Have you heard about Poogan, the lovable terrier who begs for scraps in a popular Charleston, SC restaurant? It sounds like normal pooch behavior, until you find out that he died in 1979. There are cities and towns across the country that have earned a reputation for supernatural occurrences, twisted “tails” and spectral sightings. Fido is welcome to hunt for ghosts with you at these charming, historic and supposedly haunted destinations. You’ll also find plenty of pet-friendly fun to keep his mind off the unexplainable happenings that will leave him quaking on his leash!
Posted by Billy Francis
Sleepy Hollow, NY
Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a classic short story about a headless horseman terrorizing the village of Sleepy Hollow. To this day, the townsfolk embrace their spooky heritage with festivals, parades and more. Start your trip at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Irving is buried. Leashed dogs are welcome to join you on the pathways that wind past impressive gravestones dating back to 1849. Afterward, get a taste for what life might have been like for Ichabod Crane at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The preserve’s paths, like Gory Brook and Witch’s Spring Trails, lead through untouched, varied landscapes alongside Swan Lake and the Pocantico River. Before you and your trusty sidekick beat a hasty retreat, enjoy a hearty meal at Sweet Grass Grill.
Check in at Tarrytown House & Estate in neighboring Tarrytown and you might hear the footsteps of previous resident Sybil Harris King pacing the second-floor hallway and lingering near room 293 where she died in 1955.
San Antonio, TX
The haunting of San Antonio dates back to The Battle of the Alamo in 1836. During the day, pay your respects to canines who’ve given their lives in other battles at the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, and let off some steam at Phil Hardberger Dog Park. By night, bring Fido on a San Antonio Ghost Walk with Bad Wolf Ghost Tours. The tour explores downtown, where at least one record of paranormal activity is recorded each week and passes by the site of a skirmish that claimed the lives of more than 600 Texan and Mexican soldiers. If you’re feeling creeped out and need the buzz of bright lights, grab a bite to eat on the patio of The Cove, where dogs can go bump in the night with other pups in the attached dog run.
Sleep with one eye open at the “most haunted hotel in Texas,” The Menger Hotel. The lodging’s most famous ghost, former President Teddy Roosevelt, has been spotted sipping on a phantom mint julep in the Menger Bar, where he once recruited Rough Riders for the Spanish-American War.
Ever since pirates caused havoc in the city during the 1700s, Savannah has been known as one of America’s spookiest destinations. When the sun is shining on your weekend in the Hostess City of the South and you’re coasting along on a Carriage Tour of Savannah with your pup, you might forget all about the southern city’s sordid past. This feeling of ease will quickly change with a trip to Colonial Park Cemetery. Located in the heart of Savannah's Historic District, the cemetery is one of the oldest in the country, dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. Continue Fido’s brush with the other side when you dine at The Olde Pink House. This historic mansion was built in 1771 and is said to be haunted by members of the Habersham family, who built the property. As well as serving up frights, they dish out southern eats on their pet-friendly outdoor tables. Learn more about the paranormal residents with one of Savannah’s many pet-friendly ghost tour companies.
Cap off your sinister stay with a few nights at Hamilton-Turner Inn. Guests and staff have reported hearing ghostly children’s laughter, the sounds of billiard balls rolling around on the upper floors, and seeing the apparition of a cigar-smoking man on the roof.
Mackinac Island, MI
Bloody battles during the War of 1812 and a haunted British fort give Mackinac Island the reputation of being Michigan’s most haunted destination. Start your trip off at Mackinac Island State Park, where you and your pooch can explore the trails and take a look around Fort Mackinac, the oldest building in Michigan. Visitors have reported seeing ghostly orbs in pictures, which would get all the likes on Fido’s Insta. If Scooby Doo has taught us anything, it’s that making a hasty getaway when you see a ghost is important. Mackinac Island Bike Shop offers all dogs the chance to ride with you on two wheels in a basket, in a Burley trailer or custom-built kennel trailer. During your self-guided tour, head to Windermere Point for sweeping views and a snack from the Doghouse.
Mission Point Resort might be a pleasant place to stay with your pooch, but you may not be alone. There are reports of dark shapes and ghosts hanging around the pond on the property, although the only spirits you’re likely to meet here are the ones served at the bar.
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 left 19 people dead, a town in panic and a world in shock. For this reason, the historic harbor town will forever be known as Witch City. Fans of the macabre can see inside The Witch House of Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges for the trials. Small dogs can be carried through the five rooms inside the eerie home. If the house leaves a bad taste in your mouth, take a break from the grisly goings on at Village Tavern Grill & Oyster Bar. This much-loved eatery brings you back to modern times with a scratch menu designed for dogs. Find out more about the trials and the city’s other specters with Salem Ghost Tours.
The pet-friendly Salem Inn was built in 1834. Staff members have reported vanishing logs, disappearing candles and other poltergeist mischiefs over the years. The historic building is the ideal place for ghost hunters to stay in Witch City.
New Orleans, LA
No list of haunted cities would be complete without a visit to New Orleans. Pirates, yellow fever victims and The Queen of Voodoo are just some of the locals who are said to have stuck around in The Big Easy long after their bodies were placed in the ground. The historic French Quarter is a good place to start any trip to NOLA, as it’s the most haunted part of the city. Grab dinner on the patio of Pat O’Briens where it’s been reported the piano will occasionally play a single note with no player in sight. Then enjoy a chilling dessert of your own fingernails on a 90-minute walk with Ghost City Tours.
Stay in one of the South’s most loved pet-friendly hotels, Hotel Monteleone. Canine guests are gifted Monte’s Pet Package at check-in, which includes a paw-print doggy mat, monogrammed food and water bowls, gourmet treats, waste bags and a chew toy.
Charleston is known for classy architecture, coastal views and a vibrant arts scene, but did you know that it’s famous among paranormal enthusiasts, too? Old Charleston Ghost Tours takes a closer look at residents who refused to cross to the other side. King Street, which is full of pet-friendly boutique stores to snoop around, is also frequented by ghouls, including a former tailor and the ghosts of a group of failed teenage bank robbers. When hunger strikes, pay a visit to one of the city’s most famous haunted spots, Poogan’s Porch. Fido will have to share his crumbs from the table with Poogan, the spirit of the owner’s beloved pup who once acted as the official greeter for the restaurant.
If you don’t mind sharing with wispy white shapes, then the aptly named Barksdale House Inn is a great choice. Guests have previously met with the specter of an older gentleman who walks across the room and enters the closet.