Ghostly Road Trip Destinations Through Texas

Visit the most haunted sites in Texas on a series of ghostly road trips, including stops in San Antonio, Galveston, and Houston.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Don’t believe in ghosts? We’ll bet that after one rip through Texas’ most famous ghostly attractions—from haunted hotels in San Antonio and Galveston to a spooky, decommissioned Gulf Coast warship to the mysterious East Texas forests—you’ll be an ardent (and probably terrified) believer.
Taking a haunted Texas road trip could become downright horrifying if you don’t have
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If you enjoy scaring the bejeezus out of yourself and your loved ones, keep reading—the Lone Star State has plenty of scary road trips to offer.
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Key trip details

Kountze to El Paso
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that’s true for road trips as well. Though this trip only covers half the state, it still carries a hefty mileage and drive time. You could see all these locations in one long trip, or you can choose one or two for a shorter excursion.
One-way distance: 1,052 miles
One-way drive time: 16 hours 24 minutes
Suggested length of trip: 7 to 9 days

Haunted Texas cities

  • Kountze, TX—1 to 2 days
  • Houston, TX—One half to 1 day
  • Galveston. TX—1 to 2 days
  • Corpus Christie, TX—1 to 2 days
  • San Antonio, TX—1 to 2 days
  • El Paso, TX—1 to 2 days

Bragg Road in Big Thicket National Preserve—Kountze, TX

How to get there: From Houston, follow US-90 E for 1 hour, 40 minutes to Kountze.
Big Thicket National Preserve
is a densely forested, 110,000-acre area in East Texas, featuring hiking trails, boating areas, abundant nature, and a chilling presence that’s been documented for more than a century.

What to do in Kountze

Big Thicket National Preserve
During the day, Big Thicket is a vast, forested expanse offering loads of activities for nature seekers. At night, it’s something else entirely.
After dark, it is pitch black. Find yourself along Bragg Road, an unpaved path winding its way through the forest, and be prepared to encounter an unsettling presence—a bright, white orb that is most definitely not the moon—hovering in the darkness.
Back in 1902, a railroad was being laid through the forest to make moving oil and cattle easier. During the work, an engine brakeman was decapitated in a horrifying accident. Rumor has it that the orb is actually the light of the dead brakeman’s lantern, guiding his ghost as it searches for the brakeman’s severed head.

La Carafe Dive Bar—Houston, TX

How to get there: Head downtown and get yourself to 813 Congress St, just across from Market Square Park.
Houston is one of the country’s biggest cities, with a huge array of restaurants and bars. You’ll want to pay a visit to one of the city’s oldest watering holes for an eerie evening.

What to do in Houston

Houston, Texas
La Carafe
($$) has been open since the 1960s and is housed in Houston’s oldest building—a low-slung, two-story brick commercial building. It dates back to 1847 and is steeped in history.
Grab a seat at the bar and admire a place that time—but, apparently, not ghosts—seems to have forgotten. La Carafe is filled with oddball antiques and trinkets from yesterday, from the old, manual cash register to beyond-well-worn furniture, not to mention the towering candles that spookily light the bar.
That old cash register? Staff have seen it open—on its own—at random. Without warning, glasses and bottles have fallen and crashed to the floor, with no provocation.
Staff say they can hear the sounds of children running and playing upstairs—but the second floor has been closed due to structural issues for years. Rumors of long-ago murders committed above the bar bring curious visitors to this otherwise fun downtown hangout.
Most creepily—amidst the drinking and merriment—numerous staff and patrons swear they’ve seen the ghost of a former bar manager, lurking in the window. It’s as if he’s looking into the local spot he ran long ago and—apparently—never left.

Hendley Row—Galveston, TX

How to get there: From Houston, head down I-45 S to Galveston and head to Hendley Row, 2010 Strand St.
Galveston, an island city on Texas’ Gulf Coast, has a long history of suffering. The city has survived war, epidemics, natural disasters, and is now—in one location in particular—home to those disasters’ respective ghosts.

What to do at Hendley Row

Galveston, Texas
Hendley Row is the oldest building in Galveston, finished in 1858 as a hub for cotton brokers and shippers. The building houses retail offices and apartments and is now a Texas State Historic Landmark.
But no matter how chic and up-to-date, ghosts are very much a part of Hendley Row’s present. Legend has it that the ghost of a soldier—dating back to the Civil War—can be seen lurking around the building and on the roof.
Sightings of the ghost of a blood-soaked, teenage factory worker (from the building’s cotton heyday) have been reported. There’s the ghostly "lady in white" and apparitions of a little boy and girl, running and playing—all three are thought to be victims of the 1900 storm, in which 12,000 people died.
Perhaps most eerie is the ghost of "Dr. Wilbur," in one of Hendley Row’s retail shops. An old photo of Dr. Wilbur was given to the shop’s owner years ago by a nearby resident. When the shop was flooded in 2008, nearly everything inside was destroyed—except for the photo of Dr. Wilbur.
Every year, on the Day of the Dead, the shop owner creates an altar with Dr. Wilbur’s photo and some candles surrounding it. Before the owner and her staff lock up for the night, they make sure the candles are extinguished. Yet the following day, upon unlocking the shop’s doors, a candle is still lit. Apparently, Dr. Wilbur prefers the company of a night light.
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Hotel Galvez—Galveston, TX

How to get there: At the corner of Moody Ave. and Seawall Blvd, right on the coast—2024 Seawall Blvd.
This historic hotel—and its resident ghosts—welcome guests all year round. Get ready for a comfortable—but possibly scary—stay.

