If you find yourself longing to visit a romantic castle, maybe it’s time to take a road trip. While they may not have housed royal families or been standing for centuries, castles throughout the United States offer beautiful architecture, engaging history and sometimes a little something extra.
Check out this list of some of the most fascinating, stunning and interesting castles in America. You might find the perfect spot for your next cross-country vacation.
1. Tovrea Castle, Phoenix, Arizona
In 1929, Italian immigrant Alessio Carraro built this castle with the intention of making it into a resort hotel. Although his dreams did not pan out, the city of Phoenix purchased the castle, which is now open to the public for tours.
2. Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo, California
After inheriting more than 250,000 acres in California, publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst built this 165-room castle as a retreat in the early 1900s. The primary estate is now a museum with more than 25,000 artifacts.
3. Altgeld Hall, DeKalb, Illinois
In 1899, Northern Illinois State Normal School opened its doors as a college for teachers. The European-style “castle” that housed the initial 173 students is now the oldest building on the Northern Illinois University campus.
4. The Castles of Ida Grove, Iowa
Ida Grove, Iowa is a town of just over 2,000 residents and dozens of castles. Businessman Byron Godbersen was behind the construction of the buildings, which range from an airport hangar to a country club to his manufacturing company, all designed as castles.
5. Yew Dell Gardens Castle, Crestwood, Kentucky
Theodore and Martha Lee Klein began their commercial nursery on 33 acres in the 1940s, building the castle as their family home. Preservationists purchased the property in 2002, restored it and turned it into botanical gardens.
6. Old State Capitol, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Built on a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi in the mid-1800s, this gothic-style building boasts eye-catching features such as stained glass windows throughout. The building is now a museum that’s open to the public.
7. Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Massachusetts
In the late 1920s, American inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. built this castle as a wedding gift for his new wife. While the couple lived in the building—now a museum—it also housed the Hammond Research Corporation and Hammond’s collection of artifacts.
8. Curwood Castle, Owosso, Michigan
James Oliver Curwood was an American author and conservationist. He lived in this replica of a Norman chateau until his death in 1927. It is now a museum and landmark.
9. Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins, Camden County, Missouri
Wealthy businessman Robert McClure Snyder began building the structure in 1905, but the following year he died in one of the state’s first auto accidents. Not long after his sons completed construction, one of them died. The castle later succumbed to an accidental fire.
10. Lambert Castle, Paterson, New Jersey
An English immigrant built this castle at the turn of the nineteenth century. After the family lost its fortune, the City of Paterson purchased the building in 1925, eventually turning it into a library and museum.
11. Chateau Laroche, Loveland, Ohio
Known commonly as Loveland Castle, this replica of a 16th century castle was built by a WWI medic named Harry Delos Andrews, after he was stationed at Château de la Roche in southern France. Andrews used stone he pulled from the river, handmade bricks and even rocks he received as gifts.
12. Newman’s Castle, Bellville, Texas
The ground for this castle northwest of Houston was broken in 1998. It features a moat, a working drawbridge and a courtyard. Visitors can tour the castle six days a week.
[h/t: USA Today]