Most people associate Europe with ancient castles — but that would be a mistake. It turns out, the United States is filled with ancient ruins and elaborate palaces too. These are some of the most impressive buildings that you'll want to add to your bucket list ASAP.
Smack dab in the middle of Central Park in New York City is one of the country's most famous castles. Built in 1865, the park's co-designer, Calvert Vaux, wanted the Gothic structure to serve as a surprising landmark for visitors to discover on their walks.
Walter E. Scott was a con man and gold prospector who convinced a Chicago couple, Albert and Bessie Johnson, to build this 1922 Spanish-style castle in Death Valley National Park, California. Though Scott never owned or lived in it, he was the inspiration behind its name.
Iolani Palace is the only official royal residence located in the United States and is located in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii. The island's last two monarchs lived in it from 1882 to 1893, but later it fell into disrepair until it was renovated and reopened in 1978.
Francis Bannerman VI, a Scottish-born owner of a military sur supply company, built this castle in 1901 with the intention of storing his company's cannons and other supplies inside. But a fire destroyed it in 1969, leaving it to become the ruins in the middle of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York that it is today.
This 13th-century replica of a Tuscan castle is located in the middle of California's Napa Valley in Calistoga, California. It took 15 years to build, but the wait was worth it as it's a huge tourist attraction today, charging $25 per ticket for a tour and wine tasting.
The Sinagua people built this 20-room castle on a cliff approximately 800 years ago in what today is known as Camp Verde, Arizona. While it's so fragile visitors aren't allowed to go inside, the view from below makes it still worth visiting.
Located in Tarrytown, New York, this 1838 castle overlooking the Hudson River is one of the country's best examples of Gothic Revival architecture. It was built for New York City Mayor William Paulding and was later bought by railroad tycoon Jay Gould. Today, it serves as a museum and wedding venue.
Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst built this Julia Morgan-designed castle in San Simeon, California to serve as his private residence. Unfortunately, his failing health meant that he never saw it finished, as he moved out of the 165-room estate in 1947. It's currently a museum that's open to the public.
The owner of New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, George C. Boldt, built this 120-room castle on an island in the St. Lawrence River in Alexandria, New York for his wife, Louise, in 1900. Sadly, Louise died unexpectedly months before it was completed, so a heartbroken George stopped construction and it was left vacant for 73 years until the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority restored and opened it in 1977.
Located near the center of the National Mall in Washington D.C. is this Norman-style castle. It was made from red sandstone in 1855 and served as the home and office of Joseph Henry (the first Secretary of the Smithsonian). However, today it's the visitor center for the Smithsonian Institute.
Henry Chapman Mercer, an archeologist, artifact collector, and tile-maker, built this castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania from 1908 to 1912. He chose a combination of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles for his home, which also served as a museum for his tiles and prints.
After George Vanderbilt visited the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina in 1898, he fell in love with the area and built this castle. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau took six years to build, with the help of architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Now, the estate boasts an award-winning vineyard and winery.
Previously known as Gresham Castle, this Victorian castle in Galveston, Texas was built by lawyer and railroad entrepreneur Colonel Walter Gresham and architect Nicholas Clayton from 1887 to 1892. Fun fact: The name comes from the castle recently serving as a Catholic bishop's residence.
Back in 1926, this 25-foot limestone castle tower was built in honor of Caleb and Ruth Clark, who were pioneers of Madison County, Iowa. The three-story tower overlooks the middle river valley and is only accessible by a narrow, one-way, winding road.
Look familiar? This Newport, Rhode Island estate was also built by a Vanderbilt, this time, and was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt in the late 19th century. The 70-room mansion was inspired by Italian Renaissance palaces from 16th century Genoa and Turin.
In 1890, John Clement Trube (who was from Kiel, Denmark) built this Danish-inspired castle home in Galveston, Texas with the help of architect Alfred Muller. The castle is still owned and occupied by members of Trube family and was declared a Texas Historic Landmark in 1965.
Also known as Lucknow Estate, this Moultonborough, New Hampshire-based structure was built from 1913 to 1914 by shoe manufacturer and millionaire, Tom Plant. It served as his mountain escape in the Ossipee Mountain Range and was designed with the intent of keeping harmony with nature.
Based on St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, this castle has had many different lives. It was first built in the late 1600s by the Danes as a stronghold to help reinforce Fort Christian. But was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1933 and turned into a hotel to help promote tourism. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited it in 1934.
This circular fortification made out of red sandstone was built in the early 19th century on Governors Island, New York to protect New York City from a naval attack. However, as of 2003, it was transferred to the National Park Service under the administration of the Governors Island National Monument.
A prominent Boston businessman, William Lindsey, built this castle to serve as his home in 1915. After changing hands, it was donated to Boston University in 1938. Today, the Tudor Revival-style castle is used by the school for receptions and concerts, and is also rented out for special occasions.
In 1914, actor, director, and playwright William Hooker Gillette built this castle in East Haddam, Connecticut as part of his estate. What's so unique about it is that even though the outside looks like ruins, the inside is full of modern innovations.
, the owner of a prominent silk mill, built this Medieval Revival Paterson, New Jersey-based home in 1892 to resemble castles in Great Britain he remember from his childhood. It was originally called Belle Vista, but the name changed when it was sold to the City of Paterson in 1923 after Lambert's death.
, the founder of , built this home in 1916, but it was destroyed in 1940 by a forest fire. Only the sandstone foundation, fireplace pillars, and walls of the original structure remain, which makes it a popular destination for hikers and photographers.
Construction began on this estate, located on Dark Island near Chippewa Bay, in 1905. It was commissioned by Frederick Bourne, the fifth President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company — hence the name. It remained in possession of the original owners until the mid 1960s.
On the Upper West Side of Manhattan is this castle, which was built in a Gothic architecture style, which almost blends into the city streets. Today, it serves as a wedding venue, offering two wood-paneled ballrooms to choose from and a courtyard that spans two city blocks.
This 60-foot spire built into a rocky beach cliff in Laguna Beach, California was originally built in 1926 by the owners of the house at the top of the cliff to serve as a private staircase to the beach. However, over the years the tower has changed hands, at one time even belonging to Bette Midler.
These Ancestral Puebloan ruins once served as home to 2,500 people and were built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. Now they are part of the Hovenweep National Monument, which spans across southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah.
In 1900, Howard Gould and his wife, actress Katherine Clemmons, purchased the property that Castle Gould and three more mansions would be built on. This one was designed by architect Augustus N. Allen in 1902 and was inspired by Ireland’s Kilkenny Castle.
Perhaps the most famous castle in the country is this beauty in theat the . It was inspired by many real palaces, most notable Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. It took 19 months to build and was opened in July 1971.
The oldest masonry fort in the United States is located in St. Augustine, Florida and is a Spanish stone fortress that was built over 315 years ago to defend Spain's claims to the New World. Today, it's a National Monument, where people can explore rooms soldiers and prisoners used to live in.