We're always so moved to see San Simeon profiled in the news. Read recent news stories that discuss why our coastal paradise is just so special.
San Simeon News, November 2022
This Coastal Waterfall Is One of California's Hidden Treasures according to Travel+Leisure — and It Runs Right Into the Pacific Ocean. The half-mile round-trip trail in Big Sur, California, opens up to a stunning viewpoint of 80-foot-high McWay Falls and a pristine beach.
Our Seaweed Future Is Growing Along California's Central Coast — Keri Bridgewater of Inside Hook shares the importance of learning to love the ocean-grown superfood by foraging for it in the wild.
World’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
Fodor's Travel features San Simeon's Elephant Seal Vista Point as one of The World's 12 Best Beaches for Spotting Wildlife. Big Sur has achieved worldwide fame thanks to its superb coastal vistas, and the surrounding region is no slouch when it comes to wildlife either. Case in point—the iconic Elephant Seal Vista Point, a renowned road trip destination located in the idyllic seaside village of San Simeon.
Hearst Castle Reopening
California’s iconic Hearst Castle has reopened its doors for the first time in two years — and it’s the perfect spot to kick off a road trip along San Luis Obispo County’s stretch of Highway 1.
Quaint & Quirky
Highway 1 Discovery Route hosted journalist Sharon McDonnel who featured Cambria Pines Lodge in the story, "Quaint, Quirky Cambria" in Punch Magazine. The Big Attraction: Hearst Castle – Nothing could be more of a contrast to Cambria's folksy Charm than William Randolph Hearst's lavish European-inspired fantasy in San Simeon, located just six miles north.
Best Things to Do in San Simeon
Vacation Idea of Dream Vacation Magazine explored The Top 25 Things to Do in San Simeon and Cambria – Tucked between the towering pines and shimmering Pacific Ocean of California’s Central Coast, San Simeon is a picturesque seaside village with beautiful year-round weather and an array of interesting things to see and do.
Hearst Castle Reopens
Hearst Castle on California’s Central Coast to Finally Reopen After 2 Years — Kept closed first by a global pandemic and then by weather damage, the famed Hearst Castle is slated to reopen to guests on May 11, marking the first time people will be able to visit the iconic California landmark since March 2020.
Hearst Castle Returns
Hearst Castle Prepares to Reopen
The top international traveler attraction in San Luis Obispo County will reopen its doors in May, offering a likely boost to nearby businesses, especially those that serve tourists. After a closure that has gone on for more than two years, the world-renowned Hearst Castle in San Simeon will reopen to guests on May 11.
Hearst Castle Reopens It's Doors
California’s original mega-mansion shut down during COVID, then needed big road repairs. After two years, Hearst Castle will reopen May 11 with slightly lowered admission prices. On reopening, it is expected that the park will move quickly towards its previous levels of 1,500 to 5,000 visitors per day.
Sips and Snacks
When it’s time for a road trip pit stop, fuel up at one of California’s favorite food trucks. The casual, quick and creative fare make it a win for all road-trippers looking for a tasty way to experience a destination like a local. After a day of fun in the sun, the Sandwich Stand at Ragged Point Inn is the perfect place to enjoy scenic views and a quick snack. Need to quench your thirst? Settle in at Hearst Ranch Winery Thursday through Sunday for local wine and an on-site food truck.
Thanks to the stunning Pacific coastline, few destinations offer a more picturesque road trip than California’s Central Coast. Designed to accommodate every kind of traveler, including all ages and interests, it’s no wonder that Highway 1 is such an iconic destination for the family road trip. Here you can enjoy big views along Big Sur, impressive national parks and marine sanctuaries, as well as landmarks like the Piedras Blancas Light Station and Elephant Seal Rookery. Easily making your road trip dreams a reality.
Here Come the Elephant Seals
Mark your calendars, elephant seals make their way back to the shores of Piedras Blancas throughout September and October for what is known as, “fall haul-out”. As the more mature bull elephant seals depart for the second of their annual migrations, young seals arrive to take their place and steal the show. Here they will remain for the coming weeks, socializing and basking in the sun.
Return of Hearst Castle
While we all eagerly await the return of the famous Hearst Castle, set to reopen early to mid 2022, it is still possible to enjoy the Hearst experience. If you are escaping to San Simeon for a last-minute getaway while the sunshine is still out, stop by Hearst Ranch Winery for exceptional wine and exceptional views. Take a bottle (or two!) home where you can enjoy a virtual tour of Hearst Castle from the couch with Airbnb’s Hearst and Hollywood.
Off the Radar
Go off the radar for your next vacation. Turn your phone off and enjoy the sweet serenity that is found in San Simeon. Take the time to walk one of the area’s prized beaches, like the black sand beach at Ragged Point, or explore rocky outlooks along the cliffside trails towering above. Celebrated for its commitment to preservation efforts, it is easy to get lost in the sheer beauty of San Simeon’s nature.
Through the Lens
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Bring home an album of incredible story-telling images from your trip to San Simeon. With so much to capture, we love looking at this small coastal town ‘through the lens’. Many photographers have spent their entire career chasing the hidden beauties found along the Central Coast, and it’s no surprise given San Simeon’s iconic landscapes, wildlife, and beautiful preservation.
