If you’re looking for a slightly different way of exploring the States, this selection of horror tours could be just the ticket. Some are educational, some are linked to scary movies, and others will terrify the living bejesus out of you. We’ve picked out the best horror-themed tours across the country, with a few offering extra spooks on Halloween.
Paramount Studios Tours are a popular way of exploring one of Hollywood’s oldest film studios. There’s plenty to see here year round, but towards the end of summer and heading into Halloween the studio offers a special After Dark experience. This spooky Tales From The Other Side tour heads from the backlot into the adjoining Hollywood Forever cemetery, the final resting place for several film legends. The soundstages feel extra special in the eerie silence, and the flashlight-led outdoor portion of the tour is a remarkable journey into the unknown.
Dearly Departed: The Tragic History Tour of Los Angeles
There’s no escaping the glitz and glamour of Hollywood when in Los Angeles, but some of the city’s best-known stories are marked by tragedy. This multimedia bus tour goes from Beverly Hills to the Sunset Strip, exploring the twisted tales of how some famous names from history met their unfortunate demise.
The 2015 film Area 51 gave an insight into this bizarre section of the Nevada desert that has become known for secretive military operations and a host of UFO sightings. Whatever the truth is (and we’re sure it’s ‘out there’ somewhere), to get the best experience you could do a lot worse than this 10-hour tour, which reveals locations that were previously unknown. The scenic desert and so-called ‘mutant’ trees are perfect for Instagrammers, and you’ll get as close to the perimeter of Area 51 as you possibly can.
Fans of horror will know exactly why Crystal Lake has a special place in the history of the genre. The original Friday the 13th (1980) was part of the first wave of slasher films that popularised horror in the 1980s. Although there is no ‘real’ Crystal Lake, the setting of the film, a real location was used for much of the filming. Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in New Jersey is a fully functioning Boy Scout camp, but hardcore fans of the film franchise should keep a watchful eye on the Crystal Lake Tours website for occasional themed tours. They are few and far between, which makes it all the more prized in the pantheon of film tourism. To apply for the ballot to visit Crystal Lake, visit the website: Crystal Lake Tours
Washington Irving’s seminal novel The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was set in a fictional town inspired by New York’s Tarrytown. Tim Burton adapted the book into a movie starring Johnny Depp in 1999. Fun fact: local residents have already decided on changing the name of one small district of Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow. New York City in general continues to draw visitors from all over the world, and in among the skyscrapers and loft apartments you’ll find some fascinating stories lurking on the ground. Broadway is a must for most people visiting The Big Apple, and this tour explores the darker side of the famous showbiz area.
In recent years Philadelphia has been extensively documented on film thanks to the works of local director M Night Shyamalan. Apparently you should also keep an eye out for the ghost of Benjamin Franklin on this leisurely night-time stroll though the city.
Savannah sits on the coast of Georgia and is known for its lush parks and cobblestoned squares. Many of these handsome locations have dark stories to tell, and paranormal investigator Patrick Burns will guide you through the city. This tour is catered to people looking for a more scientific approach to reaching the ‘other side’, so prepare yourselves for an eye-opening experience.
Billed as a ‘fright-seeing’ tour of Boston’s sordid past, this trolley ride into the unknown is led by a 17th-century gravedigger who remains in character for the entirety of the tour. You’ll feel like you are being transported into the past – apt for a city with nearly 400 years of history to draw from.
Widely regarded as America’s most haunted place, Salem at night is particularly sinister. The 17th-century witch trials have left a legacy that permeates the region to this day, and Salem, Massachusetts, is a tourist hotspot that is easily accessible from Boston. This tour is one of the most popular on our list, so booking in advance is highly recommended.