The 10 Most Beautiful Castles in the United States
Beautiful castles in the United States? Indeed! You might associate them with the elegant landscapes of Europe, but there are dozens of stunning chateaus, palaces, and grand estates here as well. If you're looking for both an interesting and Insta-worthy travel experience, check out some of the most beautiful castles in the United States.
From coast to coast, here's our roundup of some of the 10 most beautiful – here's hoping you find that fairytale ending.
The 10 Most Beautiful Castles in the U.S.
1. Hearst Castle – California
Located in California's San Luis Obispo county, Hearst Castle is a monument to early American grandeur. Built between 1919 and 1947 by architect Julia Morgan, the sprawling estate of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst was called "La Cuesta Encantada." It comprises four buildings, 165 rooms, and 123 acres of terraced gardens, pools, and walkways. The castle also showcases Hearst's impressive art collection, one of the country's most legendary. The Neptune Pool holds over 345,000 gallons of water, and the iconic indoor Roman pool holds 205,000 gallons.
Hearst Castle is currently closed to visitors, but once it opens back up, it should be at the top of your list.
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2. Biltmore Estate – North Carolina
Outside of the picturesque Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate took six years to build. In 1889, George and Edith Vanderbilt fell in love with the region's pristine beauty and decided to build an epic French Renaissance chateau there. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, the 250-room estate boasts impeccably planned gardens by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. In addition to the Azalea Garden, the Biltmore also has its own vineyard and winery. Don't miss the library with over 10,000 volumes, the 65 fireplaces, a bowling alley, or the Banquet Hall with 70-foot ceilings.
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3. The Breakers – Rhode Island
One of the best examples of America's Gilded Age glamour, Newport, Rhode Island is home to dozens of incredible seaside mansions. Perhaps the most famous is The Breakers, which was the Vanderbilt's summer residence. Just like with the Biltmore, architect Richard Morris Hunt was tasked with designing an Italian-inspired "cottage" to provide a sumptuous backdrop for the family's opulent social life. Completed in 1895, its 70 rooms took inspiration from the medieval palazzos of Genoa and Turin. In 1972, the Preservation Society of Newport County purchased the house from the last Vanderbilt heirs. Today, the house is designated a National Historic Landmark.
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4. Fonthill Castle – Pennsylvania
This former residence of archaeologist, anthropologist, and ceramicist Henry Chapman Mercer was built between 1908-1912 in the town of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Serving primarily as a place to showcase Mercer's impressive and extensive collection of Moravian tiles and prints, Fonthill Castle was designed by Mercer himself and replicates a mix of Gothic, Medieval, and Byzantine styles. With 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces, and over 200 windows, the "Castle for the New World" was donated as a museum following Mercer's death in 1930.
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5. Iolani Palace – Hawaii
Hawaii's official residence, Iolani Palace was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua in downtown Honolulu, where the land is considered to have been an ancient heiau (place of worship). When the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown the following year by the United States, the Palace served as the Capitol building. Eventually, extensive renovation was needed and it reopened as a museum in 1978. With inspiration from European palaces, Iolani is considered the sole example of American Florentine, and it's the only official royal residence on American soil.
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6. Lyndhurst Mansion – New York
Another Hudson River gem, the Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York was built in 1838. Designed by architect Alexander Jackson Davis, the Gothic Revival residence is considered one of the United States' most impressive. Since its construction, dozens of illustrious citizens have resided here, including New York City mayor William Paulding and railway magnate Jay Gould. Following the death of Jay's youngest heiress, Anna, the mansion opened as a museum and historic site in 1965.
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7. Hammond Castle – Massachusetts
This charming castle was built in Gloucester, Massachusetts by American inventor and scientist John Hays Hammond Jr. between 1926-1929. Inspired by time spent in England during his childhood, Hammond's goal for the castle was to serve as both residence and laboratory. The estate boasts Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance artifacts that Hammond collected during his years traveling Europe. Today, the castle is a museum that overlooks dramatic bluffs on the Atlantic Ocean. Don't miss the gigantic pipe organ, designed and crafted by a collection of world-famous organ builders over a period of ten years. Consisting of 8,400 pipes, it was among the largest pipe organs in the world and incorporated many of Hammond’s 19 patents for pipe organ technology.
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8. Castello di Amorosa, California
Located in the heart of California's famous Napa Valley, Castello di Amorosa might be a bit deceiving to those not in the know. Sure, it looks exactly like a medieval Tuscan castle, but it most certainly wasn't built in the 13th century. In fact, construction was finished in 2007; owner and winemaker Dario Sattui built it with the purpose of housing his family's winery. The castle has over 100 rooms – most are dedicated to wine production – as well as a drawbridge, a dungeon, and even a torture chamber (yikes!).
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9. Bishop’s Palace – Texas
Located in the Historic District of Galveston, Texas, Bishop's Palace is also known as Gresham's House. Constructed in 1892 for Colonel Walter Gresham, a successful attorney and entrepreneur, and his family, it's often mentioned as one of the United States' most architecturally significant Victorian residences of the 19th century. Architect Nicholas Clayton built the mansion of steel and stone; its opulent interior includes a massive mahogany stairwell, stained glass windows, and elaborate decorative wood carvings.
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10. Bannerman Castle – New York
A castle, on an island? Outside of New York City? Yes! Located just 60 miles up the Hudson River from Manhattan, you'll find Bannerman Castle. Now in ruins, it was built by Scottish-American ammunition dealer Francis (Frank) Bannerman in the early 20th century. Designed to serve as an arsenal rather than a residence, it resembles medieval Scottish fortresses. Upon his death in 1918, the Castle fell into neglect and disrepair; a massive fire destroyed most of the structure in 1969. The area is now overseen by the Bannerman Castle Trust, allowing visitors to take special tours and even hosting events like gourmet dinners, film festivals, and concerts.
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