10 Most Beautiful Castles in New York State

Mohonk Mountain House

Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House

You don’t need to travel to Europe to visit beautiful, impressive castles. Boasting moody island fortresses and sprawling palaces that were once private homes, New York has dozens of castles throughout the state. While some are not open to the public, there are plenty that are, whether for tours or as event venues, hotels, or even restaurants.

From the Adirondacks to Central Park in Manhattan, here are the 10 most magnificent castles across New York State.

01 of 10

Belhurst Castle, Geneva

Belhurst Castle and Winery

Belhurst Castle and Winery / Facebook

4069 W Lake Rd, Geneva, NY 14456, USA
Phone +1 315-781-0201

Nestled on the shores of Seneca Lake in New York's Finger Lakes region, Belhurst Castle was originally commissioned by Mrs. Carrie M. Young Collins in 1885 and completed in 1889. With a dazzling Romanesque design, the castle houses materials and furnishings that were almost entirely imported from Europe. Accounts of gambling casinos, ghosts, Prohibition-era speakeasies, and fugitives speckle Belhurst's storied past. Today, the castle and its on-site winery serve as a historic resort with original fireplaces in each of its 11 guest rooms, rejuvenating treatments at the Isabella Spa, and two estate restaurants offering incredible food and wine pairings.

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02 of 10

Oheka Castle, Huntington

Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate

Courtesy of Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate

135 W Gate Dr, Huntington, NY 11743, USA
Phone +1 631-659-1400

This French-style château estate is tucked away on Long Island’s North Shore, known as the Gold Coast of the Gilded Age and home to several massive mansions that served as the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s "The Great Gatsby." Oheka was built in 1919 by financier Otto Hermann Kahn; at the time of its construction, the 123-room, 109,000-square-foot castle was—and still is today—the second-largest private residence ever built in the United States. The estate hosted countless parties during its Gilded Age heyday, but after Kahn died in 1934, it changed hands several times before it was abandoned for several years. In 1984, developer Gary Melius purchased and restored the castle and grounds to their former glory.

Today, it operates as a luxury hotel with a fine dining restaurant, Ohk Bar & Restaurant, and has appeared in many movies, TV shows, and music videos, from "Citizen Kane" to HBO’s "Succession." Mansion tours are available to non-hotel guests.

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03 of 10

Beardslee Castle, Little Falls

Beardslee Castle

Beardslee Castle / Facebook

123 Old State Rd, Little Falls, NY 13365, USA
Phone +1 315-823-3000

Inspired by Irish castles, Beardslee dates back to 1860 when it was built by Augustus Beardslee in Central New York. Set on eight acres of manicured grounds, the castle has survived two fires. The best way to visit this castle is to reserve a table at its restaurant, whose five cozy dining rooms feature limestone walls, oak-paneled ceilings and floors, and a six-foot-wide fireplace in the main hall. The seasonally changing menu makes use of local ingredients like wood-grilled meats and ultra-fresh seafood, all of which can be paired with the award-winning, 300-bottle wine list. Time your visit for one of Beardslee's murder mystery dinners, or enjoy drinks and snacks downstairs in The Dungeon, if you dare.

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Bannerman Castle, Pollepel Island

Bannerman's Castle on Island in Hudson River

Cavan Images / Getty Images

Beacon, NY 12508, USA
Phone +1 845-237-2636

Pollepel Island (sometimes called Bannerman’s Island) on the Hudson River in Dutchess County is home to the historic Bannerman Castle. It was built by Scottish immigrant cum arms dealer David Bannerman, who began construction of the Scottish-inspired castle in 1901. The gardens and grounds were planted by David’s wife Helen, and the couple used the castle both as ammunition storage and as a summer home. It remained in the family until it was donated to the State of New York and its parks system in the 1960s. Although it fell into great disrepair, the castle began undergoing reconstruction in the '90s, becoming accessible to the public in 2004.

Just off the coast of Hudson Highlands State Park, the island and its castle can be seen from Amtrak and Metro North trains between Croton-Harmon and Poughkeepsie. It is accessible by the castle’s boat, the Estuary Steward, from Beacon (30 minutes), or via your own kayak or canoe (reservations required). The island hosts a full calendar of events between April and October, from guided tours to movie nights to dinners, all of which include the boat ride from Beacon and must be booked in advance.

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Singer Castle, Dark Island

Passing Ships and Castle

Duncan Rawlinson / Flickr

Dark Island, Hammond, NY 13646, USA

Just south of the U.S.-Canadian border in New York’s Thousand Islands region is Dark Island and its resident Singer Castle. The castle, originally known as the Towers, was built in 1905 for the Bourne family as a summer home by architect Ernest Flagg, who used granite quarried from nearby Oak Island. The four-story castle has a medieval-style entrance—complete with a knights’ armor standing guard—along with 28 rooms, a four-story tower, an ice house, and an elaborate boathouse with tunnels and turrets. Fun fact: It’s called Singer Castle because Frederick Bourne was the fifth president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The castle and island remained in the Bourne family’s possession until the 1960s.

