The 13 BEST Ghost Tours in San Diego: Year-Round & Halloween

A night time view looking upwards at an ornate Spanish-style building illuminated with blue light.

Published on: August 31, 2023

Read my list of the best spooky ghost tours in San Diego to get up close and personal with San Diego’s haunted history.

San Diego haunted tours offer all things paranormal any time of the year. 

There’s plenty of variety, whether you’re seeking Halloween activities or you just love visiting haunted locations. 

Southern California is very passionate about haunted tours. San Diego ghost tours are some of the best in the state and they run all year-round. 

Many of the city’s historic buildings are home to iconic San Diego ghosts and ghost tales, passed down for generations. 

While some locations do special Halloween events, many haunted tours are available all year.

You can find everything from family-friendly tours to hands-on hunting paranormal activity. 

Choose how involved you want to be in learning the long history of tragedy, unnerving deaths, lingering spirits, and unexplainable events.

Do you dare to visit the most haunted places in Old Town? Do you long to venture into San Diego’s past? Do you have what it takes to be a ghost hunter?

This list of my favorite San Diego ghost tours is sure to cover all of your curiosities and spooky speculations of San Diego’s dark side.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

A sandwich board advertising ghost tours in San Diego in front of a planter box filled with various types of cacti.

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Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tours

The black bus for the Old Town Trolley Ghost and Gravestone Tours seen parked by the curb of a street, with palm trees and a Spanish-style tile roof visible behind it.

When: Daily, year-round
Where: Begins at 4008 Twiggs St, San Diego, CA
Cost: weekends $39, weekdays $42

Cover the most haunted territory in San Diego with Ghosts and Gravestones Trolly Tours

The tour begins near the Old Town Market and journeys through Old Town San Diego aboard the Trolley Of The Doomed. 

Listen as the tour guide shares spooky stories about Old Town’s haunted past and equally haunted places.

You thought Pioneer Park was a cheerful children’s playground with gardens…think again. The resident spirits come out to play at night. 

From there, stroll through El Campo Santo Cemetery, past Grant Elementary School, and finish outside of the Famous Thomas Whaley House (one of San Diego’s most haunted houses). 

Passengers of the trolly tour don’t actually enter the Whaley House. 

But fear not, Ghosts and Gravestones offers additional ghost tours that take you inside the house to explore its dark corners. 

There aren’t any jump scares on Ghosts and Gravestones tours–it’s more about the stories. 

Prepare yourself by heading to their website gallery for ghost encounter photos that tour participants capture during their experiences. 

But beware that there are walking portions of the tour. Ghosts and Gravestones makes accommodations, but some haunted locations are non-ADA-accessible historical sites.

Remember to check in with the sales rep at the ticket booth before boarding!

Thomas Whaley House Haunted Night Tour

An interior view of the Thomas Whaley House, a sumptuously-decorated Victorian parlor with beige, patterned wallpaper and carpet.

When: Daily, year-round
Where: Thomas Whaley House, 2476 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Cost: Starting at $13.30

A culmination of events led to the Thomas Whaley House becoming known as America’s Most Haunted House. 

There are several tour experiences available to choose from. 

For those seeking a more family-friendly option, I’d advise taking the self-guided tour during their daytime hours. 

You can explore the historic Whaley House at your own pace in the daylight. Historical tours don’t all have to be spooky!

If spooky is your game, though, book an after-hours experience at the Whaley House. 

You can choose between an Evening Guided Tour and the Paranormal Investigation Experience. 

The difference between the two is whether or not you want to follow along for the adventure or fully immerse yourself in ghost hunting. 

Both after-hours experiences have knowledgeable tour guides who can tell you all about the Whaley family and Yankee Jim as you explore.

However, the paranormal investigation uses real modern and antique ghost-hunting equipment to find paranormal activity along the tour.

The Travel Channel, the SyFy Channel, and Discovery Channel have featured Whaley House night-time tours and captured up-close paranormal encounters. 

It’s no wonder that these are the most famous San Diego ghost tours. 

Do note that reservation-based tickets are available on their website year-round.

Also, each Whaley house tour requires traversing over uneven grounds and walking upstairs.

Looking for more haunted houses? Read our guide to the best San Diego haunted houses.