Hearst Castle Gets Virtual
While Hearst Castle remains closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions, you now have the opportunity to explore the famous landmark without even leaving your couch! Thanks to a collaboration between the Hearst Castle Foundation and Airbnb’s Online Experiences, you may now enjoy the completely virtual “Hearst & Hollywood” tour. This unique 75-minute live tour takes you back in time to experience the historic landmark in William Hearst’s time.
For the Roadtrippers
Stretching 100 miles south of Big Sur, the Highway 1 Discovery Route holds many treasures including charming beach towns, diverse wildlife, outdoor recreation, local roadside attractions, fresh seaside cuisine, and spectacular nature. Don’t forget to add a stop at Piedras Blancas, Ragged Point, and Hearst Ranch to the itinerary - no trip along the Central Coast is complete without them!
Underrated Road Less Traveled
Wine, ocean views, and wildlife - what’s not to like? If San Simeon’s size has you fooled, think again. The area along Highway 1 is jam-packed with activities, adventure, and flavor! Explore picture perfect state parks, cruise across the awe-inspiring coast of Big Sur and Ragged Point, or stop for a pit stop at Hearst Ranch Tasting Room where you can get familiar with locally made California wines.
Image courtesy of @apluss_photo
Gilded Age Palace
Expect the unexpected in San Simeon, home to William Hearst’s one-of-a-kind Hearst Castle. Built between 1919 and 1947, this legendary estate boasts over one hundred rooms, multiple indoor and outdoor pools, and thousands of acres of ranchland (home to cattle and zebras leftover from Hearst’s once private zoo). Here you’ll find all the glitz and old school Hollywood glamour that you never expected to find in a quaint coastal town.
Winning the Family Road Trip
Elevate your next family vacation with an epic road trip along the Golden Coast. Just as the name suggests, you’re in for miles of sunshine and good times. Follow along California’s Highway 1, through San Luis Obispo County and San Simeon for a memorable trip full of sandy beaches, picturesque ocean views, unbeatable wildlife viewing, and fun outdoor-inspired summer activities.
Image courtesy of @dubphoto
Discover Hearst Castle and the family behind this extraordinary property. According to Forbes, the Hearst family is worth roughly $21 billion, making them one of the 12th richest families in America. From striking rich in the gold rush to getting expelled from Harvard, learn about all the secrets hidden behind castle walls when you tour Hearst Castle.
Best of State
With 9 national parks and 280 state parks, California is no doubt one of the richest states when it comes to natural wonders. During your next visit to San Simeon take advantage of the proximity of two of our favorite state parks, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Hearst San Simeon State Park. Julia Pfieffer Burns in Big Sur protects waterfalls, ragged overlooks, and incredible hiking trails while Hearst San Simeon is home to the Elephant Seal Rookery and Boardwalk where thousands of elephant seals gather throughout the year.
Fourth of July Festivities
Celebrate the great American countryside with an old school road trip along the Golden Coast. Create memories of a lifetime as you make your way along the 90 miles of picturesque Pacific Coast Highway. Explore all that Big Sur and San Simeon have to offer with a glass of red wine, white sandy beaches and blue ocean waves. With so many beautiful spots to stop along the way, it is an adventure the whole family will love.
W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach has earned significant bragging rights over the years for its beauty and assortment of recreational activities. With bright blue waters, an 850-foot long pier and a view of the famous Hearst Castle, it is hard to beat the scenery. Just when you think it can’t get any better, the shoreline is protected by San Simeon Point creating a shallow surf that is perfect for family-friendly activities like swimming, kayaking and beginner surfing.
As Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift, we are all itching to return to travel but may not be quite ready for a trip across the globe. With a trip along California's Highway 1, you can enjoy a European feel without ever leaving the states. Sun-kissed sand and dewy forest trails imitate the fairytale feel of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Exquisite coastal overlooks in Big Sur paired with a trip to the sandy beaches of San Simeon are sure to fulfill your wanderlust.
Image Courtesy of @rotrc_gail
Beat the travel-hungry crowds this summer with a peaceful coastal retreat. Think comfort and calm as you plan out days spent lounging seaside in the sun. Long barefoot walks on the beach, kayaking trips across serene waters and evenings chasing sunsets await you when you visit San Simeon. Spend the day balancing relaxation with rewarding experiences like whale watching or a tour and tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery.
Reopening of Pfeiffer Falls Trail
About 50 miles north of Ragged Point, the much anticipated return of the scenic Pfeiffer Falls Trail marks 12 years since its closure due to a devastating local wildfire. Located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, this popular landmark takes you through a 1.5 miles of scenic redwood forest to an enchanting 60-foot waterfall. The family-friendly trail now also features a 70-foot pedestrian bridge that spans the Pfeiffer Redwood Creek ravine.
Let There Be Light
There’s something about an iconic coastal lighthouse, and it just so happens that the Point Sur Lighthouse in Big Sur and the Piedras Blancas Light Station in San Simeon are two of California’s finest. Once these historic light stations served the important role of warning mariners of the rough, dangerous coastline. Today these uniquely beautiful buildings stand tall as monumental attractions open for educational tours that you and your family will love!
