Planning a day out that’s fit for a King (or Queen)? No need to book a flight to Europe, there are dozens of charming castles and picturesque palaces dotted around Louisiana. From naval fortresses to sprawling plantations, here are a few of our favourite castles in Louisiana.
Where are the best castles in Louisiana?
Swiss immigrant Judge Henry Bry built Layton Castle in 1814, which makes it one of the oldest castles in the state. Originally a silkworm plantation, the structure has changed shape and style countless times over the past 200 years. Today, the medieval-inspired mansion is a 60-room apartment complex available to rent for weddings and other special events.
Unlike most castles in America, Beauregard’s Castle wasn’t just built for aesthetic purposes. The historic fort once protected New Orleans from naval attacks. However, when the American Civil War broke out, the fort became obsolete and started to sink into the surrounding Lake Borgne.
These days you can only reach the castle by boat or kayak. Or, if you prefer to see the sights from dry land, you can get a good look at the fort from Shell Beach.
Louisiana Castle might look like your archetypal Renaissance palace, but it’s considerably young than it looks. Dr. Marc Belcher built the palace in the early 1980s as his private residence. He toured around England three times to get to grips with castle architecture and lived on a trailer for six years while the castle was being built.
He sold the palace in the late 1990s and today it’s one of the state’s most beautiful wedding venues, complete with manicured gardens, a ballroom and a throne room. There’s even a mysterious dungeon, buried 13 ft below the castle.
Also known as Little White Castle, this teeny-tiny castle looks like it’s been plucked straight out of a fairytale. In fact, Simon Villemarette built the structure for the World’s Fair in 1988. Comprising just two bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms, it’s certainly one of the country’s most modest castles, but Villemarette built the structure from steelier stuff than most. It can withstand the most extreme hurricanes, including both Hurricane Katrina and Isaac.
Inside, the castle is decked out with medieval-inspired furnishings and decorations, including knights, statues and swords. You won’t be able to explore the interiors, but you can catch a peek from Ridgeway Boulevard. There is talk of it becoming a B&B too…
Built in 1847, Castle on the River sits on the banks of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge. It was once the Louisiana State Capitol building but authorities abandoned it in the early 1930s for the new skyscraper in downtown Baton Rouge. Now a National Historic Landmark, visitors can explore the museum on a tour for free.
During the Civil War, Union troops occupied the house and used it as a command post and prison. A fire destroyed most of the building, but the castle still features the spiral cast-iron staircase and stained glass dome reconstructed in the 1880s.
Part mansion, part fairytale palace, White Castle is the South’s largest remaining antebellum mansion. Perched on the Great Mississippi River Road between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, White Castle was built for John Hampden Randolph in 1859. It stretches across a whopping 53,000 sq. ft (4,900 m2), with 64 rooms, 165 doors and 200 windows. Built in a Greek Revival and Italianate style, it’s now a popular hotel and wedding venue. If you don’t have enough time to spend the night here, you can book onto a guided tour too.
Another popular wedding destination, Chateau de Bon Reve was built in 2007 by Dwaine Allen Ellender and friends. It took three years to build the four-bedroom, seven-bathroom castle, but it was worth the effort. The fortress-inspired property features a private lake, banquet hall and soaring cupola. Unfortunately, the castle was put on the market recently and it’s no longer open to visitors. But, with looks that good, we don’t think you’ll need to wait long for the new owners to re-open its doors.