The idea of fairytale castles typically conjures images of medieval Europe rather than the United States, but if you know where to look, America is full of beautiful castles and chateaus as well. Many are open to the public for guided or self-guided tours, and still others offer more unique experiences for visitors to enjoy, including wine tours and tastings, elegant dinners, and fantastic collections of art and antiques. From Boldt Castle up by the Canadian border to the Spanish-style Villa Zorayda in St. Augustine, here are the best castles to visit in the USA.
© Lyndhurst Mansion
Dating back to 1838, the Lyndhurst Mansion is a spectacular Gothic Revival home that looks like something out of a fairytale. Many of the rooms still contain their original furnishings, so visitors get a special look at American tastes and style during the 19th and 20 centuries. The standard guided tour takes visitors through 19 of the mansion's ornate rooms, but if you want to see more, there are also special tours that lead through the kitchens, the gardens, and the observation tower. Tours are offered April through December, and concerts, craft shows, and other special events are sometimes held in the mansion as well.
635 S Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591, Phone: 914-631-4481
© Andrew Zimmerman/stock.adobe.com
Also known as the Arthur Allen House, Bacon's Castle was built in 1665, making it the oldest known brick dwelling in the country. It's surrounded by a formal English garden that dates back to the 17th century, and there are several historic outbuildings on the property as well, including a smokehouse, two barns, and a slave dwelling constructed in 1830. Visitors are welcome to explore the castle and the gardens on their own, and guided 45-minute tours are available for anyone who wants a more in-depth look at the stories of the people who used to live here.
465 Bacons Castle Trail, Surry, VA 23883, Phone: 757-357-5976
Sitting on a small, rocky island just off the eastern shore of the Hudson River, Bannerman Castle is a crumbling Scottish-style castle that was built to store ammunition at the turn of the 20th century. Of course, the castle is no longer used to store weapons, but it's now open to the public for guided tours between May and October. The standard tour includes a boat ride, but special kayak tours can sometimes be arranged as well. If you'd prefer to do a self-guided tour, you can visit on the third Sunday of the month, when a live music concert is held.
Bannerman Island, Cold Spring, NY, Phone: 855-256-4007
© Beardslee Castle
If you love the idea of dining in a historic castle, Beardslee Castle is the perfect place to go. Originally built in 1860, it's a replica of a traditional Irish castle, and although it's been refurbished twice over the years, it hasn't lost an ounce of its original charm. The architecture is beautiful, but the inspired fine dining cuisine is worth a trip in and of itself, and it changes with the season to showcase the best ingredients the region has to offer. There's also a cozy downstairs dungeon with a copper bar if you find yourself in the mood for a pre-dinner drink.
123 Old State Rd, Little Falls, NY 13365, Phone: 315-823-3000
Set on top of Vista Rock in New York's Central Park, Belvedere Castle is a miniature castle that offers stunning views of the surrounding park and the city skyline. It was originally intended to be nothing more than a beautiful tourist attraction, and although it's now used as an official weather station, visitors are still welcome to come and enjoy the views from the top of the two-story staircase that leads to the top of the castle. Since 1983, the castle has also housed a nature observatory filled with microscopes, paper mâché bird replicas, and other objects of interest.
New York, NY 10024, Phone: 212-772-0288
Built for George Washington Vanderbilt II in the early 1890s, the Biltmore Estate is one of the most spectacular Gilded Age mansions ever constructed. The estate is still owned by the Vanderbilt family, but it's now a historic house museum rather than a private residence. The admission fee includes access to the gardens and three floors of the mansion, and premium guided tours are available for visitors who want a closer look at parts of the mansion that aren't accessible on the regular tour. Other highlights of the estate include the winery, the tropical conservatory, and the many dining options.
1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803, Phone: 800-411-3812
Found in Galveston's Historic District, Bishop’s Palace is an ornate Victorian-style mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also referred to as the Gresham House, it was built for the Gresham family in 1892, and it remained their private residence until it was purchased by the Roman Catholic Church in 1923 to serve as the home of a prominent bishop. Today, portions of all four floors are open to visitors who want to take a self-guided tour. Audio guides are available, and visitors can also make arrangements to take a private guided tour.
1402 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550, Phone: 409-762-2475
Modeled after a Rhineland castle like those you see in Germany, the magnificent Boldt Castle has a surprisingly romantic history. Located on Heart Island, it was built by the wealthy businessman George C. Boldt as a testament of his love to his wife, who tragically died only four years after construction began. There are 120 rooms to explore, and the first floor is filled with exhibits about the history of the region and the lives of the Boldt family. The castle can be reached by boat from both the United States and Canada, and it's open for tours between May and October.
1 Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY 13607, Phone: 315-482-9724
9.Castello di Amorosa
Nestled in the Napa Valley just outside the town of Calistoga, Castello di Amorosa is a unique winery housed inside a replica of a 13th-century Tuscan castle. The castle consists of 107 rooms, 90 of which are used to either make or store wine, and the admission fee includes a wine tasting and access to two floors of the castle. For an additional fee, you can take a guided tour instead, which will take you to the castle's armory, torture chamber, and majestic barrel room. Food and wine pairings are available as well, and reservations are strongly recommended.
