10 Nancy Drew Game Locations You Can Visit in Real Life


By Paige Watts

While Nancy Drew never can seem to take a vacation from solving mysteries, she sure does make her way around the world. This well-traveled sleuth has been to her fair share of bucket list destinations like the ancient tombs of Egypt, the canals in Venice, and an authentic castle in Ireland.

And if playing along as Nancy Drew has given you serious wanderlust, you’re in luck! You can visit many of the same places that Nancy does, or something very near to it.

Here are some of the top Nancy Drew game locations you can visit in real life to feel just like a super sleuth.


1.

Venice, Italy – The Phantom of Venice

Image by Paige Watts from PaigeMindsTheGap.com

Venice is one of my favorite Nancy Drew locations and one of my favorite real-life destinations. The Phantom of Venice is also one of the top 5 travel games. The game designers did a great job of capturing the charm of the maze of canals and piazzas. In fact, I’ve done extensive research into how realistic the game locations are and created my own Nancy Drew tour of Venice that you can follow.


“all of the piazzas and squares where they’re located are very real locations that you can visit”


While you won’t be able to find the Costumi di Vera, Fango’s office, or Casa dei Giochi in real life, all of the piazzas and squares where they’re located are very real locations that you can visit. Piazza San Marco and Rialto Market are some of the most popular destinations in Venice, but a trip to Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Campo San Polo, Campo dei Frari, and Campo Santo Margherita will take you to the less crowded areas of the city.


2.

Salem – Midnight in Salem

SalemPuritan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In real life, Salem isn’t the quaint single square surrounded by important historic sites that it is in Midnight in Salem. Still, there are plenty of game-inspired locations you can see.

There are the Old Courthouse and witch history museums all around. Pay your respects at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and Burying Point. A visit to the Salem Witch House, the obvious inspiration for the history of the Hathorne House, is a must. And if you want to see a home that looks even more like the artwork for Hathorne House, check out the House of Seven Gables.


3.

Oak Alley Plantation – Ghost of Thornton Hall

Photo by Ian Wagg on Unsplash

While Ghost of Thornton Hall is set on an island off the coast of Georgia that sounds a lot like Cumberland Island, I’m actually sending you to Louisiana to visit Oak Alley Plantation. It’s pretty easy to see that the historic Oak Alley Plantation was the inspiration for the Thornton Hall concept art.

You’ll walk down a canopied alley of southern live oak trees to the beautiful Greek Revival mansion. There’s even a family graveyard on the plantations’ 25 acres.


4.

Haas-Lilienthal House – Message in a Haunted Mansion

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Message in a Haunted Mansion sees Nancy Drew solving mysterious happenings during the renovation of a Victorian mansion in San Francisco. The Haas-Lilienthal House gives off perfect MHM vibes.


“yes, there are reports of strange, unexplainable occurrences in the house”


The exterior bears a striking resemblance to the game’s cover art and everything from the home’s parlor to the bedrooms feel lifted right out of the game. And, yes, there are reports of strange, unexplainable occurrences in the house.


5.

Goldfield Ghost Town – The Secret of Shadow Ranch

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

The Secret of Shadow Ranch is such a classic, and there’s something so alluring about the Wild West setting and the Frances and Dirk love story. Exploring the ghost town of Dry Creek was both exciting and creepy.

Arizona has around 300 ghost towns, but Goldfield Ghost Town is one of the most popular. Some may call it a tourist trap, but the town is packed with family fun like panning for gold and riding on Arizona’s only narrow gauge train.


6.

Stykkishólmur – Sea of Darkness

Photo by Misha Levko on Unsplash

If Sea of Darkness’s setting in snowy Skipbrot has left you itching to travel to Iceland, you’re not alone. In the real world, you can head to the coastal town of Stykkishólmur in the western part of Iceland.

This picturesque fishing town offers an unforgettable vacation where you can see the Northern Lights, learn about the Icelandic environment at the Volcano Museum, take wildlife tours, and go sea kayaking where you may come across a decades-old shipwreck.


7.

Burghausen Castle – The Captive Curse

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

In The Captive Curse, Nancy travels to Bavaria, Germany to investigate the mysterious sightings of a creature terrorizing the castle.

For your own Bavarian castle experience, head to Burghausen Castle, the longest castle complex in the world. With its five courtyards, moats, portcullises, and drawbridges, there’s no way a monster is getting in this castle!


8.

Deception Pass State Park – Danger on Deception Island

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The San Juan Islands of Washington state inspired the game of Danger on Deception Island. And there really is a Deception Island! But it’s not occupied by anything.

Instead, you can explore Deception Pass State Park, which spans Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. You can go kayaking, crabbing, boating, find mysterious coves, go whale watching, and more. Whales rule!


9.

Valley of the Queens – Tomb of the Lost Queen

Image by DEZALB from Pixabay

In Tomb of the Lost Queen, Nancy gets to assist a university dig team and investigate suspicious accidents as she uncovers lost secrets in Egypt.


“over 90 tombs for the female members of nobility”


While many of us may never get to go on an actual archaeological dig to unearth mummies, we can go inside the Valley of the Queens in Luxor, Egypt. This burial site of over 90 tombs for the female members of nobility is beautifully preserved.


10.

Malahide Castle – The Haunting of Castle Malloy

Miguel Mendez from Malahide, Ireland, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A wedding in an Irish castle is the dream! Unless, like in The Haunting of Castle Malloy, the groom disappears and there’s a banshee on the loose.


“the castle has an array of ghostly residents”


Malahide Castle in Dublin is what I imagine Castle Malloy would look like if there weren’t a big chunk taken out of it. Even better, the castle has an array of ghostly residents, and the castle really leans in to magical folklore with Magical Castle History Tours and an interactive Fairy Trail for kids.


Paige is an Atlanta-based travel blogger as well as Nancy Drew fan! Read about her tour of Venice and learn more about travel planning, tips, and tricks on her blog at paigemindsthegap.com.

 


Would you visit these places? Have you been? Comment below!


 

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