9 Most Haunted Hotels In California For Brave Families!

by | Oct 6, 2022 | Day Trips From Los Angeles, Destinations, Family Adventures, USA

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October has arrived, and things are about to get spooky. While many California families will be busy picking out Halloween costumes, carving pumpkins, and decorating their homes with crawling spiders and creepy skeletons, there are some folks who prefer to dial up the scare factor and be truly terrified this time of year. If you and your family members are the brave souls looking for a creepy and unique way to celebrate the Halloween season, now is the perfect time for an eerie weekend getaway.  And what better place to stay for a scary stay than a haunted hotel? Luckily California is the prime location for frightening haunts, so you won’t have to travel far to find one. Below is a list of some of the most haunted hotels throughout the golden state. Can’t make the trip in October?  Don’t worry, these hotels are haunted all year round.  




Chateau Marmont – Los Angeles

This historic hotel has been an iconic fixture in West Hollywood since the late 1920s and has housed dozens of Hollywood’s top celebrities over the years. Many scandalous activities and affairs have taken place within the property, and several involve the rich and famous. A few of these stars even met their demise at the hotel, and it is rumored that their souls never checked out. In 1982 actor and comedian John Belushi overdosed in the hotel’s Bungalow #3 and several guests, including a little boy, have reported many strange sightings of a funny man bearing Belushi’s resemblance. Another celebrity whose spirit has been known to haunt the establishment is photographer Helmut Newton who tragically lost his life in a car crash at the hotel in 2004. Guests have seen visions of a hurt Helmut and heard a camera clicking when no one was around. Chateau Marmont guests have additionally reported seeing furniture move, windows open and close on their own, and have heard several unexplained sounds in different areas of this majestic sunset strip establishment. 


Hollywood sign - Haunted California Hotels

Spirits of the rich and famous haunt the Hollywood Hills. Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash.


Queen Anne Hotel – San Francisco

If your family is looking for a scary stay in the San Francisco area, the Queen Anne Hotel is definitely worth checking out. This gorgeous, Victorian-style building is rumored to be haunted by a friendly presence. The mansion dates back to the late 1800s and was built as an exclusive finishing school for girls. The original owner was a young woman named Miss Mary Lake. In 1891 this unmarried headmaster found herself at the center of a sordid scandal as rumors spread that she was having an affair with senator James Fair, the man who provided the funding for the school. The rumors eventually simmered down and Mary sold the building and moved out of the area. However, it seems that Mary’s spirit may have returned, as the now Queen Anne Hotel has had numerous reports of paranormal activity. Many of these incidents have taken place on the fourth floor of the hotel, frequently in room 410, which was Mary’s former office. While guests have experienced some unsettling occurrences such as seeing unexplained images in the hotel mirrors or feeling hot and cold spots when walking down the hotel hallways, many of their ghost encounters have been of a helpful nature. When you stay at the Queen Anne, the resident spirit (maybe Miss Mary herself) may even assist you in unpacking your belongings and tucking you into bed at night.


Suitcase - Haunted California Hotels

Don’t be surprised if Mary helps you unpack. Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash



Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – Los Angeles 

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel may just be the most haunted hotel in the state of California. The first Oscars were held here in 1929 and many Hollywood stars have roamed its hallways in the years since. The hotel’s most famous ghost is nonother than the beautiful Marilyn Monroe. She lived at the hotel for two years in the 1940s, and while she did not meet her untimely death on the premises, her spirit still haunts the ground of this famous establishment. If your family is not easily frightened, you may want to book a stay in Marilyn’s old room (#1200) on the second floor of the hotel. The room is decorated in vintage furniture, and there have been several unusual sightings here of a mysterious little girl wearing a blue dress. Guests have also seen images of Marilyn in a hotel mirror, and there has also been some paranormal activity at the hotel’s pool area where she modeled for her very first print advertisement.  Although the spirit of Marilyn is the most famous ghost to haunt the Roosevelt, she is not the only one. Other famous ghosts include Carole Lombard and actor Montgomery Clift. Guests have reported strange occurrences in his old room (number 928) and have heard the sounds of his bugle play throughout the hallways of this grand hotel.


Exterior Roosevelt Hotel - Haunted California Hotels

Strange things are happening at the Roosevelt Hotel. Photo by Shad Islam on Unsplash


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Hotel del Coronado – San Diego

At the Hotel del Coronado, the ghost of a young woman has been sighted numerous times around the property. In 1892, a young Kate Morgan checked into the hotel but never left. Some say she was waiting for her husband to join her and others claim it may have been another man. Regardless, after waiting several days for her suitor to join her, Kate became so distraught that her broken heart could no longer survive, and she ended up taking her own life. Since then, the ghost of Kate Morgan has been felt in many ways by hotel employees and visitors. There have been reports of strange breezes, flickering televisions and light fixtures, and unexplained footsteps. While most of this activity has occurred in room 3227, Kate’s former guestroom, there have also been strange occurrences in the hallways and hotel gift shop. Kate’s presence has been felt so strongly that the hotel has published a book about it, titled “Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado.”


