Haunted Destinations for a Spooky Autumn Road Trip
Autumn road trips can be absolutely unforgettable with the fall foliage and crisp autumn weather that blankets a large portion of our country this time of year. And during the month of October a spooky element haunts the autumnal vibes as many RVers celebrate Halloween while on the road. From the thousands of haunted locations coast to coast, we asked our travel experts to pick out their favorite spooky locations for a frightening fall road trip. Check out their favorite destinations below from haunted sites in the National Park System to notorious murder mansions that sparked decades of ghostly lore.
Of course, the real horror of road trips for RV owners has nothing to do with haunted locations and everything to do with unforeseen breakdowns that cost time, money, and drain the fun out of travel. These breakdowns are especially horrific if they were preventable with proper care and maintenance. So, be sure your RV is ready for a spooky autumn road trip by completing RV maintenance regularly, using RV specific products, and seeking out help if needed from online resources for the DIYer or through our Service Center Locator for those who would rather connect with a qualified, local RV technician.
While the haunted house is a trope of Halloween lore, there are some houses that rightly spark fear in the hearts of visitors. These structures witnessed shocking acts of violence that left a lasting impression still felt by many who visit the sites even decades later.
- Winchester Mystery House (San Jose, CA) An architectural wonder built by Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, widow of William Wirt Winchester, with winding staircases that lead into walls and doorways to nowhere aimed at saving off the ghosts of those killed by Winchester guns.
- The Historic Lizzie Borden House (Fall River, MA) The site of one of Americas most notorious, unsolved double murders that occurred August 4, 1892. The prime suspect, the victim’s daughter Lizzie Bordon, was tried and found not guilty; no one besides Lizzie was ever charged for the murders.
- H. Holmes Murder Castle (Chicago, IL) During the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair H.H. Holmes transformed his Chicago mansion into a house of horrors responsible for the confirmed death of at least 27 but possibly as many as 130 unfortunate souls. Though the original building burned in 1894, the West End neighborhood where Holmes built his murder castle still remembers its association with one of America’s most prolific serial killers.
Horror Movies Come to Life
For scary movie fans a spooky autumn road trip might include destinations from their favorite horror movie or TV show. Whether based on true events or the set of a surreal horror story, these haunted destinations are as scary in real life as they are on the big screen.
- Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, CO) Though the hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 movie The Shining is the Overlook, it was the Stanley Hotel in Colorado that provided the inspiration for this iconic horror movie after Steven King spent the night in its notoriously haunted room #217.
- LaLaurie House (New Orleans, LA) The third season of American Horror Story: Coven is set in New Orleans where viewers are introduced to the character of Delphine LaLaurie, based on a notorious slaveowner from the 1800s that committed terrible atrocities against her slaves and whose home, the LaLaurie House, is now a popular stop on haunted tours in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
- The Dakota (New York, NY) This iconic building in Central Park West served as the exterior shot of the apartment building in Rosemary’s Baby, a 70’s cult classic film. The building reached real world infamy in 1980, however, when one of its most famous residents, John Lennon, was assassinated just outside.
America’s Most Famous Cemeteries
There are over 144,000 cemeteries and graveyards in the U.S.A., and while many are the peaceful final resting place for millions of Americans there are several notorious burial sites where the dead are reportedly very active.
- Louis Cemetery No. 1 (New Orleans, LA) One of the oldest, largest, and most recognizable resting grounds of the 40 plus cemetery sites in New Orleans. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is on the National Registry of Historic Places and houses the remains of Marie Laveau, a famed Voodoo priestess.
- Howard Street Cemetery (Salem, MA) The fourth oldest in Salem, this graveyard is the final resting place of 81-year-old Giles Corey, one of five men executed during the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. Giles was pressed to death by stone and is suspected by many to still haunt the area today.
- Hartsdale Pet Cemetery (Hartsdale, NY) America’s oldest pet cemetery with 80,000 residents including every type of animal from lizards to lion cubs. It was established in 1896 by Dr. Samuel Johnson, the New York state veterinarian of the time, who is said to still be looking over his resting clientele.
Ghost of War
The history of combat on American soil has created locations across the country that bear the physical and psychological scars of war. Many of these sites are now part of the National Park System with guests having reported an array of supernatural experiences while visiting.
- Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania, PA) The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the American Civil War and one of its most deadly conflicts with an average of 17,037 men killed each of the battles’ 3 days. The location is now a somber remembrance of the historically significant battle and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that was given on-site four months later.
- Antietam National Battlefield (Sharpsburg, MD) Though cumulatively more soldiers died at Gettysburg, Antietam has the macabre honor of boasting the bloodiest single day of fighting during the Civil War. 23,000 soldiers lost their lives, were wounded, or went missing during the 12-hour battle at Antietam in September 1862.
- Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (Crow Agency, MT) This site in the NPS protects the location of one of the American Indian’s last battles against the forced reservation system and western expansion of European settlers. The battle was fought between Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the U.S. Army’s 7th Calvary with Crow and Arikara scouts against Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors.