25 Stunning Castles in America You Can Visit This Weekend

Smithsonian Castle

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Do you love all things “Royals”, but you’re on the left side of the pond? We have a solution for you. Here are the 25 best castles in America you can visit this weekend. Each of these American castles is unique with a backstory all their own, and you can see them all on a castle tour of the U.S.

Castillo de San Marco | St Augustine, FL

Castillo de San Marcos St Augusting Florida
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

The Castillo de San Marco is a true American castle built for military purposes and never defeated in battle. Built in 1695 to protect the port of St Augustine, it’s oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States. Castillo de San Marcos has been attacked several times and twice besieged, but was never taken by force. The fort changed possession five times among four different governments, but they were all peaceful. After 251 years of continuous military service, it was deactivated in 1933 and entered into the National Park Service system.

Belvedere Castle | New York, NY

Belvedere Castle, Central Park New York
Photo Credit: Stig Nygaard via Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps the most visited American castle is the Belvedere Castle in the middle of Central Park. It was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould to be purely ornamental, but today it’s one of the park’s most popular attractions. Visitors climb the castle stair for sweeping panoramic views of the Turtle Pond and Delacorte Theater.

Boldt Castle | Alexandria, NY

Boldt Castle, Alexandria, NY
Photo Credit: Canva

Continuing the theme of New York castles, we head upstate to the Thousand Islands region to visit the extraordinary Boldt Castle This six-story dream home was bought for $1 in the 70s, but we’re jumping ahead of ourselves. Construction began in 1900 by millionaire George C Boldt, as a gift for his wife, but she died four years after construction began and he never finished the project. The Thousand Island Bridge Authority bought the island in 1977 for $1 and completed the building. Today visitors can tour the castle and grounds leaving from Alexandria Bay or Clayton.

Biltmore Estate | Asheville, NC

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina Best castles in America
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

On the subject of millionaire houses, the Biltmore Estate is the biggest private residence in the United States. Built by the Vanderbilts in the late 19th century as a country home for the family, it’s one of the highlights of a visit to Asheville. Visitors can tour the house and grounds including 16th-century tapestries and a banquet hall with 70’ tall ceilings.

Hammond Castle | Gloucester, MA

Hammond Castle Gatehouse
Photo Credit: Eric Kilby via Flickr.

John Hays Hammond Jr. was many things: inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a lover of all things medieval. He’s known. as “The Father of Radio Control” pioneering foundational developments in modern radio remote control devices, including modern missile guidance systems and UAVs. In 1922 he built a stone castle in Gloucester Massachusetts to serve as his home, laboratory, and gallery for European artifacts. Today, the Hammond Castle is open for tours including highlights from his private collection and the well manicured grounds.

Bannerman Castle | Pollepel Island, NY

Bannerman Castle Pollepel Island, NY
Photo Credit: Canva.

Like their European counterparts, some American castles are in varying states of disrepair and ruin. The Bannerman Castle in New York still towers high above the Hudson River, but is deemed unsafe for visitors. The Bannerman Castle trust still leads walking tours of the island and many paddlers enjoy seeing the castle from the water. These tours let you learn how the castle was built in 1901 by Frank Bannerman to serve as a military surplus warehouse. A series of accidents occurred including an explosion in 1920 and a fire in 1969.

Ha Ha Tonka Castle | Camdenton, MO

Ha Ha Tonka State Park castle ruins
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

The Ha Ha Tonka Castle ruins have a much darker backstory than Bannerman Castle. Coleman Concierge states – “Kansas City businessman, Robert McClure Snyder, started construction on the castle in 1905, only to die in a car crash in 1906. His sons, Robert Jr., LeRoy, and Kenneth, completed the project in the early 1920s, just in time for the stock market crash. It struggled as a hotel during the Great Depression, only to burn to the ground in 1942. Initially designed as a 16th-century European fairy tale, these buildings more closely resemble a turn of the century American gothic.” Today, the castle is protected in Ha Ha Tonka State Park and offers some of the best sunset views in the Lake of the Ozarks area.