4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515, Phone: 707-967-6272
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© Castle Farms
Made from fieldstone collected in the surrounding area, Castle Farms is a charming model farm with seven structures, including a blacksmith's shop, a horse barn, and a dairy barn. The property is one of the most popular wedding venues in Northern Michigan, but it's also a wonderful place to spend the day. Visitors are welcome to tour the buildings and grounds year-round, and there are also professional guided tours during the summer months. The property also boasts a fascinating World War I museum, ponds for feeding ducks and rainbow trout, and the largest outdoor railroad in Michigan.
5052 M-66, Charlevoix, MI 49720, Phone: 231-237-0884
11.Castle in the Clouds
© Castle in the Clouds
Perched on top of a mountain overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, the Castle in the Clouds is a historic mansion built in 1914. The castle can only be reached by taking a trolley ride up the mountain, and once there, visitor will be given a short orientation followed by some free time to explore the mansion. Afterwards, you can enjoy a meal at the restaurant, browse the gift shop, or take a guided horseback ride around the property. The castle is open for tours between late May and early October, and weekend brunch buffets and other special events are held throughout the rest of the year.
455 Old Mountain Rd, Moultonborough, NH 03254, Phone: 603-476-5900
© World Travel Photos/stock.adobe.com
The former home of the renowned archaeologist Henry Chapman Mercer, Fonthill Castle is a unique concrete structure that blends Gothic, Medieval, and Byzantine styles of architecture. In addition to being an archaeologist, Mercer was also a skilled ceramic tile maker, and many of the castle's rooms feature floors and ceilings covered with beautiful handcrafted tiles. Hour-long guided tours take visitors through the castle's 44 rooms, many of which feature fireplaces or built-on bookshelves. Visitors are welcome year-round, but one of the best times to come is in December, when the castle is transformed into a festive winter wonderland.
525 E Court St, Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 215-348-9461
Located on top of a cliff next to the Connecticut River, Gillette Castle was personally designed by actor William Hooker Gillette, who lived here between 1919 and 1937. The exterior of the castle is somewhat reminiscent of a sandcastle, and once you're inside, you'll be amazed by oddities like a movable table on tracks, doors with intricate wooden puzzles for locks, and a secret room hidden behind a staircase. The castle is open to visitors during the spring, summer, and fall, and the most exciting way to get here is by taking the historic Chester-Hadlyme Ferry.
67 River Rd, East Haddam, CT 06423, Phone: 860-526-2336
© Yevgenia Gorbulsky/stock.adobe.com
Like many of the other castles on this list, the Hammond Castle was originally constructed as a private residence, but it's the only castle to have been built by an eccentric inventor. The "father of remote control", John Hays Hammond, Jr., lived and worked here for many years, and the castle boasts unique features like a round library, an indoor pool with its own weather system, and a gigantic pipe organ. There are also displays about Hammond's life and work. Self-guided tours are offered between May and September, but the castle also opens for special Halloween and Christmas events during the fall and winter.
80 Hesperus Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930, Phone: 978-283-2080
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California has no shortage of beautiful mansions, but the Hearst Castle is one of the most opulent of them all. Originally built for the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, it's also sometimes known as "La Cuesta Encantada", and it boasts 165 rooms, an incredible collection of European antiques, and 127 acres of spectacular terraced gardens. In its heyday, it was a popular gathering place for Hollywood stars and high-profile politicians, but it's now open to anyone who wants to take a guided tour. Several different daytime tours are available, and during the spring and fall, there's also a special evening tour with costumed guides.
750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, Phone: 800-444-4445
One of the most culturally significant buildings in Hawaii, the Iolani Palace was the seat of the Hawaiian monarchy between 1882 and 1893, and it's the only palace inside American borders. Many of the palace's original furnishings were removed after the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, but many of the furnishings have since been returned, and the rooms now look much as they did when King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani lived here. The palace is conveniently located right in downtown Honolulu, and it's open to the public Monday through Saturday for both guided and self-guided tours.
364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, Phone: 808-522-0822
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© Loveland Castle
Formally known as Chateau Laroche, Loveland Castle was the pet project of World War I veteran Harry D. Andrews, who built it to serve as the headquarters for a Boy Scout-like group he led called the Knights of the Golden Trail. It's a full-scale model of a traditional European castle, and it features four towers, an excellent collection of period weaponry, and plenty of beautiful outdoor spots to picnic. The castle is open to visitors every day between April and September, and it's open most weekends during the rest of the year. Overnight campouts can be arranged for Boy Scouts and other similar groups.
12025 Shore Dr, Loveland, OH 45140, Phone: 513-683-4686
Situated on top of Sunset Mountain, the Seely Castle is an elegant English-style castle that was built in 1912. It has had five owners over the course of history, with the most recent owners purchasing it in 1984, and it's been visited by no fewer than five American Presidents. When it was constructed, it was one of the most extravagant homes in the area, and it features stained glass windows, multiple towers, and a beautifully landscaped English-style garden. The house is still privately owned and is not open for tours, but the exterior can be admired from the bottom of the mountain.
