The Best Ghost Tours To Take On Your Next Trip To Salem

Salem is a city synonymous with horror. Founded in 1626, the small Massachusetts town gained notoriety for the infamous 1692 witch trials that occurred in the city. Fueled by religious unrest, paranoia, and superstition, over 200 hundred people were accused of practicing witchcraft within the span of a single year, 19 of whom were found guilty and executed by hanging.

Today, Salem is a town that fully embraces its historical roots and the horrific atrocities committed there over three centuries ago. Every Halloween season, the town becomes packed with people looking to visit some of the main historical sites connected to the witch trials in and around Salem, retracing the events that led to the trials in the first place. In addition to its supernatural significance among horror enthusiasts, Salem has also become a haven for its importance in pre-Revolutionary America, as well as a hotspot for movie fans looking to visit filming locations for beloved movies like "Hocus Pocus."

With how many places there are to visit in Salem, it can be hard to know where to start. It's for this very reason that we recommend booking a sightseeing tour with any one of the marvelous groups active in Salem today. Though many of them are focused on Salem's dark history, each of them remain vastly different in their own right. From family-friendly tours aimed at younger children to groups led by actual witches, here are some of the best tours to book for your next Salem vacation.

Salem Historical Tours

If you're coming to Salem solely for the witches, then you can hardly go wrong with Salem Historical Tours. Offering a total of 12 different tour types, Salem Historical Tours is a great option for anyone interested in any facet of Salem's history. The 1692 Salem Witchcraft Walk allows you to see some of the buildings from the 17th century that are still standing today. The H.P. Lovecraft & the Salem Connection History Tour explores famous horror writer H.P. Lovecraft's connection with Salem, specifically looking at how the witch trials influenced some of his most terrifying stories.

In terms of its ghost tours, we recommend the company's biggest seller, the Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour. Guided by lantern light, tour groups stop at some of Salem's most allegedly haunted locations, with guides detailing several documented ghost encounters and some of the most chilling crimes perpetrated in the city's history.

With the diverse amount of tours they offer, Salem Historical Tours is a safe option for practically anyone who finds themselves in Salem, catering to literary buffs, movie lovers, horror fans, or those who want to know more about regional ghost stories. Each tour lasts for about 90 minutes, and all tours are conducted entirely outside, regardless of the weather. It may not be the best, most in-depth, or longest tour the city has to offer, but it's largely decent if you're looking for a bare-bones option when it comes to Salem ghost tours.

Salem Ghosts

Unlike Salem Historical Tours — which offers tours on a variety of subjects — Salem Ghosts is a great alternative option if you're looking for a tour centered entirely on the details of Salem's more macabre history. Doubling down on the city's witch trials, tours by Salem Ghosts use many of the same walking paths used by Salem residents over 300 years ago. Along their one-mile-long route, tour leaders tell around numerous stories centered around reported ghost sightings in Salem.

As you can expect, most of these stories are related to the witch trials themselves. But also thrown into the mix are tales about influential business magnates from Salem's past, as well as young children who passed away while still in their youth. Additionally, tour guides also discuss the city's underground tunnel system — a subterranean labyrinth of interweaving caverns once used by smugglers.

With its intrinsic focus on supernatural stories surrounding Salem, Salem Ghosts is a fantastic option for those looking for a good scare. The stories are unsettling, the guides are incredibly knowledgeable, and the walk itself is not too taxing on those looking for a more gentle stroll through town. At just 60 minutes, it's slightly shorter than most other haunted walks featured on this list. With its heavy emphasis on ghost stories, it may not be as entertaining as other, more varied tours also offered in Salem. However, if you're looking for a leisurely, ghost-story-heavy walk past some of Salem's most creepy spots, this is the tour for you.


The best thing that can be said about Salem's WalknTours is that it's a great halfway point for history buffs, horror fans, and pop culture enthusiasts. On this 40- to 50-minute tour, guides lead visitors past several historical locations dating back to the Salem Witch Trials. Along the way, you'll stop at filming locations used in "Hocus Pocus," as well as a lovingly-made sculpture dedicated to the classic '60s sitcom, "Bewitched." Interspersed throughout the tour are stops at some of the oldest and most storied buildings within Salem — like the mysterious Ropes Mansion or the historic Salem Inn — each of which come with its own lengthy stories elaborated upon by WalknTour's trusty guides.