Loveland Castle | Loveland, OH

Loveland Castle Ohio
Photo Credit: by Jennifer Romer via Pixabay.

Loveland Castle, aka Château Laroche, is built in the style of a Medieval castle on the banks of the Little Miami River. It was built by Harry Delos Andrews, who served in the military during World War I and was prematurely declared dead from meningitis. He recovered, but not before his fiancée , presuming her beloved dead, had married another man. He took life in stride and took a grand castle tour throughout Europe. He returned to the United States and built a castle that resembled castles he visited in France. It’s open to visitors as a museum, wedding venue, and Boy Scout camping destination.

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Hearst Castle | San Simeon, CA

Hearst Castle San Simeon, CA
Photo Credit: Canva.

Heading to sunny California, we come to America’s most famous castle – Hearst Castle. Built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan, this 165-room mansion has 123 acres of gardens of exotic flowers, ornate pools, and an extensive art collection. Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the Big Sur Coast, it’s a popular stop for road trippers on one of the most scenic routes in the country.

Castello di Amorosa | Calistoga, CA

Castello di Amaroso Vinyard
Photo Credit: by Keith Cuddeback via Flickr.

Farther up the California coast is Castello di Amorosa, a Tuscan-style castle in the heart of Napa Valley. It’s an award winning winery with a tasting room and food pairings with architectural features like a drawbridge and moat. You’ll need a reservation to enter the grounds, but you’ll have options for unique experiences including a complimentary tasting of 5 wines from our extensive wine menu or upgraded paid tastings at The Castle of Love.

Oheka Castle | West Hills, NY

OHEKA_CASTLE West Hills, NY
Photo Credit: Phillip Ennis Photography via Wikimedia Commons

Oheka Castle is the second largest private residence in the United States, with a backstory that resonates with us. When Jenn was growing up, her family wasn’t allowed in the Cherry Hills Country Club because they were Jewish. Otto Hermann Kahn built his namesake (Ot. He. Ka.) castle in response to Jews being forbidden entry to clubs in New Jersey. Because his previous country home, Cedar Court, was destroyed by fire, he built Oheka from steel and concrete, making it one of the first totally fireproof residential buildings, with very castle-esque styling. Today, it’s a 32 room boutique hotel and a popular wedding venue for socialites, celebrities, and dignitaries.

Fonthill Castle | Doylestown, PA

Fonthill Castle by Jim, the Photographer via Flickr
Photo Credit: Jim, the Photographer via Flickr.

The Fonthill Castle was built between 1908 and 1912 by archaeologist and tile maker Henry Chapman Mercer. It’s an early example of poured-in-place concrete construction and features 44 rooms and 18 fireplaces. Since Mercer was a tilemaker, the home is filled with tile designs, mosaics, and an extensive collection of ceramics embedded in the concrete of the house. Today it’s a museum where visitors can see other artifacts from Mercer’s travels, including Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets dating back to over 2300 BCE.

Lyndhurst Castle | Tarrytown, NY

Lyndhurst_(mansion) by Elisa.rolle via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Elisa Rolle via Wikimedia Commons.

Lyndhurst is a prime example of the gothic revival style of architecture in America. Gothic style features narrow hallways, sharply arched windows, and highly vaulted and ornamental ceilings. It’s simultaneously gloomy and romantic in a beautiful interplay between light and space. Its grounds are aesthetically pleasing as well with one of the largest private gardens in the country. It’s so beautiful that it shows up frequently in movies and TV shows and was the home to the Westminster Dog Show during the pandemic.

Iolani Palace | Honolulu, HI

Iolani Palace Honolulu, HI via Canva
Photo Credit: Canva.

Iolani Palace is the only American castle to actually house a royal family and serve as a royal residence. Built in 1882 by King Kalakaua, it was the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. Iolani Palace is the hallmark of Hawaiian renaissance architecture, a rebirth of traditional Roman architectural principles of aesthetics with concepts derived from Hawaiiana. Its crenelated parapets and towers resemble a medieval castle, but it symbolizes the Hawaiian spirit.