710 Town Mountain Rd, Asheville, North Carolina 28804
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Previously known as the Dark Island Castle, Singer Castle can be found on a small island right next to the Canadian border in the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It can only be reached by boat, and visitors can either come in their own watercraft or hop aboard a convenient shuttle at Alexandria Bay. Once you're here, you can take a 45-minute guided tour of the castle's elegant four floors. Longer tours are also available if arranged in advance. For an even more unique experience, you can stay the night in the luxurious Royal Suite, which can accommodate up to six people.
1136 County Route 6, Chippewa Bay, NY 13623, Phone: 315-324-3275
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Originally the summer home of wealthy socialite Cornelius Vanderbilt II, The Breakers is a 70-room Gilded Age mansion built in the Italian Renaissance style. An audio guide is included in the price of admission, and there's even a whimsical kid-friendly version if you're visiting with children. If you want a more in-depth look at the mansion, you can take one of the special guided tours, which highlight topics like servant life and the domestic technology of the time. After your visit, stop by the Garden Cafe for a cup of tea and a bite to eat.
1 South County Road, Palm Beach, FL 33480-4023, Phone: 844-247-3553
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© Thornewood Castle
Fondly known as the "house that love built", Thornewood Castle is a unique blend of English and American history. In the early 20th century, businessman Chester Thorne purchased a 400-year-old English castle and had the pieces sent over to America, where they were reassembled into the castle you see today. The castle is not open for regular tours, but it has a bed and breakfast with eleven rooms and suites, and guests are welcome to explore parts of the mansion and the surrounding gardens. The property can also be booked for weddings and other special events.
8601 N Thorne Ln SW, Lakewood, WA 98498, Phone: 253-584-4393
Mysteriously located in the middle of the Phoenix metropolitan area, which was nothing but desert when the castle was built in the 1920s, Tovrea Castle is an architectural masterpiece surrounded by manicured cactus gardens. Tours take visitors through both the gardens and the castle itself, and the trip typically lasts around 90 minutes in total, although shorter and longer tours are sometimes offered on special occasions. The castle is only open to visitors by guided tour, and tours typically sell out months in advance, so it's best to plan your trip as early as possible.
5025 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008, Phone: 602-256-3221
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Inspired by a historic Moorish palace in Spain, Villa Zorayda is a gorgeous Gilded Age mansion built by millionaire Franklin W. Smith. It's still furnished with many priceless antiques and collectibles that belonged to Smith when he was alive, including a 2,400-year-old rug made of cat hair, and the self-guided audio tour introduces visitors to many of the most significant pieces. The audio guide provides quite a comprehensive overview of the castle's history and architecture, but staff are available to answer questions as needed. During the Christmas season, there are also special evening tours by candlelight, for which reservations are strongly recommended.
83 King St, St. Augustine, FL 32084, Phone: 904-829-9887
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The elegant Wadsworth Atheneum sits on the site of artist Daniel Wadsworth's original family home, but it was purpose-built to serve as the country's first public museum of art. It had a modest collection of 82 items when it first opened in 1844, but it now houses an incredible museum of art with more than 50,000 unique pieces of art spanning over 5,000 years of world history. The exhibits are spread across four wings as well as the original castle building, and further pieces can be seen in the Austin House, which is two miles away from the main museum.
600 Main St, Hartford, CT 06103, Phone: 860-278-2670
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24 Best Castles in the United States
- Lyndhurst Mansion, Photo: Lyndhurst Mansion
- Bacon's Castle, Photo: Andrew Zimmerman/stock.adobe.com
- Bannerman Castle, Photo: karenfoleyphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Beardslee Castle, Photo: Beardslee Castle
- Belvedere Castle, Photo: ksch966/stock.adobe.com
- Biltmore Estate, Photo: Ivan/stock.adobe.com
- Bishop’s Palace, Photo: otman/stock.adobe.com
- Boldt Castle, Photo: quasarphotos/stock.adobe.com
- Castello di Amorosa, Photo: Melastmohican/stock.adobe.com
- Castle Farms, Photo: Castle Farms
- Castle in the Clouds, Photo: Castle in the Clouds
- Fonthill Castle, Photo: World Travel Photos/stock.adobe.com
- Gillette Castle, Photo: alex9500/stock.adobe.com
- Hammond Castle, Photo: Yevgenia Gorbulsky/stock.adobe.com
- Hearst Castle, Photo: jerome DELAHAYE/stock.adobe.com
- Iolani Palace, Photo: kyrien/stock.adobe.com
- Loveland Castle, Photo: Loveland Castle
- Seely Castle, Photo: Viktor/stock.adobe.com
- Singer Castle, Photo: demerzel21/stock.adobe.com
- The Breakers, Photo: demerzel21/stock.adobe.com
- Thornewood Castle, Photo: Thornewood Castle
- Tovrea Castle, Photo: EuToch/stock.adobe.com
- Villa Zorayda, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Wadsworth Atheneum, Photo: Phil Cardamone/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: bbprince/stock.adobe.com