Salem, Massachusetts, is one of the most-visited cities when it comes to the spookier times of the year. Halloween is practically a major holiday and the tours explode with participants – but that doesn’t mean that’s the only time you can visit this incredible destination. Aside from the ghost stories, Salem has a true, tortured, and very real history that has given way to many informative and intriguing tours.
Newcomers might think that ghost tours are the only options available but that’s not the case by any means. While this is all part of the fun of exploring such a unique destination, it’s also worth it to have an appreciation for the events that spurred it all. Many times, the truth and history of a city such as this is even scarier than the ghost tours that go on at all hours of the night.
Bewitched After Dark Walking Tours
Bewitched After Dark Walking Tours offers a unique balance between the colonial history of Salem as well as its past rooted in the Salem Witch Trials. It’s highly recommended for history buffs, according to U.S. News, featuring more than 12 different locations that serve as landmarks for Salem’s long and tangled past.
The guides are all part of this experience, though, and manage to weave their stories in such a way that participants are captivated and left with an impression by the end of it. This tour doesn’t necessarily need to be taken after dark and there is a 3 PM option on weekends; generally, the tours start at 7 PM and cost $25 per person.
Daytime Historic Tour With Salem Black Cat Tours
Salem Black Cat Tours offers a unique perspective when it comes to their Daytime Historic Tour. Not only will participants get an in-depth history lesson, but that lesson will include details about Salem’s participation in the Revolutionary War, pirates who once sailed the city’s coast, and authors who called Salem their home.
The tour itself is only a mile long and bypasses some of the city’s best waterfront locations, from burial grounds to buildings that are well over 100 years old. It’s perfect for history buffs but is imaginative and diverse enough that it’ll capture the attention of anyone who takes it. This tour starts at $12 for adults and $6 for kids, lasts an hour and a half, and operates on weekends.
Hocus Pocus Tours
For something fun and a bit whimsical, Hocus Pocus Tours has exactly what you’re looking for. It’s also very history-based but in a way that’s fun and off-beat, with guides who definitely have a sense of humor and plenty of captivating things to say. For an hour and a half, tourgoers will be treated to a history of the Salem Witch Trials as well as an introduction to Nathaniel Hawthorne, the city’s famed American Gothic author. Interesting tidbits about the Boston Strangler also come up throughout this tour, making it fairly diverse in nature.
Tours start at $18 and start at 7:30 PM, and include a stop by the famous filming location for the movie Hocus Pocus. For those seeking something even more in-depth, customized tours are also an option.
Anyone who has been to Salem has likely seen the Salem Trolley, which also functions as a unique way to explore the city without having to walk anywhere at all. The trolley will take passengers around 14 different locations, including major destinations such as the Salem Witch Museum, the Old Burying Point Cemetery, and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
Tour tickets are $20 for adults covers a distance of eight miles in total, and there’s an option for a narrated tour, which is preferable. Tickets for tours also allow passengers to board the trolley any time of the day, multiple times in one day.
Fame Of Salem
If sailing is your cup of tea then boarding the Fame of Salem is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. It’s one thing to don a lantern after dark and walk down Salem’s cobblestone streets, it’s another to sail on a schooner ship through the harbor. This replica ship was built in 1812 and takes its passengers on a two-hour tour all while a guide tells the history of the War of 1812 as well as Salem’s waterfront history.
The tour is a bit pricer at $40 per person but it’s well worth it for gaining unique seafront access. For tourgoers age 13 and under, tickets are $20.
Salem Food Tours
We bet you didn’t know that Salem also has a thriving food scene. While it might not be as big as those in other cities, it still encompasses enough flavor to make anyone a lover of this historic destination. The tour kicks off the 3.5-hour walk with lobster rolls, authentic Salem ice cream, cheese, and chocolate – are you hooked yet?
Along the way, guides will introduce tourgoers to local shop owners and chefs, adding a level of intimacy to the tour that few offer. The guides leading this tour know everything there is to know about Salem’s culinary scene and New England’s traditional dishes, in general, making this a fun, and worthy, tour for $60 per person.
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