Gresham’s Castle | Galveston, TX

Gresham's Castle Galveston, TX by J R Gordon via Flickr
Photo Credit: J R Gordon via Flickr.

Gresham’s Castle is one of those places that just looks haunted with its Victorian-stylings and stone construction. There have never been any tragedies associated with the property. In fact, it withstood the Great Hurricane of 1900 and sheltered refugees whose homes were destroyed. It also was the residence for Bishop Christopher E. Byrne of the Catholic Diocese of Galveston. Still people claim to see apparitions of Walter and Josephine Gresham, who commissioned the estate and lived in the house from 1892 to 1920.

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Gillette Castle | East Haddam and Lyme, CT

Gillette Castle East Haddam and Lyme, CT via Canva
Photo Credit: Canva.

Gillette Castle is a 24-room, 14,000 sq ft home has 24 rooms and stands three stories high (not including the tower). It’s designed as an American fairy tale mixed with European flair, but what else would you expect from a castle was designed and built by William Gillette, an actor famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on stage. Gillette died in 1943 with no heirs and a will that precluded the possession of his home by any “blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded” so the State of Connecticut took over the property and opened it as Gillette Castle State Park.

The Breakers | Newport, RI

The Breakers Newport, RI via Canva
Photo Credit: Canva.

The Breakers is a Newport castle built by Cornelius Vanderbilt and designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the designer of the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. It’s a Renaissance Revival style mansion with 70-rooms and a gross area of 125,339 square feet. It was completed in 1895 with marble imported from Italy and Africa, rare woods and mosaics from around the world, and architectural elements purchased in France. It is now the most-visited attraction in Rhode Island, but the family continues to live on the third floor, which is not open to the public.

Thornewood Castle | Lakewood, WA

Thornewood Castle Lakewood, WA by Photo by Joe Mabel via WikiMedia Commons
Photo Credit: Joe Mabel via WikiMedia Commons.

Thornewood Castle might actually be the oldest castle in the country since it was imported brick by brick from England in 1907 and completed construction in Washington State in 1911. It’s a 500-year old Elizabethan manor filled with art and stained glass windows from around Europe. It’s known as one of the most romantic places in Washington, but Steven King fans might recognize it as a filming location for Red Rose.

Coral Castle | Miami, FL

Coral Castle Miami, FL by Flwolf2016 via WikiMedia Commons
Photo Credit: Flwolf2016 via WikiMedia Commons,

Coral Castle has walls, carvings, furniture, and a castle tower formed from 1,100 tons of stones. It was built by the eccentric Edward Leedskalnin, who claimed to have used reverse magnetism or supernatural abilities to move and carve the stones. He even published pamphlets about reverse magnetism. His motivations to build the castle were equally mysterious, with allusions to his “Sweet Sixteen”, which might have been an unrequited love or an idealistic notion. Regardless of his means of motivation, Coral Castle is the work of a master craftsman where stones are fastened together without mortar and using their weight to keep them together. The joints are constructed well enough that no light passes through them.

Castle in the Clouds | Moultonborough, NH

Castle in the Clouds - Moultonborough, NH via Canva
Photo Credit: Canva.

This 16-room mansion was built in 1913 by a shoe manufacturer named Thomas Gustave Plant for his second wife, Olive Dewey. It was originally named “Lucknow”, perhaps based on a poem by Olive which read – “In the twilit hall, by the open fire / Each one agrees, ‘I’m in Luck Now at last.” Their luck didn’t hold, and the house was foreclosed upon in the 1930s, but the creditors allowed Plant to stay in the mansion until his death. Today, the property is known as the Castle in the Clouds owned and operated by the Castle Preservation Society, a private 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Montezuma Castle | Camp Verde, AZ

Montezuma Castle Camp Verde, AZ via Canva
Photo Credit: Canva.

