February 28, 2024 | Allison Robertson

Castles of America

Beautiful Castles in the United States

When you think of castles you probably think royal palaces in England, or mysterious ancient ruins in South America. But not all castles are royal, and not all castles are in exotic places either.

Luckily, Americans don’t have to go far to experience majestic castles up close and personal.

From hundreds of rooms and thousands of acres to concert halls and man-made lakes, these American castles are nothing less than spectacular.

castle and woman split image

Hearst Castle, California

Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst built this Julia Morgan-designed castle to serve as his private residence. He lived in it while it was being renovated, but sadly, he passed before its completion.

Wait till you hear what this castle has, though.

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California - 2017Matthew Paulson, Flickr

Hearst Castle: Details

Hearst Castle has a total of 42 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield and, during Hearst's lifetime, the world's largest private zoo.

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California - 2009Jim G, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Hammond Castle, Massachusetts

Built in the 1900s, this castle served as a laboratory for an inventor who held more than 800 patents.

It boasts medieval arches, winding stairwells, and seaside views. But that’s not all—this home was full of surprises.

Hammond Castle Museum, 80 Hesperus Ave, Gloucester, Massachusetts - 2013Robert Linsdell, Flickr

Hammond Castle: Details

The castle also featured a 100-foot-long Great Hall, adorned with a rose window, a fireplace from 15th-century France, and an alcove where the owner liked to read late into the night.

The living room wasn’t just big and fancy, it was also a concert hall and a recording studio.

Hammond Castle Museum rec. studio - 2013Robert Linsdell, Wikimedia Commons

Scotty's Castle, California

Scotty’s Castle is a small two-story castle built in 1922 that sits in Death Valley National Park.

It was built by a husband-and-wife team, with the inspiration coming from a friend named Walter Scott—a known con artist.

Scotty's Castle  In Death Valley, California - 2012Carol M. Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons

Scotty’s Castle: Details

Scott apparently convinced the couple to build this stunning vacation home, and then liked to take the credit for it—hence the name.

Not only did he not own the property, he also never lived there.

Interior Of Scotty's Castle Death Valley National Park - 2014Gayinspandex1, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Iolani Palace, Hawaii

Iolani Palace is the only official royal residence located in the United States and is located in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii.

The palace had electricity and telephones even before the White House had them. But that’s not all it had.

Front image of Iolani Palace, Hawaii - 2011Arjunkrsen, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Iolani Palace: Details

The island's last two monarchs lived in it from 1882 to 1893, but it later fell into disrepair—until it was renovated and reopened in 1978.

The castle stands two stories tall, has a basement, has two towers in the center that are 76 feet high, and four corner towers—like a fairytale castle.

Image of Iolani Palace - 2017Leo Carmona, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bannerman Castle, New York

Bannerman Castle was built in 1901 by a Scottish-born owner of a military surplus supply company.

A fire destroyed it in 1969, leaving it to become ruins (that you see today) in the middle of the Hudson River.

Bannerman Castle, NY - 2012NatureLifePhoto, Flickr

Bannerman Castle: Details

Although Frank Bannerman was a munitions dealer, he described himself as a man of peace.

He wrote in his catalogues that he hoped that his collection of arms would someday be known as “The Museum of the Lost Arts.”

Image of Bannerman Castle - 2010NatureLifePhoto, Flickr

Castello di Amorosa, California

Located in the middle of California’s Napa Valley, Castello di Amorosa is a 13th-century replica of a Tuscan castle.

It took 15 years to build. When you find out how many levels it has, this will make sense.

Front entrance to Castello di Amorosa - 2015.Photowikiuser816, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Castello di Amorosa: Details

The castle interiors, which include 107 rooms on 8 levels above and below ground, were approximately 121,000 square feet when opened in 2007; it has since been expanded to 141,000 square feet.

The Knights' Hall of Castello di Amorosa - 2017David Ball, Wikimedia Commons

Montezuma Castle, Arizona

The Sinagua people built this five-story, 20-room castle on a cliff approximately 800 years ago in what is known today as Camp Verde, Arizona.