Say Hello to California’s Best Hikes
Forest meets sea at the Central Coast’s Boucher Trail along Highway 1. This easy hike is only 3.8 miles round trip and yields stunning views of the shoreline, making it the perfect family-friendly trail. Home to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery as well as the home to the Piedras Blancas Light Station, there is plenty to see along the way. Stop at one of the lookouts to observe the elephant seals basking in the sunshine or schedule a tour to learn more about the historic light station.
Your bucket list road trip is calling you to the California Coast where miles of scenic highway are waiting to be discovered. Soak up sunshine and spectacular coastal views as far as the eye can see. Get a taste for the diverse landscape of the Golden State as you cruise through wine country, green forests and picturesque shorelines. Make sure to pit stop for photo ops at distinctive landmarks like Hearst Castle, Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery and Ragged Point.
Smiles for Miles
Now more than ever road trips have become the vacation of choice. As life returns to some sense of normalcy, the iconic Highway 1 welcomes tourism back. The Big Sur coast stretches along 95 miles, from Monterey down to San Simeon, with rocky coastline offering the perfect getaway. Bring the whole family and explore charming resorts, campgrounds, fresh restaurants and scenic views all accessible along Highway 1.
Big Adventures in Big Sur
Highway 1, also known as the Big Sur Coast Highway, has been ranked as one of America’s finest scenic drives. As it snakes along the Pacific Coast, it offers stunning views of both the mountains and the sea. Stop at one of the many pitstops in San Simeon and Ragged Point to enjoy panoramic views, local wildlife and delicious restaurants. Don’t miss the famed Bixby Bridge, one of the biggest arch bridges in the world!
Real Simple Magazine Regional Road Trips
Big Sur got its name from early Spanish explorers who called the coastal region “El Sur Grande'' or, the big south. Today this name remains and perfectly describes the miles of ragged California coastline. Throughout the drive keep your eyes peeled for elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery, California condors flying in the sea breeze and the blows of migrating whales off of the coast.
A Snapshot of Big Sur from Los Angeles Times
The photogenic Big Sur coastline awaits you on Highway 1. Here you can capture all the Pacific shore has to offer including elephant seals in their natural habitat, fields of wildflowers blooming near Ragged Point, dramatic cliffside views, tranquil rolling waves and award-winning sunset backdrops. Your Instagram followers are sure to catch major vacation envy during this trip!
AFAR Magazine’s Relaxing Weekend Break
Dive into the Highway 1 Discovery Route - this serene getaway is the ideal destination for activities without the crowds. The understated towns found along the drive boast endless entertainment and unique experiences. Explore history and art at Hearst Castle, view elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery or soak up stunning views with a glass of local wine at Hearst Ranch Winery located on San Simeon Cove.
If you are seeking out your next vacation destination, you don’t need to look far. The Central Coast invites you to explore its beautiful beaches, spectacular highway views and unique small-town charm. In fact, Big Sur was recently selected by the U.S. News as one of the nation's top 30 vacation destinations in the United States. Pack up the car and head our way for an epic adventure.
The Iconic Castle of California
With 127 acres of land, 165 artistic room and zebras roaming the property, Hearst Castle in San Simeon is truly a rare experience you won’t find anywhere else. Indulge in the extravagance and history of the site with a tour of the estate. Afterwards, stop by the Hearst Ranch Winery to taste locally grown wines and feel like royalty yourself.
As you cruise the scenic Highway 1 with windows rolled down, make sure to stop along the way to discover local treasures. Hidden gems such as secluded beaches and fresh locally-sourced restaurants are commonly found right off of the highway near Big Sur and San Simeon. This provides the perfect opportunity for photos, sightseeing and a chance to refuel.
For nature lovers and animal lovers alike, look no farther than San Simeon’s numerous state parks and coastal preserves. Become one with nature and get in touch with your wild side as you get to know California’s diverse marine life along the shores of the great Pacific Ocean. Add a visit to Piedras Blancas Rookery, the very best place to spot elephant seals, migrating whales, seabirds and more.
Road Trip Ready
Road trip season has arrived, and Highway 1 has reopened just in time for you to take the road trip you’ve been dreaming about. Windows down, salty summer breeze in the air and incredible coastal views await you along the Central Coast of California. Stop along the way to view marine life, enjoy family-friendly beaches and activities, or taste local food and wine.
Keeping Busy by the Coast
Hop in your car and crank up the radio, the Central Coast is waiting to be discovered. With diverse marine wildlife, celebrated wine, local dives and beaches worthy of magazine covers, you will find it impossible to be bored. Whether you are watching the sunset, combing the beach for shells, investigating tidepools or discovering local landmarks, the California Coast has your next vacation covered.
Natural Beauty on Highway 1
Fall in love with the natural beauty of the Central Coast. With its rugged shoreline, picturesque beaches and abundant wildlife, it is easy to become enchanted by the subtle charm of San Simeon. Explore the great outdoors with hikes and trails or get familiar with the area’s local restaurants and boutique shopping. Don’t forget popular landmarks like the Piedras Blancas Rookery and Hearst Castle that highlight the town’s unique, undeniable draw.