What to do at Hotel Galvez

Creepy old house in Galveston, Texas
Hotel Galvez
leans into its haunted story, as ghost tours regularly make their way through this historic hotel. And why wouldn’t they? Both staff and guests report strange occurrences, often. Cost per night: from $165
Random doors slamming shut. Drawers opening suddenly without notice. Weird smells wafting through the hallways. Visions of strange orbs in various parts of the hotel. A ghostly hotel worker wandering the hallways at night.
Then, of course, there’s the story of "Audra", the ghost bride who, in her earthly form, hanged herself in the 1950s after hearing her fiance had drowned at sea. In fact, the fiancee survived, and returned to find his soon-to-be-wife—dead.
Both hotel employees and guests have said they can feel Audra’s presence in the hotel. Sleep tight.

U.S.S. Lexington—Corpus Christi, TX

How to get there: From San Antonio, head down I-37 S towards Corpus Christi, about 2 hours.
A decommissioned warship is always a draw and the U.S.S. Lexington, which sits in Corpus Christi Bay on the Gulf Coast, is no exception. Retired from service in 1991, it’s now a museum—don’t mind any spirits you might encounter on a tour.

What to do in Corpus Christie

The U.S.S. Lexington, Corpus Christi
U.S.S. Lexington
served for nearly fifty years and saw action throughout the Pacific Theatre during the Second World War. The Axis powers thought the Lexington—nicknamed "The Blue Ghost" by Japanese propagandists—was sunk at least four times, but the ship ultimately survived the war.
However, not all of Lexington’s sailors made it home. Legend has it that Lexington’s dead haunt the ship to this day, with hundreds of reports of ghost-like activity logged every year.
Visitors have reported seeing strange figures in the distance below deck. The ghost of a sailor, killed in the engine room on one of the ship’s past missions, reportedly roams the deck at night.
Doors slam and lights flicker on and off—on a ship that’s been out of service for more than seven decades. Normal? We think not.
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South San Antonio Ghost Tracks—San Antonio, TX

How to get there: Head south on Villamain Rd. and stop at Shane Rd., south of the 410 Freeway, where the haunted railroad tracks lay.
Forget San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk—get your heart racing with a visit to one of San Antonio’s most haunted sites.

What to do at the South San Antonio Ghost Tracks

A train stopped in San Antonio
On train tracks in South San Antonio, a haunting legend has piqued this city’s curiosity for decades. The story goes that, one night back in the late 1930s, a bus full of sleeping children was returning from a trip. Their bus stalled on the tracks near Shane and Villamain roads.
The driver, a nun, tried desperately to restart the bus as a train—with a burnt-out headlamp—bore down the tracks. The train sliced through the bus, killing ten children. Miraculously, the nun survived.
Weeks later, the nun returned to the crash site in her own car, unable to live with her guilt. She parked on the tracks and waited for a train to end her life. But just as a train was about to barrel through, she heard familiar voices and her car began to roll off the tracks to safety.
Amazed, she got out of the car, but there was no one in sight. Who had saved her life? She looked at the back of her car—children’s handprints were visible on the back end.
If you aren’t sure what to believe, visit the aforementioned tracks. Stop by the tracks, put your car in neutral, and see if it is slowly moved away from the rails. Did it move? Are there little handprints on the back of your car?

Menger Hotel—San Antonio, TX

How to get there: The Menger Hotel is located just south of The Alamo—204 Alamo Plaza.
When President Bill Clinton visited San Antonio’s Menger Hotel during the 1990s, he wasn’t the first President to grace the hotel with his presence—nor would he be the last.

What to do at the Menger Hotel

The Menger Hotel, San Antonio
The Menger Hotel
has long been talked about as a hotbed for ghosts. Perhaps the most famous ghost rumored to haunt the hotel—and its bar—is none other than America’s 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt.
The story goes that before Roosevelt was President, he used the Menger’s bar as a kind of staging area to recruit his "Roughriders" during the Spanish-American War. Even though Roosevelt died way back in 1919, his presence is still felt in the hotel.
According to local legend, on some evenings, you can see Roosevelt’s ghost quietly pouring himself a drink in the dark hotel bar, off the main lobby. After all, being a President is hard work. But a ghost-President? Cheers to you, Teddy!

El Paso High School—El Paso, TX

How to get there: From San Antonio, take I-10 W for about 8 hours to El Paso. It’s a long stretch of road, so consider getting out at Fort Stockton for a break from the drive.
El Paso sits on Texas’ western edge and hugs the Mexican border—its local high school has been at the center of a strange supernatural mystery dating back nearly forty years.

What to do in El Paso

El Paso High School
In 1985, El Paso High’s graduating class snapped a group graduation photo. But when the photo was developed, students and faculty were shocked at what they saw.
In the lower-left corner of the photo, in the second row, stood what looked like a young woman, posing with her classmates. Except in the photo, the young woman is blurry—even as all her classmates were clearly identifiable. No one—not students, staff, administrators, or parents—could identify this ghostly woman.
To this day, the mystery remains—none of El Paso High’s 1985 graduating class can identify the haunting figure in the photo. Was she a student who died at the school? A young woman who died nearby? No one knows.
Pro Tip Albuquerque, New Mexico is the closest large city to El Paso. In Texas, San Antonio is the closest major city to El Paso, nearly an eight-hour drive east.
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