The Golden State is famous for its stunning Pacific coastline, delicious wine, and iconic cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but it should also have another claim to fame – castles! There are many spectacular castles in California, some quirky, some historically important, and others that have been transformed into exceptional wedding venues.
With so many of these architectural gems dotting the state, we felt compelled to share with you the most beautiful and best castles in California.
Expect hand-built masterpieces, hidden stairways, party castles from the roaring 20s’ and more!
1. Castello di Amorosa
Beautifully nestled in the western hills of California and set on a 171 acre wine estate, this majestic castle in the Napa Valley is well worth visiting.
This castle in northern California was built in the style of a 13th century medieval Italian Tuscan fortress with beautiful stone archways and turrets, and in our opinion is one of the best castles in the USA. Even better, it’s a working winery so not only do you get beautiful architecture here, but you also get to try the delicious wine that’s made on the estate!
So if you are looking for a fun (and potentially tipsy) activity, then Castello di Amorosa offers wine tasting, guided tours, and even has a small animal farm. Most of the 100+ rooms at this castle are dedicated to winemaking and storage, so the tour is extensive, while the views you get across the estate and Napa Valley are quite spectacular.
Suitable for: Wine tasting, guided tours, great views
Address: 4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga
2. Lobo Castle
Sitting amongst the Santa Monica Mountains, this castle is a fairytale building set in fairytale surroundings. Walking inside this spectacular building, as well as strolling the landscaped grounds, really brings a feeling of royalty and elegance. It’s almost like having a window into what it’s like to be in a European royal family.
The interior is lavish but works perfectly with the architecture of the castle, and stepping inside the castle tower – where you can stay the night via Airbnb – is like stepping back in time.
In our opinion this is one of the most beautiful castles in California, and for budding brides to be it can be rented for weddings. The photo shoot opportunities beside the castle tower, in the luxurious interior, and beside the huge castle walls, are fantastic. This has to be one of the prettiest castles in California.
Suitable for: Overnight stays, weddings
Address: 31400 Lobo Canyon Rd, Old Agoura
3. Albion Castle
This historical landmark was built by an English immigrant in 1870 as a brewery, but with the era of prohibition a few decades later, production was shut down.
However the castle saw a new lease of life as part of a water bottling company as the two underground caves that the castle was built upon produce 8000-10000 gallons of natural spring water a day. That ability to produce water saved the castle once again in the 1960s as it was saved from demolition due to the fact it could be an emergency water source for nearby San Francisco if there was ever a nuclear attack.
These days the castle is used for private functions, so if you’re planning a wedding and looking for a castle, then Albion Castle could be perfect. The interior’s huge stone walls and wooden beam ceilings and doors are spectacular and perfect for photos, while the underground caves and chambers are great for intimate wedding concerts.
Suitable for: Weddings, private functions
Address: 881 Innes Ave, San Francisco
4. Sam’s Castle
This spectacular coastline castle was created as a response to disaster. A severe earthquake rocked San Francisco in 1906, and damaged Henry Harrison McCloskey’s home. His response was to build a building that he believed would survive another natural disaster. From that, Sam’s Castle was born.
Modelled on his wife Emily’s childhood home in Scotland, the castle’s fort-like appearance has stood the test of time, but it’s also had an eventful life – it’s functioned as a speakeasy, brothel, illegal abortion clinic and Coast Guard Barracks, before being bought by a theatre painter and decorator called Sam Mazza in the 1950s.
The views out towards the Pacific from the castle are stunning, however this castle is also now a museum filled with art and antiques that Sam Mazza collected during his time working in the theatre business. Located in Pacifica, the castle is occasionally opened to the public through tours by the Pacifica Historical Society. It’s not very well known, but this quirky place is worth visiting and is unlike any other castle in America!
The castle is open just one day a month – so it’s best to check their website before visiting.
Suitable for: Historical tours, great views
Address: 900 Mirador Terrace, Pacifica
5. Castle Green
One of the best ways to describe this historic building located in Old Town Pasadena, is that it’s locally known as being a Pasadena treasure.
Standing in front of Castle Green takes you back in time as the architecture now looks as good as it did when it was built over 120 years ago. See the picture below from 1905 – nothing much has changed since!
Inside is just as magical, with interior rooms – some of which can be rented out for events – decked out with Victorian antiques and opulent velvet drapes. Incredibly, pretty much everything inside is original.
