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10 Castles You Should Visit (No Passport Required)

A man’s home is his castle!   True enough whether you live in an efficiency apartment or a five bedroom McMansion.  But it was literally true for many wealthy Americans of a bygone area.

Many of these are now open to the public.  Here’s Travel Zoo’s list of 10 castles you can visit without a getting a passport, suffering a TSA pat-down, or eating British food.


Boldt Castle, New York – The founder of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel started the castle in 1900 as a love letter to his wife.  Sadly, she died just before completion and the place stayed unfinished until the state acquired it in 1977.



Castello di Amorosa, California – An authentic reproduction of a 13th century Tuscan castle situated in the middle of – what else – a winery?



Castle in the Clouds, New Hampshire – Not really a castle, but an amazing early 20th century mansion in the Arts & Crafts style located high in the Ossipee Mountains.



Belvedere Castle, New York City – This mini-castle was built by the co-designer of Central Park and sits on the highest point in that iconic green space.



Loveland Castle, Ohio – Built in the 1920’s to educate and remind people about life in the middle ages and the role of knighthood in those days.  It still serves that role with tours and special events.



Hearst Castle, California – The most famous American “castle.”  Home to William Randolph Hearst, the model for Orson Wells’ “Citizen Kane.”  Not so much a castle as an incredibly opulent mansion surrounded by 127 acres of gardens.



Fonthill Castle, Pennsylvania – Build of concrete in the early 20th century as a “Castle for the New World,” it’s now a museum.  Fun fact: When the owner died in the 1930s, he left the place to his housekeeper and her husband, who lived there until the 1970’s.



The Biltmore Estate, North Carolina – Think Downton Abbey.  So much Downton Abbey that you expect the Dowager to nod in passing as you walk the gardens.



Iolani Palace, Hawaii – America’s only true royal palace, it was home to the Hawaiian monarchy.



Gillette Castle, Connecticut – Build by 19th century actor William Hooker Gillette, the medieval exterior masks an interior filled with fanciful and creative architectural detail.

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