From a former penitentiary where the spirits of inmates still roam the halls, to a famously haunted trail in Tinseltown, these ghostly attractions are not for faint-hearted hounds! All of these blood-curdling places are free to enter for thrill-seeking dogs … if they dare.
Posted by Billy Francis
1. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The incredible building that houses the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum may look epic from the outside, but behind those heavy front doors lie sinister stories at every turn. Over the hospital’s 130-year history, thousands of patients with mental illnesses and disabilities were housed within the stone walls, often in overcrowded conditions, chained to walls and abused. Paranormal investigators claim many of the patients who were never discharged also never made it beyond this mortal coil. Join expert guides in period dress on the daytime History & Heritage Tour, or learn about the asylum’s more notorious patients on the Criminally Insane Tour. Tickets start at $10.
After visiting a lunatic asylum, a good night’s sleep might seem impossible. Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Weston aims to provide comfort for even the most frightened four-legged guests, and the nightly rates starting at $81 are far from scary.
2. Ghost House Trail
Located in a remote section of Big Ridge State Park in the Appalachians, Ghost House Trail will make you feel like you’re in a real-life version of “The Blair Witch Project.” Luckily, you have Fido to ward off any evil spirits who may be lingering along the pathway. The trail is said to be where a woman was hanged for supposedly practising witchcraft, but there’s more scares to come deeper in the woods. The Ghost House itself was once inhabited by the Hutchinson family, and was the place where their beloved daughter died of tuberculosis in the 19th century. Sightings of Mary crying in her house are less frequent these days, but the ghost of her loyal dog is said to wander the trail looking for her owner still to this day. Hikers report hearing sounds of running and panting in the woods, even when their pups are right beside them.
Tell ghost stories around the firepit next to Norris Lake at this comfortable home nearby. Nightly rates start at $186.
3. Spanish Military Hospital
Built atop a Native American burial ground, Spanish Military Hospital is said to leave visitors feeling like they’re being watched. When the hospital was rebuilt in 1821, workers discovered thousands of bones under the ground beneath the structure, and not the good kind of bones you get from the pet store! Unfortunately, the fates of those that followed weren’t much better. Patients were regularly administered with painful treatments that didn’t leave them better off (and sometimes left them dead). Dogs are welcome to attend an educational tour of the grounds that focus on the barbaric medical tools and remedies used at the hospital over the years. Tickets start at $10.50. If you can manage to eat after your stomach-churning tour, O.C. White's Restaurant is a short walk from the hospital and boasts one of the most well-loved pet-friendly patios in St. Augustine.
Fido’s history lesson doesn’t have to end when you leave the hospital. Christian’s Keep is a historic home with a fenced front and backyard where he can hang out off-leash while you relax on the porch. Nightly rates start at $211.
4. Bloody Lane Trail
As the name suggests, Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield is the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. In the surrounding cornfields and farmland, more than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or went missing in the clash. Those who have dared to walk the trail have reported smelling gunpowder and hearing singing on the battlefield along the 1.5-mile path. Entry into the park is $10 per person. While you’re in the area, pay a visit to Antietam Creek Vineyards just south of the battlefield. This 55-acre winery offers Bordeaux-style blends to enjoy while reflecting on the area’s grim past.
Continue your spooky vacation with a night in the woods in a converted school bus. This awesome rental sounds scarier than it is. It’s actually super cozy and has a woodfire stove to warm puppy paws on chilly nights. Nightly rates start at $68.
5. Bonaventure Cemetery
Located 3 miles from downtown Savannah, one of America’s most haunted cities, Bonaventure Cemetery is a must-visit for ghost hunters who want a brush with the other side. Embark on a haunted walk through this historic graveyard to meet the restless residents. Keep an eye out for Little Gracie, a statue built in memory of a 6-year-old girl who died of pneumonia that is said to cry tears of blood if you remove toys bought for her by visitors. There is no entrance fee to enter the cemetery, but you and your pooch can join Bonaventure Cemetery Tours on a 2-hour expedition of the eerily beautiful burial ground for $25.
