These are the best castles in America to visit! Over 15 unique castles that you can tour and some that you can even spend the night in!
Best Castles In America To Visit
We’ve seen our fair share of castles in Germany and throughout Europe. We’ve also visited some castles in the US. However, there are more castles in America than people realize. Some are quirky and made of unique materials. Some are very traditional.
We wanted to put together this list of the best castles in America to visit so that if you’re wanting to experience something magical and different, you can. With the help of fellow bloggers, we’ve put together an awesome list of castles all over the US. Hopefully, you’re near one and can plan a road trip.
Pro Tip: If you are planning a road trip, make sure you have these Road Trip Essentials. They include car accessories, games, and safety tips. It even has a printable checklist!
Mystery Castle is one of the most unique castles in America to visit. Unlike the castles that have European influences, this unique castle is made out of… garbage!
Mystery Castle was made by Boyce Luther Gulley for his daughter Mary Lou. Boyce was living in Seattle when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Without telling them why, he left his wife and daughter and moved to Phoenix. While he was there, he started building a castle for his little girl; his princess.
This was in the 1930s. He used all kinds of materials, from mortar and goats milk to railroad tracks and telephone poles. In total, the castle has 18 rooms, 13 fireplaces, a chapel, a bar area, and a even a “dungeon.”
Unfortunately, Boyce passed away in 1945, before he had sent for his family. They didn’t even know about the house until an attorney notified them that they had inherited the property. Soon after, Mary Lou and her mother moved in. To make money, Mary Lou (an adult by this point) starting giving tours of her castle. The castle became pretty well known and was even featured in Life Magazine.
Mary Lou continued to give tours until she passed away in 2010. The property is now taken care of by The Mystery Castle Foundation. Visitors can still tour the castle from October through May. Tours are about an hour long and cost $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12.
Castello di Amorosa
Ivan of Mind The Travel
Although this authentically-styled castle looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, Castello di Amorosa in the United States is nestled in California’s Napa Valley, and officially opened its doors in 2007. Owned and designed by Dario Sattui, Castello di Amorosa functions as a 171-acre winery where Sattui produces and sells his award-winning Italian-style wines. Sattui traveled to Europe after graduating from college and spent years researching Europe’s great castles before he dared to build his own.
Sattui decided to reopen his family’s winery in an authentic Italian style. It took 14 years to build Castello di Amorosa using the methods and materials people used in the Middle Ages. Today, the castle has its own moat, drawbridge, stables, an armory, and more. It has a total of 107 rooms, most of which are used for wine making.
The entire structure is built with the same materials that would have been used about 700-800 years ago to build a similar castle. After using 8,000 tons of stone and almost a million of Hapsburg-era bricks shipped over from Europe, Castello di Amorosa stands tall and proud. It is a labor of love for all to see.
The castle is open for tours and features ambitious architecture and fun events throughout the year. Visitors can try flavored wines that showcase the “Terroir” of each unique vineyard site.
Dhara of Roadtripping California
One of the most interesting California state parks to visit along the coast is the gorgeous Hearst Castle in San Simeon. It is the former estate of publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst. The castle sits high on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean and makes for a fabulous half or full day visit.
Built between 1919 and 1947, Hearst Castle is the brainchild of both Hearst and his architect, the famous Julia Morgan. The scene of lavish parties and entertainment in Hearst’s lifetime, Hearst Castle was donated to the State of California’s after his death. It is now a National Historic Landmark and one of the best castles in America to visit.
The complex consists of the Casa Grande, the main house, along with three guesthouses and gorgeous gardens. The Casa Grande, which features two beautiful bell towers, is a stupendous 68,500 square feet in size!
Hearst filled the castle with fabulous paintings, sculptures, textiles and tapestries and antiquities. Unfortunately, many were sold when he fell into financial difficulties. But you can still see a significant collection when you visit the castle.
