There are no shortage of Southern California cemeteries. Some lay the most famous celebrities in the world to rest. Others are the burial grounds for those lost in early California battles. Regardless who lies beneath the soil, these cemeteries all have one thing in common: they are worth a visit. Whether you’re looking to pay your respects to a star you admire, explore a supposedly haunted location, or simply take in the breathtaking views, you need to see these 6 Southern California cemeteries at least once.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles
Hollywood Forever Cemetery is unlike any cemetery. Not only is it one of Los Angeles oldest cemeteries, it is also the final resting place for more celebrities and Hollywood fixtures than anywhere else in the world. Because of this, this cemetery draws large crowds, with people traveling far distances just to pay their respects to these legendary icons. A few stars that now call Hollywood Forever Cemetery home include: Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, and Janet Gaynor. The cemetery is also conveniently located near the glitz and glam of Hollywood, so you can extend your trip and take your chances of seeing living celebrities as well.
El Campo Santo Cemetery, San Diego
You can find El Campo Santo Cemetery on the outskirts of Old Town in San Diego. It is one of the oldest cemeteries in the county and rumor has it is haunted. People claim to have experienced cold spots, seen ghosts, and have unexplainable paranormal occurrences happen here. The most popular ghosts said to haunt the El Campo Santo Cemetery are an Indian or Hispanic man dressed in 19th century period clothing. Others say cars parked on top of the graves on the street (yes, there are people buried below the pavement), have had their alarms go off without a person in sight. Whether El Campo Santo Cemetery is really haunted remains up for speculation, but a visit here could help you uncover the truth.
Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles
If you’re going to go out in Los Angeles, you might as well do it in style. This is why some are willing to pay top dollar to be put to rest in the midst of Los Angeles concrete jungle, just under 10 miles from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After all, nothing screams prestige than being buries by Marilyn Monroe. Behind the staggering buildings found on Wilshire Boulevard, you’ll find the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, the final resting place for some of the most famous stars in Hollywood. Being laid to rest among the rich and the famous comes with a hefty price tag. A gated family “estate” can cost you up to $2 million. While most of us can’t afford to be buried here, it’s still worth checking out one of Southern California’s priciest cemeteries.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego
The historic Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is one of the most beautiful and scenic cemeteries in all of California, overlooking the San Diego Bay. It was also one of the most sought after military burial grounds, up until the last available space was claimed in 2014. Today, only spouses of those already buried in the cemetery can be buried here. Some of those that rest in peace here date back to the early years of California, including those who died in the battle of San Pasqual (now commemorated by the Mule Hill Trail). This cemetery also honors 62 soldiers who died in a boiler explosion aboard the USS Bennington in 1905.
Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles
Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery strived to be different from its inception. Its creator, Hubert Eaton, wrote, “Cemeteries of today are wrong because they depict an end, not a beginning”. With his vision, he added statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and a Venetian art display to really “liven” up the place. The forward-thinking cemetery proved eclectic enough for Michael Jackson’s funeral to be held here and plenty of stars to be put to rest, including Liberace and Brittany Murphy. Aside from the star power found here, the rolling green hills and expansive views surrounding Forest Lawn are visually stunning.
Mission Santa Bárbara Cemetery
The Mission Santa Barbara was once home to three churches until the 1812 earthquake caused mass destruction. The new mission was subsequently rebuilt and finished in 1820. Nearby are the burial grounds for over 5,000 Chumash Native Americans and settlers. The wealthier family crypts line the outside of the trees. Just like other Southern California cemeteries on our list, Mission Santa Barbara Cemetery is also said to be haunted. People claim to have seen apparitions of hooded friars, a woman walking slowly through the lines of tombstones, and Indians and pioneers. If you’re looking for a potential scare, or simply to pay tribute to some of California’s early settlers, Mission Santa Barbara is the cemetery for you.