Montezuma Castle is a mysterious pre-Columbian cliff dwelling located in the Verde Valley of Arizona. It was constructed between 1100 and 1425 CE with a main structure comprising five stories and about 20 rooms. The name represents to mistaken attributions the European explorers who discovered the abandoned site in the 1860s. First, they believed it to be an ancient Aztec site, hence the name Montezuma. Secondly, it was never a castle but a large dwelling like a prehistoric high rise apartment complex.

The Smithsonian Castle | Washington, DC

The Smithsonian Castle Washington, DC via Canva
Photo Credit: Canva.

The Smithsonian Institution Building, AKA the Smithsonian Castle or simply The Castle, is a building on the National Mall that houses the Smithsonian Institution’s administrative offices and information center. It was built in the Gothic and Romanesque revival styles and completed in 1855. This style was chosen to evoke the English Collegiate Gothic ideas of knowledge and wisdom. More than 25 million people visit the National Mall each year, making the Smithsonian Castle the most visited castle in America.

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Castle Farms | Charlevoix, MI

Castle Farms Charlevoix, MI via Flickr
Photo Credit: Flickr.

Albert Loeb of Sears, Roebuck and Company fame built Castle Farms as a model farm to showcase livestock in addition and farm equipment sold by his company. Over the years, it has been a rock concert venue for the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, AC/DC, and The Beach Boys. However, today it’s primarily used for wedding receptions and to host the Charlevoix Renaissance Festival.

Scotty’s Castle | Death Valley, CA

Scotty's Castle Death Valley, CA via Canva
Photo Credit: Canva.

Scotty’s Castle (aka Death Valley Ranch) is a two-story Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival style villa located in Death Valley National Park. Despite its name, it’s not a castle and it was never owned or occupied by Death Valley Scotty, aka Walter E. Scott. Walter was a con man, who sold a fraudulent mine claim to Chicago millionaire Albert Mussey Johnson. Even after learning of the fraud, Albert was so enamored with Death Valley that he purchased a large tract of land in Grapevine Canyon and began construction on his villa. The Johnsons lost a lot of money during the Great Depression, so Scotty convinced them to rent rooms out in their villa to stay solvent. The plan worked and they retained possession of the property until their deaths in the 1950s.

Squire’s Castle | Willoughby Hills, OH

Squire's Castle Willoughby Hills, OH via Canva
Photo Credit: Canva.

Feargus B. Squire, an executive with the Standard Oil Company, purchased 525 acres of land with the intention of building a traditional English estate. The Romanesque Revival style gatehouse was completed in 1895, but the main house was never built. His wife disliked the house so much that they sold the estate and gatekeeper’s house to developers in 1922, which in turn ceded the property to the city in 1925 through bankruptcy. Today, it’s an iconic structure within the Cleveland Metroparks system.

Final Thoughts on the Best Castles in America

Castle ruins Ha-Ha-Tonka-State-Park-Missouri
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

These American castles offer a great combination of history and romance, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. We’d love to hear from you about some of your favorite castles in America and keep expanding this list until we’ve covered every corner of the United States. Until then, thanks for reading and we hope to see you down the road on your next adventure.

Castles in America FAQs

Biltmore House
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

What is the oldest castle in America? The oldest castle in America is Bacon’s Castle in Surry, Virginia. It was built in 1665.

What is the biggest castle in North America? Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is a 250-room castle. 

How many castles are in the USA? It is estimated there are approximately several thousand castles or castle-like buildings in the US.

Read More From Coleman Concierge:

Best castles in America - Ha Ha Tonka State Park (drone shots)
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Could Ha Ha Tonka State Park be the most beautiful place in Missouri? Conde Nast Travel thinks so! Read on for all of the exciting things to do in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, from historic castle ruins on the bluff tops to the crystal blue springs at lake level to the woodlands and karst features in between.

25 Must See Castles In America To Visit This Weekend

San Francisco Walking Tours – Self Guided Routes You’re Going to Love

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge
Photo Credit: Ed Coleman.

San Francisco is considered one of America’s greatest cities. We’ve designed 5 self-guided San Francisco walking tour routes that are not just easy to follow, they take you to all of the famous sites in one full and photogenic day. What’s more, these tours are 100% designed around public transportation!

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