WalknTours is a worthy compromise for those unable to choose between seeing older buildings from past centuries or stopping to get a photo featuring a building from one of the most iconic '90s Disney movies of all time. Of course, it's also a tour that's sure to enrapture ghost story addicts, featuring regional folklore and tall tales around some of Salem's most legendary specters, like the Lady in Blue and the Ghost of the Strangler.

Admittedly, compared to every other tour we've outlined here, WalknTours is fairly short, clocking in at just under an hour. However, the prices are extremely reasonable (it's only about $6 per tour member), and the company guarantees your money back if you're unsatisfied. Regardless of the tour's length, the guides manage to fit in a ton of information about some of Salem's most-visited places.

US Ghost Adventures

U.S. Ghost Adventures is a well-known tour company with locations all around the country, providing in-depth tours for historically haunted locations, from New Orleans and St. Augustine to Savannah and Portland. That being said, it's no surprise U.S. Ghost Adventures has a location in Salem, leading groups to some of the most haunted spots in the city. Along the way, guides espouse stories about Salem's eventful history, as well as some of the most heinous true crime stories committed within the New England village.

U.S. Ghost Adventures holds two different tours within Salem. There's the Salem Ghosts Tour, a mile-long walk that lasts for an hour, detailing reported sightings of ghosts rooted in local urban myths pervading the area. Alternatively, there's the Untold Stories of Witches and Dark History of Salem Tour, specifically looking at the aftermath behind the Salem Witch Trials for the town's populace.

With how widespread the U.S. Ghost Adventures company is, it's easy to see that they're one of the more successful ghost-focused tour groups in the nation. With its emphasis on Salem's dark history, it can be a particularly chill-inducing experience for most visitors, shedding light on some overlooked locations within Witch City (such as Turner's Seafood Restaurant, built over the remains of a 17th-century orchard where the first condemned Salem witch was hanged). By focusing on little-known areas of Salem, U.S. Ghost Adventures can be an intriguing, outside-the-box tour, offering plenty of insight into Salem's many disturbing points of interest.

Spellbound Tours

Spellbound Tours is among the more unique tour options available in Salem. Led by paranormal investigators, tour groups wander the streets of the city, learning about the region's history and some of the most unexplained supernatural events that have occurred in the past. Given their background in paranormal study and research, guides also instruct visitors on the proper ways to identify ghosts, teaching group members how to use their cameras to capture evidence of any ghouls that happen to materialize along the way.

Specific stops along the way include several sites from the Salem Witch Trials. These spots include the field where Giles Corey was pressed to death; the Witch Dungeon where the accused were housed before execution; and the Joshua Ward House, considered one of the most haunted places in Salem, and where, according to legend, Sheriff George Corwin tortured accused witches. Tour guides also discuss other horror topics like voodoo and vampirism as it relates to New England folklore.

Despite its heavy focus on the supernatural aspects of Salem, Spellbound Tours prides itself on historical authenticity, leading groups to some of the city's most interesting locations. Still, Spellbound's emphasis on magic and the paranormal may be a little too niche for some, its ideal audience perhaps being those who hold supernatural interests. As a result, it may not be the best fit for someone looking for a general tour of Salem's historical sites — although it's a great option if you're looking for a good scare.

Salem Kids Tours

Unsurprisingly, given its history, Salem is steeped with terrifying tales about witchcraft and stomach-churning true crime stories from centuries past. Most of these stories can be a bit much when it comes to younger visitors, which is why we recommend Salem Kids Tours for those looking for a family-friendly experience for tours through Witch City.

Designed to provide lighter stories about Salem suitable for young audiences, Salem Kids Tours supplies tamer tales about the supernatural happenings around town than the more adult-oriented tours on this list. Most of the emphasis on the tour is placed on the Salem Witch Trials, with tour guides focusing on actual history with some very mild ghost stories thrown in for good measure. Tours are a solid hour, winding through Salem's historic downtown district, and are led by licensed tour guides who are predominantly teachers and graduate students with a passion for history.