Wandering the gardens is one of the most pleasurable parts of visiting Hearst Castle, especially if you visit when the flowers are in bloom. And you have to photograph the two absolutely stunning pools: the outdoor Neptune Pool and the indoor Roman Pool.
Hearst Castle can only be visited on guided tours. Several types of tours are offered during the day, and one in the evening. You arrive at the Visitor Center at the bottom of the hill, where you park. A bus takes your tour group up the hill to the complex. Tour tickets start at $25.00 for adults.
Leigh of Campfires & Concierges
In 1902, John Cleveland Osgood was at the height of his wealth as a robber baron. Also known as a person who has become rich through ruthless and unscrupulous business practices. Allegedly one of the ten richest men in America, the coal baron built a residence fit for a king. He built it in the Colorado mountain town of Redstone, a coal “company town” in the Crystal River Valley. Originally known as Osgood Castle, the Tudor-style mansion remained with the Osgood family until 1940.
After changing hands several times, in 2018 the Redstone Castle reopened as a boutique hotel. Visitors to the Crystal River Valley can now sleep under the same roof where John Rockefeller, J Pierpont Morgan, and Theodore Roosevelt all slept!
There are a total of 42 rooms spread across 24,000 square feet. Ten rooms have been renovated as guest rooms, including the Roosevelt Suite and the Morgan suite. You can even book the entire castle for your party. If a $400 stay is out of your range, Redstone Castle also offers private guided tours, where you visit the best rooms in the house. Furnishings include antique European pieces as well as Tiffany lamps.
The castle is situated on 50 acres, where visitors can hike and fish. The adjacent town of Redstone is very charming. Additionally, some of the best hot springs in the US are just 30 miles away in Glenwood Springs.
Castillo De San Marcos
Suzy of Our Bucket List Lives
The Castillo De San Marco is the oldest castle in the continental US. Located by the water in St. Augustine, one of the best cities to visit in Florida, it is virtually unmissable as you enter this historic town.
A visit to the castle takes around an hour. We highly recommend staying for the firing of the cannon that happens almost every hour when the castle is open. The volunteers who light the cannon are also living historians; if there is a question you want answered it is worth asking them.
The Castillo was first built back in 1672. It has seen both Spanish and British ‘owners’ over the years and it was besieged twice. The Castillo can be easily reached on foot from the center of the city. It is one of the tram stops and there is also a parking lot outside. Parking is limited, though, and it is a pay and display at $1.50 an hour.
An adult ticket costs $15.00 and children under 15 are admitted free of charge but must be accompanied by an adult. You enter via two drawbridges and you can walk around the gun deck. You can also look around rooms where people would have once lived and worked. Take care with younger children on the gun deck as there are no railings or high level walls.
Pro Tip: Do you love wine and chocolate? Check out these other Top St. Augustine attractions.
Stefan of Nomadic Boys
Our favorite castle in the US is, hands down, The Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida. As well as being the iconic symbol you associate with all things Disney, it’s also the flagship attraction at the Magic Kingdom; the place where magic happens, and all your dreams come true!
We were like two little children when we first arrived at the Magic Kingdom and first set eyes on Cinderella’s Castle. Standing 189 feet high, this impressive castle is surrounded by a moat and is made up of spires, ornate turrets and 27 towers. Its design is influenced by the late-Gothic flamboyant style of the 1400s… in short, every gay boy’s dream home…!
The big highlight of the Cinderella Castle for us was in the evening when crowds gather around the castle just before closing time to watch the “Happily Ever After” show. The show includes a magnificent firework display along with a dramatic light/laser projection. It is an outdoor show, so it is, of course, weather dependent.
No matter how old you are, you cannot help being charmed by the whole thing. Especially if, like us, you grew up with Disney cartoons and movies. Tickets for the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando start from $119 for adults (ages 10+) and $113 for kids (aged 3-9). Under 3 are free. The Magic Kingdom’s opening hours are 9am to 7pm. LGBTQ travelers will love the gay Disney events that happen throughout the year.
