Salem, Massachusetts is most famous for the notorious witch trials that took place there in 1692. Today, Salem is a popular tourist destination, especially in October for Halloween.
The city offers a variety of historical and ghost tours that tell the story of Salem.
We were in Salem this past October and had the pleasure of doing a few. While I’ll tell you they all touch on the Witch trails and Hocus Pocus, the tours differ greatly based on your interests. And the knowledge base of the guides varies too.
Here are some of the best tours to take on your visit
Salem Witch Trial Walking Tour
To learn about the key events and sites related to the 1692 witch hysteria, the Salem Witch Trial Walking Tour offered by Salem Witch Museum is a great choice.
Guides take you to sites like the Witch Trial Memorial, the burial ground for accused witch John Proctor, and past witch trial victim’s homes.
While many of the historic sites are not around anymore, you’ll visit the Rockafellas Restaurant which was the original site of the First Church of Salem.
The guides to an amazing job of telling the stories of the victims. You really get a good understanding of the hysteria started and spread.
This 1.5-hour tour. It’s an easy walk, and suitable for all ages. This is probably one of the most informative tours on the list.
Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour
For a spookier look at Salem, book the Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour from Salem Night Tour.
The 90-minute evening walking tour visits Salem’s most haunted locations and sites connected to the witch trials. You’ll hear chilling tales of the supernatural.
The enthusiastic guides really amp up the drama and suspense. It’s an entertaining way to explore Salem’s shadowy side.
You’ll visit the Ropes Mansion, Old burying Point Cemetery, John ward House, the Witch House and the Rockafellas Restuarant and hear about the murder.
I’d leave the kids at home on this one.
Salem History Lovers Walking Tour
If you are looking for something that encompasses more than just the dark side, you ‘ll want to do a Salem History Lovers Walking Tour.
You’ll learn about the history and architecture of the area. You’ll pass by three Hocus Pocus filming locations, find out about the puritans and the Witch Trials, Maritime trade, the early American Revolution, Hamiliton Hall and some of the great restaurants in the area.
The tour lasts two and a half hours covering a lot of ground. It might be a little long for young kids, but those with the stamina will be experts in all things Salem.
Salem Hocus Pocus Movie locations Tour
If you are a fan of the original Hocus Pocus, you’ll love this tour. The original movie spent two weeks filming onsite at different locations around Salem, giving it it’s authentic feel. The second movie was filmed in Road Island.
This tour takes you to five of the different filming locations. Admission is included at all places.
You’ll see the Salem Commons, the Old Salem Hall where the parents dance party was, the Ropes Mansion and Garden (Alisons Home), the Broad Street Cemetery (where the kids defeated the witches) and Pioneer Village, where the opening scene is filmed.
It includes a lot of the history on the area as well. It’s a 3 mile walk so make sure you are up for it! The starting location and ending location are not the same, so plan for transportation back.
Salem Trolley Tour
If you are hoping to get off your feet all while getting the lay of the land, the Salem Trolley Tour is a great option. They start off in the middle of town, and take you around the sights of the town.
You’ll quickly learn the town is a lot more than Hocus Pocus or the Witch Trails. The guides are all local and love the city.
One thing that I found was that this tour was more about the culture and less about this history. I found myself asking, but why and they didn’t have the time to answer before we were at the next stop. Could have been just the individual tour guide.
This is a great tour for those that are looking to see more and don’t mind a little independent research. This is normally a hop-on/hop-off tour, but in October it doesn’t stop.
Salem Trolley Tickets are available in person only. The only way to get online tickets is to pair it with the Ferry. If you get the combo ticket, they’ll pick you up at the ferry, saving you an extra .8 mile walk both ways. For that alone, I recommend it.
What Salme Tour is Best For you?
The streets of Salem are filled with stories and secrets just waiting to be uncovered. Depending on your interests, there is a tour for you. None of these tours are too hokey. If you really want, you can find them. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to history and prefer to know the facts and not tall tales.
If you are visiting Salem, I highly recommend taking one of these tours. If you are planning an October trip, make sure to plan ahead. The place gets’ crazy and tours fill up.