As a photographer in Portland Oregon I am always Scouting locations for future photo shoots. If you glanced at my google maps you'd see countless pins scattered all over the united states. Location Scouting is very time consuming, there's a reason why it's a career all on it's own but I really enjoy doing it so today I'm going to share with you what I found. Whether you are a film maker or photographer like me looking for locations or just obsessed with castles, there is something on this list for everyone. Check out these 33 beautiful Castles in the united states you have to visit before it's too late.
In this article you will find 33 absolutely stunning locations to photograph or explore. Although each location could be considered a castle technically some of them are Villas, Estates, Manors, Universities, Mansions, Palaces, or Chateaus. I have organized each location alphabetically by state starting with California. I promise you will find some castles on this list that you didn't know existed and I hope that excites you as much as it does me. The United States of America is a country full of beautiful castles to visit. From the East Coast to the West Coast, there are many castles that are worth visiting. These castles are not just historical landmarks but they also offer some of the most breathtaking photography in America.
Must see Castles in California
1. Castello di Amorosa - Calistoga
The only authentic medieval (13th-century) Italian Tuscan castle and winery built in America, Castello di Amorosa, officially lowered its drawbridge for business in April 2007. Castello di Amorosa is nestled in the western hills on 171 acres just minutes south of The Napa Valley town of Calistoga. I have personally had the pleasure of enjoying wine here with my family in 2018 and it was even more impressive in person. This castle features 136,000 square feet, including 107 rooms (90 of which are devoted to winemaking and wine storage); an enormous Great Hall with 2-story replica Tuscan frescoes painted by Italian artists and a 500-year old fireplace; 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled stones; 8 levels (4 above ground and 4 below); a drawbridge, dungeon and torture chamber; medieval church; and arguably the single most impressive wine barrel room in the U.S., with ancient Roman cross-vaulted ceilings.
2. Castle in the Forest - Skyforest
Nestled in a deep canyon nearby serene Lake Arrowhead – you will find Southern California’s secret gem: The Castle In the Forest. Surrounded by towering pine and dogwood trees, this secluded 10,000 square foot chateau provides an unforgettable intimate setting for your stay or photo shoot. This castle is full of endless unique custom features.
From the moment you descend its driveway – you and your guests will be enveloped in this magnificent private estate. Once inside the castle, you will marvel at its cathedral ceilings, glittering chandeliers, fireplaces, floor to ceiling windows (with forest views) and custom-made, gothic architectural features.
Situated on multiple levels (Including a tower wing)· the Castle has several dozen rooms, including seven luxurious suites, an acoustically perfect great room with balcony, custom kitchen, a formal dining room and several salons – plus multiple themed rooms: study, game room, and even a Bavarian-style pub with a sunken bar. Finally, multiple lower and upper terraces complete this spectacular edifice.
3. Hearst Castle - San Simeon
Hearst Castle, which closed during COVID, then stayed closed after storm waters forced major road repairs, will reopen May 11 with slightly lowered admission prices. This boujee castle was built in 1919 and boasts a magnificent 115-room main house plus guesthouses, pools, and 8 acres of cultivated gardens. The main house itself, "La Casa Grande," is a grand setting for some of Hearst's art collection.
Tip: Photography is encouraged but flash photography is not allowed inside the buildings. Tripods are not permitted on the hilltop, but monopods are allowed. Please see more on Hearst Castle On-Site Photography I should note Commercial photography is not normally permitted (e.g., fashion, T.V. commercials and stock photography) however you should visit Museum Guidelines for Film Crews for more information.
4. Pirate Tower - Laguna Beach
Pirate Tower was built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase to the beach for William E. Brown and unlike many castles on this list it's free to visit and open to the public for photos at no charge. But be ready for a walk over rocks and keep up to date on tides. Safety first!
5. Vikingsholm - Lake Tahoe
You may not know this but Located in Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe, there sits a magical "castle" that looks like something straight out of a Disney movie. Vikingsholm is a unique blend of nature's spectacular beauty and man's architectural ingenuity. Although the smallest castle on our list it is one of the most stunning but there's a catch, it can only be accessed by foot or boat.
Must see Castles in Colorado
6. Bishop Castle - Rye
This has to be the quirkiest castle on our list by far. For nearly 60 years, Jim Bishop has been constructing one of the most impressive monuments to perseverance in Colorado. Bishop Castle features three full stories of interior rooms complete with a Grand Ballroom, soaring towers and bridges with vistas of a hundred miles, and a Fire-Breathing Dragon! I've never been but Bishop Castle seems like an unforgettable experience! The best part, visitors are always welcome free of charge, and much like 711 the castle may not always be doing business but it's always open.
