In the search for a wicked-fun vacation, some travelers lean toward the macabre. With a rich history full of dark and twisted tales, the Boston-Salem areas of Massachusetts make the perfect destination. From dark crypts and cemeteries to haunted Halloween fun, five spooky attractions delight ghost hunters and horror buffs from around the country.
The Crypt below the Old North Church
Along the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston lies the Old North Church. At this historic site, visitors can explore the main floor and bell chamber, a printing office, a chocolate shop, a gift shop, and a garden, but that’s not all. The crypt below the Old North Church offers frightening fun with 37 vaults containing an estimated 1,100 bodies entombed between 1732 and 1860. On this dark and spooky tour, visitors examine historic artifacts and learn how and why crypts were constructed in colonial Boston.
Boston’s Ghosts and Gravestones Tour
Halloween isn’t the only time for a ghostly excursion. Visitors to Boston can take part in the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour any time of the year. Combining a trolley ride with a walking tour, this eerie adventure explores the dark side of Boston at night. A visit to two of the city’s oldest graveyards and plenty of scary stories full of sinister characters chill the bones and tingle the spine.
The Salem Witch Museum
Offering a historic take on the topic of witches, the Salem Witch Museum highlights the drama behind the events leading up to the Salem Witch Trials. Life-size sets, exhibits, and tours draw participants into the story in an interesting, fun, and spooky way. Visitors find a variety of fun items in the museum gift shop, from witch hats and spell books to fortune-telling tea cups. A selection of clever t-shirts and sweatshirts also make great take-away souvenirs. For further exploring, the museum offers information about related homes, grave sites, and historic markers in neighboring communities, along with a handy map.
In October, Salem hosts a number of Haunted Happenings, from family activities like a parade, street carnival, and pumpkin decorating to spookier events like a Halloween ball, public ghost stories, séances, witch walks, horror films, and scary theater performances. Salem Witch Village — the neighborhood that houses the wax museum — becomes Haunted Witch Village, where all sorts of ghouls and goblins come out of the woodwork (or the graveyard) to frighten unsuspecting visitors. Chock full of excitement, the Haunted Happenings Harbor Cruise offers 90 minutes of fortune telling, face painting, scary stories, and fun photos.
Salem Ghost Tours
Few activities raise the hair on the back of the neck like Salem’s ghost tours, especially those that occur in the dead of night. Knowledgeable guides lead participants through the “haunted” areas of historic downtown Salem, including mansions, churches, and cemeteries. Options include the Salem Night Tour, the Candlelit Ghostly Walking Tour, the Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour, and the Black Cat Ghostly Night Tour. The Cemetery 101: Grave Matters Tour explores Salem’s oldest cemetery and reveals the secrets and stories of the people buried there.
When it comes to a spooky vacation getaway, the cities of Boston and Salem deliver. When you’re ready for frightening, spine-tingling fun, check out these attractions, and share your experiences with us on Twitter.