The castle was made entirely of coral by Edward Leedskalnin between 1923 and 1951. Originally from Latvia, Ed was dumped by his fiancee Agnes a day before they were supposed to get married. Broken-hearted, he eventually settled in South Florida because of his tuberculosis. He built Coral Castle as a symbol of his undying love for Agnes.
The craziest part about the whole thing, is that no one knows how he built the walls and sculptures. Over the years, Ed carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock. He was just over 5 feet tall and only weighed 100 pounds. Some of the carvings weighed tons! Plus, he only worked at night so no one ever saw him.
This was at a time when there was no large machinery and all he used were hand tools. So how did he do it? When asked, all Ed would say was that he understood the laws of weight and leverage and that he knew the secrets of the pyramids.
Tours are offered daily and cost $18 for adults and $8 for children ages 7 to 12.
Fun Fact: Rock artist Billy Idol wrote and recorded his song “Sweet Sixteen” as a tribute to Ed and the Coral Castle. The video was also shot on location at the castle.
Thinker Toys and The Castle Pub
Lindsay of Siouxland Families
In Sioux City, Iowa, a unique castle serves as a combination toy store and pizzeria! This 11,640 sq ft castle in northwest Iowa was originally built in 2000. It housed Thinker Toys toy store and Lady’s Brooke’s Jungle indoor play area. The play area closed in 2007, and has since re-opened as the Castle Pub, a bar and grill that occupies the western half of the castle.
The quirky interior includes nods to medieval days like gargoyles and knights amidst modern bar amenities like pinball, pool, and darts. The menu features classic bar foods from onion rings and jalapeno poppers to pizza and pork tenderloin sandwiches. There are also some fun twists like Dragon Balls (fried chicken bites.) Visitors also enjoy live music and fresh air at the Castle Pub’s large patio area!
Thinker Toys remains open in the eastern half of the castle and is known as the region’s best independently owned toy store. It has toys, games, puzzles, kites, plush, and more from global brands.
The castle’s eastern towers feature a Brio-filled train room on the ground floor and a Lego room on the top floor. These two small indie brands are hard to find elsewhere. There’s also plenty of nostalgic flair; from the marble selection to a vintage carousel that the castle’s littlest visitors can still ride today.
Sherry of Traveling Michigan
Castle Farms is a fantastic real castle to tour and explore in Charlevoix, Michigan. The castle was built in 1918 and served as a model dairy farm and later as an art gallery for working artist studios. Later on, it was then converted into a Summer Music Theater and hosted huge concerts featuring Tina Turner, Aerosmith and so many other big names. Castle Farms changed hands again in 2001 and is what you see now, a spectacular botanical garden, wedding venue and wonderful place to tour.
The entrance fee is approximately $15 per person and includes an exciting 20-minute tram ride across the grounds. You will pass by fire breathing dragons, a larger than life knight that guards the castle, several sparkling ponds, and flowering gardens. You will also learn about the history of the castle. Parking is free in their large paved lot.
Upon arriving at Castle Farms, you will receive a map with numbered points of interest, just like a treasure map! Wander through the castle, enjoy some shade in the gazebos overlooking the pond and enjoy wine tasting along the way.
Castle Farms is also home to Michigan’s largest outdoor model railroad, making it one of the most entertaining castles in America to visit. It’s fun to watch the tiny rail cars zip along the tracks and disappear into a hedge maze. Be sure to wander the maze while watching the tracks for the next train!
Talek of Travels With Talek
A castle in Manhattan? You bet! And it’s in the middle of Central Park, nestled nicely among the foliage on the shore of a bucolic lake. Central Park’s Great Lawn is to the north and the thickly forested Ramble is to the south.
Belvedere Castle – “Belvedere” means beautiful view – was built in a combination of Gothic and Romanesque architecture. It was built using the granite so common to Manhattan and Central Park itself. It was originally built to be a viewing platform without doors or windows. For many years it was used as a weather station.
