While Europe may be famous for its magnificent and historically rich castles, it is a little known fact that the United States also sports a few castles of its own. While American castles don’t fall as far back on the historical timeline, we can still absorb some gorgeous architecture and learn some American history along the way.
If you feel the call to explore some of these enchanting estates, make sure to pick up a Newverest Trek Scratcher so you can mark off your amazing adventures!
So, without further ado, here are 12 must-see United States castles.
1. Castello di Amorosa
Napa Valley is home to a luxurious winery based on 13th-century Tuscan architecture. It is complete with ramparts, courtyards, a chapel, stables, a moat, armory, towers, and 107 unique rooms. They offer wine tastings and tours!
2. Hearst Castle
Located near San Simeon, California, Hearst Castle is a gorgeous museum that spans across about 127 acres. It boasts rich architecture, lush gardens, and contains a glorious multitude of artifacts and artwork. One of its defining characteristics is the soothing Neptune pool, which glistens on an intricately designed geometric patterned floor.
3. Biltmore Estate
In an eloquent Chateauesque style, Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is the biggest privately-owned home in America. It offers vast hiking trails on its 8,000 acres of land, and the estate hosts tours, events, food, and a plethora of other fun activities.
4. Bannerman Castle
Bannerman’s Castle has a most intriguing location on an island off of the New York Hudson River. It was originally used as a military surplus warehouse, but the “abandoned” ruins of this Scottish styled structure can still be visited, where they offer tours, movie nights, and other events. Bannerman’s Castle suffered an explosion in 1920 and a fire in 1969, leaving it a bit worse for wear. However, the relic of the “damaged ruin” contributes to its allure and charm.
5. Montezuma Castle
This castle is a bit of a misnomer, having no true discernible tracing back to Montezuma, the famous Aztec ruler. However, just like Montezuma, this indigenous structure is fascinating and powerful. Located in Camp Verde, Arizona, Montezuma Castle situates about 90 feet above the ground on a limestone cliff face. It is believed to have been built by Sinagua natives to protect themselves against enemies and heavy flooding. Thankfully, its hidden location has made it easy to preserve itself against natural weathering or other potential damage.
6. Lyndhurst Castle
Intriguing gothic style architecture carves a picturesque country estate in Tarrytown, New York. It is characterized by sharp peaks and narrow hallways. This beautiful scene overlooks the Hudson River and hosts events, tours, and even weddings!
7. Castle in the Clouds
This New Hampshire mountaintop estate is the current property of the Castle Preservation Society. It was designed with the aesthetic and intention of “living in harmony with nature,” using terra cotta blocks and other natural materials to give it a rustic look. It offers a bounty of events such as music nights, weddings, yoga, and so much more.
8. Scotty’s Castle
The history of this fascinating Spanish-Mediterranean style castle is shrouded in mystery. While most likely built by an insurance executive by the name of Albert Johnson, it is fabled that a man by the name of Death Valley Scotty built it, having spent so much of his time there. Scotty was a flamboyant character, a gold prospector, and a big spender. The myth says that he built Scotty’s Castle with the fortune he made from a “secret gold mine.” Scotty’s Castle is located in Death Valley National Park, where it now offers tours.
9. Boldt Castle
Hidden amongst an expanse of lavish pines, Boldt Castle is a Chateausque structure on an island near Alexander Bay, New York. It contains a circular stain glass ceiling, garden, gazebo, and more. Originally intended to be a private summer home for billionaire George Boldt and his wife, it is now a very active tourist attraction that offers boat tours and weddings.
10. Hammond Castle
Hammond Castle was built in the 1920s by John Jays Hammond Jr., an inventor with an expansive collection of historical artifacts. Its medieval-style structure can be found in Glacouster, Massachusetts where you can explore the castle rooms, grounds, and artifacts while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Atlantic.
11. Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle is a Gothic-Romanesque hybrid located in the heart of New York’s Central Park. In 1919, it started being used as a meteorological observatory. More recently, it was used for the exterior shots of Count von Count’s castle in Sesame Street. It’s been featured in several other movies and films as well, such as The Bostonians, Stepmom, and The Smurfs.
12. Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace has a fascinating history, as it was once the home of the royal rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii. When these rulers were overthrown, it was used as the Provisional Government capital building until it was eventually restored and opened as a museum. It is the only castle on United States soil that has true roots in royalty. It is located in Honolulu, where you can take the grand tour!
From indigenous fortresses to Hawaiian kingdoms, to mysterious gold prospectors, this list certainly stimulates the imagination. We hope you’ve found the perfect castle to pique your interest and we wish you good luck with your newly found travel plans!