Whether you are a photographer seeking beautiful buildings to immortalize, a history buff looking to teleport back in time, or a curious traveler delighted to discover that there are castles in Florida, this list is for you.
7 Castles in Florida to Visit
1. Castle Warden (Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!), St. Augustine
Castle Warden was built with Moorish influences in 1887 as the winter home of William Warden, a business partner of John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler. In 1941, the castle was renovated and became a hotel. Robert S. Ripley stayed in Castle Warden and tried to acquire it several times to build a museum, but was unsuccessful. After his death, his family was able to purchase it and it became the first Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium in 1950. Today, the castle still operates as a museum of oddities.
Want to visit? Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Address: 19 San Marco Ave, St Augustine, FL 32084
2. Castle Otttis, St. Augustine
Castle Otttis (yes, with three t’s) was constructed by Rusty Ickes and Ottis Sadler. Originally built as a landscape sculpture and dedicated to Jesus Christ, it’s meant to resemble a 1,000 year old Irish castle. Interestingly, the building was never intended to be home, commercial building, or tourist attraction. Instead, it was designed as a work or art.
Want to visit? Castle Otttis offers private tours to schools, churches, colleges, and community groups by appointment. Additionally, special events and weddings can be accommodated. A public Christian worship service is held the last Sunday of each month at 10am for ages 12 and up.
Address: 103 3rd St, St Augustine, FL 32084
3. Solomon’s Castle, Ona
Towering three stories high, Solomon’s Castle in Ona, features printed aluminum plating, which creates a blinding brilliance under the Florida sun. Howard Solomon, an eccentric artist once nicknamed The DaVinci of Debris, filled the castle with his original artwork. Visitors can see the castle, galleries and workshop, and dine on site at the Boat-in-the-Moat restaurant.
Want to visit? Soloman’s Castle is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm, but closed during August and September.
Address: 4533 Solomon Rd, Ona, FL 33865
4. Coral Castle, Homestead
Described as a ‘sculpture garden in stone’, Coral Castle was carved by a single man, Latvian Edward Leedskalnin, beginning in the 1920’s. Oddly, it has been documented that no one ever witnessed Leedskalnin carving any rocks. Some claim he had supernatural powers. Today, visitors can visit the Coral Castle Museum to view a 9 ton stone gate that moves with the touch of a finger, a Polaris telescope, and functioning rocking chairs made of stone.
Want to visit? The Coral Castle Museum is open Thursday to Sunday, 9am to 6pm.
Address: 28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, FL 33033
5. Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine
Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. The site serves as a National Monument and is St. Augustine’s oldest structure. Originally built by the Spanish to protect La Florida, it’s made of coquina which is crushed sea shells and mortar. Visitors can walk through the structure, visit exhibits, or view ranger led demonstrations throughout the day.
Want to visit? Castillo de San Marcos is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Address: 1 S Castillo Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32084
6. Cinderella Castle, Orlando
Cinderella Castle in Orlando serves as one of the most iconic symbols of Walt Disney World. The castle overlooks Fantasyland in Disney’s Magic Kingdom and serves as a backdrop for nightly fireworks. Guests to Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom can walk through the lower level of the castle, or choose to dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table – a restaurant located inside the castle. Extremely lucky guests may have an opportunity to visit Cinderella’s Royal Suite – an apartment inside of the castle.
Want to visit? Regular hours of operation vary for Disney’s Magic Kingdom, but it is open 365 days a year.
Address: 1180 Seven Seas Drive Orlando, FL
7. Hogwarts Castle, Orlando
Inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the castle is a snitch’s throw away from the Butterbeer stands and other treats enjoyed by characters in the Harry Potter books and films. Little known fact: If you don’t want to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (the ride located inside the castle), you can still walk through the queue and check out the inside of the building.
Want to visit? Regular hours of operation vary for Universal’s Islands of Adventure, but it is open 365 days a year.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Honorable mention: Need another castle to visit? Orlando is now officially home to the world’s largest White Castle! Plan to stop in at the 4,567 square foot restaurant located in The Village at O-Town West off of Interstate 4.
After you check out these castles in Florida, head to some of the thousands of springs in our state.