Must see Castles in DC
7. Smithsonian Castle - Washington
How do you sum up the Smithsonian? It is 19 museums, ranging across everything from the National Zoo to the Air and Space Museum, from the Natural History Museum to the American History Museum. There was a time though, when it was just one building - the Smithsonian Castle. Built in 1849 this beautiful castle will inspire anyone who has a love for Gothic Revival architecture, Romanesque Revival architecture, Victorian architecture, or Norman architecture.
Must see Castles in Idaho
8. Schweitzer Castle - Sandpoint
Located less than 5 minutes away from Schweitzer mountain resort, Schweitzer Castle’s Château de Melusine is the best place for you and your family to stay and enjoy a unique experience. They are a close distance away from Schweitzer mountain resort which allows you all the amenities of staying at the hotel while remaining independent in the best place to stay in Northern Idaho. Whether you need a stunning castle for your next photoshoot in Idaho, summer time lake adventure or winter time fun on the slopes don’t miss out on the best stay of your life! This place looks magical, I just added it to my photography bucket list.
Must see Castles in Massachusetts
9. Hammond Castle - Gloucester
Hammond Castle is a Sprawling medieval-style complex built in the 1920s by inventor John Hays Hammond & open for tours. Professional photoshoots require approval from the Museum and requests must be submitted no later than one month before your desired date. The rental fee is $350 per hour before 5 pm, and $450 per hour after 5 pm. The fee grants you access to both the interior and exterior of the Museum. Photography dates and times must be approved by the museum before your arrival.
Nestled on Gloucester’s rocky Atlantic coast, the Hammond Castle Museum is the perfect setting for your photoshoot, wedding, or other memorable event. Full Wedding Rental Structure is as follows:
The rental fee includes 20-minute educational tours for your guests, specific pieces of furniture and décor for your use, and separate rooms for the Bride and Groom throughout the event.
The Bridal party is welcome to arrive at our Seasonal closing time (4:00 pm) for Pre-Ceremony photographs.
A one and a half-hour set up and a half-hour break down is provided free of charge to your vendors and a half-hour ceremony rehearsal is offered if the wedding takes place on-site.
A $1,500.00 deposit is required to secure your desired date. Deposits are non-refundable but are transferrable to another date and are deducted from the total rental cost. Full payment is due one month prior to your event. Payment plans are available. Online payments can be made here.
Must see Castles in Michigan
10. Meadow Brook Hall - Rochester
Visitors of Meadow Brook Hall are invited to learn more about the estate and the people who lived and worked here in the twentieth century through our two guided tours:
Must see Castles in New Hampshire
11. Castle in the Clouds - Moultonborough
Castle in the Clouds is a Mountaintop estate with a 1913 mansion on 5,500 acres with lake views, hiking & a restaurant. A popular destination for wedding photography in New Hampshire.
12. Searles Castle - Windham
Searles Castle is an authentic English Tudor castle nestled on a 175-acre estate. Specializing in full-service, elegant, tented weddings within their gated, granite-walled courtyard, they host only one wedding per day. They are located only 30 minutes north of Boston. Corporate and other social events are accommodated. Photography here is welcome but at a price.
Must see Castles in New York
13. Bannerman Castle - Beacon
50 miles north of New York City sits a run down castle on an island, it's known as Bannerman Castle. While the island looks “abandoned” it's owned by a Trust that gives tours of the castle from May through October. Tours leave from either Newburgh or Beacon and are $37.50 for adults and $32.50 for children. You can also visit Bannerman on a variety of kayak tours and through a special Metro North package leaving from Grand Central. Beyond tour opportunities, the Trust also hosts movie nights, lectures, special dinners and theatrical performances in the shadows of the castle and of course photos are encouraged making it a great location for abandoned photography.
14. Belvedere Castle - New York
One of the most iconic features in Central Park, this miniature castle built in 1872 is located atop the huge rock outcrop known as Vista Rock, the second highest natural point in Central Park and has become a hot spot for photographs by travelers and photographers.
15. Boldt Castle - Alexandria Bay
The magnificent Boldt Castle & Boldt Yacht House features six stories, 120-rooms, complete with tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge and a dovecote. This castle has been on my places to visit in New York list for years.
