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Cemetery Tourism- a New Trend?

Tonya Prater, Owner

Is Cemetery Tourism a new trend? When you think of fun outings, traipsing through the local graveyard may not be your first choice. Or your second. Like me, you may have been brought up to think of a cemetery as a solemn place of sadness, not a venue for recreation.

My views changed drastically nearly 10 years ago when my family explored the historic East Coast. We discovered that most burial sites are not creepy or morbid, but hold a lot of history, culture and art.

Today, cemetery tourism is a growing market as traveler’s trek to graveyards around the world to reflect on their lives, seek out the grave of a famous person, or travel to learn more about their family by finding the final resting place of loved ones.

Walking in a cemetery is both relaxing and educational.

Visiting a graveyard wasn’t always reserved for those in mourning. Many historic cemeteries were designed as a park-like setting to welcome families onto the grounds and were meant to be explored. People once flocked to cemeteries for picnics and to socialize. The Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio is one such cemetery. Often referred to as the city’s “outdoor art museum,” walking, jogging, and driving through the cemetery is acceptable. There’s also another option to welcome tourists, a Sunday trolley is offered during the summer months that touches on many of the architectural and historical highlights of the cemetery.

Wandering through a graveyard or taking a guided tour allows us to learn more about the people who lived before us. We can reflect on the changing customs and attitudes about the hereafter. Today, people visit cemeteries for a number of reasons. They may study genealogy, or love photography. Maybe they like the architecture of the stones and monuments you find on the grounds. They may enjoy reading the endearing epitaphs or comparing the differences between an historic cemetery and a memorial park.


Most cemeteries welcome the public at no charge and many offer maps, brochures, smartphone apps, audio tours, or guided tours that highlight notable graves, statues, monuments, chapels and other architectural structures. There are also many books that have been written on the topic in recent years. I’ve selected some that I think you’ll enjoy here.

Today, cemeteries are more than a place of reflection. They are a place of beauty and a place of history.

When was the last time you visited a cemetery?

Did you enjoy this post? Here are some notable cemeteries that you may enjoy reading about.

Photos of the Controversial Gravesite of Johnny Appleseed

A Mystery Surrounds Sulphur Springs Graveyard

Alabama Coon Dog Cemetery

Marietta Confederate Cemetery near Atlanta

Exploring the Cemeteries of New Orleans

Visiting the Garfield Memorial in Lake View Cemetery

The New Orleans Katrina Memorial


Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

I've been practicing Cemetery Tourism for years! I always make it a point to visit a cemetery in whichever city I'm travelling in, if it's a noteworthy one. For example, in Central America where I am now, the cemeteries are really colourful & interesting, I went to one today to observe the Day of the Dead / All Saint's Day celebrations. Great article!


Tuesday 1st of November 2016

I do visit cemeteries on occasion primarily if they are historic. For example, Highgate Cemetery in London has amazing Victorian funerary architecture. People went all out to decorate their tombs because it was a status symbol. I’m not particularly squeamish either so the fact that it’s a cemetery doesn’t bother me.


Tuesday 1st of November 2016

I love visiting old and historical cemeteries. I think it would sad not too. I've taken my kids to so many cemeteries already and we are even visiting a civil war cemetery this summer to see my great-great-great grandpas grave.


Monday 31st of October 2016

There's so much history in cemeteries, but i especially like them if someone famous is buried there or if there are ghost stories to accompany it.


Tuesday 1st of November 2016

I love to hear stories of those who are buried in the cemetery, but I'm not so fond of ghost stories. I'll stick to the history and let you enjoy that side of things. :)


Friday 28th of October 2016

This is indeed a very interesting phenomenon. Outside of visiting a cemetery for personal/family reasons, I have visited a few containing the remains of notable historic figures. The last I recall was in NYC - the gravesite of Alexander Hamilton in lower Manhattan. Protection Status
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