When you think of magnificent castles, your imagination probably travels to Europe, which is famous for its fairytale-like fortresses. From Germany’s iconic Neuschwanstein Castle (the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle) to the Dunnottar Castle, a medieval fortress on the craggy northeastern coast of Scotland, the ancient, fit-for-royalty architecture in Europe is abundant.
But did you know the United States has an extensive inventory of castles as well? In fact, so many exist that HomeAdvisor mapped incredible castles in every U.S. state. Some boast grand-scale opulence. Another was built at a zoo for maquas to roam (Monkey Island Castle in Jackson, Mississippi).
Here are 10 of our favorite castles throughout the United States:
Bannerman Castle (Beacon, New York)
Francis Bannerman, a Scottish-born arms dealer, had amassed so much ammunition following the Spanish War that New York City laws forced him to hunt for storage space outside city limits. At the start of the 20th-century, he drew up architectural plans for a Scottish-style castle on an island along the Hudson River. Complete with moats and turrets, his castle held his stash of cannons, bayonets and artillery. Today, the crumbling Bannerman Castle remains have a commanding presence on the 6.5-acre Pollepel Island. The island is reachable by boat and hosts mini hikes, musical tours and movie nights.
Hearst Castle (San Simeon, California)
Sure, California has plenty of mansions, but the Hearst Castle puts an exponential factor on extravagance: The 165-room castle is set on a 127-acre slice of California’s Central Coast. The former home of media magnate William Randoph Hearst channels old-world opulence with amenities like an indoor Roman pool. The estate is open to the public for tours, which have been put on pause during COVID-19.
Bishop Castle (Rye, Colorado)
You could consider the Bishop Castle a shrine to patience. Over the course of six decades, one man built this stone and iron castle that’s tucked away in the woods. Jim Bishop initially constructed the medieval-style castle to impress his wife, but it’s now a favorite roadside attraction in Colorado. Visiting the castle is free.
Turnblad Mansion (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
The historic castle-like Turnblad Mansion was once one of 40 opulent homes on a stretch of Park Avenue that was known as the “Golden Mile” in Minneapolis. Swedish immigrant Swan Turnblad commissioned the grandiose 33-room mansion, which is complete with turrets and towers and was built between 1904 and 1908. Turnblad had a farming and printing background, and became the owner of the largest Swedish newspaper in the United States. He lived in the grandiose home with his wife and daughter until 1929 before donating the castle to what’s now known as the American Swedish Institute.
Excalibur Hotel And Casino (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Excalibur Hotel and Casino, a resort in Las Vegas, is a playful addition to this list that allows for some time travel back to King Arthur’s day. You can book a stay for $70 a night (and that includes the resort fees), at this castle-themed hotel which has colorful turrets studding Las Vegas Strip’s skyline, an Instagram-worthy drawbridge and a Tournament of Kings dinner with Cornish hens.
Red Gym (Madison, Wisconsin)
Designed in the Romanesque revival style, the Red Gym on the University of Wisconsin’s campus looks like a red brick castle on the shores of Lake Mendota. The Red Gym replaced a smaller wooden gym that burned in 1891 and was originally a gymnasium and armory. Today, the iconic building houses several student service offices.
Clayshire Castle (Bowling Green, Indiana)
This castle that was converted to a bed and breakfast in central Indiana has more than 100 medieval costumes. Dress-up anyone? Other cool amenities at the Clayshire Castle include lawn chess, an outdoor cedar hot tub and a hedge maze.
Curwood Castle (Owosso, Michigan)
Once a writing studio for James Oliver Curwood, an adventure novelist and advocate of environmental conservation, the Curwood Castle is now a museum that’s open to the public. The yellow castle that looks as though it’s straight from the pages of a fairytale is located on the banks of the Shiawassee River in Owosso.
Kentucky Castle (Versailles, Kentucky)
Located near Lexington, the Kentucky Castle is a luxury hotel and popular wedding venue. Some fun, need-to-know info: Guests here can book rooms in the turrets and the castle has a Bourbon Steward-in-Residence. The castle was originally constructed in 1969 and was first known as the Martin Castle. It sat empty for three decades before being renovated in 2003. Then a fire at the construction site shut it back down. It got another renovation in 2007 and there were once plans to make it a themed restaurant. Instead, it’s a 14-room hotel with a sprawling rooftop.
Read more about the Kentucky Castle here.
Joslyn Castle (Omaha, Nebraska)
At the turn of the century, George Josyln amassed a fortune as the owner of the Western Newspaper Union, which was the country’s largest supplier of “ready print.” Sheets of newsprint were pre-printed with news and features on one side then shipped to 7,500 small-town newspapers, where editors slotted in local news on the other side. The Joslyn Castle, built in 1903 atop a hill in Omaha’s outskirts, was the family home of George and Sarah Josyln and their daughter Violet. The four-story, 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion cost $250,000 to construct. Translate that to 21st century currency and it’d be a cool $7 million. Public tours are available at the Josyln Castle and there’s a free public green space to enjoy at the castle, plus several cultural events.
Which of these castles are on your must-visit list?