Looking at the full list of tours within the city, Salem Kids Tours is probably the most wholesome choice for families looking for a decent hour through picturesque Salem. It's a great look at the local history pertaining to Salem, and several of the town's most supposedly haunted spots, with tour guides delivering fact-heavy information in lieu of paranormal speculation. Obviously, we don't necessarily recommend this tour if you're not bringing any young children with you. But for those who do, it's likely adults and children will walk away from this tour having learned a good deal about Salem's interesting past.

Tours for Touring Tourists

The humorously-named Tours for Touring Tourists company offers three distinct tour options. There's Salem's Spooky Specter Ghost Tour, a one-hour tour past some of the most haunted places in Salem with background stories surrounding each location. After that, there's the Steps Through History Tour, an in-depth sightseeing tour that allows groups to retrace many sites related to the Salem Witch Trials. Finally, there's the Wandering Witches Q&A Tour, an interactive tour through Salem where visitors can ask questions to genuine Salem witches.

It's the final tour option that remains Tours for Touring Tourists' most unique feature. After all, what better way to learn about the Salem Witch Trials than on a journey with a real-life witch? If all three tours sound enticing, Tours for Touring Tourists also allows you to book any combination of the company's three tours.

Between its three tour group options, Tours for Touring Tourists has a little something for everyone, regardless of where your individual interests lie. If you're into the supernatural aspects of Salem, we recommend the Spooky Specter Ghost Tour; if you're coming to learn about Salem witches, then we definitely suggest the Wandering Witches Q&A Tour. It may be a bit costly or time-consuming to do all three tours within a single day, but the convenience of getting all the company's tours in a bundle makes it one of the more cost-friendly options for Salem-based tour groups.

Satanic Salem Walking Tours

In terms of walking tours, it doesn't get any more outside-the-box than Satanic Salem Walking Tours. Essentially, it's exactly what it sounds like: Guests go on a guided journey through Salem led by a witch and an official member of the Satanic Temple. But like the religious movement it's based around, the Satanic Temple isn't necessarily what you imagine when you hear the word "Satanist." Rather than worshiping a literal incarnation of the Devil, the Satanic Temple is dedicated to religious skepticism, studying the harm caused by organized religion and religious fervor in general — like, for example, the Salem Witch Trials.

Along the tour, veteran tour leader Thomas O'Brien Vallor dissects stories related to the witch trials, examining how religious paranoia fueled the historic witch hunts in the first place. As a practicing witch, Vallor will also explain common misconceptions around witchcraft, the various factually incorrect myths surrounding the trials, and the stigma associated with witches to this day.

Ironically, Satanic Salem Walking Tours is one of the few tours in Salem free of an overtly supernatural lens. Emphasizing an objective historical perspective, the tour offers a more frank and open assessment of the witch trials, rather than the skeptical or paranormal tours also offered within the city. For anyone looking for a more chilling tour of Salem, we'd probably not recommend Satanic Salem Walking Tours. However, if you're looking for a more objective evaluation of Salem's troubled history, this is certainly an interesting and unique tour option.

Witchwood Tours

Similar to the abovementioned Satanic Salem Walking Tours, Witchwood Tours is a wholly unconventional tour option. With Witchwood Tours, groups are taught the history of Salem and the natural beauty of the city's surrounding area by a Salem-based witch. Eschewing the usual city area of most tours, Witchwood Tours takes you on a relatively easy hike into Salem's woods. There, you'll learn the basic methods of witchcraft and the most important things about being a witch, including the importance of embracing nature and taking in your physical surroundings.

Witchwood Tours isn't as history heavy as other Salem tours, nor does it focus exclusively on the dark or paranormal stories that make up Salem's long history. However, there is no better introduction to witchcraft than this, allowing you to see and experience magic in its most straightforward form. As you see on the tour, practicing witchcraft isn't necessarily about reciting ancient text from dusty old books or stirring a massive cauldron. It can simply be about coexisting with your environment on the most fundamental level, finding natural wonders waiting in the most unexpected of places.

