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The 14 Most Romantic Haunted Cities We’ve Jaunted To So Far

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.

We did feel welcome here!

Totem poles in Stanley Park


Some of the many flowers beds in Stanley Park

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.)

An example of Louisville's interesting architecture

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.

Not a super fancy or ornate sign, but don't let that fool ya!The onion dome of St. Michael's Cathedral was a good example of Sitka's Russian-influenced architecture
An example of the cool tree formations in Sitka National Historic Park

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!

View from hike we did up Thumbe Butte of Prescott's surrounding countryside

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.

Shrimp boats are common in Fernandina. My friend W. James Burn took this photo when we jaunted there.

You'll see more than Spanish moss dripping from the Live Oaks in Fernandina. Banana spiders like this are common.

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.

A shot of Bar Harbor's harbor
Scenery like this is common in Acadia National Park
One of Bar Harbor's beautiful hotels

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.)

A beautiful cemetery in historic Charleston
Haunted USS Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval Maritime Museum

 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.)

Looking down from the top of the St. Simon's Lighthouse (which is haunted)


Some say ghosts still wander among the ruins like these at Fort Frederica

2. St. Augustine, Florida

The grounds with ruins in the distance at Fort Frederica


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.


St. Augustine street scene

Interior of Castillo de San Marcos

View of historic St. Augustine from Castillo de San Marcos

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!)

Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec's haunted crown jewel
The cobblestone streets of Quebec City's Basse-Ville (Lower Town)
A street in Quebec City's Haute-Ville (Upper Town)
A portion of the many, many stairs you have to climb from Basse-Ville to Haute-Ville (or you can cheat and take the Funicular)
Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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26 thoughts on “The 14 Most Romantic Haunted Cities We’ve Jaunted To So Far

  1. Wow. This is an amazing list. Quebec City in particular looks spectacular. I haven’t been to any of these places. I better get my traveling shoes on because I’m adding all these locations to my to do list!

  2. Jessica, I think you would love Quebec City as much (if not more) than I did knowing how you’re a Francophile too. It’s a wonderful city. I truly almost cried leaving. Didn’t want to!

  3. Oh, and Andy, I forgot to say the Lemp Mansion would be romantic, you’re right. We didn’t get to walk around the downtown area at night or the Hill (where are the Italian restaurants are) so when we go back I’ll make a point to do it. Maybe I’ll end up adding on to my list.


  5. Nice post! I too love La Jolla and I’m excited to see Jekyll and St. Simons Islands. I grew up vacationing on St. Simons where some family owns a beach house (which I swear could be haunted, it’s across the street from the Bloody Marsh). Christ Church and its cemetery there is one of my absolutely favourite places of all time.

  6. I will have to check out this Crist Church and its cemetery next time we visit. Sounds great, and if it gets the Lewis stamp of approval it must be a good one! Thanks for the comment. (And the compliment. 😉

  7. Next time you’re in San Diego, you should stay at the Hotel del Coronado — across the bridge from SD. It definitely has a haunted reputation. Another town that is considered romantic (and to me seems very haunted) is Mendocino, California. I spent a sleepless night in one of the cottages of the Mendocino Hotel once. At the time, I didn’t know that they actually mention being haunted on their website — I just felt like it was!

  8. The title of this post is so funny- you don’t often associate romance with haunted places!! I loved Vancouver and had a great romantic walk around the park.

  9. Glad to see Quebeck as the no.1 As Jade saud, you dont often find haunted and romantic mentioned in the same breath, but they go very well together in Quebeck.

  10. Love your list! Gives me ideas of where to visit in the future =D For me so far I like San Francisco as the haunted city, as they have 2-3 different haunted tours, and the quality of tours are decent! I personally would not recommend looking for haunted places in Japan, because there are many reports of things happened to the visitors (X_X).

  11. Annie…I don’t know whether to laugh or shiver at your comment. All I can think of is all the Japanese horror movies I’ve seen. I really want to go to Japan too, but now I’m thinking I won’t be wanting to do much Haunt Jaunting there!

  12. Quebec stole my heart, Inka. It was MARVELOUS! I want to go back and am looking forward to when I have the chance again.

    And Jade, LOL. No, I guess maybe it’s a weird combo, isn’t it? Vancouver was marvelous and Stanley Park? SUBLIME! I love Canada. Haven’t spent much time in the middle of the country yet, but the West Coast and East Coast? Love them both!

  13. I’ve been to Hotel del Coronoda, Cathy, but never to stay there as a guest yet. I would LOVE to though! And Mendocino? Oooo! What a good tip. THANKS for telling me about that! I will look into that one for sure!

    Thanks, Michael! I’m glad you got a kick out of my list.

  14. Oh, Debbie, I wish we could’ve. We had an overnight in Quebec on the ship so we left out the next day. (It was the last port on our cruise.) I wanted to stay there and had looked into it, but it was too much and we’d already been gone 12 days anyway so…it was time to get home and stop being lavish. 🙁 I want to go back and stay there, though. (We did walk through it at least. That satisfied me enough until I can get back.)

  15. well, a lot of Japanese horror movies actually took some stories from real life here and there into the movie. If you go to Kyoto, try Jisshu Shrine in the Kiyomizu Temple. The shrine has a specific sacred tree that people nail cursed straw dolls on there.If you see people doing that at night, do not make a sound or show yourself, bad things will happen. (Last year in a video the Shrine keeper there said he still hear people nailing dolls at night).

  16. I think you’d like Bodmin Moor in Cornwall as well. Not a city, but very haunted moors.

    Also haunted is Norfolk Island (in the Pacific), once Britain’s worst penal colony. Conditions were so bad, the prisoners sought execution as a relief from suffering. Today, it’s home to the descendants of Fletcher Christian and the other Bounty mutineers. Ghosts all around… And such a beautiful island.

  17. WOW! Annie, this is amazing to know. THANK YOU for sharing! I mean, I knew a little about the Japanese horror films springing from some of the customs, but it’s neat to get your perspective like this. Greatly appreciate you taking the time to share.

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