Southernmost House in Key West, Florida
Why fly to the Caribbean when you can experience tropical paradise at this stateside sanctuary located in the coveted island city of Key West? The Southernmost House, an oceanfront Victorian-style inn, is a natural in front of the camera thanks to its retro pastel exterior, elegant gables, and bold landscaping.
Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana
Who needs a star-studded red carpet when you can take a walk along the red-brick canopied path that leads to Oak Alley Plantation? The imposing corridor of oak trees so dramatically frames the mansion's stately pillars and contrasting shutters that it may come as a surprise that the trees were planted years before the first brick was laid for the home.
Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia
Look on the back of a nickel and you might notice an edifice that bears a remarkable resemblance to this presidential residence near Charlottesville. Thomas Jefferson not only lived at his beloved Monticello, but he also designed the iconic plantation home. The octagonal dome and ivory portico are archetypal elements of 18th-century neoclassical architecture.
Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia
Although our first president never lived in the White House, he occupied a majestic mansion of his own in Mount Vernon. Set along the Potomac River, the Palladian-style plantation home, with a two-story main building and two single-story wings, rivals the White House in both beauty and historical charm.
Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California
Each year, several hundred thousand travelers flock to San Simeon to capture a moment in time at Hearst Castle. The former residence of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst strikes a memorable pose high above the California coastline. The estate comprises an opulent Mediterranean-style castle flanked by three European-inspired guest houses and lavish gardens and grounds. The largest of the guest houses, dubbed "Casa del Sol," Spanish for "House of the Sun," affords breathtaking views of the sunset.
flickr.com via Wayne Hsieh
Vaile Mansion in Independence, Missouri
Vaile Mansion, the former home of Colonel Harvey Merrick Vaile and his wife, Sophia, was once considered such a eerie spectacle that passersby refused to darken its door. Today, visitors are enthralled by both its beauty and its mysterious past. Designed in the Second Empire architectural style, the hand-pressed red brick structure with an imposing three-story tower and mansard roof makes for an Instagram-worthy scene on Halloween or any day of the year.
Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California
The Winchester Mystery House may seem spooky to some visitors—after all, some folks hold that Sarah Winchester built the oddly configured house to confuse the ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles, which were the source of her fortune. From the outside, the four-story abode's demure yellow siding, spindle-topped gables and cupolas, and stained-glass windows give no hint of the home's unconventional origins and perplexing interior.
Villa Vizcaya in Miami, Florida
The next time you travel to Miami, get behind the camera to shoot this resplendent residence on Biscayne Bay. Named "Villa Vizcaya" after the northern Spanish province of Vizcaya, this estate, once the home of businessman James Deering, exemplifies the Mediterranean Revival architectural style with its pristine stucco facade, red-tiled roof, and immaculately pruned topiaries.
Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut
Mark Twain gained international acclaim for literary classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, but Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the man behind the pen name, made a quiet life for himself in this Hartford home. The ruddy Victorian Gothic Revival-style residence, complete with a steep pitched roof and asymmetrical bay windows, was the perfect place for Clemens to pursue his literary ambitions.
flickr.com via cmfgu
Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York
Dubbed "Lyndhurst" after the linden trees on the grounds, the former residence of railroad magnate Jay Gould draws plenty of camera-happy admirers, thanks to its prominent Gothic Revival architectural details. The asymmetrical roofline, ornamental turrets, and fascinating array of arched windows carve out a striking silhouette that is worthy of framing.
flickr.com via MFer Photography
Painted Ladies in San Francisco, California
Authors Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen couldn't have picked a more perfect name for this rainbow-colored row of homes than the "Painted Ladies." Though these homes were painted gray during the world wars, by the time the 1960s rolled around, a cohort of artists initiated a decades-long project to accentuate the architectural details of these stately Victorians with eye-catching shades of red, yellow, brown, and blue. Their bold efforts clearly paid off: The Painted Ladies now form one of San Francisco's most iconic cityscapes.
Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Frank Lloyd Wright's love of nature permeates every inch of this architectural marvel in Mill Run. Given the name "Fallingwater" in honor of its construction over a waterfall in the Allegheny Mountains, the outdoor retreat once served as the weekend home of prominent businessman and philanthropist Edgar J. Kaufmann and his wife, Liliane. Fallingwater’s earthy stone walls and bridge, sprawling terrace, and effortless integration with its stunning natural setting cemented its reputation as one of the great works of American architecture.
flickr.com via Janine Lavallee
Carson Mansion in Eureka, California
Of all the Queen Anne-style homes constructed in the late 19th century, the Carson Mansion stands head and shoulders above the competition—literally—due to its impressive 103-foot tower. Now 130 years old, the historic former home of lumber baron William Carson still stops passersby in their tracks with its sprawling covered porch, highly ornamented pillars, and an array of intricate gables, cupolas, and turrets that create a fantastical roofscape.
wikimedia.org via Cory Maylett
Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina
Take one look at the manicured lawn of the regal Biltmore Estate, and you just might think you've been transported to Europe. Thanks to diligent maintenance efforts by the descendants of George Washington Vanderbilt II, the limestone columns, arched windows, majestic trefoils, and ornamental balustrade of the 178,000-square-foot Châteauesque estate are as visually spectacular today as they were at the turn of the 20th century when construction was completed.
flickr.com via Jennifer Boyer
Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona
Frank Lloyd Wright's selection of earthy materials like desert rock, concrete, and wood for his home allowed it to survive the harsh desert climate and serve to this day as the main building of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Students and admirers who missed their chance to meet Wright in person can still snag inspiration—and photo ops—from the pristine enclosed garden, tranquil pool and fountain, and six-sided cabaret theater.
flickr.com via Christina Wray
Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida
While famed author Ernest Hemingway was known for his spare style of writing, his former home in Key West boasts grand, camera-friendly flourishes that typify the French Colonial architectural style. The limestone construction's friendly facade boasts a wraparound balcony, grand bay windows, and grass-hued shutters that echo the lush subtropical plants surrounding the home.
Related: 7 No-Fail Exterior Paint Colors
wikimedia.org via Andreas Lamecker
The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island
Though the fortunes of Cornelius Vanderbilt II rose during the Gilded Age, the original wood-frame structure of his residence, the Breakers, was ravaged by fire in 1892. Soon after, this photo-worthy remake took its place. Bigger and better than its predecessor, the Italian Renaissance-style mansion is supremely photogenic thanks to its 30-foot entryway gates, red terra-cotta tile roof, and pristine Indiana limestone walls.
Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee
Occupying a whopping 13.6 green acres in the gently rolling hills of Memphis, Graceland has the same larger-than-life personality as its former resident, Elvis Presley. Although "the King" is no longer in residence at the Colonial Revival-style mansion, its five picturesque bay windows, stately portico, and statues flanking the entryway still make this legendary landmark worthy of a close-up.
flickr.com via Natalie Curtiss
Robie House in Chicago, Illinois
Regarded as one of the finest examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie School architectural style, the Robie House, with its low-elevation Roman brick exterior and leaded-glass windows, is true to its Midwestern inspiration. The use of beige mortar between the rows of bricks and maroon-colored mortar for the verticals emphasizes the structure's horizontality, giving it a seamless finish that shifts focus from the materials to the striking geometry of the building.
wikimedia.org via Teemu08
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