So, there’s such a wide variety of activities for tourists. You might picture big cities, museums, and amusement parks as the most interesting things to do, but you can’t ignore the state’s castles. Some have a big historical significance while others have been repurposed for new uses.
Are There Any Real Castles in Texas?
A castle is commonly described as a fortified residence used for royalty. Yet, we tend to call any castle-like structures castles because any building that looks like a castle is amazing. But by definition, yes, Texas has several real castles.
While royalty didn’t necessarily live in any of these castles, many of them were built as fortified residences, and they are similar to the royal castles found in other countries. For example, the Falkenstein Castle is based on the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Also, Newman’s Castle is possibly the most castle-like of them all, but it was built more for tourists than historical purposes.
However, most of the castles on this list are residences that only closely resemble castles. If you’re looking to tour “real” castles that were used by royals, you’ll find more luck in other countries.
Here are 15 castles in Texas that you might want to see.
#1 – Falkenstein Castle
The Falkenstein Castle sits on over 130 acres of land, surrounded by trees as far as the eye can see. It’s the most popular castle in Texas and a popular wedding destination. It’s not open for public tours, but you can rent it out for overnight stays and other events.
Who Built the Falkenstein Castle in Texas?
Terry Young built the Falkenstein Castle. He came up with the idea for this structure after visiting Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle with his wife. On the walls of the Neuschwanstein, Young saw sketches of plans for another castle called the Falkenstein, which was planned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria back in 1869. Young was able to obtain the floor plan for the Falkenstein Castle, and he ended up building his own version in Burnet, Texas in 1996.
Who Owns the Falkenstein Castle in Texas?
Terry Young and his wife Kim Young still own this majestic Texas castle. It took years of planning and adjusting to make it perfect, but today it’s a known Texas landmark that guests can rent out.
#2 – Bishop’s Palace
Bishop’s Palace in Galveston is a historical landmark that was built in 1887. Colonel Walter Gresham and his wife first lived in this mansion. This impressive structure was made to withstand hurricanes and other severe weather conditions. Some of its most notable features are Sienna marble columns, 14-foot-tall ceilings, a wood fireplace, and stunning stained-glass windows. Today, the property is owned by the Galveston Historical Foundation, so guests can take private tours if they’d like.
#3 – Castle Avalon
This is a secluded castle located in New Braunfels. It has some impressive architecture, including towers, wide balconies, a grand ballroom, and stained-glass windows. It also has a gorgeous outdoor space that’s full of trees and hedges. It’s mostly known as a wedding venue, and it’s a location fit for a princess. Hosting an event at this castle is like taking a step outside of reality. Even the name came from an old Britain legend.
#4 – Old Red Museum Castle
The Old Red Museum in Dallas is more than just a castle. It was once the site of the Old Red Courthouse. Over the years, it has gone through many significant changes, but its red bricks, large clock tower, and castle-like charm will always remain. Today, it’s a museum that holds a wide variety of exhibits related to Dallas’ history. The exhibits are updated every year to keep the museum exciting. Inside, you’ll also find lots of unique architecture, including a grand staircase and over 100 stained-glass windows.
#5 – Capt. Charles Schreiner Mansion
This Kerryville castle is a historic landmark that can be rented out for private events. It was built in 1879 by Captain Charles Schreiner, who was a Texas Ranger and Confederate States Army Veteran. After he grew wealthy from being a merchant and rancher, he decided to construct the most incredible castle he could think of. It has six bedrooms and two stories, with lots of German and Italian elements throughout. Today, it’s known as the Schreiner University’s Hill Country Museum.
#6 – Newman’s Castle
Newman’s Castle in Bellville looks like a magical piece of history, but its construction only began in 1998. After traveling to Europe, Texas local Mike Newman was inspired to build a castle. As you can see, he was very successful. The impressive white castle is surrounded by a moat that has a drawbridge. Guests can tour the castle on most days, and tours include a visit to Newman’s Bakery. This is also a common location for events like birthday parties and weddings.
#7 – Pemberton Castle
The Pemberton Castle is located in the Pemberton Heights neighborhood of Austin. It’s famous because it made an appearance in the 1994 filmBlank Check, but it has been around since 1926. The neighborhood it’s situated in used to be mostly farmland, but it has since become a desirable, high-end area. The Pemberton Castle once served as the sales office for Pemberton Heights, but now it’s under private ownership. Since then, it has gotten a few renovations.
#8 – Elisabet Ney Museum
The Elisabet Ney Museum is another one of the castles in Austin, Texas. In 1892, sculptor Elisabet Ney bought this cream-colored structure to use as an art studio. She mostly created sculptures of well-known men, such as Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston. She would often create portraits as well. Sadly, Ney passed away in 1907, but her friends worked hard to keep the castle in good shape. Now, it’s a museum that guests can tour, host special events, and take classes at.
