film! Be warned: visiting any of these North American places is not for the faint of heart. Keep reading for 12 of the scariest places you can visit in Canada and 13 even creepier locations in the USA!
25 USA: Salem, MA
In the 1600s, Salem, MA had a sudden influx of strange behavior, leading 20 men and women to be accused of witchcraft and put to death. Since then, the Witch Trials have brought tourists from around the world to Salem, with many events and attractions to see based on the history. If you want to get really spooky, visit the town's many cemeteries where the trials' victims are buried. The House of the Seven Gables, a historic mansion by the sea, is also rumored to be haunted.
24 Canada: Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC
Robert Dunsmuir was a wealthy Scottish immigrant to Canada who wanted to give his wife and their 10 children a taste of the high life. He built this castle, which is a National Historic Site, however, died a year before the construction was complete. Many say that is why the Victorian mansion is filled with supernatural happenings. Visit Craigdarroch Castle and you may experience a piano that plays itself, hear whispers, or see ghosts of a maid, a little girl, and a woman wearing white.
23 USA: Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA
Built in 1829, the Eastern State Penitentiary is infamous for its severe treatment of inmates. When it first opened, inmates endured extreme versions of solitary confinement where they couldn't even leave their cells without a hood covering their heads. Even after the days of solitary were overdue to overcrowding, punishments like chaining a man's tongue to his wrists still endured. This place is decidedly creepy, especially with the reports of disembodied laughter and footsteps and shadowy figures. Take a ghost tour here if you dare!
22 Canada: St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS
The ghostly legend of St. Francis Xavier University goes back to the days when it was inhabited by nuns. In the late 19th century, the Nova Scotia university's Mount St. Bernard College was a Catholic school for girls. Legend has it that a nun flung herself to her death after falling in love with a priest and that her ghost haunts the residence, Gilmora Hall. From apparitions to footsteps to items being knocked over, many say that spirits run rampant here. Time for a transfer!
21 USA: Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast and Museum, Fall River, MA
In 1892, Andrew Borden and his wife were killed with an ax, but no one knows who did it. However, many think the culprit was his unmarried adult daughter Lizzie. Visit the scene of the crime and see what you think! The family's Victorian home is now a museum with interesting exhibits, but also a super creepy bed and breakfast! People have reported doors closing on their own and seeing figures climbing the stairs. Only the bravest travelers can make it through an entire night here.
20 Canada: The Keg Mansion, Toronto, ON
Though today it is just a location of The Keg, a fancy steakhouse, the Keg Mansion was once owned by Hart Massey, a businessman who built the firm that would become Massey Ferguson. When his only daughter died in 1915, one of the family's maids took her own life because she was so sad. Others say the maid hanged herself because she didn't want her affair with Massey to come to light. Regardless of the true story, restaurant guests have reported seeing the figure of a woman hanging by her neck many times.
19 USA: Cahawba, AL
Cahawba, Alabama was the state's first capital but is now an eerie ghost town that attracts lovers of the supernatural. Here you will find abandoned buildings, spooky cemeteries, and a slave burial ground. There is something about empty, dilapidated houses that give me the willies! While the entire place is pretty scary, keep your eyes peeled for Pegues's Ghost. Legend says that an orb started floating through the garden maze of Colonel C.C. Pegues's home right after he was killed in battle and never left.
18 Canada: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, AB
The Fairmont Banff Springs is one of the most beautiful hotels in Canada, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. However, this castle is also one of the most haunted. Among its notable ghosts include The Bride, a 1920s wife-to-be who tumbled down the marble stairs to her death while wearing her wedding gown. Sam McAuley, a former bellman, supposedly still "helps out" in full uniform despite dying in 1975. Finally, rooms 873 and 672 are said to be rife with paranormal activity. Only the bravest stay here!
17 USA: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans, LA
The St. Louis Cemetery Number 1 is New Orleans' oldest and supposedly most haunted graveyard. Established in 1789, it is the final resting place of over 100,000 people. Seeing the crumbling crypts above ground and enclosed by rusty fences makes the place look super creepy, but hearing the stories your mandatory guide tells you will keep you up at night for sure. Don't be surprised if you have a run-in with the ghosts of Civil War soldiers, yellow fever victims, or the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
16 Canada: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, ON
Found in midtown Toronto and named a National Historic Site in 2000, Midtown Cemetery is the perfect place to go if you are in search of paranormal happenings. It is the final resting place of numerous rich and famous people including politicians, athletes, and businessmen. Visitors have reported things like strange noises, weird lights, and electrical problems in the cemetery. One groundskeeper even claims a force pushed him off of his tractor! Drop by on a chilly October night and see if any spirits come out to play with you.
15 USA: Mizpah Hotel, Tonopah, NV
The Mizpah Hotel was one of the first luxury hotels in the state of Nevada when it opened in 1907. Despite its solid granite walls and decadent decorating style, the hotel has a dark past. Legend says that a woman died on the fifth floor and that her soul still haunts the building today, whispering to guests and leaving pearls on their pillows. To get the full creepy experience, book the Lady in Red suite. It's restored to its original Victorian look to attract the resident ghost!
14 Canada: Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, ON
The luxurious Fairmont Chateau Laurier was paid for by businessman Charles Melville Hays. However, he never got to see its grand opening in 1912, as he sadly died aboard the Titanic just days before. Because of this, many think his ghost haunts the hotel's halls. Guests and staff have reported seeing a shadowy figure roam the grounds, unexplained opening and closing doors, and even object randomly breaking. I mean, with all the money he invested in the hotel, it's no wonder that Hays is a mean ghost!
