The 7 Most Stunning Castles in America
You’ll want to include a visit to at least one of these castles in America for a unique experience.
Europe often comes to mind when we think about castles. But did you know the US has over 100 of our own?
Most of the castles on this list are about 100 years old. They may not have the medieval mystique of their European counterparts, but they’re every bit as impressive.
Today, we’ll take a tour of these seven castles in America to see what they have to offer visitors.
Let’s get started!
Hearst Castle, California
This legendary mansion, built in 1919, stands as a grand embodiment of a dream from publisher William Randolph Hearst. Encompassing 250,000 acres, the estate’s multiple Mediterranean-style structures, pools, and gardens are a sight to behold.
Hearst Castle formerly held the world’s largest private zoo. Exotic animals like leopards, jaguars, and orangutans once shared the land here. Only some Zebras remain, which you can see grazing in nearby pastures.
A variety of 60-minute tour options are available, depending on which sections of the castle you want to explore. Each tour requires a fair amount of walking and climbing stairs, but wheelchair-accessible tours are available.
Grab a bite to eat before or after the tour at the Visitor Center. Then, stay overnight at any of the numerous lodging and campgrounds in and around the coastal town of San Simeon.
Know Before You Go: Hearst Castle is closed for major road repairs but plans to reopen in early 2022. Check the website before planning your trip!
Biltmore Estate, North Carolina
George Vanderbilt built this 250-room French Renaissance chateau for his family in 1895.
You’ll find beautiful gardens, elegantly-designed architecture, and over 20 miles of trails as you explore the grounds. After all the walking you’ll be doing, a massage at the spa will set you right.
There’s also a winery with award-winning wines to sip while taking in the views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
Plan for a weekend stay in one of three lodging options available on the property. There are multiple restaurants and cafes to choose from to satisfy your hunger after touring this expansive castle.
Boldt Castle, New York
A broken heart nearly kept this castle from being completed and available for others to enjoy.
Hotelier, George Boldt, had this castle built in 1900 on Heart Island in northeastern New York. Sadly, his wife passed away four years after construction began, and George halted the project.
It sat unattended for 73 years, but today it stands in full glory. Renovations have brought this castle to life for the enjoyment of those who visit.
Complete with a drawbridge, multiple towers, and beautiful gardens, the Boldt Castle is a unique experience. It‘s one of the few castles in America accessible only by watercraft.
You can find hotels, resorts, campgrounds, and restaurants in nearby Alexandria Bay.
Boldt Castle is currently closed for the season and will reopen in May 2022.
The Breakers, Rhode Island
The Breakers is the second castle on this list built by a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family. This beautiful home sits on top of a cliff overlooking Easton Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
This Italian Renaissance-style palazzo, built in 1895, is designated a National Historic Landmark. Each of the 70 rooms in the main house is ornate and magnificently designed.
Self-guided audio tours last about an hour. The castle also offers a special children’s tour geared towards visitors 13 and younger. The buildings are partially accessible by wheelchair.
The town of Newport has numerous overnight accommodations and restaurant options. For those traveling with dogs, Newport is very dog-friendly. Parks, trails, and even some restaurants will welcome furry friends to dine with you outdoors.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to road trip to hunt for castles, make sure to avoid these 5 Ways to Ruin Your Road Trip.
Fonthill Castle, Pennsylvania
Archaeologist and ceramicist Henry Mercer designed this home, constructed between 1908 and 1912. The medieval and gothic-style castle has 44 rooms. It’s an early example of using reinforced concrete architecture. In addition, you’ll find Mercer’s own handcrafted ceramic tiles throughout the interior.
A 60-minute guided tour is available for Fonthill Castle, with partial accessibility for wheelchairs. If you visit the museum, plan on spending 2 hours among the castle’s six stories. You’ll need separate entry tickets for both locations.
A mile down the road is the Mercer Museum, another castle designed by Henry Mercer in 1916. In addition, the Doylestown area offers several other museums, art galleries, and restaurants to enjoy.
Lyndhurst Mansion, New York
Built in 1838, Lyndhurst Mansion is one of the oldest castles in America. It’s also known to be one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the US.
The castle is 24 miles from Manhattan, situated on the banks of the Hudson River. It would be easy to spend a day here exploring the different areas of the mansion and gardens.
A variety of guided tours highlight specific sections. The interior has partial wheelchair accessibility, while the outdoor grounds are more accessible.
This castle has been used as the setting for movies, TV shows, and weddings. The dramatic architecture certainly makes for a gorgeous backdrop for film and photography.
Thornewood Castle, Washington
The construction of this castle from 1908 to 1911 included sections of a 400-year old Elizabethan manor in England.
Thornewood Castle gives the feeling of being in a fairytale. There’s even a sunken “secret garden” adding to the allure of this majestic mansion.
The castle is on the shores of American Lake with a view of Mount Rainier. And, old-growth fir trees dot the surrounding landscape.
This is a private residence and is not open to the public. However, overnight stays are available in one of the castle’s nine suites.
Did You Know: The Thornewood Castle is known for hosting some spooky paranormal activity! Check out these other 13 Best Paranormal Places for Your Next Road Trip.
America’s Castles Will Sweep You Away
Now you know you don’t have to travel all the way to Europe for a trip through a castle! Visiting any of these castles in America will certainly have you feeling like you stepped back in time. Let your imagination take you wherever it may go while walking through these impressive structures. Which castle will you visit first?
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