While fairytale-worthy castles are mostly associated with medieval Europe, the United States is actually home to a few fairytale-worthy places, too.
These chateaux, mansions, and palaces may not be “real” castles like the fortresses from so long ago, but they sure are enchanting! So, if you want to feel like you just stepped into a castle fit for a king (or queen!), you might not have to go very far at all.
Grey Towers Castle in Glenside, Pennsylvania
Right outside of Philadelphia in Glenside, Pennsylvania, you’ll find Grey Towers Castle. It was built in 1893 from local grey stones quarried from nearby Chestnut Hill. The exterior of the structure was inspired by Alnwick Castle, an 11th-century castle in the English county of Northumberland. Inside, though, the building incorporates various French styles.
Originally, it was the estate of William Welsh Harrison, the co-owner of Franklin Sugar Refinery. After his passing in 1927, Arcadia University (then known as Beaver College) purchased the estate from his widow. It now houses Admissions, Enrollment Management, and Financial Aid for the college. Bedrooms on the upper floors are used as student housing.
Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills, Michigan
Classified as one of America’s castles, this Tudor revival-style estate is located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Meadow Brook Hall stands as one of the finest examples of Tudor revival architecture in the United States. With 88,000 square feet, it is also the fourth largest historic mansion museum in the U.S.
Meadow Brook Hall was completed in 1929 for Dodge heiress Matilda Dodge Wilson and her husband, lumber broker Alfred Wilson. They donated the massive estate and $2 million to Michigan State University in 1957 to create Oakland University. Many of the artworks collected by the Wilsons can still be found here.
Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina
The Biltmore is a chateauesque-style mansion that was completed in 1895 for George Washington Vanderbilt II. The estate was such a large undertaking that a woodworking factory and a brick kiln were built onsite. Prominent New York architect Richard Morris Hunt used French Renaissance chateaux as inspiration. It features four stories, steeply pitched roofs, and plenty of sculptural ornamentation.
Still owned by descendants of George Vanderbilt, the Biltmore remains America’s largest private residence. However, it is a historic house museum open to visitors who come to marvel at the massive structure, visit the winery, or stroll through the lush gardens. The Biltmore has become a popular destination for family vacations, weddings, and holidays.
Thornewood Castle in Lakewood, Washington
Thornewood Castle was constructed between 1909 and 1911 and sits in what is now Lakewood, Washington. If it looks a little familiar, that’s because it was used for Stephen King’s Rose Red. These days, it serves as a bed and breakfast, and an event and wedding venue.
Although the English Tudor and Gothic mansion is over a hundred years old, the building materials are much older. Chester Thorne purchased a 15th-century Elizabethan manor in England and then had it dismantled and shipped piece by piece.
Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California
Known formally as La Cuesta Encantada, which is Spanish for “The Enchanted Hill,” Hearst Castle is located on the Central Coast of California. The historic Spanish Colonial and Mediterranean revival estate has a total of 42 bedrooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, 127 acres of gardens, and its own airfield.
It was initially a family home built for newspaper publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst but became the centerpiece of the Roaring ‘20s after Hearst and his wife separated. Guests included Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, and more. These days, anyone can visit the massive estate, which now serves as a museum.
Oheka Castle in West Hills, New York
Oheka Castle is located on the North Shore of Long Island in West Hills, New York. It was the “country home” of Otto Hermann Kahn, built between 1914 and 1919. Situated on 443 acres, the estate featured an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, a landing strip, stables, and one of the largest private greenhouse complexes in the U.S.
What was once the second-largest private home in the United States is now a posh hotel, popular with socialites and celebrities. The golf course and stables have become part of the Cold Spring Country Club, and the greenhouse complex is operated as Otto Keil Florist.
Boldt Castle on Heart Island, New York
Located on Heart Island in the Saint Lawrence River, Boldt Mansion was built by millionaire George Boldt starting in 1900. It sat unfinished and empty for many years until the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired it. Over $50 million has been spent on restoration and rehabilitation work so far.
Boldt Castle is open to visitors seasonally between May and October, although it is only accessible by boat. Guests will see the restored power house that originally supplied the island with electricity, Alster Tower, and the George C. Boldt Yacht House – which is the only remaining wooden yacht house of this kind.