Explore your Summer Road Trip via Coastal Highway 1 Open from San Simeon to Big Sur’s Limekiln State Park

Summer Road Trip San Simeon

Following continuous efforts throughout the year, Highway 1 between San Simeon and Big Sur’s Limekiln State Park is open for travelers. In celebration, we’ve curated a list of must-visit stops along the scenic drive through San Simeon.

Hearst Castle, San Simeon’s crown jewel

Start off your day with a tour of the awe-inspiring Hearst Castle, just moments away from the heart of downtown San Simeon. Explore the grand ballrooms, extraordinary suites and stunning grounds of this architectural marvel. Advanced reservations for tours are recommended to avoid disappointment!

Fuel up and hit Highway 1

After a morning exploring the castle, grab a bite to eat or snacks for the drive from the historic Sebastian’s General Store. Teeming with local products, souvenirs and sweet treats, there’s something for everyone here - all set within its quaint, nostalgic ambiance that takes you back to the area's simpler times.

San Simeon Sebastian's General Store
Hearst Ranch Winery San Simeon

For the adults in the group, pause at Hearst Ranch Winery for a glass of wine - it’s right next door and offers amazing views for all.

Refreshed and ready to hit the road, jump on Highway 1 to keep the good times rolling…

Gateway to Big Sur: A scenic drive with serene pit-stops

Northern Elephant Seals

Once on the road, there’s a few can’t-miss opportunities while en route to Limekiln State Park, Big Sur. Just a few miles up the coast you will find Piedras Blancas Rookery - the very best elephant seal viewing. The Vista Point is conveniently tagged on Google Maps.

Elephant Seal

As you take in the sights of the world’s second largest seal, take the opportunity to learn more about these amazing animals from the Docents on the Bluff. Every day, rain or shine, you will find volunteer Docents in blue jackets on the Bluff who are eager to talk with you about what the elephant seals are doing, educate you on what’s happening at the Rookery, and provide guidelines and tips for your visit.

Traveling with a large group? Request a dedicated docent/guide to provide a tour for your community organization, tour group or large family group.

Piedras Blancas Light Station

After soaking up some sun on the sandy beaches alongside the seals, continue north on Highway 1 to explore the historic Piedras Blancas Light Station.

Once a crucial waypoint and navigation tool for mariners amongst the impending rocky cliffs, today the Light Station is both a historic park and wildlife sanctuary that bears a powerful reminder of the history of the area. The walking tour of Piedras Blancas Light Station is easy and even, making it a great option for the whole family.

To best protect the Piedras Blancas Light Station’s flora and fauna, tours are available by reservation only. Visitors can make reservations online or by telephone, the information for which can be found here.

Piedras Blancas Light Station Aerial Footage

Ragged Point

From the Light Station, make your way further north to Ragged Point. Here you will find spectacular coastal vistas, hiking and mountain biking trails.

Fancy staying the night to fully unwind? Post up at the Ragged Point Inn, enjoy dinner at the Ragged Point Restaurant, and watch the sunset over the craggy cliffs, towering woodlands and wide-open ocean.

For a final stretch of scenic vistas, finish your drive up the last section of Highway 1. Whether you reach the end of the road before sundown or the next morning, the drive up Highway 1 will never disappoint.

For all the opportunities in San Simeon and the surrounding area, visit our What To Do page to customize your trip.