Enjoy the Scenery in San Simeon
After an unprecedented year of lockdowns and paused travel plans, we are all eager to fuel our wanderlust. With the arrival of 2021, San Simeon is ready to welcome back road trippers to this beautiful stretch of Highway 1. California’s Big Sur stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway came in second among the 10 Most Beautiful Road Trips in the world for its incredible, instagrammable scenery.
Highway 1 - Back and Better Than Ever
The open road is calling. Highway 1 is eager to have you back, so eager in fact, that it has been reopened ahead of schedule. This iconic highway was originally constructed in 1934 and has been one of the most popular road trip destinations ever since. With over 650 miles to explore, this coastal highway is the perfect place to get away this summer.
Stop and Smell the Salt Air
When cruising down the historic Highway 1, it is all about the journey and less about the destination. Enjoy the ride but remember to pause along the way to stop and smell the salty, sea air. As you travel through the beautiful California coast, let life guide you down the road less traveled. You may be surprised what you find when you slow down to look.
Julia Morgan – The Woman Behind Hearst Castle
Julia Morgan grew up in San Francisco and became the first woman to ever attend the prestigious architecture program at Beaux-Arts de Paris. After graduation, she came home to her roots and opened her own architecture firm where she designed over 700 buildings. The most prolific project was Hearst Castle, the historic estate commissioned by William Randolph Hearst positioned in the hills of San Simeon. Construction of the castle lasted nearly three decades.
There’s No Coast Like the Central Coast
It’s time to start planning that getaway you’ve been dreaming about, and the Central Coast of California is the perfect destination. Wine taste your way through San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles before heading over to Highway 1 where you will find the hidden gem of San Simeon boasting wide-open beaches, a seaside tasting room at Hearst Ranch Winery and the iconic Hearst Castle estate.
Bucket List Trip
Hit the road and head to the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, a 650-mile stretch of road lining the coast of California. Along your way, make a stop in San Simeon to see the elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery, observe wildlife from the San Simeon Pier and stroll along the pristine beaches with turquoise waters. Book a stay at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort and enjoy a glass of wine from your seaside porch as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.
Turn your dreams into reality this summer with a trip along Highway 1 on California’s Central Coast. The highway lined with quaint coastal towns, like San Simeon, and stunning beaches will entertain the whole family. "Highway 1 is one of the world's iconic road trips, it's really unparalleled," Visit California Vice President of Communications Ryan Becker said.
STEAM Programs at Hearst Castle
The ongoing educational programs for students offered through the Foundation at Hearst Castle are built to inspire and empower young adults from underserved communities. The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs include customized tours of Hearst Castle and a guided tour of the San Simeon Bay and Pier.
Road Trippin’ on the Coast
Located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along the coast, San Simeon is a great family road trip destination. Fill your itinerary with beachcombing, swimming and sunbathing at WR Hearst Memorial State Beach, hiking along beautiful coastal trails and touring the historic Piedras Blancas Light Station. Keep your eye out for the abundant wildlife from zebras Hearst Ranch to elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery.
Get Outside This Spring
Skip the crowds and get a front row view of wildlife, stunning outlooks and surreal beaches in San Simeon. A stop at San Simeon Cove is a must (dogs welcome) for beachcombing, a hike along the San Simeon Point Trail and relaxing on the soft, warm sand. Spot whales, seals, birds and other marine life from the San Simeon Pier. End your day with a glass of wine at Hearst Ranch Winery for a day well spent.
Next Road Trip Destination
When you are ready to hit the road again, hop on Highway 1 for an epic coastal adventure. Explore the wide-open spaces of San Simeon from the beaches to hiking trails to turquoise waters. Cast a reel in on the San Simeon Pier or spend the day beachcombing for unique driftwood.
The Quintessential Road Trip
Plan your road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway, stretching the length of California. Whether you are heading north from Los Angeles or south from San Francisco, San Simeon is the perfect midway point of the state. Explore the quaint seaside town and outdoor playground ready to be discovered!
Historic Hearst Castle
Dreamed up by media mogul William Randolph Hearst and executed by architect Julia Morgan, Hearst Castle in San Simeon includes 115 rooms, an outdoor and indoor pool, a world-class art collection and blooming gardens. The stunning estate offers a number of tours through the kitchens and rooms, and covers the fascinating stories of the castle.
The Season for the Whale Trail
Embark on a “visual treasure hunt” along the Whale Trail stretching over 1,500 miles up and down the West Coast of California. San Simeon is home to two official Whale Trail viewing sites, one at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort and a second on the San Simeon Pier. Viewing whales feeding and breaching right off the coast.
The Northern Elephant Seal
The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery along Highway 1 is a happening spot for wildlife viewing. Take in the scenic coastal views from the boardwalk and view elephant seal juveniles and adults sunbathing, sparing and heading to and from sea. The rookery is home to elephant seals all year round, with molting season beginning in April.
Tour the Piedras Blancas Light Station
Explore the historic Piedras Blancas Light Station positioned on the bluffs in San Simeon. The educational tour will take you around the grounds and cover history dating back to 1875. In addition to viewing the light station, the grounds are a great location to view elephant seals, falcons and other wildlife.
