While many people associate incredibly beautiful castles with Europe, in reality, the sheer magnitude of castles found in the USA is truly mesmerizing. From being located on a heart-shaped isle to the hilltops of California, these wondrous castles are scattered across the country. Here’s a list of ten such castles that should feature on your bucket list when you plan your next trip to the USA.
1.Hearst Castle (San Simeon, California)
Every year, this castle attracts millions of footfalls. People flock here from far and wide to experience the wondrous style of architecture together with 127 acres of garden, an outdoor pool, and 165 rooms. Architect Julia Morgan led the construction of this castle for newspaper magnet William Randolph Hearst and made it one of the country’s greatest castles. You can take your pick from a number of tours offered in Hearst Castle. All of them are incredible and designed to show the visitors a different part of the castle. Apart from enjoying the amazing collection of historic statues, furniture etc, you shouldn’t miss the incredible view of the mountains that can be experienced from the Neptune Pool.
2.Hammond Castle (Gloucester, Massachusetts)
Constructed between 1926 and 1929, Hammond Castle played host to John Hays Hammond Jr. who developed it as a gift for his wife. Now, the castle has transformed into an incredible museum that boasts of his collection of Roman, Renaissance and Medieval artifacts. Consider taking a self-guided tour to experience what Hammond has left here – a war room, the kitchens, a great hall, servants’ quarters, an inventions exhibit room, and secret passageways. Remember to explore the beautiful castle grounds, the gardens, and enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean.
3.Loveland Castle (Loveland, Ohio)
Widely known as “Chateau Laroche”, Loveland Castle can surely offer you the most “castle-like” experience compared to others on this list. From four towers to swords to suits of armor, and more – you can enjoy a complete package here. Sir Harry Andrews planned this castle in the 1920s and it has been managed by the Knights of the Golden Trail after his death. This castle boasts of a blend of European medieval and rural America. Be sure to have some time on your hands to wander into the terraced gardens and pay a visit to the dungeon.
4.Boldt Castle (Alexandria Bay, New York)
Boldt Castle is located in the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York. In 1900, work on building this castle was started by George C. Boldt to make it the summer home for his wife, Louise. But after the unfortunate death of Louise Boldt, the construction was stopped and the castle was left unoccupied for more than 70 years. The Thousand Island Bridge Authority acquired the property in 1977 and renovated it for the public. This historical opulence is hard to miss for any visitor during his/her stay in the US.
5.Solomon’s Castle (Ona, Florida)
Located in central Florida, Solomon’s Castle is one of the real gems for visitors to the USA. In 1972, artist Howard Solomon started building this castle and the bizarre structure presently serves as an exhibition gallery for hundreds of pieces of the artist’s unsold sculpture. Covering 12,000 square feet and standing three stories high, this castle is impossible to be photographed in the blinding sun as every exterior surface is covered with discarded aluminum printing plates, which makes this masterpiece unique from other castles.
6.Coral Castle (Homestead, Florida)
Edward Leedskalnin constructed this castle in the early 1920s and since then, the masterpiece has been puzzling tourists and experts alike. The entire structure is developed of coral-formed limestone, which was single-handedly sourced, moved and carved by the Latvian immigrant himself. That 100-pound and five-foot tall man worked in secret and under the cover of night to ensure his methods stayed unrevealed. His incredible labor continues to perplex everyone to this day. Here, you can either tour the castle using audio stands, or take part in a conducted tour. Remember to visit the Coral Castle Museum that boasts of a 9-ton gate, which can be moved with only a touch of the finger, functioning rocking chairs etc – all made entirely of stone.
7.Gillette Castle (East Haddam, Connecticut)
If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes and castles, then Gillette Castle has to feature on your list of must-visit castles in the USA. This was once the home of the man with calabash pipe and the deerstalker cap. Now a 184-acre state park, the castle is located on a hill overlooking the river. The interior of the fortress has 47 different doors, several built-in couches, and a number of puzzle locks designed by William Gillette, to whom the castle was once a private estate. There’s a three-mile rail line complete with bridges and tunnels. Gillette developed these for his miniature train that he used to ride. The engine can be seen in the visitor center.
8.Smithsonian Castle (Washington D.C.)
A beautiful mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture, Smithsonian Castle is the home and signature building of the Smithsonian Visitor Center. Red sandstone gathered from Maryland offers the fortress its familiar view while its tall windows and towers let the dignified, cathedral-like air flow in. Finished in 1855, the castle was meant to house administrative offices of the Smithsonian Institution. Instead of finding ornate period furniture here, you will get to see a few exhibits, a visitor’s center, and a café together with a small crypt containing Smithson’s remains.
9.Castle Farms (Charlevoix, Michigan)
Being one of the most amazing castles in North America, Castle Farms seems like something straight out of pre-Revolutionary France. Built in 1918, this castle boasts of an incredible stone exterior and its pointed tower roofs may look like something that leaps starlight out of a Disney movie set. Though the fortress was originally intended to be a stunning place to display the company’s (Sears, Roebuck and Co.) latest products, it has emerged today as one of the most prominent venues for weddings, concerts and other special events. When you’re there, remember to visit the traditional courtyard, state-of-the-art interiors and perfectly manicured gardens.
10.Wilson Castle (Proctor, Vermont)
Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, this architectural masterpiece was built in 1867. The castle has been the home of Wilson family’s five generations and considered as the monument to the glamorous past. In this elegant estate, you can explore 2 fairytale spires, 13 fireplaces together with 84 stained-glass windows. Remember to take part in one of their ghost tours and attend a murder mystery dinner. The richly gracious interiors and distinctive features make this castle a perfect wedding venue to many.
If you’re coming from United Kingdom or other VWP countries.
United Kingdom is one of the Visa Waiver Program countries and if you’re planning to stay in the USA for less than 90 days, you can enter the country without having a visa if you meet specific requirements. Apart from an approved ESTA, you’ll need to have your passport that’s valid for the intended duration of your stay in the USA. It’s advisable to apply for ESTA at least 72 hours before your departure. It’s a simple process and can be done online. To know whether you’ve secured an ESTA, you can check your ESTA application status on the official ESTA website.