Have spirits on the mind? Perhaps a visit to either Fort Myers, Key West, Monticello, Punta Gorda, or Ybor City is in order. Here are five ghost walking tours in Florida and most can be enjoyed year-round.
One of the best ways for learning about a city’s history and finding the coolest places is through a guided walking tour. They typically have fewer people than motorized sightseeing tours, move at an easy-going pace, and provide an opportunity to exercise. Since it is October, I am sharing some of Florida’s haunted walking tours where you may have a paranormal encounter, capture a spirit orb, or simply have an entertaining evening. whether you believe in ghosts or not.
Fort Myers, A Haunted History Tour
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, True Tour offers the Haunted History Tour through historic downtown Fort Myers. This 90-minute walking tour offers a fun, curious, and intriguing glimpse into the historical and paranormal side of the City of Palms. The tour shares stories of those who lived, died, and will not leave certain buildings and these tales are founded on historical records, documented paranormal activity, and maybe a hint of folklore.
The tour claims previous participants have captured spirits in the photographs so be sure to bring your camera. The Haunted History Tour is offered Wednesday and Saturday nights and for Halloween season, the ghost tour is offered every night beginning Wednesday, Oct. 24 through Oct. 31, 2018. Reservations recommended. The Haunted History Tour is offered Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. beginning Oct. 24 through Oct. 31, the tour is offered nightly. Tours begin and end at the Franklin Shops, 2200 First Street, in downtown Fort Myers. Cost is $14 per person. Contact: True Tours Historical Walking Tours; Tel: (239) 945-0405; truetours.net.
Key West, A Spirited Pub Crawl
Key West has been listed as one of the most haunted cities in America. When the Spanish came to North America, they called what is now Key West, “Cayo Hueso,” which means “the Island of Bones” or “Bone Island.” One belief is they called it that either because of the bones found from a Native American battlefield or a burial ground. Key West Promotions offers a spirited tour of Bone Island with its Bone Island Haunted Pub Crawl & Ghost Tour three times a week.
The adults-only guided walking tour leads through the heart of Key West’s dark history and spirited pubs of Old Town. Hear bone-chilling tales of cursed treasure, haunted mansions, voodoo, and the story behind that creepy Robert the Doll. Housed in the Fort East Martello Museum, it is a haunted doll once owned by Robert Eugene Otto, a Key West author and painter. It is allegedly possessed by spirits and was the inspiration for the 1988 horror film, Child’s Play featuring the terrifying doll Chucky.
The 2-hour tour includes visits to three pubs and although beverages are not included, discounted drinks are available. Also included is a souvenir T-shirt to remember the ghoulish evening, reservations are recommended. The tour is $24.95 per person, must be 21 years or older. Tours are offered every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Contact: Key West Promotions, 424 Greene St., Key West, Fla. 33040; Tel: (305) 998-8599; boneislandghosttours.com.
Monticello, Most Haunted Small Town in the Southeast
The most haunted small town in the American South is located about a 30-minute drive east of Tallahassee. The town of Monticello is home to Indian mounds and many buildings, including a bed and breakfast and the Monticello Opera House, that are reported to be haunted. Embracing their spirited reputation, each October, the Monticello-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce hosts Scary Storytelling Concerts and Ghost Tours.
Storytelling concerts are scheduled for the last three Fridays of October (Oct. 12, 19 and 26) and ghost tours are scheduled for the last three Saturday evenings in October plus on Halloween night. Each are about 90 minutes. This year, storyteller Linda “Schuyler” Ford from Sleepy Hallow, N.Y., is the producer of the scary tales and will join guests during the ghost tours which amble through downtown, stopping at some of the city’s spookiest spots. Reservations are recommended as these events book up quickly. Ghost tours are $15 and offered 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Oct. 20, 27, and 31. Contact: Monticello-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, 420 Washington St., Monticello, Fla. 32344; Tel: (850) 997-5552; monticellojeffersonfl.com or find “Monticello Florida’s Ghostly Tales and Haunted Trails” on Facebook.
Punta Gorda, A Two-Mile Paranormal Trip
Punta Gorda was founded in 1884 and downtown are historic and haunted neighborhoods. During the two-hour Haunted History of Punta Gorda Walking Tour by SW Florida Walking Tours, hear stories of mysterious deaths and paranormal activity while walking about two miles. While there is no guarantee you will see a ghost, some of the stories may give you chills.
A portion of the tour ticket is donated to the Punta Gorda Historical Society. This ghost tour is offered every Friday, 6 – 8 p.m. and Saturday, 5 – 7 p.m. Reservations required. Cost: $29 for adults, $19 for accompanied children younger than 17. Contact: SW Florida Walking Tours, Tel: 941-276-6384; swfloridawalkingtours.com.
Tampa’s Ybor City
The Official Ybor City Ghost Tour combines history, storytelling, research, and documentation to provide tour participants with an accurate account of the city’s past. In recent years, Florida has been viewed as paradise. Back in the 1880s, Ybor City was founded and became a melting pot of Cuban and European cigar makers who came to the area to make a new and better life. It was also home to bandits, buccaneers, gangsters and villains whose legends, and possibly spirits, still linger in Cigar City.
Tour participants are led through Ybor City and taken to sites that have reported paranormal activity and ghostly apparitions. Through the art of storytelling, learn about some of Cigar City’s most infamous residents and their unfortunately fate. The 2-hour walking tour is family-friendly for older children and makes many stops. Reservations are recommended, especially on and around Halloween.
Tours are offered several nights a week at 8 p.m., however, during October, tour times vary. The Official Ybor City Ghost Tour is $25 for adults over 13 years old, children 8 – 12 are $10. Contact: Official Ybor City Ghost Tour; Tel: (813) 386-3905; yborghosttour.com
Note: This tour is not recommended for children under 6. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
There are plenty of ghost tours to showcase the shadowy side of the Sunshine State, all with an emphasis on fun for a memorable and spooktacular time. Where is your favorite ghost tour?