The Best Spots for a Haunted California Road Trip

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From the stunning Hotel del Coronado to the Point Sur Lighthouse, California isn’t short on haunted sites. Pile in for a road trip to just one of these sites or hop onto the Pacific Coast Highway for a multi-destination road trip through the state.
California is best known for its diverse terrain, Silicon Valley, and its Gold Rush heritage—but it’s also full of stories and legends from before it achieved American statehood. And while many of the early houses, buildings, missions, and towns still stand, some people claim that architecture isn’t the only thing that remains from history.
If you’re looking for a spooky road trip, look no further. The car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has compiled the must-see places for a haunted California road trip.

San Diego

The Hotel del Coronado, San Diego with its red roof and white facade illuminated at night.
The Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

The Hotel del Coronado

This beautiful, sprawling Victorian hotel first opened in 1888. The Hotel del Coronado’s design landed it roles in several Hollywood films, including Wicked, Wicked and Some Like It Hot. It has hosted presidents, movie stars, and royalty, including King Kalakaua of Hawaii and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Who haunts it?
  • Kate Morgan, a woman who died under mysterious circumstances. She was found dead on an exterior staircase from a single gunshot wound—and while it was originally ruled a suicide, it was later speculated that the bullet that killed her didn’t match her gun.

The Whaley House

The Greek Revival Whaley House, built in 1857, belonged to Thomas Whaley, an early settler of California. When they moved in, the Whaleys believed the house was already haunted by the ghost of James “Yankee Jim” Robinson, a thief who had been hanged on the property.
Who haunts it?
  • The ghosts of Yankee Jim and Thomas’s daughter, Violet, who committed suicide after learning about her husband’s sordid past.

Los Angeles

The RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach on a sunny day.
The RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach

The RMS Queen Mary

A British ocean liner built by the company behind the Titanic, the RMS Queen Mary served from 1936 to 1967—including a stint as a troopship during WWII. She is permanently moored at the port in Long Beach as a hotel, museum, and tourist attraction.
Who haunts it?
  • The Queen Mary saw numerous unusual deaths while she was in service—a sailor killed in a freak accident in the engine room, a child who drowned in the pool, and a family that was murdered in their stateroom.
  • Most notorious is the Lady in White, the ghost of an unknown woman who checked in but never checked out.
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Big Sur

A spooky view of Point Big Sur silhouette against a sunset.
Point Sur Lightstation, Big Sur

Point Sur Lighthouse

The only complete 19th-century lighthouse to be open to the public, Point Sur Lightstation is a remnant of the Gold Rush period. At the time, Point Sur was a major hazard to ships carrying gold and workers up and down the California coastline.
Who haunts it?
  • Ghosts of the doomed seafarers who shipwrecked at Point Sur are still seen.
  • Point Sur Lighthouse is considered the most haunted lighthouse in America—good news for ghosthunters, as it’s one of the very few open to the public.

San Jose

The yellow and red Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, seen from a low angle on a sunny day.
The Winchester Mystery House, San Jose

The Winchester Mystery House

One of the most famous paranormal hotspots in the US is the Winchester Mystery House—home of Sarah Winchester, widow of gun magnate William Winchester. After the deaths of her husband, mother, father-in-law, and daughter, a medium told Sarah that she was cursed by the spirits of those who died by her husband’s firearms and to go west and build a home for herself. The only way to protect herself from the vengeful spirits was to never stop building the house.
Sarah moved to San Jose and purchased a 2-story farmhouse that she spent 30 years transforming into a confusing labyrinth with no master plan, stairs to nowhere, and doors that lead to 20-foot drops.
Who haunts it?
  • Even nearly a century after her death, it is believed that Sarah Winchester still roams the halls of her labyrinthine manor home—as do the vengeful spirits that reportedly plagued her in life.

San Francisco

Alcatraz looms in the distance of San Francisco bay on a bright day.
Alcatraz, San Francisco


The most notorious prison in American history was once a military fort. And while the Alcatraz was permanently closed in 1963, its reputation as a home for some of the country’s worst criminals gave it a certain morbid appeal. It was opened for tours a few decades later and is considered one of the most haunted places in the country.
Who haunts it?
  • Workers and visitors report ghostly apparitions, strange sounds, and unexplained chills in certain cells where prisoner deaths occurred.
  • The spirits of tortured inmates who died within the walls of the prison are said to roam the halls and cells.

The Queen Anne Hotel

A historic Victorian mansion turned girls boarding school turned hotel, the exquisite Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco’s famous Pacific Heights neighborhood has the classic “Painted Ladies” facade that the city is known for. But one resident of the hotel didn’t get the memo that the boarding school is no longer in business!
Who haunts it?
  • The ghost of Mary Lake, the last headmistress of the boarding school, reportedly haunts the room that was once her office. She apparently folds bedding and laundry while guests sleep!

Jerry roadside assistance

Don’t be haunted by the ghost of no preparation! Before you take any road trip, make sure that you’re prepared for any unexplainable mishaps that could happen along the way with good roadside assistance.
Jerry may be known for finding great prices on your car insurance, but you can also get roadside assistance! The program includes everything you could need, from tire changing to battery jumping, fluid delivery, locksmith services, rental reimbursement, and much, much more.
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