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Boomtown to gold dust: Goldfield lives on in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains. Credit: j.gorton.

By Amy Drew Thompson

Arizona is rife with Native American lore, deserted mines and boomtowns gone bust, so it’s no surprise greater Phoenix is loaded with spooky attractions. Looking for an adventure for Scooby and the gang? Pack up the Mystery Machine and check out these ghoul-tastic to-dos, complete with tips on down-to-earth (and downright relaxing) Phoenix hotels.

Goldfield Ghost Town was prospector paradise in the 1890s, but when the vein ran dry, so did its prosperity. These days, it captures visitors’ imaginations with rootin’-tootin’ gunfights, bawdy bordello tours and the “Mystery Shack,” a restored miner’s cottage where creepiness takes center stage. Where to stay: Feast your eyes on Gold Canyon Golf Resort, home to 85 casitas, 36 holes of desert mountain golf, and 360-degree views of the Superstition Mountains.

You may have missed baseball season, but the home of the D-Backs also hosts the Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular, one of Scottsdale’s newer Halloween events. Over 30 hot-air balloons are featured, along with a haunted house, live music and food vendors. Where to stay: Talking Stick Resort, just a few miles from the festivities, boasts a sparkling pool, live entertainment, full-service spa and a Native American art collection that reflects the area’s Pima and Maricopa roots.

Casey Moore’s Oyster House in Tempe is renowned for serving actual spirits alongside those in the glass. Mysterious occurrences – including the occasional apparition of a woman dancing in the upstairs dining room – make for good conversation over dinner and drinks. Where to stay: The Buttes, A Marriott Resort offers proximity to Casey Moore’s, and a gorgeous desert setting with heated pools, a spa and five restaurants and lounges.

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Freelance travel writer and former PLAYGIRL editor Amy Drew Thompson would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids. Check out more of her work at

Tagged: Family time, Hotels

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