Today, the castle is open for tours from spring through fall (check the exact dates on the official website). The best way to visit is with Uncle Sam Boat Tours or via private boat, and then take a guided 45-minute tour of the castle and grounds.

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06 of 10

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz

Mohonk Mountain House

Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House 

Situated on a private glacial lake in the Hudson Valley with views of the Catskill Mountains, this Victorian castle resort has been owned and operated by the Smiley family since its founding in 1869. Hosting many presidents and dignitaries through the years, the one-of-a-kind mountain getaway has been a sought-after destination for generations. Guests of the resort will find amenities ranging from an award-winning spa and large indoor pool to a grand dining room serving three complimentary meals daily and wellness-focused classes like meditation and yoga. There is also a wide range of outdoor activities on offer, including access to miles of surrounding hiking trails, boating in the summer, and snow-shoeing in the winter.

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07 of 10

Highlands Castle, Bolton Landing

Highlands Castle

Courtesy of Highlands Castle

19 Skyline Dr, Bolton Landing, NY 12814-0269, USA
Phone +1 518-796-9118

Highlands Castle overlooks the sparkling Lake George near the Adirondack Mountains. It is a family-owned, medieval-style castle—and while it looks like it's been around for centuries, it's just around 35 years old. Built from locally excavated granite, the castle was originally a private home for owners John and Yvonne Lavender and John’s son, Jason. In 2010, they opened three different parts of the castle for guests to rent, including a cottage that sleeps four to six people, the gatehouse that sleeps four to seven people, and two rooms inside the castle itself: the Royal Bedroom and the King’s Suite, which includes two bedrooms plus a sitting room with pull-out sofa.

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08 of 10

Belvedere Castle, Manhattan

Belvedere Castle in Spring, Central Park, New York City.
OlegAlbinsky / Getty Images
New York, NY 10024, USA
Phone +1 212-772-0288

While most of New York’s castles are found Upstate, there is a castle right in the middle of New York City worthy of this list: Belvedere Castle, perched on Vista Rock in Central Park. Completed in 1872 and designed by Central Park co-designer Calvert Vaux and architect Jacob Wrey Mould, the castle offers sweeping views of Central Park and Manhattan. Originally, the castle didn’t have any doors or windows, as only the open-air lookout tower was meant to be used. In 1919, it became a weather station, and doors and windows were added. The Central Park Conservancy restored the building and opened it to the public in 1983. Belvedere Castle is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Guided tours are offered a couple of times a month (advance booking required).

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Castle Gould, Port Washington

Sands Point Preserve Gould Castle

Michael Gray / Flickr

127 Middle Neck Rd, Sands Point, NY 11050, USA
Phone +1 516-571-7901

Another Gold Coast, Long Island, estate, Castle Gould was once the extravagant home of the Guggenheim family, who bought the castle and the 216-acre Sands Point Preserve estate from financier Howard Gould in 1917. Castle Gould is the oldest of four mansions on the estate. Designed in 1902 and completed in 1904, the 100,000-square-foot limestone castle was inspired by the Kilkenny Castle in Ireland and was the home of Jay Gould and his wife, Katherine Clemmons. Also on Sands Point is Hempstead House, the summer home of Daniel Guggenheim and his wife, Florence; Falaise, where Daniel’s son, Harry, and his wife, Alicia Patterson, lived in the 1920s; and Mille Fleur, a smaller waterside home that became Florence’s residence after Daniel died in 1930.

Now open to the public, Sands Point Preserve features six hiking trails, gardens, the Great Lawn, a beach on the Long Island Sound, and a castle-themed playground. Castle Gould itself houses the visitor center, gift shop, and the Great Hall, where fitness classes and nature programs are held, as well as private events.

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Boldt Castle, Heart Island

Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle - 1000 Islands, NY / Facebook

1 Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY 13607, USA
Phone +1 315-482-9724

Another Thousand Islands castle, Boldt Castle was commissioned by George C. Boldt, the owner of the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, in 1900 as a love letter to his wife, Louise. Boldt hired 300 workers to build the six-story, 120-room castle with passageways, Italian gardens, an alster tower, dovecote, and drawbridge. But in 1904, Louise unexpectedly passed away, and the heartbroken George halted construction immediately, and never visited the island again.

The extravagant castle was neglected until 1977, when the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s acquired it, restored it, and opened it to the public. Located in Alexandria Bay, Heart Island is accessible only by boat, including by several tour operators from New York and Canada.

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10 Most Beautiful Castles in New York State