Everyone has their most haunted cities lists, don’t they? In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought it’d be fun to recap the 14 most romantic haunted cities we’ve jaunted to so far. (14 for February 14, get it?)
You won’t see too many big cities on my list. Chicago and New York are both great. Wayne and I have had awesome times when we’ve gone to both. However, I tend to prefer smaller, more intimate cities.
You also won’t see any outside the U.S. and Canada. I’m convinced there are plenty of romantic haunted cities abroad –I’ve just not had the chance to travel overseas. Yet. That’s on the horizon, though.
I tried to rank cities in order of favorites, but that’s very hard. Even though they’re in descending order with the number one most romantic haunted city being revealed last, each of these cities has cast their spells, wooed me in their unique ways, and left a haunting impression on my heart.
If I happened to have pictures I took while visiting, I included a few of those as well. There was a time I wasn’t as interested in photography as I am now, though. I had a camera but I wouldn’t always remember to bring it along. (For shame! I don’t even go to the grocery store without a camera these days!)
Feel free to leave a comment saying which ones you’ve been to. Also, feel free to say which romantic haunted city you’d advise jaunting to that isn’t on the list. I’m always on the lookout for romantic places to visit! (Or maybe I’ve been there but I didn’t find it romantic. Perhaps you’ll help me see what I missed, eh?)
14. Vancouver, B.C. Canada
I had never been to Canada before 2008. My bucket list contained three Canadian cities in particular I wanted to see. Vancouver was among them. This is a big city, but it still feels very intimate and familiar. We really enjoyed exploring, and we absolutely loved Stanley Park. Also, our hotel wasn’t far from the Gaslight District, which is a great place to find haunted hotels, restaurants, and bars.
13. Louisville, Kentucky
Some may call me crazy for thinking Louisville a “romantic” place, but they’ve either never been there before or didn’t get cast with the same spell. The Ohio River makes for a beautiful and romantic dramatic backdrop against their downtown. And if you want to find some of Lousiville’s best haunts, downtown is where you want to be. For a romantic spooky stay, check into the Brown Hotel. (A good book detailing Louisville’s downtown haunts is Robert W. Parker’s Haunted Louisville – History & Hauntings of the Derby City.)
12. San Diego, California
My husband would move to San Diego in a heartbeat if we could afford it. When we lived in Phoenix we made sojourns to America’s Finest City at least a couple of times a year, if not more. The year the flooring company I worked for flew its employees and spouses out for a Christmas party, which included a stay at the US Grant Hotel, we were both in heaven. (This was right before I started haunt jaunting in earnest so I had no idea that hotel was haunted. But I clearly saw how romantic it was!)
11. Sitka, Alaska
Of the four ports we stopped at during our Alaskan cruise, Sitka was my favorite. I had no idea what to expect, but what a gem of a city. This is technically probably the least haunted city on my list (there is only accounts of minimal paranormal activity here), but it’s high on romance. There’s lot of Russian architectueal influence, which I caught really none of. Just an odd shot of the onion dome atop the St. Michael’s Cathedral.
10. Jerome, Arizona
This was one of the places I’d beg Wayne to steal away to for the day when the itch to just get away from it all struck when we lived in Phoenix. It’s perched on a hill and is an eclectic gathering place for artists, bikers, yuppies, and tourists –and ghosts. The Jerome Grand Hotel offers breaktaking views from its hillside haven as well as ghost hunts. That’s enough to make me swoon!
9. Prescott, Arizona
Wayne would move to San Diego in a heartbeat, but Prescott is among my picks for places I’d want to live. This is another place I’d beg him to take me, especially when I wanted a little cool down from Phoenix’s heat. (Not that it was all that much cooler, but a little.) Plus, the charm of the city’s history never failed to enchant me. I’d recommend the Hotel St. Michael. It’s not only the “cornerstone of Whiskey Row” right in the heart of Prescott’s historic district, but it’s haunted to boot!
8. La Jolla, California
The Grande Colonial Hotel is perhaps La Jolla’s most renowned haunted landmark. And perhaps the most elegant. Although, around Halloween don’t be surprised to see goblins and ghouls galore when the Birch Aquarium tranforms into the Haunted Birch Aquarium. On our sojourns to San Diego we always made a point of hitting La Jolla. Wayne proposed to me the first time on the beach here so it always holds a special place in my heart. (Yes, I said first time. He was only semi-serious so I made him ask again. )
7. Fernandina Beach, Florida
Another place I’d love to live if we could afford it. This seaside village features picturesque Victorian architecture. The historic district is small, but booms for two major festivals it holds (Book Festival and Island of Eight Flags Shrimp Fest). Also, two of Fernandina’s most interesting haunts, the Palace Saloon, Florida’s oldest continuously-operating drinking establishment, and the Florida House Inn, are located here. If you like historic haunts, Fort Clinch State Park (just down the road from the historic section) is a must visit.
6. Bar Harbor, Maine
Like Sitka, Bar Harbor is not among the most haunted cities on this list. The haunts there are few, but there is one notable one: the Coach Stop Inn. However, the shop and cafe-lined streets encircling the Village Green with its centerpiece pavillon evoke quintessential New England charm.
5. Newport, Rhode Island
Haunts abound in this seaside town. Newport was one of those storied places I’d heard many things about. (All good.) As I wrote about previously, our ship was only in port for mere hours. Pity. There was no shortage of things to see and do there. I’d like to go back some day. We only had time to do the Cliff Walk. I’d like to walk that again, but I’d also like to see the Tennis Hall of Fame, tour some of the mansions, and explore the historic center more.
4. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is where I started to wonder if Wayne had lived a past life in the South. Our first trip there, not even consulting a map, Wayne navigated his way around with ease. In fact, he remarked how at ease and at home he felt there. It was odd. (I’m convinced I lived before, but he poo poos that sort of thing…until he experienced his reaction to one of the South’s most hauned as well as most romantic port cities.)
3. St. Simons and Jekyll Islands, Georgia
Speaking of past lives, I felt an odd tug of familiarity the first time I visited the Golden Isles. Perhaps I didn’t lead a life of luxury and privilege like the people who built the millionaire “cottages” on Jekyll Island during America’s Gilded Age knew, but the collection of Victorian era structures spoke to my soul. I was back amidst my time and place. And I didn’t need anyone telling me there were ghosts about. I felt it on both islands. (But not in a spooky way.)
2. St. Augustine, Florida
If you watch any ghost TV shows at all, you’ve seen some of Auggie’s haunted hot spots. The lighthouse and the fort may be the two most visible and popular haunts, but just walk around the Oldest City’s streets. You’ll feel more. It’s easy to imagine the past here because it’s been so well preserved.
1. Quebec City, Quebec Canada
This was one of the other cities on my Canadian travels bucket list. I’d always heard if you couldn’t get to France, go to Quebec. Since I haven’t yet made it to France, I was absolutely thrilled that Quebec was everything (and then some!) people had chatted it up to be. The historic part is charming, delightful, extensive and plenty haunted. And reigning over it all is the Chateau Frontenac. It’s perhaps one of the most impressive haunted hotels I’ve ever seen. (Not that I’ve seen them all, but talk about having presence. Impossible to miss it!)