San SimeonBook Your Stay
Come experience the rich history of San Simeon and William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach. Old San Simeon above the cove offers a wealth of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, the foodie, or the vista-hunter. Old San Simeon is built on the shoreline known for its whaling in the 1800s. While walking in Old San Simeon, stroll to the 800-foot San Simeon Pier to fish, watch for wildlife, or take in a sunset. The pier overlooks William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, a protected area that offers picnic tables, barbecue grill stands and restrooms. Wildlife is abundant in the area with frequent sightings of sea otters, elephant seals, seabirds and migrating humpback whales. For lunch, grab a burger and beer at Sebastian’s Cafe, or wine tasting next door at award-winning Hearst Ranch Winery, just a stone’s throw from the beach. Looking for a hike? The easy-moderate San Simeon Bay Trail takes you through coastal forests and out to secluded vistas.
While in San Simeon, experience the grandeur of Hearst Castle. In its heyday, Hearst Castle hosted celebrities―from Charlie Chaplin to Greta Garbo―as well as journalists, entrepreneurs and politicians like Calvin Coolidge and Winston Churchill. And now? You. Careful preservation of this lavish hilltop estate affords a view into the life and times of its owner, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The castle was designed by groundbreaking architect Julia Morgan and built between 1919 and 1947, Hearst called it “La Cuesta Encantada,” Spanish for “The Enchanted Hill.” Today, the 127-acre complex welcomes visitors to explore its main building, three guest houses, gardens, fountains, pools and artwork, and artifacts as a California State Park. Hearst Castle hosts a variety of tours (some of which are ADA-accessible), including a Grand Rooms Tour, Upstairs Suites Tour, Cottages & Kitchens Tour, and Evening Tours (spring and fall only). Tours depart and return from the Hearst Castle Visitor Center, where guests can enjoy dining options, gift shops, an art gallery, a free exhibition on the extraordinary life of William Randolph Hearst, and a five-story IMAX theater showing the film “Hearst Castle – Building the Dream.”
San Simeon boasts the largest free viewing area of Elephant Seals in California. One of the most entertaining attractions, the Elephant Seal Rookery is where pods of northern elephant seals come ashore to mate, give birth, molt and rest. One of the most exciting times at the rookery? December, when bulls fight for proximity and attention from females, as well as the end of January when birthing season peaks. Docents with Piedras Blancas Friends of the Elephant Seal are regularly on-hand to answer questions about the fascinating life cycle of the elephant seal, and interpretive signs give insight into the rookery and its inhabitants. For more information, a visitor’s center and gift shop are located eight miles south at Plaza del Cavalier in San Simeon.
Visit one of the best lighthouse tours in California at Piedras Blancas Lightstation. Tour this landmark lightstation, a remnant from the days when this stretch of coast was critical to the region’s economy. Named after the white rocks that threatened the safety of passing ships, Piedras Blancas is a historic park with a lightstation overseen by the Bureau of Land Management and a non-profit organization dedicated to its preservation. Part of the California Coastal National Monument and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Piedras Blancas is also a wildlife sanctuary where seabirds, elephant seals and humpback whales can be viewed when in season.
Things to do in San Simeon
Come experience San Simeon like the locals.
where to stay in San Simeon
Plan your stay at one of the many hotels or vacation rentals in San Simeon.
San Simeon LodgeSan Simeon LodgeSan Simeon
San Simeon Lodge is an ideal choice for visitors along Highway 1. The hotel is designed to be a relaxing getaway with convenient amenities.
Cozy Condo by the SeaCozy Condo by the SeaSan Simeon
This Cozy Condo vacation rental wants to be your next destination in San Simeon. This property near the beach is a great location.
Sea Breeze InnSea Breeze InnSan Simeon
The Sea Breeze Inn, San Simeon, centrally located in the town of San Simeon, wants to be your next favorite overnight stop on Highway 1.
Beachfront in San SimeonBeachfront in San SimeonSan Simeon
Beachfront in San Simeon is one of few vacation rentals in this quaint coastal town. This is the ultimate retreat, set on a seaside bluff.
San Simeon Travel Videos
Events in San Simeon
Plan your next roadtrip to San Simeon around events and happenings.
Hearst Castle Holiday Twilight ToursHearst Castle Holiday Twilight ToursSan SimeonNovember 24 to December 31, 2023
Come and experience the estate as William Randolph Hearst’s guests did during the holiday seasons of the 1920s and 1930s with impressive outdoor wreaths, towering Christmas trees in the large social rooms, and a dazzling, one of a kind poinsettia tree.
Live Music at Oceanpoint RanchLive Music at Oceanpoint RanchCambriaJuly 19 to December 27, 20236:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Join us for live music from local musicians on Wednesday nights.
BlendFest on the CoastBlendFest on the CoastFebruary 22 to February 25, 2024
This event has been postponed.
Travel Articles About San Simeon
Read about why San Simeon is the perfect California Highway 1 road trip for those seeking a special California beach town experience.
Preserves, Estuaries and Sanctuaries on Highway 1
Find thousands of acres of protected open space, both on land and at sea. These estuaries, preserves, and sanctuaries are home to abundant wildlife.
Martha Stewart Invites You to Hearst Castle’s Garden
Visit These Four Gardens to Get Your First Taste of Spring’s Bounty Wherever you are in the United States, here’s where to go to embrace the season’s best feature—freshly-bloomed florals. By Erica Sloan March 17, 2020Read the full article from MarthaStewart.com here In addition to the return of warmer weather, blooming gardens are arguably spring’s most cherished feature. […]
Highway 1 Zebra ViewingHighway 1 Zebra ViewingSan Simeon
Traveling the winding ranch road to Hearst Castle, guests once passed through fenced fields populated with many species of exotic wild animals
Whale Watching on the Whale Trail
When it comes to whale watching, the Central Coast boasts an embarrassment of riches, especially along the Highway 1 Discovery Route. Here, whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals and seabirds play within full view of the shoreline.
where to Eat in San Simeon
Check out all the restaurants and good eats in San Simeon.
Sunset Grill & Ale HouseSunset Grill & Ale HouseSan Simeon
Sunset Grill offers family friendly dining for breakfast and dinner daily.
Cavalier Coastal KitchenCavalier Coastal KitchenSan Simeon
The Cavalier Restaurant graciously offers a wide array of entrees and daily specials, local wines, and your favorite cocktails.
El Chorlito Mexican RestaurantEl Chorlito Mexican RestaurantSan Simeon
Celebrating 30 years of fine food
Manta Rey RestaurantManta Rey RestaurantSan Simeon
The Manta Rey Restaurant makes its home in San Simeon, two miles from Hearst Castle with stunning views of the coastline and the evening sunset.
Connect with san Simeon on Highway 1
Official travel map and social media for San Simeon.
More to Explore on Highway 1
Check out these other amazing places on the Highway 1 Road Trip in San Luis Obispo County.
Explore the Highway 1 Road Trip
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