7 Most Haunted Places in America to Go Boating

Oh, sure, there are tons of fantastic places to go boating for autumn fun and beautiful sights, all around the United States (check out Fall Boating: 6 Reasons to Keep Boating into Autumn, to see for yourself). And, there are plenty of haunted cities throughout the nation, including some quite a few that are landlocked.

But come Halloween, only a few boating destinations can truly call themselves ideal places to tie up for a good scare. Here’s a look at the seven most haunted places to go boating in the United States. Cruise on in—if you dare.

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sleepy hollow new york
Photo By: Chris Kirkman on Flickr/Creative Commons 2.0

1. Sleepy Hollow, New York

Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” made the Headless Horseman one of America’s most beloved legends of the Halloween season. The tale, first published in 1819, has been retold for generations in film, on TV, on stage and in audio productions.

Irving is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and every October, the New York village brings the legend to life with street fairs, blazing jack-o’-lanterns and more.

While the local marinas are private on this part of the Hudson River, boaters can get within taxi distance either to the north, in Ossining, or across the bridge on the west side of the river in Nyack. Westerly Marina in Ossining has transient slips, as does the publicly owned Nyack Marina. North River Shipyard in Upper Nyack also sometimes has a few slips and moorings available.


2. Savannah, Georgia

Ghost hunters love Savannah, whose Hamilton Turner Inn was immortalized in the novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Visitors say they have heard the sounds of laughing kids, and some people say they’ve seen a cigar-smoking man up on the roof.

The inn is just one among numerous spots that are said to be haunted in Savannah, including a hotel that used to be a hospital, and an old saloon where pirates would nab unwilling seafarers and force them to work aboard the boats.

There’s no worries about modern-day boaters facing such a fate; options for tying up and safely enjoying the local fun include Bull River Marina, Isle of Hope Marina and Thunderbolt Marine.


3. Salem, Massachusetts

It’s hard to forget the harrowing history of the trials that went on here in the 1690s, when several hundred people were rounded up and accused of being witches—the deadliest witch hunt in colonial North America. Modern-day Salem has chosen to turn its undeniable past into a far softer sell, with businesses like Witch Mansion, a haunted house that’s open every day and night in October, around the Halloween season. There’s also the Salem Witch Village, whose offerings include “Pagan and Wiccan supplies.”

Pickering Wharf Marina welcomes transients and is a two-block walk from the town center. Safe Harbor Hawthorne Cove also takes transient bookings with slips and moorings.


cape may new jersey
Photo By: King of Hearts on Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons 4.0

4. Cape May, New Jersey

There are so many tales of ghosts and haunted Victorian houses in this southern New Jersey city that entire trolley tours are devoted to them during the Halloween season. Even the lighthouse is said to be haunted; visitors can head there, or around town, with guides who profess to sense paranormal activity in all kinds of nooks and corners. A Halloween Parade is held each year to help celebrate the fall festivities.

Utsch’s Marina welcomes transient boaters who want to join in the fun. Bicycles are available for rental if you don’t have a broom to ride into town, and the shopping district is a 15-minute walk from the docks. Taxis and car rentals are also an option if you want to head farther afield chasing ghost stories.


5. New Orleans, Louisiana

William Faulkner is among the notable ghosts said to haunt this city. Other local ghosts allegedly include a voodoo practitioner from the 19th century, murdered slaves and a pirate. There are walking tours that spotlight haunted spots in the famous French Quarter, and some of the hotels in New Orleans actually advertise the fact that they’re haunted as a reason to stay there. One tour company, Gators and Ghosts, offers daytime and nighttime tours focused on the supernatural.

Orleans Marina welcomes transient boaters looking for a good scare, as does Sea Brook Harbor Marine.


6. Friday Harbor, Washington State

This town in the San Juan Islands is a favorite among boaters, whether or not they realize they’re walking in the footsteps of what some people swear are ghosts. In the local bookshop, inn, museum and courthouse, visitors have been adamant that apparitions come and go.

The Port of Friday Harbor has space for transient boaters (but call ahead and call early, because this marina can see tremendous demand from transients). The harbor is within easy distance of town, where boaters can check out the spooktacular sights.


Fort McHenry National Monument Baltimore
Photo Courtesy: National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior

7. Baltimore, Maryland

Edgar Allen Poe’s stories have scared the pants off readers for generations, and his fans say that his ghost still wanders around Baltimore’s Horse You Came In On Saloon, where he had his last drink before dying. There have also been tales of the dead hanging around at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, and at the Admiral Fell Inn, which used to be prime spot for sailors.

Harbor East Marina can put boaters within easy access of these spooky spots, as can Baltimore Inner Harbor Marina.

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