Head downtown to the Kimpton Brice Hotel to enjoy a trip to Savannah for less.
6. Bodie State Historic Park
The hopeful gold miners who once inhabited Bodie State Historic Park were so crestfallen that they didn’t strike it rich that they placed a curse on the town. If you’re thinking about taking a rock home as a souvenir, think again. The curse of Bodie has left lives in turmoil after previous visitors took something that didn’t belong to them. That includes bones, Fido! Over the years, thousands of people have mailed in apologetic letters along with the returned artefacts. If you promise to leave everything as you found it, the Wild West town offers a chance to see what life was like during the Gold Rush.
Unfortunately, the lodgings in Bodie State Historic Park aren’t too comfortable these days. Instead, reserve a stay at Ruby Inn, a no-frills lodging that’s great for weary travelers. Nightly rates start at $117.
7. West Virginia Penitentiary
Rock up with your pup to the lock up. West Virginia Penitentiary is a gothic-style prison that was in operation from 1876 to 1995. The prison’s dark history includes bloody riots and fires, along with more than 100 inmates being put to their deaths. It’s no wonder the grounds are said to be haunted by those who walked in but never walked out again. Learn more on a private paranormal tour of the grounds or a historical tour if you ain’t afraid of no ghost!
One good thing about tiny homes is there are less rooms for things to go bump in the night. This private pastoral tiny home welcomes you and your pooch to sleep off the scares. Nightly rates start at $113.
8. Mount Hollywood Trail
The Hollywood Sign is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. It’s also considered one of the most haunted. In 1932, after being let go of her contract by a studio, 24-year-old Peg Entwistle climbed the maintenance ladder at the back of the ‘H’ and leapt to her death. Over the years, hikers on the Mount Hollywood Trail have reported seeing a floating blonde lady who disappears or flies away. After your hike, grab a bite at the retro-inspired restaurant, Fred 62 and talk about Peg, who became more famous in death than in life.
Few places will give your pooch a more warm and fuzzy feeling inside after a day of ghost hunting than the Kimpton Everly Hotel. This boutique spot provides canine guests with a bed and bowl, and is located just minutes away from the trail. Nightly rates start at $189.
9. Bannack State Park
It’s hard to believe that Bannack State Park was once home to the territorial capital of Montana and more than 5,000 residents. These days, the ghost town’s saloons and stores are completely empty, or are they? The town is said to be visited by Dorothy Dunn, the ghost of a former resident who drowned in the town pond at 16 years old. Hold your best friend close when you walk past The Bessette House, too. Crying babies can often be heard inside the building. In the lead up to Halloween, the park hosts ghost walks on weekends with guides in period dress to add to the spooky fun.
Make your way to the nearby town of Dillon to rest up at FairBridge Inn Express. This quaint hotel has a nice area out back for a bathroom break before a Halloween movie marathon in your comfortable room. Nightly rates start at $98.
10. The Gettysburg National Military Park
The Gettysburg National Military Park is the site of one of the most famous, and bloody, Civil War battles. More than 50,000 lives were lost on the 10,000-acre battlefield. Dogs aren’t allowed in the buildings or the cemetery, but your pooch can join you on the varied trails that weave around the park. If you were hoping to get a new pic for Fido’s Instagram, you may be out of luck. Previous visitors have reported cameras malfunctioning for no apparent reason. Other paranormal events include hearing the sounds of weeping nurses who would have frantically tried to operate on injured soldiers in field hospitals, and ghostly apparitions wandering the fields. There’s no fee to enter the park. Refuel at Pike Restaurant & Lounge near the park’s entrance.
If you want to spend more than one day exploring the grounds, Quality Inn Gettysburg Battlefield is ideally located next to the park. Canine guests receive bowls to use and treats at check-in. Nightly rates start at $75.
Where’s the scariest place you and Fido have visited together? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
BringFido is committed to providing authentic dog-friendly content that our readers will love. We may at times receive compensation from our partners or use affiliate links to promote products and services featured on our blog.