The Northeastern part of Florida that stretches from St. Augustine (the country’s oldest city) all the way to Amelia Island along the Georgia border is referred to as The First Coast. This region gets it’s name from the fact that it was the first area of the state to be colonized by Europeans with the first Spanish settlement dating as far back as 1565.
With an area this rich in history, it’s no surprise that the locals have reported an unusually high number of paranormal activity cases as many hotels, restaurants and pubs today find themselves housed within historical buildings. Whether you’re an avid believer or just looking for a creepy good time, you can feel good about supporting local business – ghostly sighting or not.
Here is a list of some of the most haunted local establishments along Florida’s First Coast
Castillo de San Marcos
This 17th Century fort remains as one of the city’s most iconic symbols. After weathering 300 years of coastal invasions, battles and storms this place has reached up a few ghostly sightings such as a light shinning from a fixture that doesn’t have electricity and the sighting of a Spanish solider standing at the edge of the fort overlooking the bay (usually around dawn and dusk). Many visitors have also claimed to have felt the touch of a cold hand while down in the dungeon. 1 South Castillo Drive St. Augustine, FL
Spanish Military Hospital Museum
This old hospital now sits as a museum, covering the medical practices of the second Spanish period (1784 – 1821). However, it’s also well known for it’s paranormal activity – moans, screams and cries can be heard in the halls as well as apparitions in hospital gowns. In addition to all of the death that this place saw as a hospital, a renovation in 1821 uncovered thousands of bones buried underneath the hospital, revealing an ancient Native American burial ground. 3 Aviles Street St. Augustine, FL
This elegant bed and breakfast offers gorgeous views of Matanzas Bay (with Mantanzas meaning Massacre in English) and a healthy dose of paranormal activity which include sounds of footsteps, voices of children and the figure of an elderly woman, thought to be the original owner. As rumor has it, she became involved with bootlegging during Prohibition to ease her financial troubles and in doing so, worked alongside some questionable characters. She served as their lookout, warning if investigators were nearby by waving a lantern from a second story window. Some people claim to still see this lantern swinging from that same window today.
24 Avenida Menéndez, St. Augustine, FL
The St. Augustine Lighthouse
This is by far one of the most haunted sites in the city and has even been featured on the hit TV show Ghost Hunters. Many believe that the tragic events that occurred here have greatly contributed to the lighthouse’s high level of paranormal activity. To give you an idea of the horrific things that occurred here: one keeper fell to his death while painting the tower, another committed suicide by hanging himself on the front porch and the worst of all, two young girls drowned after the cart they were playing with broke and rolled into the ocean.
81 Lighthouse Avenue (use 100 Red Cox Road for GPS)
The lighthouse offers night time ghost tours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. For more information Click Here
This bar is haunted by a man, that like most male pub-goers, is interested in the ladies. Female patrons have reported feeling someone playing with their hair or touching them on the arm or shoulder. 23 Orange Street, St. Augustine, FL
Meehan’s Irish Pub
The ghost of a man and woman have been reported on the second floor and a group of paranormal investigators have also claimed to have had communication with up to 5 children. 20 Avenida Menéndez St. Augustine, FL
This bar and restaurant is said to be haunted by the original owner who built this home in 1879 and who also died in the home by drowning while taking a bath in one of the upstairs bathrooms. Scarletts is listed in the National Directory of Haunted Places. 70 Hypolita Street St. Augustine, FL
The historic theater built in the 1920’s is still in operation today and serves as the venue for various events including concerts, ballets and operas. It also serves as one of the most haunted places to visit in Jacksonville Florida. As the story goes, the ghost of an older gentleman lingers around the balcony seats, watching over the theater. He even has a favorite seat – seat E2 section 500! 128 East Forsyth Street Jacksonville, FL 32202
This Mexican Restaurant in Jacksonville Beach sits within a 100 year old log cabin. It’s haunted by the original home owner, Mrs. Alpha Painter. Employees claim that she is frequently seen pacing around the fireplace in the main dining room. Tacolu is listed on the National Directory of Haunted Places. 1712 Beach Blvd Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Serving as one of the oldest bars in Jacksonville Beach, it is also said to be the home of several spirits including the original owner, Ginger Payson. Customers and employees have experienced someone brushing up against their legs, sightings of shadows in rooms that no one’s in and a sign that frequently falls down as if being knocked down.
304 3rd Street South Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
This beautiful and historic hotel in Jacksonville Beach has had it’s fair share of paranormal activity. Guests and employees have reported noised coming empty rooms and the sighting of a ghostly apparition that hangs around the south staircase. 691 1st Street North Jacksonville, Beach FL
Kingsley Plantation on St. George Island
This former plantation (now a museum and historic site) is named after it’s original owner Zephaniah Kingsley. Under his ownership the plantation produced cotton, sugar cane, citrus and corn thanks to the labor of 60 slaves. Even though Mr. Kingsley was known for treating his slaves well (he even married one of them in an African ceremony) the site of the old slave quarters is enough to send chills up your spine. If that doesn’t do the trick, the story of red eyes will! Visitors have reported seeing a pair of red eyes in their rear view mirror as they drive down the old unpaved road away from the plantation. These eyes are thought to belong to the evil spirit of a former slave who raped, brutalized and killed several of the other female slaves. He was caught by the other slaves and hung from the oak tree near the entrance to the plantation. 11676 Palmetto Avenue Jacksonville, FL
Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island
Florida House Inn
As the oldest operating hotel in Florida (built in 1857) it’s no surprise that this place is said to be haunted. There have been several sightings of the ghost of a sad looking man as well as a female ghost who is known to get in bed with people who stay in her room.
22 South 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach, FL
Originally a tailor shop, this site was turned into a bar around 1900. Today, Uncle Charlie, a former bartender who lived in the house for over 50 years before his passing in 1960, is said to haunt the place. Employees and customers have reported hearing Charlie’s old piano being played even though the keys are encased in plexiglass! 117 Centre Street Fernandina Beach, FL
Old Jail – Amelia Island Museum of History
This is a story for the books! The old jail, now a history museum, is said to be haunted by Luc Simone Aury – a criminal wanted for rape, murder and robbery. The night before he was to be hung for his crimes in the gallows behind the jail, Aury attempted to slit his own throat to avoid the humiliation of a public execution. However, he was caught in time and a surgeon stitched him back together to keep him alive (at least for 24 hours). It is said that when he was hung the following day, the stitches busted open and sprayed the crowd with blood. To this day, the ghost of Avry is said to be seen with a gaping slash in his neck.
233 South 3rd street Fernandina Beach, FL
The museum offers tours (including an evening ghost tour!) For more information Click Here
Fort Clinch State Park
Fort Clinch, is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts on the country. Although it never saw a battle, it house it’s fair share of soldiers who were stationed here during both the Civil War and the Spanish-American Wars. As the legend goes, a letter was found from a civil war soldier who wrote to his love, promising to not die until her saw her again. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way and the soldier dies anyway. They say is spirit (plus a few others) still haunt the fort today. 2601 Atlantic Avenue Fernandina Beach, FL