Montezuma Castle National Monument, located near Camp Verde, Arizona - 2011Rhasan, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Montezuma Castle: Details

Unfortunately, Montezuma Castle is too fragile to allow visitors inside, but the view from below is said to be well worth the trip.

Montezuma Castle National Monument- 2017Roller Coaster Philosophy, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Lyndhurst Mansion, New York

The Lyndhurst Mansion was built in 1838, and is one of the country's best examples of Gothic Revival architecture.

It was built for the mayor, and today is serves as a museum and wedding venue where it highlights its architectural beauty.

Lyndhurst Mansion, New York - 2014Elisa.rolle, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Lyndhurst Mansion: Details

The Lyndhurst estate sits in its own 67-acre park and includes a four-story tower. The hallways are narrow, windows small and sharply arched, and ceilings are peaked, vaulted, and ornamented.

The castle also includes a double-height art gallery.

DETAIL DINING ROOM BAY - Lyndhurst, Main House - 1971Boucher, Jack E, Wikimedia Commons

Boldt Castle, New York

Boldt Castle was built in 1900, by a man named Geroge C. Boldt who built this 120-room castle for his wife.

But there’s a tragic end to this love story.

Aeroplane Picture of 1000 Islands - Boldt Castle - 1920Sidney Jack Hayward, Wikimedia Commons

Boldt Castle: Details

Unfortunately, Boldt’s wife passed unexpectedly before its completion. George was so heartbroken that he stopped construction and the castle went vacant for 73 years.

It was later restored and opened to visitors.

1000 Islands. Boldt Castle / St Lawrence River, USA - 2004Sergey Ashmarin, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Smithsonian Institute Building, Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian Institute Building is a Norman-style structure that was built in 1855 out of red sandstone. It was the home and office of Joseph Henry (the first Secretary of the Smithsonian).

NORTH FRONT, FROM THE NORTHWEST - Smithsonian Institution Building - 1933Renwick, James, Wikimedia Commons

Smithsonian Institute Building: Details

The building includes a central section, two extensions or ranges, and two wings. There are four towers that are livable space, and five smaller towers that are decorative.

It also included two art galleries, a basement, a museum space, a laboratory, a research space, a reading room, a chapel, and a library.

Smithsonian Building, Jefferson Dr. - 2014Dzhoy Zuckerman, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Fonthill Castle, Pennsylvania

The man who built this castle was an archaeologist, artifact collector, and tilemaker. He built it from 1908 to 1912, and chose a combination of medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles.

Fonthill Castle, PennsylvaniaHistoric American Buildings Survey, Wikimedia Commons

Fonthill Castle: Details

There are 44 rooms in Fonthill including 10 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms and 18 fireplaces. It also included two dumbwaiters, an elevator, an intercom system and phones to communicate within the house.

Interior, Library, Looking Toward Stairway To Gallery - Fonthill Castle.Historic American Buildings Survey, Wikimedia Commons

Fonthill Castle: A Museum

When the owner/builder passed, he left his “Castle for the New World” in trust as a museum of decorative tiles and prints.

Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle - 1996Onasill - Bill Badzo , Flickr

Biltmore Estate, North Carolina

This 250-room French Renaissance chateau took six years to build. It boasts 8,000 acres of property, and 175,000 square feet of floor space—making it known as “America’s Largest Home.”

A view of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina - 2016Kolin Toney, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Biltmore Estate: Details

Biltmore Estate included 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.

It was built by George Vanderbilt—who is part of one of the world’s richest families.

Portrait of  G.W. Vanderbilt -	between 1860 and 1870Civil War Glass Negatives, Wikimedia Commons

The Breakers, Rhode Island

The Breakers is another estate built by a Vanderbilt (Cornelius Vanderbilt). It boasts 70-rooms, and was built to be a summer cottage for the Vanderbilt family.

The Breakers, Newport RI USA - 2016xiquinhosilva, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Breakers: Details

The mansion covers nearly an acre of the 13-acre property and has 70 rooms including 48 bedrooms for family and staff. There are 27 fireplaces.

