Best Castles in the USA

Belvedere castle - Best Castles in the USA

When you think of historic castles, your mind likely wanders to Europe. However, there are a string of wonderful castles in the United States, that each has their own fascinating story and heritage, and there are so many layers of history to discover with each and every one of them.

The United States is an enormous country, and there are castles dotted throughout; here is a guide to the best castles to visit in the US:

21 Best Castles to Visit in the US

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1. Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle - best castles in the US

Situated on the Central Coast of California, Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and is built in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style that was so popular in the early to mid-20th-century. It was founded by the publishing mogul, William Randolph Heart, alongside his architect, Julia Morgan, and was constructed between the years 1919 and 1947.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Hearst Castle was a hub of social activity for the rich and famous; numerous lavish parties were held there with a string of famous guests, from Greta Garbo to Charlie Chaplin.

Where: San Simeon, California
When: 1919-1947
Style: Spanish Colonial Revival
Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:00pm

2. Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle - castles in the USA

Boldt Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in the whole of the United States. Situated on Heart Island in the Saint Lawrence River, Boldt Castle was originally built as a private mansion, constructed by the renowned American millionaire, George Boldt.

Construction began in 1900, where Boldt wished to build an enormous masonry structure and wished for it to be one of the largest private homes in the country.

However, after his wife died in 1904, construction was halted, and it was left unfinished as a monument for her. Today, the castle is open as a tourist attraction.

Where: Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, New York
When: 1900-1904
Style: Chateauesque
Open for visit: May to October, 10:30 am – 18:30 pm

3. Château Laroche or Loveland Castle

Château Laroche or Loveland Castle

Also known as the Loveland Castle, Chateau Laroche is a museum castle that s nestled on the banks of the Little Miami River, which is north of Loveland, in Ohio. It is a folly castle, which is essentially a decorative castle with no real purpose, and it is inspired by historical European fortresses. It was founded by Harry D. Andrews.

In the 1920s, who was a Boy Scout troop leader, World War I veteran, and medievalist; for 50 years, Andrews continuously worked on his castle project, and he actually sourced stones from the nearby river. He also used cement and quart milk cartons to make bricks.

Where: Loveland, Ohio
When: 1920s
Style: Folly
Open for visit: 10:00am – 18:00pm

4. Bannerman Castle

Bannerman Castle - USA castle

Situated on Pollepel Island on New York’s Hudson River, Bannerman Castle has a fascinating history. Construction of the castle began in 1901, and it primarily served as an advertisement for the owner, Francis Bannerman’s business; it was also built to serve both as a residence, and a storage unit for his army surplus.

The castle was largely damaged by a fire in 1969, and the roofs and floors were completely destroyed; whilst it is mostly in ruins today, visitors are still able to see the castle from the shore or a boat tour, as it is simply too dangerous to visit up close.

Where: Pollepel Island, New York
When: Early 20th century
Style: Gothic Revival
Open for visit: Not open to the public

5. Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle - Us best castle

Located in New York City’s iconic Central Park, Belvedere Castle is an incredibly famous castle. It was originally constructed between the years 1867 and 1869 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who were both renowned architects; they were inspired by the Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles of Europe and wanted to replicate it in the US.

The castle has actually been featured in several films, some of which you might recognise, including Stepmom, Sesame Street, and The Smurfs. Today, the castle is open as a tourist attraction, visitor centre and gift shop, and it is a must-see spot when exploring Central Park.

Where: Central Park, New York
When: 1867-1869
Style: Romanesque and Gothic Revival
Open for visit: 9:00am – 19:00pm

6. Fonthill Castle

Fonthill Castle

Originally constructed between the years 1908 and 1912, Fonthill Castle was the residence of Henry Chapman Mercer, who was a prominent anthropologist, archaeologist, and antiquarian, amongst other things.

Mercer built Fonthill Castle both as his home, and as a place to showcase his enormous collection on prints and tiles, many of which were produced during the American Arts & Crafts Movement.

One of the highlights of Fonthill Castle is the sheer mix of architectural influences; there is everything from Gothic, Medieval, to Byzantine, and it’s truly unique.

Where: Doylestown, Pennsylvania
When: 1908-1912
Style: A mix of architectural styles
Open for visit: 10:00am – 18:00pm

7. Bishop Castle

Bishop Castle - best castles in the USA

One of the most elaborate and architecturally complex castles in the whole of The United States, is without a doubt, Bishop Castle. Situated in south-central Colorado in the Wet Mountains, Bishop Castle was constructed by Jim Bishop.

He first started the construction when he was 15 in 1969, and it was initially just meant to be a family project; however, for the following 40 years, he developed it into a full-blown castle, and it has become one of the most popular roadside attractions in the state.

