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Royal Road Trip: Visit 18 Spectacular Castles Dotted Throughout the U.S.

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Have you ever imagined stepping into a real-life castle in the United States? If so, you’re not alone.

As someone who grew up watching Disney movies, I have always been fascinated with castles. They look so grand and magical, and it makes me want to see them myself.

With that desire, I have searched for the beautiful castles that exist in reality—not just in Disney movies. To my surprise, many stunning castles exist in real life, and I have listed some of them in this guide in case you want to see them too.

1. Iolani Palace (Hawaii)

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Iolani Palace is considered the household of Hawaii and a source of great pride and love for Hawaiians since their cultures collided. It was built by King Kalākaua in 1882 and became the final Hawaiian ruler’s home.

Every critical state event happened here until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. However, it was not until 1962 that Iolani Palace was proclaimed the National Historical Statue and transformed into the nation’s solitary Royal Palace after the declaration. 

2. Castello di Amorosa (California)

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Castello di Amorosa is another attractive castle you can visit. It is a medieval-style castle in Napa Valley, California, used as a winery. The winery isn’t just a place to sip delicious wine—it’s the culmination of decades of vision and dedication by Dario Sattui.

The 13th-century Tuscan castle is worthy of attention. It features various architectural elements and constructions like the courtyard, towers, and the grand hall. As a part of your visit, you can attend one of their wine tastings, where you can savor the unique blend of Old World elegance and California’s wine culture.

3. Montezuma Castle (Arizona)

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Montezuma Castle is a prehistoric castle on a limestone slope in central Arizona’s Verde Valley Structure. The Sinagua people built and resided in the castle in the early 1100s until they left in 1425. 

Although it is called a castle, the dwelling at Montezuma Castle consists of 20 rooms that initially occupied several families. The red-rock cliff dwelling is a collection of twenty rooms that housed numerous families, much like an apartment complex in today’s terminology. 

4. Fonthill Castle (Pennsylvania)

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Fonthill Castle, located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was constructed by an American archaeologist and tile maker named Henry Chapman Mercer. Built between 1908 and 1912, Fonthill Castle stands out with 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces, and over 200 windows.

In 1915, Fonthill Castle was designated a Pennsylvania historical site. In 1924, it was opened as a museum. Visitors can get a guide to the castle and an overview of its history and construction.

5. Boldt Castle (New York)

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Boldt Castle is a magnificent representation of love. On Heart Island, one of New York’s 1,000 islands, this memorial to the spouse of millionaire hotelier George Boldt was planned for construction. Sadly, after her crushing death in 1904, the building was left unfinished.

73 years ago, the house stayed half-completed and deteriorated. However, it has been safeguarded and is now viewable. The Boldt Castle exhibits the generosity of the prosperous couple during the economic boom. 

6. Hearst Castle (California)

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Another beautiful castle in the U.S. is the Hearst Castle, located on a hilltop over the Pacific Ocean. It was constructed by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan. It opened in 1919 and took more than 30 years to complete. 

The estate extends up the coast, spanning 165 rooms, an indoor Roman pool, and millions of artworks and antiques. Hearst Castle is a luxurious landmark that showcases private American assets. It is open for tourists to take guided tours and enjoy the view.

7. Biltmore Estate (North Carolina)

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Completed in 1895, the Biltmore estate is the largest in the United States. It comprises a 250-room house, a winery, gardens, and a village. Here, you can walk in the picturesque gardens and castle grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, a renowned architect. 

It also features three unique overnight properties that offer gracious hospitality, exceptional service, and the chance to explore the Blue Ridge Mountain oasis. Overall, the Biltmore estate is a historic bliss of luxury and beauty.

8. Bishop’s Palace (Texas)

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Bishop’s Palace welcomes you to a remarkable architectural jewel in Texas, built in the late 19th century. The palace is full of intricate embellishments and displays Victorian beauty. The palace’s Victorian interior is decorated with elaborate furniture and well-adorned rooms.

You can look inside the National Historic Landmark, which is usually off-limits. This includes the third-floor view of Mrs. Gresham’s (a prominent figure in the late 19th century) studio, where she engaged in creative pursuits. During your visit, you can also view some paintings on the studio’s walls.

9. Castle in the Clouds (New Hampshire)

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Castle in the Clouds, or Lucknow, is a 16-room mansion at the top of a 5294-acre peak in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. It is open to the public seasonally and offers spectacular views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountains. 

The estate gardens were developed between 1913 and 1914 by shoe manufacturer Thomas Gustave Plant for his second wife, Olive Cornelia Dewey. The castle mansion is set high atop the rocky outcrop of Lee Mountain, visible for miles in every direction, and was once known as “The Crow’s Nest.”