Again, given that it's not rooted as deeply in history or the supernatural as other tours, Witchwood Tours isn't for everyone. However, it's still a wonderful tour that takes you on a peaceful hike, advocates mindfulness of your settings, and explores how magic can benefit you and your environment. Who knows — you might just leave the tour wanting to practice magic in your free time.

Black Cat Tours

Voted one of the nation's Best Ghost Tours by USA Today, Black Cat Tours has it all, offering two great choices for its sightseeing opportunities. There's the Historic Day Tour, a combined walking tour and guided boat ride through Salem's most important historical sites. Then, there's the Ghostly Night Tour, a spooky tour past some of Salem's most haunted locations.

There's plenty to enjoy in either one of Black Cat Tours' two tour options. The company's Historic Day Tour is a first-rate option for those who want to see some of Salem's most important sites, and hear stories related to the Revolutionary War, the Golden Age of Piracy, and famous murders that rocked the country. Of course, it's the Ghostly Night Tour that steals the show, relating stories of not only the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, but also of the murders and unexplained supernatural events that inspired literary giants like H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. For added frights, you can also sign on to do the adults-only Moonlight Prowl, featuring ghoulish tales of murder, torture, and religious hysteria suitable for audiences over the age of 16.

There's a lot to love about Black Cat Tours, one of the strongest choices for both historical and supernatural tours through Salem. Like practically every tour company featured on this list, it does a great job outlining the events surrounding the Salem witch trials. However, it's the added depth of certain other historical episodes that make Black Cat Tours such an entertaining tour company.

Secrets of Salem Tour

Most tours in and around Salem are made up of predominantly larger groups. As great as many of them are, you inherently run the risk of a more generalized, by-the-numbers tour. Billed as a more intimate walking tour around Salem, the Secrets of Salem Tour is a smaller alternative for those who desire a more individual and unique experience while visiting Massachussett's Witch City.

The Secrets of Salem Tour offers two distinct tour options (each of which are a whopping 2 hours long). On one hand, there's the Dark History: Murder and Maritime Tour, an adults-only tour that lays out Salem's murky ties to the maritime industry — the trade that led to Salem's prominent place in America centuries ago. On the other hand, there's the Dark History: Hauntings and Hysteria Tour, funneling groups to some of the most haunted locations in Salem. As you're ushered past these important landmarks, guides break down how Salem began as a refuge for religious exiles and eventually became the site of the most heinous witch trials in U.S. history.

Focused on true crime history in lieu of supernatural stories, Secrets of Salem Tour is a phenomenal choice for those looking for good scares based on real history. The best thing about the tour, too, is its size. Emphasizing a more intimate tour experience, guides speak directly to you rather than to an entire tour group, allowing for a more personalized tour fitted to your individual interests.

Witch City Walking Tours

As remarkable as each and every one of Salem's tour companies are individually, few come close to the quality of Witch City Walking Tours. With several Tripadvisor awards under its belt — including the Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Awards for Top Cultural & Historical Tour — Witch City Walking Tours offers several options when it comes to visiting some of Salem's celebrated tourist hotspots.

Witch City Walking Tours offers four separate walking tours — each unique in its own right. On the Mysteries & Murders of Salem Tour, visitors hear true crime stories spanning several centuries about some of the city's most violent murders. On the Merchants & Mansions of Salem Tour, guides lead you past some of the most luxurious homes in Salem's McIntire Historic District, marveling at their architectural design and the stories surrounding their construction.

For hardcore movie fans, there's also the lengthy "Hocus Pocus" Movie Locations of Salem Tour, a four-mile walk that will allow you to visit five filming locations used in the making of the movie, as well as basic background about the Salem Witch Trials. However, it's Witch City Walking Tours' History & Hauntings of Salem that remains the company's most celebrated option. On a two-hour-long walk, you'll learn about the witch trials in greater detail and stop by some of the most overlooked spots in the city that are said to be haunted. With its variety of tours, Witch City Walking Tours caters to everyone who steps foot in Salem, from Disney viewers to amateur historians.