A Sweet San Simeon Escape
Listed as a top road trip destination, San Simeon and its surrounding coastline promise an epic getaway on Highway 1. Hike the Boucher Trail and keep an eye out for wildlife, stop by Hearst Ranch Winery for a glass of wine and take a stroll on William Randolph Hearst State Beach to look for seashells, driftwood, fascinating rocks and sea glass. Whether your ideal road trip is adventuring in nature or simply relaxing, San Simeon has everything you need for a sweet escape.
The Perfect Pandemic Getaway
Looking for a destination for a safe escape? Look no further than California’s Central Coast. San Simeon is home to wide-open beaches, endless hiking trails, winding roads with epic coastal views and quiet accommodations perfect for a relaxing getaway. Change your work-from-home scenery or pack up the kids for remote learning in San Simeon.
If you’re staying at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort during your San Simeon excursion, make sure to challenge your travel buddy to a game on the oversized chess board, pick up a game of beach badminton, roast marshmallows on the oceanfront fire pits and enjoy a glass of wine on the patio of your room. It’s definitely worth it to wake up early for a sunrise walk on the beach just steps away.
What’s Happening at the Piedras Blancas Rookery
With winter comes elephant seal breeding season, a busy time at the Piedras Blancas Rookery located on Highway 1 just North of San Simeon. While elephant seals can be seen at the rookery year round, December – March is an especially busy time as mothers birth and wean their pups before returning out to see in the Spring. Stop by to see these wonderful creatures from the safe, outdoor boardwalk.
Watching Wildlife, Safely
The splash of a whale tail, cry of an elephant seal pup and deep dive of a condor are incredible moments to experience in nature - and San Simeon is the perfect place to observe wildlife in their element. While you explore, remember to give all animals their space, respect their home and simply remain an observer.
A Coastal Getaway
"Sunday Morning" takes viewers to the peaceful coast of San Simeon, home of the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. The rookery off of Highway 1 is the perfect destination to view wildlife up close and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Take a stroll along San Simeon Beach, look for sea life off of the pier and rejuvenate your spirits in the hidden gem of San Simeon.
San Simeon News, December 2020
Perfect Pit Stop: San Simeon
Take a drive along iconic Highway 1 on the Central Coast of California with a pit stop in San Simeon for stunning coastal views and an abundance of wildlife watching. Pull over at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery to get a glimpse of males sparing, females birthing or elephant seal pups lying on the shore. Then swing by Hearst Ranch Winery for a bite to eat and a glass of wine at the outdoor seating area overlooking San Simeon Bay.
Must Visit Pit Stop by San Francisco Chronicle
Widely known for the historic Hearst Castle, San Simeon is home to other gems such as Hearst Ranch Winery, San Simeon Bay, family hiking trails and endless scenic vistas. Plan a road trip to get away from the hustle and bustle, and indulge in the wonders of San Simeon’s wide open spaces.
Relax and Recharge on the Central Coast
Start the New Year off with an escape to California’s best kept secret - San Luis Obispo County. With an abundance of wide-open spaces to explore, like San Simeon State Park, and businesses following the top COVID-19 protocols, it is the perfect destination for a road trip getaway. Sip a glass of wine at Hearst Ranch Winery’s outdoor tasting room or walk along the San Simeon Bay Pier for a total refresh.
Elephant Season Pupping Season
Take a winter road trip to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery along Highway 1 in San Simeon to view baby elephant seals on the shore. The rookery has transformed into a ‘maternity ward’ as these fascinating creatures pup from December to March. It is a very exciting time to visit the rookery, so pack your bags and hit the road!
Juvenile Condors are Released in San Simeon
The Ventana Wildlife Society and Pinnacles Condor Recovery Program successfully released 11 condors on the Central Coast after a devastating year for this species from the Dolan Fire in Big Sur. They plan to release two more to the wild in January. The efforts of these programs are helping to restore the endangered bird to its’ original numbers.
Learn About the Elephant Seals
The Friends of the Elephant Seal are finding creative ways to stay connected and educate the public as the COVID-19 pandemic restricts the volunteer organization from sending docents on-site. The non-profit began recording virtual field trips and posting on their YouTube channel for students, and are expanding the reach to the general public.
San Simeon News, November 2020
Highway 1’s Unparalleled Beauty and Wildlife
Winter on California’s Central Coast is a great time for a road trip with mild climate, migrating wildlife and scenic beauty on Highway 1. Explore the whale trail with two locations in San Simeon, one on the San Simeon Bay Pier and the other at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort. And a stop at the Piedras Blancas Rookery is a must where elephant seals birth their pups January – March annually.
Perfect Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo County
Explore all San Luis Obispo County has to offer from wide-open spaces to incredible restaurants. Sip wine in Paso Robles Wine Country before heading to the coast where you will find secluded beaches, unique wildlife and accommodating lodging options for the whole family in San Simeon. It’s the perfect road trip destination for an adventure filled, relaxing getaway.
“Mank” on Netflix
The film “Mank” to appear on Netflix on December 4, 2020 is focused on 1941 cinema co-writer Herman Mankiewicz. The over two hour film will take you through how “Citizen Kane” was written and the glamorous life of Old Hollywood featuring our very own Hearst Castle.