Where: Wet Mountains, Colorado
When: Construction began in 1969
Style: Gothic
Open for visit: It is always open

8. Squire’s Castle

Squire's Castle - Us castle

Situated in the North Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks in Willoughby Hills in Ohio, Squire’s Castle is essentially just a shell nowadays. Feargus B. Squire purchased the land in 1890, and began building in 1895; he formed an incredible Romanesque Revival structure made of locally-quarried Euclid bluestone.

Today, it is possible to visit Squire’s Castle, and many visitors are fascinated by the urban myths and horror stories attached to the castle.

Where: Willoughby Hills, Ohio
When: Late 19th-century
Style: Romanesque Revival
Open for visit: You can only visit by guided tour.

9. The Smithsonian Castle

Sometimes known as The Smithsonian Institution Building, The Smithsonian Castle houses administrative offices and an information centre and is one of the most important landmarks in Washington D.C.

It is constructed of Seneca red sandstone and is built in the Norman Revival architectural style, which is an amalgamation of late Romanesque and early Gothic principles. It was finally completed in the year 1855 and was made a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

Where: Washington D.C.
When: Completed in 1855
Style: Norman Revival
Open for visit: It is not possible to visit the inside of the castle, but you can always view it from the outside.

10. Singer Castle

Singer Castle - best castles in the US

Situated on the eery-sounding Dark Island on the St. Lawrence River in New York’s Chippewa Bay, Singer Castle is absolutely fascinating. It is the only castle on the river to have ever been fully completed, fully furnished and resided in.

Construction of the castle began in 1905, and it remained in the hands of the original owners, the Bourne family, and they frequently had their summer holidays there. Singer Castle is made of granite, which was sourced from nearby Oak Island, and it has a very distinctive exterior. Today, the castle is open to the public as a tourist attraction.

Where: Chippewa Bay, New York
When: 1905
Style: Gothic Revival
Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:30pm

11. Gillette Castle

Gillette Castle

Gillette Castle was originally commissioned and designed by the American actor William Gillette, who is most renowned for his role as Sherlock Holmes. Construction began in 1914 and was not completed until 1919, though an extra addition was completed in the year 1924.

Gillette lived at this estate between the years 1919 and 1937, and it was later acquired by the State of Connecticut, who renamed the castle to ‘Gillette Castle’, as it had originally been named ‘Seventh Sister’. Today, Gillette Castle is a popular tourist attraction, as it is surrounded by hiking trails.

Where: Lyme, Connecticut
When: 1914
Style: Gothic
Open for visit: 8:00 am – sunset

12. Tovrea Castle

Tovrea Castle - castles in the US

Located in Arizona capital, Phoenix, Tovrea Castle is an enormous and historical structure and landmark. It was originally constructed with the intentions of being a centrepiece for a resort, but it became a private residence instead.

Today, the castle is part of the Phoenix parks system and is loved by the residents of the city. It was built between the years 1929 and 1931 and has changed its overall function several times throughout the years.

One of its most distinctive characteristics is the three-tier structure, which is incredibly unique, and it has often been noted that resembles a traditional wedding cake.

Where: Phoenix, Arizona
When: 1929-1931
Style: 1920s
Open for visit: Only accessible via tour. To book, visit the castle website.

13. Scotty’s Castle

Scotty's Castle

Sometimes known as Death Valley Ranch, Scotty’s Castle is a gorgeous two-story Spanish Colonial Revival and Mission Revival style castle in the heart of the Grapevine Mountains of northern Death Valley in Nevada. Construction on this castle began in the year 1922, and it was designed by the renowned architect, Martin de Dubovay.

This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Death Valley, and around 100,000 people visit the villa each and every year; there are many of the Johnson family’s original furnishings and belongs still here, and it’s a really fascinating place to explore.

Where: Grapevine Mountains, Nevada
When: 1922
Style: Spanish Colonial Revival
Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm

14. Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace

Located in Honolulu in Hawaii, Iolani Palace was the royal residence for the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii, from the reign of Kamehameha III under the Kamehameha Dynasty, until the ruling of Queen Lili’uokalani, under the Kalakaua Dynasty, all of which were in the 19th century.

The monarchy was overthrown in the year 1893, and the building became the capitol building for the Republic Government. Iolani Palace is one of the tourist highlights in Honolulu, and many visitors are captivated by the gorgeous American Florentine architectural style of the building.

Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
When: 1879
Style: American Florentine
Open for visit: 9:00am – 19:00pm

15. Castello Di Amorosa

Castello Di Amorosa

The beautiful Castello di Amorosa is a castle and winery situated in Calistoga in California’s iconic Napa Valley. Construction of Castello di Amorosa winery began in the year 1994, and it is heavily inspired by the 13th-century Tuscan castle; it features 107 rooms, has four underground levels, and four above-ground levels.

It strives for authenticity, and it is very convincing; it has a wonderful charm and magical feel to it. The bricks for the castle were imported from Europe, and more than 200 containers of old materials and furnishings were also shipped over. It finally opened its doors in 2007, and it has been incredibly popular ever since.

Where: Calistoga, California
When: 1994
Style: Neo-Medieval
Open for visit: Monday to Thursday, 11:00 am – 16:30pm. Friday to Sunday, 9:30 am – 18:00pm

16. Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle - best US Castles

Montezuma Castle or Montezuma Castle National Monument is an incredibly well-preserved set of dwellings, that is situated in Camp Verde in Arizona. These dwellings were used by the Sinagua people, who were a pre-Colombian culture between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD.

This structure is absolutely fascinating, and the main structure features five stories, with around 45 to 60 different rooms; they were built across three different centuries. Today, Montezuma Castle is one of the most frequently visited tourist attractions in the state of Arizona, and it is well worth checking out.

Where: Camp Verde, Arizona
When: 1100-1425 AD
Style: Pre-Colombian
Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:00pm

17. Lyndhurst Castle

Lyndhurst Castle

Lyndhurst Castle, or Lyndhurst Mansion, is an enormous and grand Gothic Revival country house that sits next to the famous Hudson River in Tarrytown, in New York state.

The castle was designed and constructed in 1838 by Alexander Jackson Davis, and it was then later owned by William Paulding, Jr, who was the New York City Mayor, and then later the merchant George Merritt, and Jay Gould, the railroad mogul.

The architecture of Lyndhurst Castle is absolutely beautiful, and there are many Gothic style features.

Where: Tarrytown, New York
When: 1838
Style: Gothic
Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:00pm

18. Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate

One of the grandest and most impressive castles in the whole of The United States is the Biltmore Estate, which is a historic house museum and tourist landmark in Asheville in North Carolina.

The main residence is constructed in a Chateauesque style and was originally built as a private residence for George Washington Vanderbilt II, between 1889 and 1895.

It is famous for being the largest privately-owned house in the entire country, and it is still owned by the descendants of George Vanderbilt.

There are so many different rooms and wings that visitors can explore, including the Bachelors’ Wing, the Billiard Room, and the Basement, all of which are incredibly well-preserved.

Where: Asheville, North Carolina
When: 1889-1895
Style: Chateauesque
Open for visit: 9:00am – 19:00pm

19. Castle Williams

Castle Williams

Situated on Governors Island in New York, Castle Williams is a large fortification made of red sandstone and was historically part of a series of forts that were designed to protect New York City in the early 19th century from naval attack.

Castle Williams was originally erected between the years 1807 and 1811, and the project was led by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Williams. It also served as a prison in the 20th century, before it became a community centre in 1966, housing a nursey, meetings rooms for scouts, as well as a string of other facilities.

Today, the castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public.

Where: Governors Island, New York
When: Early 19th century
Style: Military
Open for visit: 9:0am – 17:00pm

20. Pirate’s Tower Victoria Beach

Pirate's Tower Victoria Beach

Pirate’s Tower on Victoria Beach is one of the most fascinating and magical castles in the whole of The United States. The beach itself is only accessible by clambering over rocks, or alternatively, swimming around the rocky headland; it feels very adventurous.

Once you arrive at the beach, you will see the lonely turret made of stone, which has often been referred to as ‘Pirate Tower’ by the locals. Sixty feet tall and looking like it has jumped straight out of a fairy tale, this castle is enchanting.

It was originally built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase to the beach for Los Angeles senator, William E. Brown.

Where: Victoria Beach, California
When: 1926
Style: Gothic Revival
Open for visit: It is not possible to go inside the castle, but you can access the beach and look at it from the outside.

21. Hovenweep Castle

Hovenweep Castle

Hovenweep Castle, or Hovenweep National Monument, is situated on a strip of land between south-western Colorado and south-eastern Utah and is essentially a string of ruins of Ancestral Puebloan villages, who were Native-American people.

Today, the site is a National Monument, and it is an immensely popular tourist landmark, in part for its extraordinary history, and the array of hiking trails and picnic facilities nearby.

Where: Montezuma County, Colorado & San Juan County, Utah
When: 8,000-6,000 B.C.
Style: Ancient Puebloan
Open for visit: 9:00am – 18:00pm

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