8 Castles to Visit in California

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland California
Andy Castro/Flickr/CC BY-NC

California might not come to mind as a place with many castles, but The Golden State offers some beautiful, stately buildings that resemble castles and/or include "castle" in their names. Though none of them were built in the middle ages, these castles still wow and amaze with their beautiful builds and historic feels. From theme park castles to people's dream renovations, here are some of California's most amazing castles.

01 of 08

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa in Napa California
Steve Sadowski/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515-9652, USA
Phone +1 707-967-6272

Castello di Amorosa, in Napa Valley, was created by winemaker Dario Sattui. It’s a meticulously recreated medieval Italian castle. Although his original intent was modest, the result is not. Sattui’s castle covers 121,000 square feet. It has 107 rooms with four separate levels underground and four levels above.

This castle really does feel like a real castle in Italy. It has a moat and a drawbridge, high walls, and towers. In the center is a courtyard. There’s a church, stables and there’s even a torture chamber in the dungeon.

Castello makes some pretty nice wines, too. And they throw the best parties in all of wine country.

Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle
750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, USA
Phone +1 800-444-4445

At his peak, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst was worth was $30 billion. In modern dollars, that would put him atop the list of the world’s richest people, with about 6 times more money than his nearest rival. It’s no wonder he could build an enormous house in a remote location, engage one of the era’s most sought-after architects and fill it with art treasures gathered from Europe.

Hearst told architect Julia Morgan he wanted to build a “little something,” on the hill, but by the time he was done, it was far from little. Hearst Castle sprawls over 68,500 square feet and contains 38 bedrooms. Like a proper castle, it’s set on a hilltop. But instead of a moat, it has swimming pools, two of them: The outdoor Neptune Pool (345,000 gallons) and the indoor Roman Pool (205,000 gallons).

Fortunately for those of us who can only gawk at what a really rich man can create, the castle is now a California state park and open to visitors.

Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08

Scotty's Castle

Scotty's Castle (Home of Gold Prospector), Death Valley National Park, California, USA
Walter Bibikow/Getty Images
123 Scotty's Castle Rd, California, USA

If it were anywhere else but Death Valley, this castle would probably have a different name. In fact, the biggest thing in the story of this desert oasis is the personality of Death Valley Scotty.

What’s even more curious is that Scotty didn’t even own the place, he just talked his friend Albert Mussey Johnson into building it. In the middle of the hottest place on Planet Earth.

According to the National Park Service’s history of the place, this is what Death Valley Scotty had to say about it: “The Hall of Fame is going up. We're building a Castle that will last at least a thousand years. As long as there are men on earth, likely, these walls will stand here."

So far, Scotty was right. You can tour Scotty’s Castle and find out more about its story when you visit Death Valley.

Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland Castle
Betsy Malloy Photography
1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802, USA
Phone +1 714-781-4636

This castle at Disneyland might have been even grander, but Walt Disney worried that anything larger would overwhelm his guests. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is based on Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany which was built in the late 1800s.

It’s only 77 feet (23 m) tall, but it looks bigger. Things get progressively smaller than they should all the way up to the turrets, making you think they’re further away.

This castle has a moat and a drawbridge. The bridge has been lowered only twice: On opening day in 1955, and again to unveil newly remodeled Fantasyland in 1983. And there's a hidden attraction inside it.

The Disney family coat of arms is above the castle entrance.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Magic Castle

Magic Castle California
Doug Kline/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
The Magic Castle, 7001 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028-8603, USA

It looks more like a Victorian-style house than a typical “castle,” and frankly, the magic is the big deal here, not the building it sits in.

The Magic Castle, located in Los Angeles, is first and foremost a private club for card-carrying magicians. If you can swing an invitation - or if you stay at the nearby Magic Castle Hotel, you can enjoy dinner and a magic show.

Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08

Sam's Castle

Sam's Castle, Pacifica
Achesonblog/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
900 Mirador Terrace, Pacifica, CA 94044-2427, USA
Phone +1 650-355-0272

What do you do after an earthquake in San Francisco? If you’re attorney Henry Harrison McCloskey in 1906, you build a castle in nearby Pacifica.

McCloskey wanted a home that was earthquake resistant and fireproof. Architect Charles MacDougal designed a gray stone structure with details that resembled a stereotypical castle.

So why is it called Sam’s Castle? In 1959, Sam Mazza bought the house, which was showing serious signs of decay. A painting and interior decorating contractor, he restored it and filled it an eclectic collection of objects d’art. Some might call them “kitschy.” Oddly, Sam never lived there, but he did use it for parties.

Since Mazza’s death, the castle is run by the Sam Mazza Foundation and is open for tours.

Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08

Rubel Castle

View from a tower at Rubel Castle in California

Sandylibrarian / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

844 N Live Oak Ave, Glendora, CA 91741, USA
Phone +1 626-963-0419

If you're looking to step back into medieval times, plan a trip to Rubel Castle. Though it wasn't constructed until centuries after the Middle Ages, the look and feel of the grounds make it seem like you're in that period. This grand abode took Michael Rubel, who the building is named after, and his farmhands over 25 years to build.

Today, people filter in from all over the world to visit this castle which has earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places. It's even had some very notable guests, including Prince Philip and former president Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08

Lobo Castle

Exterior shot of the front of Lobo Castle

Courtesy of Lobo Castle

31400 Lobo Canyon Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301-3411, USA
Phone +1 818-203-1048

What once started as a regular, ranch-style log cabin is now a fairytale castle fit for any prince or princess. Lobo Castle is located in Lobo Canyon and sits on two and a half acres of property. It underwent renovations in 1999 and was finished in 2007. Natural stone was taken from the canyon and was used to build up the castle. The property features a guest tower and even a dungeon.

The castle is open for rental opportunities year-round and is a hotspot for engagement shoots. It has also appeared on television, gracing the screen on networks including MTV and The Food Network.

Back to List

8 Castles to Visit in California