It's fall, y'all! As September brings with it the beginning of fall, what better way to kick off the season than a spooky getaway?
From ghostly legends and eerie encounters to places where it feels like Halloween all year long, these spots are sure to add a thrilling twist to the season.
Why You Need To Go: If there's one city where you'd expect to find stories of witches and ghosts, it would be Salem, Massachusetts.
Famously known as the site of the 17th-century witch trials, Salem is a U.S. town that's steeped in history and is known as one of the most haunted places in America.
A number of ghost tours are offered around the city, taking visitors to the Witch City's most haunted spots and telling stories of lesser-known tragedies, murders and sordid events that once took place here.
Beyond spirits, the town is a great place to visit in October, especially, when it hosts what's known as the largest celebration of Halloween in the world.
It's also the filming location of the beloved Halloween movie Hocus Pocus and modern witches are said to call the city home today.
Why You Need To Go: About 30 miles from Portland, St. Helens, Oregon, is like a real-life Halloweentown.
Here, you'll find a large jack-o-lantern in the town's plaza just like the one in Halloweentown, which was actually filmed in St. Helens (as was Twilight, for any vampire fans).
The town also hosts a yearly festival called the Spirit of Halloween in September and October. The month-long event with haunted tours, magic shows, dressing up, and more family-friendly activities.
The town even hosts Twilight and Hocus Pocus weekends celebrating the movies and featuring costume contests and special guests, including celebrities from the films.
Location: New York
Why You Need To Go: This quaint upstate New York town is famously the real-life setting of Washington Irving's short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
In the story, Connecticut schoolmaster Ichabod Crane is pursued by the Headless Horseman, the supposed ghost of a Hessian soldier who had his head shot off by a cannonball during the American Revolutionary War and who rides on a nightly quest in search of it.
Owing to the story, as well as the village's folklore, Sleepy Hollow is considered to be one of the "most haunted places in the world," according to some.
The village offers international fare and lots of outdoor activities, as well as classic spooky events come October, like haunted hayrides, blazing pumpkins, street fairs, and a Halloween parade, as well as a chance to see the headless horseman himself.
Why You Need To Go: Founded in the 18th century and with a history of voodoo in its roots, it's no wonder New Orleans is known as the most haunted city in the U.S.
A stroll through the city's historic French Quarter will take you past some of the spookiest spots in NOLA, including Le Petit Theatre, where you might bump into the spectre of an actress from the 1930s named Caroline, and Antoine’s Restaurant, where it's said that the spirit of Antoine Alciator, the founder, returns to check up on his ancestors at the family-run eatery.
The city has also served as the backdrop for occult-themed films and television shows, from True Blood and Interview with a Vampire to American Horror Story Coven.
Here, you can take part in the mystical by joining a séance, embarking on a cemetery tour or spending a night in a ghostly hotel.
Why You Need To Go: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was the site of the largest, costliest, and deadliest battle of the Civil War and is said to be "a well-known hang-out for the ghostly crowd."
According to Visit Pennsylvania, it's on these grounds that "many of the 7,058 known dead Union and Confederate soldiers and upwards of 11,000 missing are believed to still roam this Earth."
Many visitors to the town have reported ghost sightings and otherwordly occurrences, especially at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
For other ways to spot a spectre, you can embark on a ghost tour, or even go on a paranormal investigation in town. There are also plenty of haunted stays in Gettysburg, including the Baladerry Inn, Gettysburg Campground, Federal Pointe Inn, Farnsworth House Inn or Lightner Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast.
Why You Need To Go: Anoka, a small town in Minnesota, is known as the "Halloween Capital of the World" and no city in the country —or the world— does the holiday quite like it.
It's believed that Anoka was the first city in the U.S. to put on a Halloween celebration, with inaugural event taking place in October 1920.
Since then, the town has put on an epic Halloween celebration every year. These days, the event has increased into a month-long celebration that draws Halloween lovers from around the state, the country and even the world.
Throughout October, the town will host a variety of Halloween festivities like outdoor movie nights, a scavenger hunt and three different parades.
Why You Need To Go: Savannah is known as one of the most haunted cities in America. It's one of the cities the American Institute of Parapsychology gets the most reports about, as CNBC reports.
Many attribute this to the city's history of pre-Revolutionary War battles, Revolutionary War battles, Civil War battles, bouts of yellow fever and deadly fires.
It's said that at any historic building or cemetery in Savannah you may be able to catch sight of ghostly presences.
Some of the most haunted spots in the city include the Hamilton-Turner Inn, where there have been reports of eerie sounds of children laughing and sightings of a strange, cigar-smoking man on the roof and the Marshall House, a hotel that was formerly used as a hospital, once for Union soldiers and twice for 19th century Yellow Fever epidemics, and is now said to have plenty of paranormal occurences.
Why You Need To Go: Less on the spooky side and more on the fun side of things, a visit to this U.S. town will allow you to proudly say you've been to hell and back.
Hell is a small unincorporated town about 96 kilometres from Detroit and 3 hours from of Cleveland. The town's unfortunate name is the joke here -- locals greet visitors with a friendly "Welcome to Hell!" and out of towners can enjoy photo ops with the gates of Hell.
Screams Ice Cream & Helloween is where you'll find tons of Hell souvenirs, like T-shirts that say "Go to Hell, Michigan," damnation-themed coffee mugs and other novelties.
The shop's Creamatory serves up shakes, sundaes and scoops of ice cream, and there's even a Hell-themed mini golf course behind the store.
The puns don't stop there. You can also send a singed postcard from Hell's post office, grab a drink at the Hell Saloon, or check out Hell's wedding chapel, which is apparently a popular place to tie the knot.
Why You Need To Go: Estes Park's promiximity to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado makes it a great base for wilderness adventures, however, it's also a spooky spot to visit.
Home to the iconic Stanley Hotel, which is known as the hotel that inspired Stephen King's 1977 horror novel "The Shining," Estes Park is also home to more than a few ghosts.
At the Stanley, hotel guests and staff have reported hearing disembodied voices, being touched by an unknown or invisible presence, and many other strange and unexplainable occurrences.
You can take a ghost tour of the hotel and stay for a night (if you're brave enough). You can also check out the Seven Keys Lodge, another purportedly haunted hotel, or visit the subterranean theater hidden beneath the Stanley Hotel’s Carriage House, where you can experience a once-in-a-lifetime performance from world-famous illusionist, Aiden Sinclair.
Location: South Dakota
Why You Need To Go: Deadwood, South Dakota, is a historic town known for its gold rush, gambling, and Wild West legends.
Here, you can walk in the footsteps of historic Old West legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock.
The town's rich history has created its share of legends, including stories of residents whose spirits are rumored to remain.
At the Bullock Hotel, for instance, Seth Bullock, a former sheriff, U.S. Marhsall and legislator in Deadwood is said to keep an eye on things, long after his death.
And at the Fairmont Hotel and Oyster Bay Bar, visitors can embark on a haunted tour, but should be prepared to run into the spirit of a "heartbroken cowboy or a despondent working girl."
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.