10. Castle Williams (New York)

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Castle Williams is a circular red sandstone fortress at the western end of Governors Island in New York Harbor. It was constructed by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Williams, the U.S. Army Corps’ Chief Engineer, between 1807 and 1811, who named it after himself. 

Castle Williams and several other forts, including Fort Jay, Castle Clinton, and Fort Wood, were part of the Second American coastal defense system. They were developed to protect New York Harbor from a possible British invasion during the War of 1812. Today, where Fort Wood once stood, you can find the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal.

11. Gillette Castle (Connecticut)

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Previously known as “The Seventh Sister Castle,” the Gillette Castle got its name from William Gillette after he called it so in his will. Meanwhile, the previous name is called so because it sits upon the Seventh Sister, a collection of seven hills on the river’s East bank. 

The State of Connecticut purchased the park from the executors of the Gillette Estate in 1943. Over the past century, many of Gillette’s pieces were donated to the museum for public viewing. It was reopened to the public with a fully restored museum after a four-year renovation which began in 1998.

12. Castle La Crosse (La Crosse, Wisconsin)

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The Castle La Crosse, a Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, first welcomed guests in May 2017. This celebrated property is a beacon in the city of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and beyond. The Castle was first built in 1892 by noted local architects Hugo Schick and Gustav Stolze for local lumber baron Nymphus B. Holway and his wife Jessie.

Castle La Crosse in Wisconsin features an imposing limestone facade fit for royalty at their bed and breakfast. The house was built using the then-popular Queen Anne architectural style.

13. Squire’s Castle (Ohio)

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Ohio is an excellent mix of nature and cultural history, and there’s no better place to illustrate that than Squire’s Castle. Located outside Cleveland, this magnificent historical castle is a 19th-century relic that stands at the edge of a breathtaking nature preserve. 

Squire’s Castle was a name once given to a gatehouse constructed in the late 1890s. Initially envisioned as a gatehouse for an English-style country mansion, the main building was never constructed. It was occasionally used as a country home and was abandoned around 1908.

14. Belvedere Castle (New York)

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Belvedere Castle is among the most iconic architectural treasures in New York. It sits at Vista Rock and features beautiful terraces and pavilions designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould.

Belvedere Castle was completed in 1872. The open-viewing balcony is still in place, which draws people here to appreciate the view. The impressive rock formation pictured here is also visible.

15. Singer Castle (New York)

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The Singer Castle on Dark Island is on the St. Lawrence River in New York. At its peak in the early 1900s, it was the only furnished and occupied castle on the river. The Bourne family owned it until the mid-1960s. It was named after Frederick Bourne, the fifth President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company.

The castle is four stories tall and has 28 rooms, tunnels and turrets, a grand boathouse, dungeons, and underground passageways. It sits on over 87 acres of rock and was initially called “The Towers,” serving as the perfect setting for entertaining Bourne’s peers.

16. Cinderella Castle (Florida)

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Want to see the enchanting Cinderella Castle? A little bit different from the others on the list, but not less beautiful. You can head down to Walt Disney World in Florida. It is 189 feet high, with towers and unique turrets.

It has a calm moat with winding paths that lead to lawns and gardens — the ideal setting for that one cool Instagram pic. Step inside to see breathtaking handcrafted glass mosaics that tell Cinderella’s story from a child to a princess.

17. Castillo de San Marcos (Florida)

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The Spanish constructed the stone Castillo de San Marcos in the late 17th century to replace a wooden fort. The English buccaneer Robert Searle burned most of the settlement to the ground in 1668, so a stone fort had to be built. 

This stone fort, built from 1672 to 1695, has changed hands between Spain, Britain, the United States, and the Confederacy, with Spain and the United States controlling it on multiple occasions. Despite two sieges, the fort repelled all capture attempts.

The 19 Worst Tourist Traps in America To Stay Away From

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As you explore America, you’ll find a mix of sights competing for your attention, from relaxed, natural scenes to impressive city landmarks. Of these attractions, some don’t live up to the hype. These so-called “tourist traps” might dazzle with big promises but often disappoint with their high prices, commercial ploys, crowded spaces, and mundane sights.

The 19 Worst Tourist Traps in America To Stay Away From

14 Most Beautiful Places In The World To Take Your Breath Away

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People travel for different reasons, but everyone should visit a place that makes them pause and enjoy the scenery at least once in their life.

With so many unique places in the world, here are the most spectacular ones that will surely leave you mesmerized. Whether you’re trying to unwind at a beach, disconnect from the digital world, or experience a new foreign city, these are all must-include in your travel bucket list.

The 16 Best Castles in Germany to Visit in 2024

Neuschwanstein castle
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Are you looking to travel to Germany in the coming year? You may be a history lover or just looking at the stunning architecture. Whatever your interest, it is worth considering visiting some of the fantastic German castles. 

The 16 Best Castles in Germany to Visit in 2024

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