The outside space is spectacular too, with stately grounds featuring a koi pond and pristine spacious lawns. While some of the castle has been turned into flats, it remains a popular wedding venue with plenty of interior space (with those original antiques) as well as the wonderfully maintained lawn to hold such a special event.
If you’re not getting married but still want to see inside this historic building, look out for the jazz events that are sometimes held here, or go to one of the two open days that Castle Green have per year.
Suitable for: Weddings, tours (twice a year), photo shoots
Address: 99 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena.
6. Rubel Castle
This quirky one-of-a-kind castle was built by hand by Michael Rubel and many helpers over several decades!
That in itself is notable, but the castle was essentially built from salvaged material – so even coat hangers, bottles, bedsprings, scrap steel and other objects make up the walls and foundations of this eccentric building.
The castle has been recognised as a folk art masterpiece and is now owned and operated by the Glendora Historical Society. The castle, complete with clock tower, cannons and dungeon, can be visited for guided tours, photo shoots and filming – but you must register in advance to visit.
If you do visit you’ll be in esteemed company – the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Dwight Eisenhower have visited this castle made from recycled materials! This has to be one of the most unique castles in California.
Suitable for: Guided tours, folk art aficionados, photo shoots
Address: 844 N Live Oak Ave, Glendora
Situated in Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe, this stunning castle is one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture throughout the United States. Built in 1929, this castle has a beautiful exterior and a tour of the building and grounds is recommended because the interior is breathtaking too.
There’s also a good hike that can be attempted nearby on the shores of the lake. The trail is a pleasant walk, although a bit steep in places, but there’s several places you can stop on the way for a rest or picnic.
Expect fantastic lake views, as well as the chance to spot many species of birds that live in this tranquil setting. You can see that trail here.
Suitable for: Hiking, history and architecture
Address: CA-89, Tahoma
8. Hearst Castle
Located in San Simeon in California’s central coast region, this grand castle – inspired by Mediterranean architecture – was built in 1919 by the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. A century later it’s a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark, however in the ‘roaring 20s’ Hearst and his castle became famous for the hedonistic parties that occurred here.
You can tour the castle, which is a living museum of the 1920s and 30s, and the wonderful landscaped gardens. On top of that, the castle has a legendary art collection which houses paintings by Old Master European artists, as well as Egyptian, Roman, and Greek antiquities.
The castle itself is spectacular, but its position on a hill above San Simeon gives it astounding views down and across the surrounding landscape. With that being the case, our tip is to make sure you plan your visit when the weather is good so you can really enjoy those views.
Suitable for: Guided tours, art and history lovers
Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon
9. Mt Woodson Castle
This castle in southern California was built in 1921, but is more castle by name than anything else. Rather it reminds us more of a Tuscan villa means Bavarian mountain home, albeit on a huge scale! For those reasons we wanted to include it in our list, because this building has gorgeous architecture and a sense of elegance that beats many other castles in California.
It’s a very romantic place, and the interior – made up of wood, stone, rock, and eight-foot wide walls – feels natural yet lavish at the same time. The estate the castle sits on is pristine and lush, and the massive trees here are magnificent.
The building can be rented for corporate events and weddings. Because of its warm interior, gorgeous exterior, and romantic feel overall, it does feel like the perfect place to say ‘I do’.
Suitable for: Weddings, private functions
Address: 16302 N Woodson Dr, Ramona
10: Château Noland
This exceptional castle in California’s central coast will have you feeling like a French aristocrat with its stunning French style of architecture and gorgeous grounds.
The castle can be rented out for private events like class reunions or weddings – which they are specialists at. In fact they can host weddings up to 200 people, and the bride and groom not only stay in the castle, but they can also turn up to their own wedding in a horse-drawn carriage. What a way to begin your married life together.
The interior of the chateau is picturesque, and there’s even fun hidden stairways and rooms – perfect for kids who have lots of space to play and explore here. This is definitely one of our favorite castles in California.
Suitable for: Weddings, private functions
Address: 6445 Monte Rd, San Luis Obispo
11. Preston Castle Foundation
This stunning landmark in Ione is brimming with history as it was built back in 1894!
Originally created as a reform school for boys, Preston Castle has been beautifully restored in recent years by the Preston Castle Foundation in order to preserve its history and original architecture.
We loved the Romanesque Revival style of architecture here, as well as the interesting and informative historical tour about what was one of the oldest reform schools in the United States.
Suitable for: History, architecture
Address: 900 Palm Dr, Ione