Woman's eye looking beneath rafters - Haunted California Hotels

You never know who is watching you when you stay at the Hotel del Coronado. Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels


Hotel Dunsmuir – Dunsmuir

The history of the Hotel Dunsmuir dates back to the gold rush era of the late 1800s. The hotel is comprised of five buildings, three of which are said to be haunted.  There have been lots of strange happenings at the Dunsmuir and several ghost hunters have investigated the spooky activity. According to the hotel owner, Mark Juarez, the paranormal investigators determined that 13 ghosts take up residence in the hotel. Three of these ghosts frequent the property’s Castle Rock building which was once home to a brothel. One particular ghost is named Motto and is believed to be the spirit of the man who ran the brothel and later died in its sauna. When asked about any mysterious happenings in this building, Mark recalled a story about a criminal who broke into the Castle Rock building and started a fire. He said that suddenly, the fire extinguished itself, and the man was suddenly pushed out of the building by an unknown force as if to say he was unwelcome there. Overall, Mark says he has felt the presence of the hotel ghosts but is not afraid because they are mostly friendly spirits, not there to harm anyone that is kind. He told me, “I can sense them but feel protected by them.” The Hotel Dunsmuir is currently the subject of an upcoming film of the same name. It started showing in theaters on October 4th.  


Shadow figure in darkened hallway - Haunted CA Hotels

Not all spirits are out to scare you. Photo by Elina Araja on Unsplash


Queen Mary Hotel – Long Beach

A stay at the Queen Mary Hotel is definitely a memorable one. This property is a historic ocean liner that was docked and converted into a hotel. While many families stay here to take in the beautiful ocean view, others visit in hopes of experiencing something out of the ordinary. There are many haunted rooms aboard the ship, and they are said to be inhabited by more than 100 spirits. The Queen Mary embraces their presence and has hosted several spooky onboard activities, including ghost stories, ghost haunts, and haunted meals in the dining room. Hot spots to explore for paranormal activity include the first-class swimming pool, the lounge, and room B340. Throughout the hotel, visitors and hotel staff members have reported hearing the sounds of children crying, witnessed images of passengers fading into thin air, and experienced the unsettling feeling of someone brushing up against them. One well-known ghost is said to be a crewman who died in a horrific accident in the shaft alley. Many people have reported that they have seen his spirit, a man in blue overalls, walk around the premises and ask people about the whereabouts of his equipment. Others swear they have seen the ghost of a young girl who is wearing a white dress. The Queen Mary Hotel is currently closed, but there has been talk of it reopening soon. Be sure to check the hotel’s website for more information.


spirit woman - Haunted CA Hotels

Ghosts are everywhere at the Queen Mary Hotel. Photo by From Past to Future on Unsplash.


La Playa Hotel – Carmel 

The resident ghost at the La Playa Hotel has possible ties to the chocolate industry.  This historic national hotel once belonged to Angela Ghiradelli, heiress to the Ghiradelli chocolate fortune, and her husband, Christopher Jorgenson. Guests claim that Angela’s ghost (or possibly that of a close relative who drowned in the bay) haunts the grounds of this coastal hotel. Guests at the La Playa are often awakened in the middle of the night by running water, flickering lights, and unusual feelings. Some have even seen ghostly images in their guest rooms. 


orange moon - Haunted CA Hotels

Eerie things are happening by the sea at La Playa Hotel. Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash


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Union Hotel – Benicia

When you stay at one of the most historic hotels in America, you are bound to leave with a good ghost story or two. The Union Hotel is so infamous for its creepy occurrences that the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures crew investigated and featured the hotel on their show. Constructed in 1852, this Northern California hotel is the home of “Crying Mary,” the spirit of a young call girl who took her own life in one of the guest rooms. Visitors who have stayed at the hotel sometimes hear Mary crying to herself at night.  Others have witnessed seeing strange figures at the establishment.  According to the hotel receptionist and former housekeeper Nevaeha Jefferson, the Wild Peonie and Victoriana rooms have been the main sites of creepy occurrences and are, therefore, the most requested places to stay.  Neveaha herself has felt an unsettling feeling in the hotel when cleaning alone. She also said she recently heard the sounds of pots and pans banging in the kitchen when no one was in sight. 


Pots and pans - Haunted CA Hotels

Pots and pans banging in an empty kitchen is such a frightening sound. Photo by Janko Ferlic on Unsplash


Be sure to book your spooky stay as early as possible. The most haunted rooms fill up fast!


Cecil Hotel  – Los Angeles

While the Cecil Hotel (most recently named the Stay on Main Hotel and Hostel) is not currently welcoming visitors for overnight stays, it definitely deserves a mention. So many frightening and unexplained events have taken place within its walls that the Cecil remains one of the most terrifying hotels in America. Originally opened as a lavish establishment in 1927, the hotel lost money and eventually transformed into a rundown haven for criminals and those down on their luck. There have been numerous murders and suicides on the property and it has housed at least two serial killers. Rumor has it that Elizabeth Short, better known as the Black Dahlia, may have visited the Cecil just prior to her murder in 1947. Plans to reopen the hotel are unclear at this time, but this one is so creepy that you may just want to stay away. 


Veiled woman - Haunted California hotels

A visit to the Cecil Hotel will definitely give you the creeps. Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash




Kimberly Falchek is a freelance writer and child development specialist based out of Salem, Massachusetts. She has contributed to several parenting and travel publications. When not working, Kimberly enjoys hiking, photography, and traveling with family.