Central Coast Getaway
Travel along the Highway 1 Discovery Route on the Central Coast where you will find the quaint coastal town of San Simeon. Kayak through the teal coastal waters, spot whales and marine life from the end of the San Simeon Bay Pier, hike along the Boucher Trail and end the day at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, watching the sun set over the ocean. Your coastal getaway awaits!
Work-From-Home Change of Scenery
While we can work or go to school from just about anywhere in the world, why not road trip to San Simeon for a change of scenery? Explore the Pacific Coast Highway and surrounding coastline while making the most of the current situation. Educational opportunities for students include tours of the Piedras Blancas Light Station, a stop at the Piedras Blancas Rookery and virtual Hearst Castle STEAM programs.
Condors in San Simeon
Seven juvenile condors have been released along the coast of San Simeon to help restore the endangered species in San Luis Obispo County. Ventana Wildlife Society is helping to increase the numbers of these fascinating birds along our Central Coast.
The Happenings at Hearst Castle
The roughly 140 staff members employed at Hearst Castle are busy restoring and preserving the historic estate while tours are on hold. The projects range from restoring the bell system in Casa Grande to deep cleaning the museum collections to the tedious task of restoring the gold ceilings. Hearst Castle is excited to reopen its’ doors to the public sometime in 2021.
San Simeon News, October 2020
Hearst Castle Project Highlights the History and People Behind the Estate
The iconic estate is continuing to connect the public with Hearst Castle by uncovering history from letters, oral histories and telegrams about media magnate William Randolph Hearst and his former San Simeon home. Hearst displays his humor, frustrations and triumphs through communications with friends and families over the 28 years of construction and provides a glimpse into life while he lived in San Simeon.
Juvenile Elephant Seals Return to Piedras Blancas Rookery
The rookery, which hosts up to 20,000 elephant seals annually, has begun to see juveniles return to shore from their first year at sea. The pups have learned how to dive and hunt for fish and squid since leaving the shores of San Simeon in March and April. On average, only half of the elephant seal pups survive the first migration, so reaching the rookery in the Fall is a big success for these little guys.
The Safe Getaway You’ve Been Craving
Dog-friendly, family-friendly and pandemic-friendly, San Simeon is the next spot for your relaxing, safe getaway. Enjoy physically distanced activities like the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery on Highway 1, viewing zebras roaming the hillside below Hearst Castle and hiking along gorgeous coastal bluffs. Rest your head at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort after a long day of outdoor adventure.
Coastal Road Trip Along Highway 1
Explore the Highway 1 Discovery Route from Santa Barbara to Big Sur, where you will find cute seaside towns, like San Simeon, perfect for a much-needed getaway. Book your stay at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, a mere 60-second walk from a stretch of wide-open beach, with views that go on forever. Spend the day exploring trails and beaches before cozying up next to a fire pit and listen to the therapeutic crashing waves.
Hearst Castle Improvements Are A Silver Lining
While public tours are temporarily on hold, Hearst Castle has taken the opportunity to restore and maintain the 165 artifact-filled rooms and beautiful grounds of the estate. The Roman Pool tiles have been pressure-washed and replastered, a job that hasn’t been repeated since the 1980’s, along with touched up paintings, restored ceilings and groomed gardens. When the castle can once again welcome visitors to explore the grand estate, it will be in incredible shape!
Explore the Outdoors on California’s Central Coast
An outdoor enthusiast’s dream, San Simeon is the perfect – and possibly safest – place to enjoy a little break from the world. Located on Highway 1, discover secluded beaches with the ideal backdrop to read a book or enjoy a picnic, coastal bluff trails with lookout points to observe wildlife and hotels going the extra length to make sure your visit is a safe one. And don’t forget to check out the zebras grazing along the highway!
Iconic Hearst Castle
The historic Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument sits atop a hill overlooking San Simeon, boasting 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. One of the main structures Casa Grande is home to 115 rooms including the Refectory, Billiard Room, Theater, Gothic Study, Beauty Salon, Butler’s Pantry, Kitchen and Staff Dining Room. The grand estate is full of history, art and great stories of the former owner William Randolph Hearst.
Education with a View
If school is remote, why not take it on the road? Find adventure along Highway 1 with stunning coastal views in Ragged Point and outdoor adventure in San Simeon. Take study breaks to visit the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery or cast your reel in the water on the San Simeon Pier. Find affordable accommodations with amenities perfect for remote learning that will keep the whole family happy!
San Simeon News, September 2020
Stay and Play in San Simeon
The historic seaside town of San Simeon is the perfect place to escape. Minutes from Hearst Castle, the quaint town is full of adventure from sandy beaches to coastal bluff trails to an oceanfront wine tasting room. Not to mention, there are handful of accommodations perfect for family trips, romantic getaways or solo travelers. Plan your road trip to San Simeon today.
Restoring the 16th Century Hearst Castle Ceiling
Art conservator Gary Hulbert has taken on the tough and tedious job of restoring the Morning Room ceiling at Hearst Castle. A job that was labeled "a massive undertaking ... unveiling a gorgeous, vibrant, gessoed work of art." His work at Hearst Castle helps to keep the spirit of the estate alive and allows visitors to see the castle as a guest of William Randolph Hearst’s would have.
