As a fan of the castle concept, it's pretty cool knowing that Illinois has that many. It's even cooler to know that several of those castles are surprisingly close to Rockford.

So forget about going to Europe to indulge your castle-visiting fantasies (it's expensive, and they talk funny over there), let's check out what you can see here in Illinois in far less time and for a lot less expense.

Stronghold Camp and Retreat Center, Facebook

The Closest Castle To Rockford Is About 30 Miles Away, Just North Of Oregon

That would be Stronghold Castle, or as it's now called, Stronghold Camp and Retreat Center. Built in 1928 by the owner/publisher of the Chicago Daily News, Walter Strong, Stronghold Castle boasts, according to the City of Oregon website, "sixteen bedrooms, nine baths, eight fireplaces, four secret passages, and a 55 by 34 foot “Great Hall” with a 34 foot ceiling. In addition, the grounds include a swimming pool and tennis court."

Stronghold Camp and Retreat Center, Facebook
Stronghold Camp and Retreat Center, Facebook

The Next Closest Castle To Rockford Only Takes A Quick Drive To Harvard

It's pretty cool that you could leave Rockford and easily visit two castles in a single day. After (or before) visiting Stronghold, head to Harvard and take a look at (or perhaps spend the night) at Ravenstone Castle Bed and Breakfast. According to their website, "In 2001, Jose and Rose Michel broke ground on their dream home - a castle in the 16th century style. Truly making the house their own, Rose designed each room, arch and turret."

Ravenstone Castle Bed and Breakfast, Facebook
Ravenstone Castle Bed and Breakfast, Facebook
Ravenstone Castle Bed and Breakfast, Facebook

When You Look At A Map, None Of Illinois' Castles Are Very Far From The Rockford Area

Some of the other castles (in a couple of cases, "castle" would be better) inside Illinois' borders include:

Cook Hall Castle on the grounds of Illinois State University in Normal.

Altgeld Hall Castle at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb

Wayne Dunham Castle in Wayne, Illinois

The Water Tower in Chicago

Bettendorf Castle in Fox River Grove, Illinois

Illinois' Priciest Palace For Sale That's NOT in Chicago or the Suburbs

Willing to drop big cash on a place as long as it's not in Chicago or the suburbs? Here's your place.

Immaculately Restored 1908 Wisconsin Mansion on Market for $40 Million

In this home's 115-year history, this is only the third time it has been for sale. Over 14,000 square feet of unmatched lakefront luxury.