#9 – Trube Castle
Like Bishop’s Palace, Trube Castle is in Galveston, which is a perfect weekend getaway from Houston. Architect Alfred Muller built it in 1890. It’s a Victorian-style castle that’s over 7,000 square feet with at least 21 rooms. It has served many purposes over the years, including a private home and a bed and breakfast. Today, guests can tour it by appointment or rent it out for events and overnight stays. One of the best parts of the castle is the observation deck, which has gorgeous views of the water.
#10 – Shelby County Courthouse Castle
The Shelby County Courthouse looks just like a castle, thanks to its 12 red towers. This structure was built in Center in 1885, designed to resemble an Irish castle. Irish architect J.J.E. Gibson built the structure with his own hands, using over 2 million bricks. It has many unique design choices inside, including fireplaces in the bathrooms and an escape hatch by the judge’s chair. It’s no longer used as a courthouse, but instead, it’s a visitor center that’s open to the public.
#11 – Pignataro Castle
A lot of the history surrounding the Pignataro Castle is unknown. It’s thought that the wife of entrepreneur John Christensen built it in the 1930s. It’s designed somewhat like an old Spanish Villa. The castle has lots of cool sculptures sitting out front, which were created by the Pignataro family. The castle is located in Santa Fe, and it’s a popular location for hikers to explore near. It’s unclear who owns it now, but it has an eerie feel.
#12 – The Whiting Castle
If you’re looking for some haunted castles in Texas, then the Whiting Castle might be the destination for you. It’s thought to be haunted, and now that it’s abandoned and decaying, those rumors seem even more accurate. This Lake Worth stone structure covers about 6,500 square feet. It has gone through many different names over the years, including Lake Worth Castle, The Castle of Heron Bay, and Inverness Castle. It’s privately owned now, so you can only view it from a distance.
#13 – Cottonland Castle
The Cottonland Castle in Waco is another privately owned property, but it’s still cool to see. It was built in 1890, and it has gone through many renovations since then. It was even featured on the TV showFixer Upper. The initial builder of this property had big plans for the construction, but eventually fell on hard times and had to sell it. It went through many owners over the years and even ended up being abandoned for some time. After all that time, it’s still a beautiful, impressive structure.
#14 – Darrell Wolcott’s Castle
Darrell Wolcott’s Castle was once a well-known building in history, but now it’s a vintage castle that not many know about. It looks exactly like you’d expect an old castle to. It’s named after the president of Ancient Wales, Darrell Wolcott, and it’s used as a library to study Ancient Wales. It’s located in Jefferson near the road, but is surrounded by trees and shrubs.
#15 – Magic Fun House Castle
The Magic Fun House Castle is more of a tourist destination than a historical castle, but it’s still one of the most fun castles in Texas. It’s located in Rowlett, and it’s made up of several buildings and towers. Inside, you’ll find lots of bizarre magical attractions, including displays, artifacts, and souvenirs. It’s a great place for birthday parties and for anyone who loves magic tricks. It will be an uplifting break from the other creepy and elegant castles on this list.
What is the Number 1 Attraction in Texas?
With so many fun things to do in Texas, it’s difficult to pick just one best thing to do. Yet, many visitors consider the San Antonio River Walk one of the best Texas attractions. It’s a park in the heart of the city, which passes by shopping, dining, cultural experiences, and other attractions. Plus, San Antonio is a great weekend getaway from Houston.
Unfortunately, none of the castles on this list are in San Antonio, but it’s still a great spot in Texas to visit.
What is the Biggest Museum in Texas?
If you’re visiting castles in Texas, you might also want to discover more history at a museum. The biggest museum in Texas is the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas. It even has some castle-like appearances on the outside with a lot of historical charm.
This history museum is on the campus of West Texas A&M University. It’s about 285,000 square feet with over 3 million artifacts, so there’s no shortage of exhibits to explore. It covers topics like art, geology, archeology, transportation, weapons, and paleontology.
What is the Prettiest City in Texas?
Many people visit castles in Texas for their beauty, but they’re not the only pretty things in the state. Fredericksburg is considered the prettiest city in Texas due to its historic charm.
Fredericksburg is located in central Texas, and it’s known for its wineries. It also has a lot of attractions related to Texas’ history, including the Pioneer Museum and the National Museum of the Pacific War. Many of the historic buildings are beautiful in their own ways, so there are plenty of great photo opportunities in Fredericksburg. Plus, it’s a nice change of pace from the busier cities, even though there are no major castles in it.
Visit Castles in Texas
If you’re not sure how to make your Texas trip complete, consider adding some of these breathtaking castles to your itinerary. Whether you’re looking for something creepy or fairy tale-like, this state has it all. Castles are sure to make any vacation a little more interesting, so what are you waiting for?