US Castles Your Kids Will Love
You don’t need to endure a cross-Atlantic flight to see castles: you can visit many castles in the US with your kids. Here are the top four castles you should include in your itinerary when you travel with kids this summer.
Castle in the Clouds (Moultonborough, NH)
This peculiar stone structure was built over the mountain in 1913 by a Thomas Gustave Plant, an eccentric millionaire. Among other artifacts on display, you can see suits of armor, old shotguns and other weaponry. The view of hills and lakes alone is worth the trip.
The Castle in the Clouds is a child-friendly castle, especially for kids age 4 and up. In the kitchen, children can learn to use tools from the 1920s. Older kids can practice writing letters by hand, inspired by letters on display.
At the Shannon Pond, children can feed the rainbow trout while watching the fish jump out of the water to catch the food. (Make sure to bring quarters for the fish feeders.) Other family-friendly activities include a picnic area and exploring the vast grounds – 5,600 acres – of this property.
Coming up: Moms tour free on May 10, as part of appreciation for Mother’s Day.
Boldt Castle(Thousand Islands)
Built by the general manager of NYC’s famous Waldorf-Astoria as a tribute to his wife, Boldt Castle is located near Alexandria Bay, NY, and is the top attraction in the 1000 Islands are for those traveling with children. Getting to the castle is an adventure in itself: a short boat ride the entire family can enjoy. There are also plenty of grounds and gardens to explore. In addition to the six-story castle, structures of interest include the Power House, which resembles a medieval castle and arises out of the St. Lawrence River, and the Alster Tower, which looks like a defense tower.
Coming up: If you happen to visit Boldt Castle on June 16, your children are in for a treat: at the PBS Family Fun Day, they can meet their favorite characters including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George and Daniel Tiger. The event takes place from 10 am to 3 pm, so make sure you rent a stroller in case your child needs a break!
Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)
If you’re taking a road trip with kids in California, stop by the Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo County. Built by the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, and never fully completed, this California staple features one of the most elaborate collections in the world – from 400-year-old Spanish ceilings, to Renaissance art and Flemish tapestries. Three guesthouses are full of replicas of Grecian gods and goddesses, Roman-inspired pools and more.
The Hearst Castle can be a destination trip for older children, or a stopover if you’re on a road trip to Los Angeles or San Francisco with kids. However, because you can only visit the castle with a tour, children under five may find it difficult to do the full two-hour excursion.
Lyndhurst Castle (Tarrytown, NY)
A Gothic Revival mansion overlooking the Hudson River, the Lyndhurst Castle is a break from the hustle and bustle of exploring New York City with children. Note that this is a trip for older children who will enjoy the lecture on the mansion’s history and architecture, or infants who are still in carriers: strollers are not permitted in the mansion. You can rent a carrier if you didn’t bring one.
Coming up: Fun kid activities to consider are the Crafts Fair, which takes place on May 4-6, with almost 300 designers, artists and makers presenting all things handmade, and the Rock N Rods Auto Show, coming up on June 10, a display of vintage cars.