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Seven Castles You Can Visit in the South

Who doesn’t want to pretend to be king or queen for a day? You might think castles are only found in fairytales or in Europe, but the South has its share of fancy abodes. You can even spend the night in some of these if you want to extend your reign for an extra day or two.

Biltmore Estate

Asheville, North Carolina’s Biltmore Estate is a historic house museum open to the public year-round. Built for George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, it is the largest privately-owned house in the United States and a prominent example of a Gilded Age mansion. The estate offers a myriad of amenities, including a summer concert series in July and August, a winery, a hotel, an inn, dining, shopping and plenty of outdoor activities. 

Photo by Jennifer Boyer from Flickr Creative Commons.

Atalaya Castle

Known historically as Atalaya, this castle was built in 1931 as the winter home of industrialist and philanthropist Archer M. Huntington and his wife and sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. The castle has 30 rooms and a square tower, which once housed a 3,000-gallon water tank. Today, the castle is part of Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina, and the Friends of the Huntington Beach State Park offer guided tours of the visitor center, which houses exhibits about the castle and the Huntingtons themselves.

Photo by Paul Braynard from Flickr Creative Commons.

Bishop’s Palace/Gresham Castle

Bishop’s Palace, also known as Gresham’s Castle, is an ornate, Victorian-style house located in Galveston, Texas’s historic district. It was built between 1887 and 1893 for the politician Walter Gresham and his family. The house is owned today by the Galveston Historical Foundation, which offers daily, self-guided tours

Photo by stevesheriw from Flickr Creative Commons.

The Kentucky Castle

Known also as Castle Post, Martin Castle and Versailles Castle, the Kentucky Castle is located in Versailles, Kentucky, just outside of Lexington. It was built in 1969 and recently opened as a hotel, restaurant and spa. The castle also hosts weddings and other events like rooftop dinners, yoga and masquerade balls. Tours including lunch are available daily.

Photo by Forsythe Drive and courtesy of Kentucky Tourism

Newman’s Castle

Built by Mike Newman in 1998, Newman’s Castle is a custom creation located in the countryside of Bellville, Texas. It features a moat, working drawbridge, chapel and a bakery. The castle is available six days a week for tours and special events. 

Photo by Cynthia Azzam from Flickr Creative Commons.

Coral Castle

Located between Homestead and Leisure City, Florida, Coral Castle is an oolite limestone structure created by Edward Leedskalin. The castle is subject to conspiracies concerning its creation, namely that Leedskalin, who came to America in 1920 after being rejected by his fiancee in Latvia just a day before their wedding, singlehandedly built the structure using reverse magnetism and supernatural abilities. The castle is open for both self-guided and guided tours

Photo by Taita from Flickr Creative Commons.

Rhodes Hall

Known affectionately as “the castle on Peachtree Street,” Rhodes Hall is a historic house located in Atlanta, built for Amos Giles Rhodes, proprietor of Atlanta-based Rhodes Furniture. It has been the home of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation since 1983 and is open to the public for tours and special events. 

Photo by Wally Gobetz from Flickr Creative Commons.

The Unexpected South
Chef Isaac Toups has