Camp on the Coast
Plan a camping trip to San Simeon this Fall, where you will find secluded beaches, coastal bluff trails and endless water adventures awaiting your arrival. Set up camp near the ocean at San Simeon Creek Campground or Washburn Primitive Campground, and spend the weekend exploring nature, looking for shooting stars and sitting with the family around the campfire.
Quaint Coastal Getaway
San Simeon is one of the most secluded towns along Highway 1 on the Central Coast, offering the perfect place for a peaceful getaway. Home to Hearst Castle, San Simeon is full of fun adventures from zebra sightings to stunning turquoise beaches to scenic coastal trails. Stop at the Piedras Blancas Rookery to spot elephant seals and catch a glimpse of the Piedras Blancas Light Station standing proudly amongst the bluffs.
The annual Cambria Scarecrow Festival is returning to spread fall cheer from October 1-31, 2020. This year, zombies will line the streets of San Simeon while other themed groups of scarecrows will be on display throughout Cambria. The Scarecrow Walk is all outdoors and can be easily enjoyed while still supporting safety by wearing of masks and physical distancing.
San Simeon News, August 2020
Vacation on the Central Coast
Escape to the Central Coast of California where you will be greeted by a laid-back lifestyle and endless adventure. Sunbathe on secluded San Simeon beaches, take a hike with your four-legged best friend, make a day trip to Paso Robles wine country and relax in San Simeon as you savor summer on the coast.
Washington Post Highlights San Simeon in Their Architecture Road Trip
Looking for a fun summer road trip? Pack up the car and embark on an adventure along California’s Highway 1 where you will be graced with views of iconic Hearst Castle overlooking San Simeon and wide-open beaches. Round out your stay with an abundance of outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching and swimming Your road trip will be one for the books.
Central Coast Outdoor Adventures
Spend a day playing with your dog on the secluded beach of pet-friendly San Simeon Cove, hiking along coastal bluffs on the Junge Ranch Trail and visiting the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Rookery located right off of Highway 1. This safe, fun adventure is just what you need to get out of the house.
Enjoy the Best Hikes, Beaches and Adventures on Highway 1
Set off for a road trip along Highway 1 where you will find fun around every bend from hikes like Black Swift Falls at Ragged Point to seaside wine tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery to pet-friendly beaches. Pack up the family, and the dog, for a road trip to the Central Coast!
Put Hearst Castle on Your Bucket List
From rare décor sourced from all over the world to stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Hearst Castle deserves a spot on your bucket list. Discover unique artwork and elaborate architecture at the estate in San Simeon, located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Keep your eyes open for grazing zebras, statues imported from Egypt and elaborate gold ceilings!
San Simeon News, July 2020
The Ultimate American Road Trip
For a summer road trip to remember, venture down famous Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles, passing through cute coastal towns filled with epic adventures. Stop in Big Sur for stunning natural beauty, San Simeon to view the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Rookery and San Luis Obispo for a yummy bite to eat.
The Boston Herald Features Hearst Castle
Take a road trip along California’s Coast that the whole family will enjoy. As you work your way up (or down) Highway 1, you will pass Hearst Castle in the hills of San Simeon, zebras grazing on the castle’s land and inviting turquoise waters the kids can swim, boogie board and fish in. Pack the car, the family and your sunscreen for a fun coastal road trip!
Summer 2020 Road Trip Musts
As you plan the rest of your summer, consider heading to Highway 1 along California’s coast for a safe, fun family road trip. With plenty of wide-open spaces and beaches to explore, your trip will be fun for the whole family! Swim at W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, hike along the coastal bluffs and enjoy a meal at one of San Simeon incredible restaurants.
Perfect, Quiet Seaside Getaway
During your seaside getaway in San Simeon, hike the 8 miles of maintained trails at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve along the coastline, visit the intriguing elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Rookery and observe the Piedras Blancas Light Station that stands strong along San Simeon’s coast. Not to mention, spot Hearst Castle from Highway 1 high among the hills.
Start Your Outdoor Bucket List
What better time than now to start your outdoor bucket list? For the Central Coast of California, your must see bucket list items should include Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (great for camping, biking, hiking fishing and surfing), McWay Falls (an iconic destination on Highway 1) and the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery (located 5 miles north of Hearst Castle with incredible views of the fascinating elephant seals).
San Simeon News, June 2020
A Motorcycle Ride of a Lifetime- The Pacific Coast Highway
Cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway for a motorcycle ride that is sure to leave you speechless. As you wind your way north, stop at Sebastian’s General Store for a bite to eat along the water. After a day spent in the sun and coastal breeze, rest at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort with stunning views of the Pacific right from your balcony.
The Legendary William Randolph Hearst
Hearst was a businessman, politician and newspaper publisher who built the largest newspaper and media company of the time, Hearst Communications. With his money, he was able to build a grand estate in San Simeon with an extensive art collection that can now be toured today.
Recognize Lady Gaga’s Set From her 2014 Hit Song “G.U.Y.”?