13 USA: Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA
When her husband and daughter died in 1888, Sarah Winchester (wife of the founder of Winchester Firearms) used her inheritance to build an eerie dwelling you can visit today. A seer told her that her family was killed by ghosts, so she started constructing features into the home to confuse and keep the bad spirits at bay. With 160 rooms, stairs that lead to nowhere, a window that leads to secret passageways, and doors that open onto brick walls, this is one creepy place. It even inspired the 2018 movie Winchester starring Helen Mirren!
12 Canada: Plains of Abraham, Quebec City, QC
Now a huge city park in Quebec City, the Plains of Abraham was the site of a major battle in 1795. It was the end result of a three-month siege of the French by British soldiers. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham is considered one of the most famous and bloody in Canada's history, which explains the frequent reports of ghostly soldiers in the park. Both Major Generals died here and many people say they have seen shadowy figures hanging out in the fields and tunnels.
11 USA: RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA
Though it started out as a World War II ship, the RMS Queen Mary is more famous as a luxury ocean liner that was in use from 1936 to 1967. During that short span of time, many deaths happened aboard including a murder, children drowning in the pool, and a sailor being crushed by a door in the engine room. The ship is now docked and used as a hotel where guests can enjoy not only its elegance but also brush elbows with its many reported ghosts.
10 Canada: HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel, Ottawa, ON
Named one of the world's spookiest buildings by Lonely Planet, the HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel is one creepy place to spend the night. The building was originally the Carelton County Jail, used from 1862 to 1972. As it was a maximum security prison, it has no windows and super small cells, not to mention the public executions and horrible treatment that were doled out here. Guests often report seeing figures in the hall and at the foot of their beds and hearing footsteps and disembodied voices at night.
9 USA: Bullock Hotel, Deadwood, SD
The Bullock Hotel was the first hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota. It is apparently still visited by the town's first sheriff, Seth Bullock, who passed on in 1919. Though one might wonder why a policeman would cause such trouble, the hotel is known for its paranormal activity. From flickering lights to rattling dishes in the hotel's restaurant, you just might experience some supernatural stuff if you spend the night here. Explore the place for yourself or learn more of its spooky past with a ghost tour.
8 Canada: Tranquille Sanatorium, Kamloops, BC
Tranquille Sanatorium was originally built to care for tuberculosis patients in 1907 but later switched over to treating the mentally ill in 1959. The government shut down the operation in 1985 and is now being used as a master-planned community called Tranquille on the Lake. You can still tour the area and learn about its history, including the ghosts of past patients that supposedly haunt the place. Grab a friend and head down into the tunnel system that staff used to move between buildings if you dare!
7 USA: Devil's Tramping Ground, NC
Most of the destinations on this list are buildings reported to be haunted. But even creepier is this natural place where unexplained things occur. The Devil's Tramping Ground, found deep in the woods near Greensboro, North Carolina, is a 40-foot circular clearing of land that is beyond creepy. No animals will cross over it and plants can't grow on it. The few brave people who have camped there report seeing glowing red eyes at night and that anything they put into the circle has been thrown out of it by daybreak.
6 Canada: Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Victoria, BC
The Maritime Museum of British Columbia is located in an old courthouse which was also the site of a jail and the island's first gallows. People have reported hearing dragging chains (from the ghosts of hanged men) in the alley next to the museum. The ghost of a judge is also said to haunt the building, but this site gets even more spooky. Inside, you will find the haunted lifeboat, which was found full of skeletons after a 1908 steamship wreck, then disappeared and found again years later empty.
5 USA: Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA
The Battle of Gettysburg was a three-day-long bloodbath where around 50,000 soldiers met their death. With so much violence, it is easy to see why this is considered one of the country's most haunted locations. From cries and figures on the battlefield to weird paranormal happenings around town, Gettysburg will send a shiver up your spine. For a beautiful view of the military park and major ghostly chills, visit Devil's Den, the site where many have seen Civil War soldier ghosts and heard cannon fire.
4 Canada: West Point Lighthouse, O'Leary, PEI
There is just something about lighthouses that is inherently creepy. The solitude, the sweeping light, the fog, the crashing waves. But add in a ghost story and you will be scared out of your mind! The West Point Lighthouse in O'Leary, Prince Edward Island, is said to have a keeper who just won't leave. Legend says that the first keeper of the lighthouse, Willie, likes to visit guests at the nearby West Point Lighthouse Inn. Apparitions and lights turning off and on are just some of the weird happenings here!
3 USA: Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, LA
The Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana is a beautiful stately home built in 1796. It is listed on the National Historic Register, but that isn't what draws most of its visitors. Considered to be one of the country's most haunted sites, at least a dozen ghosts call this place home. The plantation was supposedly built on an Indian burial ground but the legend of Chloe the slave girl is it's almost eerie. Rumor has it that her ear was chopped off as punishment for eavesdropping, so she poisoned two of her master's daughters as revenge, only to be hanged by her fellow slaves.
2 Canada: Five Fishermen Restaurant, Halifax, NS
The building that is now home to Halifax's Five Fishermen restaurant used to serve as the John Snow & Co. Funeral Home. It served the community during the city's two major disasters of the early 20th century: the Halifax Explosion and the sinking of the Titanic. Restaurant staff claim that spirits play tricks on them once guests have gone home, including moving objects and turning taps on and off. Keep your eye out for ghosts in the restaurant's stairwells, including one of an older man.
1 USA: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, WV
Like many asylums, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum severely mistreated its patients. It operated from 1864 to 1994, with its peak in the 1950s. Though the capacity was only 250 patients, the asylum was home to over 2,400 people. Due to inhumane treatment like no heat and being kept in cages, patients started to lash out at the staff. Today you can tour the building and learn more about how these poor people lived and died in overcrowded conditions and maybe even come in contact with their ghosts along the way.