16. Lyndhurst Mansion - Tarrytown
Lyndhurst Castle is a 19th-century Gothic Revival mansion set on a 67-acre estate with self-guided audio tours available and of course photography welcome. Lyndhurst also welcomes film, television, fashion, and editorial photography and has a long and successful history of working with productions of all sizes on the 67-acre property. Film and Television Location Managers can schedule appointments in advance or drop in when in the area to see our landscaped grounds and 15 historic buildings. Lyndhurst has many different aesthetics, both outside and in, and multiple support spaces suitable for your project.
17. Singer Castle - Chippewa Bay
The stunning Singer Castle is a century-old, 28-room castle with guided tours exploring its artifacts & secret passageways. It includes a five-story clock tower, four-story boat house, heated squash court, pergola and rose garden, as well as hidden passageways into almost every room and outbuilding. Located on a seven-acre island in the St. Lawrence River. It's the perfect setting for wedding photography or editorial photography. One bedroom suites are available for visitors to stay overnight.
Must see Castles in North Carolina
18. Biltmore Estate - Asheville
Elegance and grandeur abound at Biltmore, America’s largest home since 1895. This French Renaissance castle in the heart of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains is an architectural jewel. This castle boasts 250 rooms, 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces.
In addition to the house, the 8,000-acre estate is home to forested trails and beautiful gardens, which include one of the country’s most complete collections of azaleas. Biltmore is also where you’ll find the nation’s most-visited winery. As you explore the estate, enjoy shopping, dining and luxury accommodations.
Must see Castles in Ohio
19. Loveland Castle - Loveland
Château Laroche, also known as the Loveland Castle, is a museum on the banks of the Little Miami River north of Loveland, Ohio. This stunning European style castle was built in the 1920s.
20. Squire's Castle - Willoughby Hills
This beautiful old castle from the 1890s is modeled after German and English baronial castles and is a unique feature of North Chagrin that is a popular destination for people of all ages. Squire’s Castle should be on every photographers “must photograph” list for North Chagrin Reservation. The open expanses in front of the castle are great for games, photography, and picnics, and the castle itself is a popular spot for wedding and engagement photography or an opportunity to explore the past.
Must see Castles & Villas in Oregon
21. Del Mar Villa - Dundee
My home away from home, Del Mar Villa, a 26,000+ sq ft luxury ‘Italian Chateau inspired’ Villa on 46 acres in the heart of Oregon Wine County (less than 1 hour southwest of Portland, Oregon). Sprawling out behind hundreds of acres of hazelnut and blueberry groves, Del Mar Villa encompasses acres of impeccably maintained lawn, patio areas, sports courts, walking paths, an arbor, and much more.
Perched above the Willamette River, the Villa features 11 bedrooms (8 luxury suites and a 3-bedroom family suite), 10+ bathrooms, private and gathering spaces, ballroom, chefs’ kitchen, 3 kitchenettes, pool table with entertainment area, 3+ dining spaces and endless outdoor spaces! Del Mar Villa is available for Vacation Rental stays year-round, and on occasion, Bed & Breakfast stays. Del Mar rents out their space for all kinds of photography and I have personally hosted many photo shoot here from Portraits to fashion to boudoir to head shots. I can't recommend them enough.
22. Villa Catalana Cellars - Oregon City
Okay so, much like Del Mar Villa, technically Villa Catalana Cellars is clearly not a "Castle" but I'm putting it on the list because it's the closest thing we have to one in Oregon. Plus they have amazing wine and I want to support one of my favorite local vineyards. It's actually the only winery where I'm a wine club member. I go here all the time and I have to say it's my happy place. I can't think of a better place for some wine and photography.
23. Witch's Castle - Portland
The Stone House, also known as the Macleay Park Shelter also known as the Witch's Castle or Witches Castle was built in 1929 as a storage room and it's rumored to be one of the most haunted places in Oregon. It also happens to be one of the most popular locations in Portland for photo shoots. Just keep in mind it's a slightly difficult, half-mile hike from the Upper Macleay Parking lot near the Portland Audubon Society.
Must see Castles in Pennsylvania
24. Fonthill Castle - Doylestown
Built in 1908, Fonthill Castle serves as an early example of reinforced concrete and features forty-four rooms, over two hundred windows, and eighteen fireplaces. Fonthill Castle’s interior features Mercer’s renowned, hand crafted ceramic tiles designed at the height of the Arts and Crafts movement. This location looks like a photographers dream, I'd love to photograph this castle someday. Looks like a beautiful place for photography in Pennsylvania.
