Ardent watcher of The Tudors and The Crown? Obsessed with the world of kings, queens, and courtly drama?
Or maybe you’ve got some younger campers along for your journey who would be thrilled to see a real-life version of the scenes in their “once upon a time” stories.
Either way, there’s no denying the mystique and allure of castles. And if hopping the pond to plan a Balmoral castle visit isn’t in the cards for you and your family, take heart! There are plenty of castles in the U.S., spread across every corner of the continent. So if you’re looking to upgrade your next camping trip to the royal experience, read on: we’ll list some of the most famous castles in America, including long-preserved historic sites and romantic, renovated properties that allow overnight stays. And with your RVshare rental booked, your chariot awaits… so what are you waiting for?
Castles to Visit
Ready to get royal? Here are our top picks.
1. Hearst Castle, California
As one of the newer states in our nation, you might not expect California to have much in the way of castles — which tend to be seriously historical buildings. But this building, tucked close to the stunning central coastline, is an exception… and your Pacific Coast Highway journey just isn’t complete unless you visit Hearst Castle.
Built by the media magnate of the same name, whose legacy includes publications like Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Esquire, the Hearst Castle dates back to 1919 and was originally used for high-society social gatherings, with guests including stars like Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant and the Marx Brothers, Greta Garbo, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, and Clark Gable. Today, it’s open to visitors for costs as low as $25 a ticket, and you can take a variety of tours to learn more about the property’s history. It’s a great way to round out a California vacation, especially if you’re already passing through this stunning part of the country.
2. The Biltmore Estate, North Carolina
If you’re like most RVers, Asheville is already high on your to-do list. After all, not every town has the Blue Ridge Parkway running immediately alongside it.
But between scaling mountains, chasing waterfalls, and enjoying those endless local craft brews, you should definitely make time to visit the Biltmore Estate. Constructed in the late 1800s by none other than George Washington Vanderbilt II, the 8,000-acre property is so much more than the stunning castle that sits on it… although that alone is worth the cost of entry. At 178,926 square feet, it’s the largest privately-owned house in America — and yes, it is still owned by Vanderbilt’s descendants.
The property is also home to a vast array of shopping and dining opportunities, as well as tasting rooms sampling the best local vinos. It’s a whole different side of Asheville to discover, and definitely one worth not missing!
3. Bannerman Castle, New York
It may only be 60 miles upriver from the hustle and bustle of New York City — but you’ll feel worlds away if you visit Bannerman Castle, an early-20th-century example tucked onto the tiny Pollepel Island. Originally used as a military surplus warehouse, the structure is abandoned and in ruins, though a trust has been created to spearhead the castle’s preservation. Tours of the island and the castle itself are available, and it’s also possible to rent out the space to use for weddings and other major events.
Looking for the Oldest Castle in America?
If you ask us, some of the best castles to visit are the oldest. Their walls have seen more history, and now, you get to be part of that legacy! If you’re looking to go old, here’s where to head.
4. Bacon’s Castle, Virginia
Dating all the way back to 1665, this structure, which is also known as the Arthur Allen Brick House, is not just the oldest castle in America — it’s also the oldest brick edifice and the continent’s only surviving example of the Jacobean building style. The property is also home to North America’s oldest 17th-century formal English garden, which has been preserved for the centuries that have passed since it was first planted.
5. Castillo de San Marcos, Florida
It may not be what first pops to mind when you think of the word “castle,” but make no mistake about it: this building has a long, storied history that would rival even the most picturesque, courtly scene. Originally erected back in 1672, the Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest and largest masonry fort in the continental United States, and it’s lasted through the many different changes of power that have taken place in this historic part of Florida.
Another thing that makes this building unique: it’s constructed of coquina, a unique kind of limestone comprised of crushed seashells which occurred naturally on the shoreline. Although it’s tough enough to withstand hurricanes and fires, it’s also porous enough to literally absorb cannonballs, making the Castillo de San Marcos one of the most successful defensive forts in the world.
Castles You Can Stay at in the USA
Visiting a castle is one thing — but what about actually calling one home for the night? It’s not just a pipe dream! At these U.S. castles, you can live your own fairy tale.
6. Castle Marne, Colorado
It’s not every day you find a historic castle smack-dab in the middle of a major metropole, but Castle Marne in Denver, Colorado is different. Located smack in the middle of the City Park and Capitol Hill neighborhoods, this building was originally erected as a private residence back in 1889, and its long history has seen a variety of owners. These days, it operates as a bed and breakfast, offering nine Victorian-style room with modern comforts and amenities. Visitors are treated to a gourmet breakfast each morning, as well as afternoon tea with freshly-baked goodies.
7. Thornewood Castle, Washington
This castle has a very special story: it actually started out in Great Britain, not America! Back in 1907, a man named Chester Thorne purchased a 400-year-old Elizabethan Manor… which was located back in England. He had it dismantled and shipped across the pond and reconstructed it in Washington State, brick by brick — all as a gift for his new wife, Anna. Today, Thornewood Castle still stands tall along the shores of American Lake in the greater Tacoma area, and it’s available for overnight stays, events, vacation rentals and more.
8. The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Rhode Island
Can you believe this stunning building started its life as a small cottage? Still standing today in Newport, Rhode Island, the manor was originally constructed by a New York Congressman named John Winthorp Chanler. It was used as a family retreat for many years, and has been visited by such esteemed persons as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Theodore Roosevelt. And since it’s a luxury hotel these days, you can add your own name to the roster!
Where are the Best Castle Tours Near Me?
Even if none of the destinations listed above are on your itinerary this year, you can enjoy the royal treatment — because when you’re traveling in an RVshare rental, you have your very own castle on wheels! Each of our rigs is offered for rent by a trusted owner, and with our easy-to-use and secure platform, you never have to worry about the safety of your sensitive information. RVshare rentals are also backed with A-rated insurance coverage for the entire duration of the rental period, and 24/7 roadside assistance is available if you so choose.
No matter where the road calls you, get there in a style fit for a king, queen, or princess. (And hey, if you add an actual castle visit to the equation… all the better.)
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