The designers and architects Calvert Vaux, Frederick Law Olmstead, and Jacob Wrey Mould all had a part in its design and construction. Vaux and Olmsted also designed Central Park and Brooklyn’s beautiful Prospect Park, two New York City jewels.
The castle construction underwent several stops and starts until construction was finally completed in 1871.
In the 1960s, the castle was abandoned until 1983 when it was converted into a visitors’ center for Central Park. Several renovations later, the most recent one in 2018, the castle stands ready to welcome visitors as the Henry Luce Nature Center. Inside, visitors can learn about the area’s fauna and foliage.
Margarita of Downshifting Pro
Why is it always an ode to a true love that dies suddenly, that leads men to abandon their dreams? This sad story did not happen just at The Taj Mahal but at Boldt Castle on Heart Island in the Thousand Island region of Upstate New York.
Situated on the archipelago of the St. Lawrence River just before Lake Ontario, you can see the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding islands when you take a boat tour of The Thousand Islands. On the international boarder, these 1,864 islands are shared between Canada and the United States and provide a stunning backdrop for massive summer homes and one of the best castles in America to visit.
George C. Boldt set out to build a full size Rhineland inspired castle. The 120 room castle is centered on the island while the Powerhouse, Alster Tower, Arch and Dove Coté are located on the perimeter. The best vantage point to see all the buildings is on a cruise which weaves between small and large islands.
Boldt, a hotel baron and owner of New York’s Waldorf Astoria, began building in 1900 with no expense spared. However, the sudden death of his wife Louise in 1904 left him broken-hearted and unable to continue. He never returned to the island after ordering all work to stop.
Many tourists do return to see Boldt Yacht House and Boldt Castle and some even get married there. Boldt Castle is available for weddings but the reception will be elsewhere in the Thousand Islands as no receptions are allowed on the estate grounds. Regardless, this would be an extraordinary location for a summer wedding.
Boldt Castle is open 7 days a week through Labor Day Weekend from 10:30 am – 6:30 pm.
Stephanie of Wandering Why Traveler
As soon as you walk into the foyer of Oheka Castle, you’ll swear that somewhere between the cobblestone parking area and humongous front doors, you were transported back in time. It’s definitely one of the best castles in America to visit.
Oheka Castle is on Long Island, New York and was owned by Otto Hermann Kahn in the 1920s. His lavish summer home was the location for many ‘Gatsby’ style parties during the Jazz age. In fact, F. Scott Fitzgerald attended a few. It is believed that he (at least in part) got his inspiration to write The Great Gatsby after visiting Oheka Castle.
The current owner rescued the mansion from nearly certain despair in the 1980s. Using original blueprints, he has restored Oheka to its original splendor. While the interior of the castle is remodeled, it looks nearly identical to the way it did in the roaring 20s.
Upon entering, guests are greeted by a sprawling horseshoe staircase. Inspiration came from the famed Fontainebleu of France and it sits underneath a jaw dropping chandelier. It would not be outlandish to believe that Jay Gatsby himself might appear at the top of the steps to greet guests upon their arrival.
Patrons have the option to tour the castle or stay overnight. In both cases, visitors can eat at the castle’s sole fine dining restaurant – OHK. The eatery serves Long Island classics including duck and fresh, locally sourced, seafood such as lobster and calamari.
Oheka Castle has been the setting for a number of movies, TV shows, and music videos – including Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” Be on the lookout for a Groupon in the winter which allows guests to stay overnight for half the price!
1892 Bishop’s Palace
Located across the street from Sacred Heart Church in Galveston, Texas’ East End Historic District sits the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, also known as the Gresham House or the Gresham Castle. The four-story bold, ornate dwelling, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is recognized as one of the country’s most impressive examples of Victorian architecture.
Perhaps its most interesting fact is that it’s been a museum longer than it’s been a private resident. Toward the late 19th century, former Civil War Colonel, lawyer, railroad tycoon, and politician Walter Gresham commissioned renowned Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton to design and built a house for him, his wife and their nine children.
