Find Ghostly Getaways In These Southern Vacation Towns
From towns to the woods, mountains to beaches, fright-filled haunts, and spooky tours make for a vivid getaway.
Feeling like a zombie since lockdown?
According to America Haunts, an industry association, “haunted attractions are popular as a way to escape everyday routines, thwart real-life anxiety, and find selfie-worthy, action-filled experiences.”
The following are nine unique ghostly getaways offering highly rated haunted houses or open-air historic walking tours ranging from mysterious and spine-tingly to certifiably paranormal.
The Mountains: Tennessee and Virginia
Helheim is the Norse word for hell or land of the dishonorable dead, but the owners are secretive about the delicious thrills in store. They do hint at playing upon the psychological fears of a lack of control over surroundings and the loss of sight, direction, and sound. Top rated by attendees on www.TheScareFactor.com. For more information, visit www.VisitWytheville.com.
Neither a haunted house attraction nor a typical historic ghost tour, Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is in a class by itself. Established in 1894, visitors are drawn to the spiritual teachings and to experience the peaceful, healing energy of this community. Seminars and historic tours take place among the quirky cobblestone streets and meditation gardens.
Built-in 1892 to attract Northern “snowbirds,” the massive, castle-like Windsor Hotel is a fully restored Victorian-Moorish architectural beauty with towers, turrets, balconies, and a three-story, atrium lobby. The benevolent ghosts of a housekeeper and daughter who have pushed down the elevator shaft to their deaths, and that of a beloved doorman, are often detected. Have dinner at Rosemary & Thyme or a drink and appetizer at Floyd’s, the doorman’s namesake pub.
Then, take a guided walking tour highlighting nearly 200 years of history and ghost stories of the area. Even on tours, the creaky Windsor Hotel elevator might start-up or a bell mysteriously chime. The tour covers stories about the haunted house in Plains, the ghastly ghosts of Andersonville and the grave of Sumter County’s first sheriff, killed in 1839 and the Rylander Theatre’s “Frank the Friendly Ghost.” Visit www.VisitAmericusGA.com.
Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina
Just east of Augusta, Georgia, along I-20 between Atlanta and Charleston are the rolling hills of Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, encompassing the town of Aiken, where National Champion horses are the prize. This four-county part of the Palmetto State is filled with world-renowned horse racing training and tracks, Civil War sites, gardens and plantation homes, state parks, historic healing springs, folk art, and antique shops in charming towns. Dining runs the continuum from chef-refined and down-home Southern specialties, family restaurants, international cuisine, and the unique find of a Mennonite bakery and community.
Haunted secret passages in the Old Post Office, bones in the basement. In the former 1878 Aiken Hotel, shadowy movements, whispers, crying and screaming from empty rooms, where toilets flush and doors open or close. Housekeeping carts found down the hall when left outside a room. These hauntings and more are included on a spooktacular nighttime walking tour offering chilling stories of spirits combined with Aiken’s history. Ghost hunting tools aid in the discovery. Visit the website at TailoredToursofAiken.com and TbredCountry.org for more information.
Located off of I-95, north of Wilmington, and east of Raleigh and I-40, Onslow County full of history, Onslow County is a destination full of coastal flavor, family fun, and a host of water-related adventures for all ages and generations. The county encompasses Richlands, Jacksonville, Camp Lejeune, North Topsail Beach, Sneads Ferry, and Swansboro, which is a playground for outdoor recreation from the beaches to exploring Hammocks Beach, State Park.
Lights, sound effects, woods, a scary walking trail. Fishstrong Foundation’s Annual Fright Nights brings on the fear and the fun with food and craft vendors, carnival games, a pumpkin patch, and more. Proceeds from the hayride and walking Trail will go to the Fishstrong Foundation, a 501(c)3 that raises funds to assist North Carolina families that are experiencing life-altering illnesses. Note: North Carolina’s recent health and safety guidelines may require alterations. Please check the website before a visit.www.Fishstrong.org. Also visit www.OnlyInOnslow.com for more information.
This fall, ghost-lovers who love to travel can turn an eerie encounter into a delightful vacation getaway. Best of all, these scenic and colorful destinations are worth the drive for their attractions and amenities at any time of year. Some offer tours year-round.