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Iconic & Haunted California Tourist Attractions to See When You Visit

Santa Monica Pier at sunset
Staff Writer
Written by Staff Writer
Being such a large state, it’s no wonder California is reportedly home to some of the most haunted sites in the United States. While some of these spots are closed off to the tourist trail, the Golden State does welcome guests (and ghosts) at a number of its most iconic tourist attractions. From a home deemed the most haunted in America to a former prison on an island, these iconic tourist sites in California are downright spooky. Fork over the admission fee and settle into some of the state’s most haunted attractions.

The Whaley House Museum

The Whaley House Museum

Located in Old Town San Diego, the Whaley House Museum was built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley. It showcases mid-19th century Greek Revival architecture and once served a number of purposes in town. The home functioned as a granary, the County Court House, San Diego’s first commercial theater, and various businesses. Perhaps because the home wore so many hats, the Whaley House Museum is believed by many to be the most haunted house in America. Many television shows have featured the home on ghost hunts, documenting the spirits who never seemed to have left. It’s no wonder the home is believed to be haunted, with a suicide in its past and the fact that the grounds were once a site for execution by hanging. While you can tour the home by day, the museum also offers a ghost hunting tour where you can go on a paranormal investigation of San Diego’s most haunted site.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Owned by the National Park Service, Alcatraz sits on the island of the same name in San Francisco Bay. While the NPS denies any sort of hauntings at the former fort and prison, guests have noted otherwise. A site of the first lighthouse and US-built fort on the West Coast, Alcatraz is perhaps best known for its role as an infamous federal penitentiary long off-limits to the public. Some of the worst criminals in the world were held at Alcatraz to suffer and freeze to death. Closed to prisoners for over 50 years, many claim a few have never left. Evening tours of the site are offered, beginning by circling the island with live narration about Alcatraz’s history. While not a haunted tour, the evening romp through the prison cells in the dark is enough to give you the spooks.

Old Sacramento Underground Tunnels

man walking through tunnel

Did you know about the underground tunnels and the hidden town below Sacramento? Dating back to the floods from the Sacramento River in the 1860s to 1870s, Sacramento was rebuilt to be raised higher to prevent damage from future floods, leaving underground tunnels behind. The tunnels are known to be haunted and ghost tours are available starting at the Sacramento History Museum. Beware: you’ll come across low ceilings and slanted floors. You can book tickets on the site link above.

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary Ship, Long Beach, CA

Docked in Long Beach, The Queen Mary represents an impressive example of a 20th-century cruise ship. The art deco-style ocean liner first launched in 1936, making 1,001 transatlantic crossings before finding a permanent home in Long Beach. Now a hotel and tourist attraction, the vessel is said to be one of the most haunted places in the state. When the sun goes down, the spirits of The Queen Mary are stirring so much so that the legendary ship offers a number of haunted tours. Visitors can join the paranormal ship walk — a tour through all of the ship’s reportedly haunted locations. If you want to take things up a notch, the ship even offers its own paranormal investigation tour in which tour-goers can play ghost hunters and head to the ship’s paranormal hotspots like the infamous First Class swimming pool and boiler rooms.


Have you visited one of these spooky spots? Or have you been to a place even scarier? Tell us in the comments below!

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer

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