Sebastian’s General Store

If you’re looking for coastal California history with excellent taste, you can’t do better than Sebastian’s General Store. Located in Old San Simeon, on the west side of Highway 1, Sebastian’s was a hub of activity during San Simeon’s early years, and still is today. Throughout its century-old history, the business has served everyone from whalers to miners, lumbermen and ranchers. In fact, the newspaper tycoon who lived up the hill, William Randolph Hearst, was a regular. The Sebastian brothers owned and operated the false-front general store, which was built in 1852 and underwent several different renovations and changes. The business stayed in the family for over nearly a century until 1988, when the last family member passed away. At times a post office, souvenir shop, wine tasting room and restaurant, the store now belongs to the Hearst Corporation and is open seven days a week. Stop in, grab essentials for your visit to nearby W.R. Hearst Memorial Beach or the San Simeon Pier, pick up a sandwich, and enjoy an afternoon on the historic coast of California.

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Explore Sebastian’s in San Simeon

Sebastian’s Store

This charming spot currently functions as the local general store, serving both residents and visitors with a wide selection of goods. Forgot something at home? They’ve got you covered, from kid’s pajamas and blankets to toothbrushes and beach gear like sunglasses and books. You’ll even find necessities like batteries, charging cables, medicine and more. Snacks run the gamut from chips and granola bars to specialty treats like Chuao Chocolates. Sebastian’s also carries gifts, handbags, and home decor to remind you of your visit. Interested in tasting the best flavors around? Sebastian’s General Store also offers wine glasses, charcuterie boards, cookbooks and even olive oil tasting from Hearst Ranch.

Sebastian's General Store
Sebastian’s General Store

Sebastian’s Deli

Pop into Sebastian’s Deli for excellent farm-to-table eats care of Seaside Foods, which specializes in artisan sandwiches, salads and sides. Here, you’ll find sandwiches (including those made with historic Hearst Ranch beef), macaroni salad, sorbets and more. The vibe is as stunning as the flavor, with outdoor seating that’s dog-friendly and kid-friendly and views of the historic Pacific Schoolhouse. Set up on the picnic tables on site or take your meal to go and walk down to San Simeon Cove for one of the greatest picnic spots around.

Sebastian's San Simeon
Enjoying a bite at the deli

Sebastian’s History

Sebastian’s General Store has operated throughout San Simeon’s many different eras. Built in 1852 at the peak of the whaling industry, the Sebastian Brothers provided goods and services to whalers, fishermen, miners, and neighboring ranches. In its earliest days, Sebastian Brothers General Merchandise in San Simeon Bay was the significant shipping point for barrels of whale oil, cheese, butter and other commodities on the Central Coast. At one time, Old San Simeon Village flourished with two hotels, saloons, a blacksmith, a livery stable, a butcher, schools, a depot for a stage travel to Cambria and a telegraph line to San Luis Obispo. One of the lodging properties, the Bay View Hotel, offered first-class service and welcomed famous guests including Thomas A. Edison, Winston Churchill and Calvin Coolidge, to name a few. Sebastian’s was also the first post office in San Simeon until 1905 when it was moved to the pier. It was moved back in 1945, where it remains today. The Sebastian family bought the building in 1914 and operated the store for almost 100 years. Some remnants of the village are still visible today but by 1910, most of the village faded away. But Sebastian’s General Store remained and became a California Registered State Historic Landmark, continuing to serve locals and visitors alike today.

Sebastian’s is a California State Historical Landmark


Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room

A visit to Old San Simeon Village isn’t complete without a few sips at the Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room. The tasting room can be found directly across from Sebastian’s General Store and Deli. Stand at the counter inside or head outside for dog-friendly, ocean-view seating.

Hearst Ranch Wine Tasting
Stop by Hearst Ranch Winery for a tasting with a view

Butterfly Grove

Looking for wildlife? Try walking to the San Simeon Monarch Butterfly grove, just a short walk from Sebastian’s toward the eucalyptus trees along the shoreline. During the high season in January and February, the grove can see hundreds of butterflies, migrating from colder climes to warm their wings. Just walk under the trees and look up.

Monarch Butterfly Groves
See the Monarch Butterflies in the eucalyptus tree groves

Pacific Schoolhouse

The Pacific Schoolhouse provides an excellent glimpse into the history of Old San Simeon Village, as well as the life of its most famous resident William Randolph Hearst. As a child, he attended school at the one-room schoolhouse while his father oversaw his neighboring ranchos. The white-and-red schoolhouse sits just opposite Sebastian’s General Store. Stop by to take a peek into the past, and definitely say hello to “Trigger,” the senior miniature horse you will find grazing in the nearby pasture. (Just don’t feed him, please.)

San Simeon Schoolhouse
Visit the historic Pacific Schoolhouse

Hearst Castle

Of course, if you really want to experience San Simeon to the fullest, you can’t miss Hearst Castle State Park, up on W.R. Hearst’s “enchanted hill.” Built between 1919 and 1947, this 90,000 square-foot estate was designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan for media magnate William Randolph Hearst. The property is now a state park that’s open to the public for tours.

Take a tour of the iconic Hearst Castle