Construction lasted about six years and was completed in 1892. The home’s many eye-catching features include its exterior built from Texas pink granite brought in from Marble Falls, and the interior with its rare and opulent materials, accented with stained glass, silver and more. The house cost about $250,000, which today’s equivalent would be around $6 million.
In 1932, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston purchased the home to use as the bishop’s residence, which it was until 1963 when it opened to the public for tours. In 2013, the Galveston Historical Foundation became the new owner and manages the museum.
Self-guided tours are available daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with admission. The museum also offers special tours and talks throughout the year.
Mars Cheese Castle
Paulina of Paulina on the Road
If you’re looking for a unique castle within the U.S., then you must visit the Mars Cheese Castle in Wisconsin. The quirky castle is located 10 miles away from Chicago. The castle was initially created by Mario Ventura, Sr., in 1947, which featured a giant-beer-bottle on its rooftop. But later in 1957, it burned down. Because of this, it was rebuilt nearby with a royal interior by Michael Ventura.
The beautiful castle holds a sand-colored building, grassy-moat, and turret, which attracts many visitors. Interestingly, the shop was named “Mars Cheese Castle” as the Castle holds 700 varieties of cheese. It is commonly called the “Disneyland of Cheese.” It’s also famous for food – stores, grocery, and tavern, which sell a range of consumable products.
Plan to visit only during opening-hours, Mon-Wed (9:00 AM – 9:00 PM), and Thu-Sun (9:00 AM – 7:00 PM). Moreover, there aren’t any entry fees, but reservations are needed. Next to the castle is a safe paid-parking garage too.
There are several other things to do in Kenosha, including exciting adventures, visiting nearby museums/parks, shopping, attending cultural events, participating in outdoor activities/games, etc. Otherwise, visit spas, bakery/clubs/bars/restaurants to relish the wine/beers, traditional dishes, and other menu options.
Unfortunately, visitors can’t stay at the Mars Cheese Castle overnight. Nevertheless, Kenosha offers many budget-friendly hotels and inns nearby like the Best Western Executive Inn, Value Inn Kenosha, and Sun Inn Motel.
Additional Castles In America To Visit
Besides what we’ve already mentioned, these are also very popular castles in America to visit:
- Gillette Castle, Connecticut
- Built in 1914 as part of the estate of William Hooker Gillette. Inside visitors will find 60 paintings of cats. Outside, a 3.2-mile railroad with mini trains winds around the property. The castle offers daily tours.
- Bannerman Castle, New York
- Construction began in 1901 by Frank Bannerman. Being of Scottish decent, he created what was meant as an arsenal and storage facility, in the likeness of a Scottish castle. The castle offers summertime island tours and special events.
- Loveland Castle, Ohio
- Built in 1927 by Harry Delos Andrews. After being declared dead during his service in WWI and miraculously recovering, Andrews returned home to find his fiancee has already married someone else. So, he swore off women and dedicated himself to his boy scout troop, The Knights of the Golden Trail. He built the castle for them. Visitors can do self-guided tours of the castle.
- Fonthill Castle, Pennsylvania
- Built between 1908 and 1912, by Henry Chapman Mercer. The castle has a mixture of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine styles. Mercer was an archaeologist, anthropologist, and ceramist. Fonthill Castle was built to house his collection of tiles and prints. The castle offers one-hour guided tours through a portion of the castle.
- Thornewood Castle, Washington
- Built in the early 1900s by Chester Thorne. However, it was built with pieces from a 400-year-old English manor. Thorne purchased the structure and had it dismantled, shipped from England, and put back together in Washington. The castle is now a bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, they don’t offer tours.
Final Thoughts On Castles In America
As you can see, these are a lot of castles in America to visit! Each is unique with an interesting history and story and we hope this list of castles inspires you to go out and visit one.
Which was your favorite castle? Is there another castle in America that you’d recommend visiting? Let us know in the comments below! 🙂
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