20 Picture Perfect Fairytale Castles You Can Visit Without A Passport
Europe most definitely has some of the most beautiful architecture in the world, but these 20 American castles may just give them a run for their royal money.
1. Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga, CA
Even though Castello di Amorosa was completed in 2007, it was built in exact replica style of an authentic 13th-Century Tuscan castle (complete with a drawbridge, dungeon and picturesque great hall).
The castle features a full working vineyard with elaborate wine tours for visitors and they even offer specific proposal packages if you’re looking to pop the question in a royal way.
2. Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA
Hearst Castle is one of America’s most well-known castles and was built by media mogul William Randolph Hearst in 1947.
It includes beautiful grounds packed with fountains, pools, gardens and plazas. Oh, also a former zoo and a private air strip. It is a modern mansion with the beauty of an ancient castle.
3. Bishop Castle, San Isabel National Forest, CO
This stunning stone castle began as a family cottage in 1969 by Jim Bishop and Bishop has continued construction for decades after neighbors commented that his original design looked like a castle.
4. Gillette Castle, East Haddam, CT
This castle was painstakingly designed by creative genius William Hooker Gillette with intricate stone details covering the exterior, built-in wooden seating, table tracks and more one-of-a-kind features.
The castle sits on the Gillette Castle State Park in Connecticut and is accessible Memorial Day through Columbus Day.
5. Castle in the Clouds, Moltonborough, NH
Also known as Lucknow Estate, the perfectly wooded “Castle in the Clouds’ was so named for its picturesque location amid the mountains of New Hampshire. It was built by a shoe manufacturing millionaire in the early 20th Century.
The castle remains in the authentic 20th-century design and is open seasonally from Spring through late Fall.
6. Iolani Palace, Honolulu, HI
The Iolani Palace once housed the monarchy of Hawaii before it became a US state. It was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua and includes a coronation pavilion, royal tomb and even an imprisonment room.
7. Hammond Castle, Gloucester, MA
John Hayes Hammond Jr built Hammond Castle between 1926 and 1929 to serve as his own personal residence as well as a display forum for his expansive collection of Roman, medieval and Renaissance art.
Today, the castle serves as a museum displaying this same art collection as well as a series of Hammond’s own inventions.
8. Castle Farms, Charlevoix, MI
In 1918, Albert Loeb, then president of Sears Roebuck, built Castle Farms in lovely northern Michigan modeled after the Renaissance-era castles of Normandy, France.
Today the space is used for events frequently and even hosts a working dairy farm.
9. Boldt Castle, Alexandria Bay, NY
Boldt Castle is located on Heart Island located amidst the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River between New York and Canada and is only accessible by water.
Construction began in 1990 by the George Boldt (the founder of Waldorf-Astoria hotels) as a tribute to his wife, but when she passed away work was halted until 1977 when it was finally restored and finished.
10. Oheka Castle, Long Island, NY
Otto Herman Kahn built this extravagant castle on the shores of New York’s Long Island between 1914 and 1919 and it is valued at at least $110 million today. Even when built, it was valued at $11 million, a petty price tag for Kahn who was the real-life inspiration for Hasbro’s Mr. Monopoly.
11. Belvedere Castle, New York, NY
Belvedere Castle is nestled into New York’s luscious Central Park. It was built in 1869 as a fun structure to add to the park and also serves as a visitor center.
The mini castle sits atop the highest part of the park and offers beautiful views of the metropolis’s great oasis.
12. Bannerman Castle, Pollepel Island, NY
Bannerman Castle was built by a Scottish-American family in 1901 on an island nearby to their Brooklyn home to use as an arsenal. Since the above picture was taken, there has been a partial structural collapse and visiting the castle is not recommended. There are, however, frequent guided boat and kayak tours for the devoted visitor.
13. Lyndhurst Castle, Tarrytown, NY
The simply royal Gothic Revival castle was constructed in 1838 and has a beautiful view overlooking the Hudson. The beautiful building has served as home to many notable New York residents including mayors and railroad tycoons.
14. Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC
This beautiful estate looks like it is straight from the hills of the UK, but nestled in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains lies the former residence of George and Edith Vanderbilt.
It contains a 250 rooms including a library holding more than 10,000 titles, an indoor swimming pool and sprawling outdoor gardens.
15. Loveland Castle, Loveland, OH
Chateau Laroch is tucked in America’s heartland and offers a medieval touch to the midwest. It has been the world headquarters for the Knights of the Golden Trail Society since its establishment in 1927.
If you’re looking to stay in the castle, be prepared to live with the amenities of early castle dwellers, including using the same well its founder used.
16. Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, PA
The multi-talented (archeologist, ceramist, antiquarian and anthropologist) Henry Chapman Mercer built the Fonthill Castle in the early 1900s.
Upon his death, he left the estate to his housekeeper’s family and it was later turned into a museum in 1975 to showcase the castle itself as well as Mercer’s own ceramic tiles.
17. Grey Towers Castle, Glenside, PA
The Grey Towers Castle is so named for it’s unique architectural features (at least compared to other buildings in the small Pennsylvania town) and was built in 1898.
The castle has since been acquired by Acadia University and is available for tours to explore the ornately carved rooms and secret passageways.
18. Bishop’s Castle, Galveston, TX
This Victorian castle was completed in 1892 and got it’s name from a Catholic Bishop who recently resided there, though was previously called Gresham’s Castle.
Since 1892 the building has undergone several renovations that have altered some of the original Victorian elements making the Texas castle a unique conglomerate of many styles.
19. Thornewood Castle, Lakewood, WA
This stunning red brick English Tudor castle has stood in Lakewood, Washington for more than a century and now serves as a luxury bed and breakfast. Stephen King’s miniseries “Rose Red” was also filmed here.
20. Berkeley Castle, Berkeley Springs, WV
Also known as the Samuel Taylor Suit Cottage, this English-Norman castle was built between 1885 and 1891 as an attempt to impress a woman. And with hand cut stones and intricate work, he did indeed get the girl, but died before the completion.
So on your next vacation, grab your tiara, ditch the passport and relax like a royal.