Old Town San Diego: Haunted Ghost & Dark History Tour

When: Daily, year-round (except Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Where: Senlis Cottage, 2454 Heritage Park Row, San Diego, CA
Cost: $35

The Old Town Walking Ghost Tour offered by Haunted Old Town Tours is the only ghost tour in San Diego to venture through Heritage Park. 

Get curious about the rarely visited corners of the park and explore the rich history in Old Town.

Walking tours are a great way to experience authentic encounters with spirits while staying safe with your tour guide. 

You’ll learn about true crime and sinister history in the area by visiting places like El Campo Santo Cemetery, the Old Adobe Chapel, and the Cosmopolitan Hotel. 

This Old Town ghost tour is a family-run entertaining tour built by history enthusiasts to bring you closer to the past.

Haunted Stories Tour at the Davis-Horton House

When: Wednesday-Saturday, year-round 10am-4pm
Where: Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House, 410 Island Ave, San Diego, CA
Cost: $8

The Haunted Stories Tour at the famous Davis-Horton House is a self-guided tour focused on the paranormal presence in this historic house and its surrounding grounds. 

The museum’s many visitors and staff have numerous stories of paranormal experiences in this house–and they want to share the spook with you. 

Footsteps on creaky floorboards in empty rooms, empty rocking chairs rocking away, and lights flickering on their own. What encounters will you experience?

Old Cali And The War For The West Tour

When: Year-round, Sunday-Thursday
Where: Outside Balboa Theatre Horton Plaza Park, 868 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA
Cost: From $13

This San Diego ghost tour explores what was once the city’s Red Light District and what remains of it. The Old Cali And The War Tour is very unique.

Wars between the clashing cultures of the city’s Spanish, Mexican, and American occupants make for a long account of violence in this seemingly serene city. 

Now, you can really get to know what went on in your own backyard. 

This walking tour includes historic sites throughout the Gaslamp District dating back to the 1800s. 

Guests walk to colonial buildings with violent histories, such as the former city hall and jail, the “saltbox houses,” and the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Eerie stories live within the walls. 

It’s a fun way to learn what San Diego was like when this area was filled with saloons, gaming halls, opium dens, brothels, and rich multicultural architecture.

The Specters & Sinners Ghost Tour

When: Nightly, year-round at 9pm
Where: Starts at 505 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA
Cost: $34.99

**Ages 16+** 

This is San Diego’s only adults-only ghost tour, which means nothing is off the table as your tour guide dives into the city’s seedy past. 

You can hear stories of the former Red Light District’s most notorious serial killers and darkest crimes. 

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Specter and Sinner’s Ghost Tour is a full-on walking tour journeying through several poorly lit areas due to the late tour time. 

Be ready to immerse yourself in one of the most unique and spooky ghost tours on the West Coast. 

Looking for a date night activity? This is one of my favorite ghost tours in San Diego at night. It’s also one of the best if you’re looking for something to do with a group of friends.

Haunted Happenings Tour at Hotel Del Coronado

Haunted Happenings Tour at Hotel Del Coronado

When: Nightly, year-round
Where: Check-in at Ice House Museum at Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA
Cost: $30

The Haunted Happenings Tour adventures through a seriously haunted hotel. 

On this San Diego ghost tour, you learn about Kate Morgan’s famous 1892 stay at the hotel… and why it is believed that her spirit remains in the hotel today. 

It feels like being in a live horror movie as the guide shares stories of the many ghostly encounters documented at the hotel and its surrounding grounds. 

There aren’t any major jump scares, but you may feel spooked. 

Most of the tour offers wheelchair accessibility, but some of it will take place on relatively uneven grounds. Be sure to plan accordingly.

Gaslamp Quarter Daytime Walking Tour

Gaslamp Quarter Daytime Walking Tour

When: Saturdays, year-round
Where: The Gaslamp Quarter Arch, 209 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA
Cost: $30

Tour the historic Gaslamp Quarter on Saturday afternoons to experience San Diego in the Victorian era. 

Fully costumed, experienced, and knowledgable tour guides take you back in time with their ghostly tales of the former Red Light District. 

Enjoy some of the area’s most breathtaking architecture and receive the unique stories hidden in all of their doorways and dark corners. 

This family-friendly ghost tour uses humor and storytelling to give you a whole new perspective on San Diego.

