10 Most Beautiful Castles in California

Updated On October 5, 2023
Disneyland and Sleeping Beauty Castle

California and castle both have similar beginnings as words, but does that mean the state is home to actual castles?

Yes, actually, there are several castles and mansions considered to be castles in California. 

Along with Disneyland, which is the most famous castle in California, there is the Harry Potter castle at Universal Studios.

The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion that is considered a castle, and then there is the Hearst Castle.

Find out where else we recommend you visit when touring the 10 most beautiful castles in California.

10 Most Beautiful Castles in California

Disneyland and Sleeping Beauty Castle

The most well-known and picturesque castle in California is the one at Disneyland.

Here you have the Sleeping Beauty Castle, which was built in 1955.

The castle was modeled after the famous German castle, Neuschwanstein. A Bavarian German architectural style, the castle was also recreated from the one used in the Disney movie version of “Sleeping Beauty.” 

Visitors to Disneyland see this castle in the center, and it is the backdrop to the fireworks displays at the park.

Once at Disneyland, visitors are able to enter Sleeping Beauty Castle and meander about its winding staircases and rooms.

Watch tiny motion-activated scenes taken from the original artwork from the Disney classic, “Sleeping Beauty,” as you walk around inside the castle.

Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios

Every Harry Potter fan would contest that the Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios is number one on this list.

However, Disneyland was established first, placing Hogwarts Castle second among California castles.

You can walk into the castle, which is modeled directly from the one in the book and the movies.

There is a roller coaster inside the castle that sends you flying like a wizard on a broom, and a shop where you can buy merchandise.

Around the bend is Hogsmeade Village with shop after shop after shop modeled from the book and movie franchise.

Every flavor of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and chocolate frogs, as well as wizarding sweaters and robes and wands, can be purchased. 

There are Dementors there during the Halloween season, and for the holidays there are festive lights and fireworks displays at Hogwarts Castle in the park.

Hearst Castle

Patty Hearst is the most infamous Hearst–even though the name reminds one of the hearse vehicles that take away the dead from funerals.

But in California, there is one Hearst more famous than Patty–Hearst Castle.

Built by William Randolph Hearst in 1919 in San Simeon, CA, Hearst Castle is open to tours today.

W. R. Hearst built up his fame and fortune as a newspaper publishing magnate. 

Visit a Gothic study and library, grandiose ballrooms, and an outdoor room that rivals any Roman bathhouse.

There is also the Hearst Castle Theater that hosts a film about the castle on a widescreen.

By the way, Patty was the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst.

She was made infamous after being kidnapped by an army of guerillas when she was only 19.

Her case gained global attention due to her behavior and relation to William Randolph Hearst. 

Winchester Mystery House

If you are in California during Halloween, this is a special time to visit the Winchester Mystery House.

However, anytime is a good time to see this grand spectacle of a property.

Considered a mansion that was under constant construction, Winchester Mystery House is a castle by any means of the definition.

The woman of the house, Sarah Winchester, was the heir to the Winchester factory brand. 

As a result of the nation’s love of Winchester firearms and other household products, Sarah Winchester maintained enough money to live alone but with construction worker crews as constant house guests.

She kept building on the property with never-ending hallways, doors going nowhere, and strange sets of staircases to keep in spirits, supposedly. 

Lobo Castle

Lobo Castle in Agoura Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles, is another castle of sorts.

Here you have a splendid estate that was purchased in the late 1990s.

The mansion was remodeled to resemble a medieval-style castle.

Gray stonework, Gothic windows, and teeth-like notches called crenellation are signatures of the medieval castle architectural style.

Lobo Castle in LA features all of this in a well-achieved replica of a Gothic castle. 

Best of all, the public can visit, tour, rent, and play in this castle.

The property is owned by an event management company, and they collaborate to do photo shoots, private parties, and weddings.  

Rubel Castle

Next, in Glendora, which is in Los Angeles County, is Rubel Castle or Rubelia.

This is a property owned by Michael Rubel, who was a world traveler.

Rubel purchased a citrus grove with the property in the 1950s.

By the 1980s, the castle construction was completed, and his main claim to fame became Rubel Castle. 

Today the castle is open to the public by appointment only through the Glendale Historical Society.

It is not ADA-compliant, which is notable in a society where most public buildings and facilities are ADA-compliant.

This is partly because the castle is considered monumental folk architecture. 

The rock walls of the castle, which are built by hand using rocks and junk, mimic medieval-style castle architecture.

The highest point of Rubelia is 74 feet, and there are five-story-tall towers.

There are also winding staircases and banner flags around the property.