25. Glencairn Castle - Bryn Athyn
Glencairn Castle is a Museum of Eastern & Western religious history housed in a medieval-style castle, with daily tours.
26. Grey Towers Castle - Glenside
Grey Towers Castle, located on Arcadia University’s idyllic campus just outside Philadelphia, Pa., is an elegant and luxurious wedding venue where guests feel like royalty on their special day. Making it the perfect location for Wedding Photography, Engagement Photography, portraits, headshots, or fashion photography.
Must see Castles in Texas
27. Falkenstein Castle - Burnet
No event is too big, or too small for the grounds of the epic Falkenstein Castle. Look no further if you'd like to insure that your wedding or event is the true fairytale you have always dreamt of. Falkenstein Castle is also available for short term rental via AirBNB. The Castle and grounds can be yours for a couple days, a week, or even a month! It's the perfect place to host a photography retreat.
28. Newman’s Castle - Bellville
I have to admit Texas is the last place I'd expect to find a castle but here we are. Experience the old world charm of Newman’s Castle, a one-of-a-kind custom creation hidden just outside of Bellville in the rolling countryside. The castle features a moat (watch out for gators!), a massive working 3,000 lb. drawbridge with an accompanying portcullis, a chapel, five round corner turrets, a courtyard, and a central keep with a dramatic view of the surrounding lands, perfect for Texas photography.
Newman’s Castle is available for day tours 6 days a week and special events and photography. Reservations are required. The castle hosts weddings, wine tastings, birthday parties, and any other special occasion so Texas photographers, add this to your tool kit.
Must see Castles in Utah
29. Wadley Farms - Lindon
Nestled in the middle of Lindon Utah sits a beautiful Castle and family farm named Wadley Farms, which has been around and farming for more than 150 years. They take pride in caring for the land and sharing their fresh produce with their visitors and community. Go to their History Page to learn about the history of Wadley Farms.
Must see Castles in Virginia
30. Virginia House - Richmond
Virginia House, a romantic English Tudor manor house, was relocated to Richmond's Windsor Farms neighborhood in 1925. Nestled on a hillside overlooking the James River and surrounded by nearly eight acres of grounds and gardens designed by Charles Freeman Gillette, it is the perfect backdrop for portrait photography, wedding photography, engagement photos, headshots, fashion photography, retreats, dinners, ceremonies, receptions, and so much more. I'm super jealous of Virginia photographers right now.
Must see Castles in Washington
31. Graystone Castle - Arlington
Graystone Castle is a luxury Castle completed in 2018 with all the amenities you want in a modern castle; just 1 hour from Seattle or the Canadian border. Located in a private gated neighborhood, Graystone Castle sits on 5+ mature acres of lawn, overlooking the Stillaguamish River and the Stilly Valley. This epic 20,000+ sq ft castle features 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, movie theater, spa inspired master bath, ballroom, chefs’ kitchen, pool table room, poker room, 4+ dining spaces, 4+ living/lounging rooms, many terraces and outdoor spaces, life-sized chess, arcade games, outdoor fire pit, and MUCH MORE!
Graystone castle offers the perfect blend of gathering places and private spaces for groups of all sizes! If you're a photographer in Washington you have to check this place out for portraits, editorial, or fashion photography! Book with confidence; this property is managed to a high standard.
32. Thornewood Castle - Lakewood
Set in a 500-year-old Tudor Gothic-style Thornewood Castle sits on 3 lakefront acres. This upscale B&B is 4.6 miles from McChord Air Force Base and 11.9 miles from Tacoma. As one of the few genuine private castles in the United States, Thornewood is not only a world-class historic site – it's also their home, a magnificent location for Seattle/Tacoma weddings and receptions, and the most romantic getaway in Washington State. Weddings at the Castle are breathtaking. With both outdoor and indoor venue options, stunning scenery, and gorgeous architecture this is the perfect place for photos, plus on-site staff to assist you. Washington photographers, you must add this location to your tool kit.
33. Sleeping Beauty Castle - Orlando, FL
Okay this one was just a bonus because I love Disney World and technically it is a castle :)
You made it to the end, but your journey has only just begun.
There you have it my friends! You made it to the end. But your adventures are just about to begin. Save this list and hit up as many castles in the US as you can. How many have you been to on this list? Have any to add? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Connect with me on Instagram, and please remember to always do your research before traveling to any of the locations on this list, some of them are only open seasonally and some of them only allow photography for a price so "know before you go" and please treat every location you visit off this list with the respect they deserve.
Author Lance A Reis
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