San Diego Historic True Crime Tour

When: Nightly, year-round
Where: Check in next to Henry’s Pub618 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 
Cost: Weekdays $25, weekends $29

**Ages 13+**

Murden ‘N’ Mayhem’s Historic True Crime Tour in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is designed to make you feel like you’re right in the middle of a true crime series. 

They’re not sparing you any of the gory details!

Guides take you way back to the turn of the century, nicknamed the Stingaree era. Ghosts of gamblers and criminals lurk in hotel rooms and along the streets.

From there, you enter the roaring 1920s and uncover the antics of an infamous serial killer and the lingering ghosts of the victims. 

These tours are truly gruesome and not appropriate for children. Be prepared for discussions of assault, murder, mutilation, rape, and more.

Embarcadero Waterfront Ghost Tour

When: Sundays, year-round
Where: The Headquarters – 789 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA
Cost: $19

** Ages 13+** 

***This tour is wheelchair accessible***

Uncover less explored terrain with the Embarcadero Waterfront Ghost Tour. This is a very unique San Diego tour. 

We’re going from haunted streets to haunted ships on the most nautical of historical tours in San Diego. 

Guests are guided on a journey into the records of sinister espionage at San Diego’s waterfront. 

You even get to do hands-on ghost hunting with supplied equipment or bring your own investigation tools. 

Get ready to dive into the dark side of the water and learn that you’re never really alone down there.

Gaslamp Quarter Haunted Pub Crawl

When: Daily, year-round (except Tuesdays)
Where: Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA (receive starting location after registration)
Cost: $32

**21+**

Why not add a couple of cocktails to our ghost tours in Old Town, San Diego?

This haunted pub crawl combines the best of the historic Gaslamp Quarter’s spooky history with its long-standing love of nightlife and spirits. Both kinds of spirits, of course. 

Your costumed tour guide will meet you at a haunted bar and spend the evening sharing ghost stories of the area as you stroll between several local pubs. 

Take in the atmosphere and the city’s gory past all at once as you stroll San Diego’s famous 5th Avenue.

This tour usually lasts about 2.5 hours and takes guests to 3-4 bars as well as several historic buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter. 

Eerie encounters await you on this walking tour, and so do lots of spooky tales. 

If you’re a paranormal buff who also happens to love a good pint, what better way to spend a night on the town?

Nightmares & Nightcaps Pub Crawl

When: Fridays & Saturdays, year-round
Where: Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA (receive starting location after registration)
Cost: $29

**21**

Grab a drink and follow your guide to historic bars throughout the Gaslamp Quarter. 

The Nightmares and Nightcaps Pub Crawl takes guests back in time to visit San Diego’s most haunted buildings and streets. 

This 1.5-hour ghost tour guides you along 5th Avenue without missing a single shadowy corner or terror-filled tale. 

Your guide stirs up boozy bloody history and sends you into the night with recommendations for more spooky bars to check out after the tour is over. 

Some of the stories took place right where you’ll be drinking. Add that to your shaker and taste it!

Paranormal Investigation Haunted Tour in Old Town

A nighttime scene of a crowd of people in the outdoor dining area of a restaurant in a Spanish-style building with a sign reading, "Cafe Coyote."

When: Daily, year-round
Where: Senlis Cottage, San Diego, CA
Cost: $42

I love the premise of this Paranormal Investigation Tour. It’s an excellent opportunity for hands-on ghost touring in Old Town San Diego.

Bring your phone and learn to use the provided ghost-hunting equipment as you reach out to past residents.

Once you’re equipped, they guide you through the investigation. Be prepared for your own real-life paranormal encounters. 

On this Old Town walking tour, you visit San Diego’s most ghostly locations, including the Whaley House and El Campo Santo Cemetery.

Be ready to be contacted from beyond the grave–and also ready to laugh. Investigation guides throw in plenty of comedic relief.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Taylor Neal

Taylor is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, yoga instructor and frontline worker who spends most of her time in her van (Vannigan) winding through the coastal and mountain roads of California where she feels most at home. From navigating the realities of van-life to the fluctuations in diverse climates and landscapes, Taylor is excited to bring everything she’s learned about California to fellow wanderers seeking beauty and adventure.


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