It’s called “The Breakers” because of the waves that continually crash into the cliffs below the mansion.

The Breakers (Cornelius Vanderbilt II summer home) located in Newport, Rhode Island - 2009UpstateNYer, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bishop's Palace, Texas

Bishop’s Palace was built with stone and steel for its railroad entrepreneur owner in 1887-1892. It is recognized as one of America's finest examples of Victorian exuberance and Gilded-Age extravagance.

The Bishop's Palace in Galveston, Texas (United States) - 2022Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bishop's Palace: Details

The castle features three full stories of interior rooms, including a Grand Ballroom, soaring towers, and bridges offering vistas spanning a hundred miles.

The Bishop's Palace - 2016Srini Sundarrajan, Flickr

Trube House, Texas

This Danish castle-inspired home was built in 1890. It’s on the smaller side, when it comes to castles. The owner, a successful businessman built the home for his wife, who went on to give him nine children.

Image of Trube Castle - 2012BFS Man, Flickr

Trube House: Details

The Trube House is a 30-room, three-story castle-inspired home has a mansard roof and twelve gables and is best known for its fake chimney, which contains a stained-glass window.

John C. Trube HouseLibrary of Congress, Wikimedia Commons

Castle in the Clouds, New Hampshire

Also known as Lucknow Estate, this castle was built in 1913 by a shoemaker and millionaire. It sits on a whopping 6,300-acres and has an incredible number of amenities.

The estate and view from Castle in the Clouds, also known as Lucknow - 2015Fletcher, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Castle in the Clouds: Details

The Castle in the Clouds has a 16-room Arts and Crafts mansion, a stable, a six-car garage, two gatehouses, a greenhouse, a golf course, a tennis court, a man-made lake, a boathouse, and miles of trails.

The Lucknow mansion - 2021Peter E, Flickr

Bluebeard's Castle, Virgin Islands

Bluebeard’s Castle has an intriguing and haunting story behind it. The castle is said to be “a metaphor for the soul whose secrets are hidden.”

But what is so haunting about it?

Bluebeard's Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie - 1933Historic American Buildings Survey, Wikimedia Commons

Bluebeard's Castle: The Story

To sum it up, Bluebeard was a wealthy man who ended his marriage and left his wife the keys to all the doors but forbade her to open one of them.

She disobeyed, of course, and found the bodies of all of his former wives in the locked room.

Bluebeard's Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie - 1933Historic American Buildings Survey, Wikimedia Commons

Gillette Castle, Connecticut

Built in 1914, this castle looks like ruins on the outside but has a rather modern interior, making it especially unique.

Gillette Castle, Connecticut - 2013Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Gillette Castle: Details

This 14,000-square-foot stone fortress sits 200 feet over the Connecticut River and is surrounded by 184-acres of gorgeous Connecticut woodlands.

Gillette Castle, Connecticut - 2013Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Victoria Beach Pirate Tower, California

This 60-foot spire built into a rocky beach cliff in Laguna Beach, California, was originally built in 1926 by the owners of the house at the top of the cliff to serve as a private staircase to the beach.

Its name came from its next owner, though.

Pirate Tower - a 60 foot tall stone spire built along the rocky cliff - 2019Carl Glover, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Victoria Beach Pirate Tower: Details

Later, it was sold to a retired naval captain who was apparently a pirate fanatic and invited children over for games and sea stories while dressed in pirate clothing.

Victoria Beach Castle Turret - Pirate Tower - 2016Daniel Peckham, Flickr

Belvedere Castle, New York

Belvedere Castle sits right in the middle of New York City’s Central Park, and it is one of the country’s most famous castles.

Belvedere Castle, Central Park, New York CityUser Uris, CC SA 1.0, Wikimedia Commons

Belvedere Castle: Details

It was completed in 1872, and it sits atop a huge rock outcrop known as Vista Rock—the second highest natural point in Central Park.

Currently, it has exhibit rooms, an observation deck, and an official weather station.

Central Park Belvedere Castle - 2016Central Park, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons


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