The castle grounds contain a local museum of artifacts from Southern California dating back to the 1800s. 

Castello di Amorosa

In the globally recognized wine region of Napa Valley are more than 400 wineries and a 13th-century Tuscan castle.

Built in the medieval architecture style, Castello di Amorosa celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2022.

However, by the looks of it, this castle has been up for centuries.

Feel like you are back in the medieval era with a visit to Napa Valley’s own castle.

Castello di Amorosa is open to the public by reservation only. 

Once at the castle, prepare for a day spent wine tasting and exploring the 30 acres of vineyards on site.

The castle is accurate and authentic in its display of medieval times in Tuscany, Italy.

Owner Dario Sattui, a fourth-generation winemaker, came to Napa Valley with a dream to transform a structure into an Italian castle.

The results are 107 rooms, three acres, and eight total levels including four that are underground–perfect for making a cavern to store fine Italian wines.

Scotty’s Castle

This next castle is located in Death Valley National Park in Southern California.

According to the National Park Service, Walter “Death Valley” Scotty, a prospector searching for gold, claimed to have been the one responsible for Scotty’s Castle.

However, the Spanish-style mansion was actually built by his financial investor, Albert Mussey Johnson.

Currently, the castle is closed due to the 2015 flooding and more recent fires.

Otherwise, the NPS provides access to Scotty’s Castle to a limited number of visitors with advanced reservations.

The Magic Castle

In Hollywood, California sits The Magic Castle, which houses The Academy of Magical Arts.

The castle grounds resemble Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, but with less flair.

Please note, this castle is a private club that is only open to those who are invited or to members.

When inside, The Magic Castle is far more than meets the eye, as it has been for more than 59 years. 

Sit in on a seance that would rival Harry Houdini’s times, or attend magic classes to learn tricks of the trade.

Make sure to wear your best suit or dress or you won’t be permitted inside.

If you can find a member who will slip you an invitation, you can join to be a member of the Associate of magicians or a Magician. 

Sam’s Castle

The Sam Mazza Foundation currently provides public tours of Sam’s Castle, which is located in Pacifica, CA.

Right outside of San Francisco and San Jose, Pacifica Beach is also the prime location for the world’s best Taco Bell Cantina–trust me, it’s worth it.

Sam’s Castle was erected in 1908 and has had many households including 20th Century Fox painter and interior decorator Sam Mazza who took up residence. 

Sam’s Castle is one of the least medieval architectural styles of all the castles in California.

Here you have a large brick and stone building with a classic solid facade.

However, the top of the building is etched out like teeth in the typical crenellation of medieval castles.

In fact, along with the stone architecture, these are the two only real details on the exterior of Sam’s Castle that reminds one of a castle.

The building is also grandiose with 24 rooms that are open to the public once a month.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can visitors sleep overnight in any castle in California?

None of the castles on the list of the most beautiful CA castles can be lodged overnight.

However, there is one castle in Cali where you can spend the night.

The cost is affordable, too, as long as you have 19 other people staying in the $ 3,450-a-night residence.

Called The Castle in the Forest on AirBnB, this property is located in Skyforest, CA.

No crenellations here, but you do see a remarkably well-done series of Gothic windows and cathedral ceilings that make up the castle.

Do any of the castles in CA serve as home to royals?

Actually, Princess Margaret, sister to Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Antony Armstrong Jones were rumored to live in Sam’s Castle.

However, at that time the castle was pre-dating Sam Mazza and was known simply as the castle in Sharp Park.

According to San Francisco news reporters, the princess was considering moving to the foggy Pacifica park to that castle, which reminded her of London’s fog.

Are there any haunted castles in California?


There are stories of hauntings at many of the castles in California.

This is especially true of The Magic Castle, the Winchester Mystery House, and Sam’s Castle.

Sam’s Castle was a hospital that was often found in the newspapers to be the sight of abortions and other then-illegal medical activities.

The doctor in question was considered an eccentric, therefore adding to the mystique at Sam’s Castle.

As for The Magic Castle and the Winchester Mystery House, visitors can attend real-life seances where the dead are contacted through mediums.

This is for sure going to bring spirits into a space, which is haunting.

What is the oldest castle in California?

Among the most beautiful castles in CA, Sam’s Castle is the oldest having been built in 1908.

This is followed up by the more well-known castle, Hearst Castle, which was built in 1919.

These are the two oldest castles in California.

The other castles in the state are relatively newer or have been remodeled more recently to look like castles.

1 Comment on 10 Most Beautiful Castles in California

  1. E
    Emanuel says:

    Yes, there are several castles and mansions considered to be castles in California.

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