Lady Gaga’s music video for “G.U.Y.” features the iconic Hearst Castle pools: the Neptune Pool and Roman Pool. Lady Gaga’s extravagant approach to art combined with the grand architecture of the castle makes for a breathtaking and interesting collaboration.
The Central Coast- The Perfect Getaway
Located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Central Coast offers the perfect getaway from the big cities. Adventure along the Highway 1 Discovery Route where you will find off beat hotels, stunning secluded beaches and delicious wine. Stop by San Simeon to tour iconic Hearst Castle and sip wine at Hearst Ranch Winery on the coast.
Romantic Road Trip on the Coast
Take to the road with your significant other for a romantic trip to California’s hidden gems. Hike in Big Sur before winding your way down to Ragged Point Inn for dinner and a hike to a hidden beach on the Black Swift Falls hike. Continue south to San Simeon where you will find hikes along the bluff, the famous Piedras Blancas Light Station and a quirky downtown scene.
Road Trippin’ California Style
Grab your family and friends for an epic road trip on Highway 1 where you will encounter jaw dropping views around every bend, delicious food at local restaurants and coastal adventures at every turn off. Make sure to put San Simeon on your must stop list to experience the cliché small surfer town California you’ve been dreaming of.
Take a Day Trip to Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
Escape to the wide-open spaces along the coast and take a road trip to San Simeon for a show from the elephant seals! The Piedras Blancas Rookery provides a stunning outlook of the shore where young males spare, adult females gear up for their journey out to sea and elephant seals lay napping on the warm sand.
San Simeon News, May 2020
Explore the Elephant Seals Virtually with California State Parks
Embark on a virtual tour with California State Parks to Hearst San Simeon State Beach to discover elephant seals with the home learning program. The program helps to continue educating students and the public on the fascinating creatures.
Laid-back Lifestyle in San Simeon
Indulge in the laid-back California lifestyle in San Simeon, where there are stretches of beach to walk, waves to surf and unique history to explore. Relax at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort before a full day of hiking beautiful trails, sipping wine at Hearst Ranch Winery and touring historic Hearst Castle.
Next Travel Destination – Highway 1
Can’t wait to get back out and travel? Start planning your epic trip to Highway 1 and San Simeon. A trip to Hearst Castle is a must where you will find lush gardens, grand buildings and gorgeous Central Coast views. Continue north on Highway 1 for an unforgettable trip to stunning Big Sur.
Road Trip Down Highway 1
Explore the wonders of the California Coast on Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Along your way, stop in San Simeon for a glass of wine at Hearst Ranch Winery, a hike along gorgeous coastal bluffs and a tour of historic Hearst Castle overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Experience Hearst Castle
The stunning property of Hearst Castle includes 160 rooms, three guesthouses and two pools all filled with beautiful art from around the world. The castle’s owner, William Randolph Hearst, threw grand parties with Hollywood guest lists including Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and Cary Grant. Now, the state parks maintain the estate and tours are held daily.
Back on the Road to San Simeon
Hit the road along the California Coast that will take you to 13 state parks, laid-back beach towns and National Historic Monument Hearst Castle. There is plenty to see and an abundance of Instagram photos to snap as you travel along Highway 1.
Your Next Road Trip
Enjoy one of the most scenic road trips in the world along the Pacific Coast Highway. As you exit Big Sur, you will enter the beauty of San Simeon, home to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, Hearst Castle and unparalleled sunsets.
A Drive Along Highway 1
As you plan your future travels, consider winding your way up the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco on an epic road trip. Stop at the quaint town of San Simeon for a walk on the beach, a tour of Hearst Castle and an oceanfront stay with delicious eats.
San Simeon News, April 2020
Celebrated Female Architect Julia Morgan
California architect Julia Morgan was the first woman admitted to Ecole de Beauz-Arts in Paris in 1898. Her biggest career achievement was Hearst Castle in San Simeon, a massive estate for publisher William Randolph Hearst. She was hired to design over 700 buildings during her career.
Hearst Castle’s Extraordinary Private Zoo
Private zoos are generally much smaller than city-run zoos, and the animals found in private zoos generally require less maintenance. However, Hearst Castle’s private zoo once held elephants, bears, apes and big cats. Today, zebras still roam Hearst Ranch and can be seen from Highway 1.
Stunning California Coastline
Big Sur, located between Caramel and San Simeon, is a gorgeous stretch of Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean. The California coastline of Big Sur includes legendary Hearst Castle, stunning beaches, wildlife and inspirational views. The natural beauty will leave you in awe.
Highway 1 Scenic Drive
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Along your drive, stop to explore the wonders of Hearst Castle and say hello to the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Rookery in San Simeon. The drive is full of adventure and stunning sights.
Hearst Castle Digital Learning Program
Hearst Castle launched their Digital Learning Program for elementary students to explore the castle and learn about the history behind the enchanting estate. California State Parks is providing virtual experiences for families and students to continue exploring and learning. A focus of the program is Hearst Castle’s architect Julia Morgan.
Springtime at Hearst Castle
Spring is here, and Hearst Castle is buzzing with flowers, bees and butterflies. The 127-acre landscape includes gardens, terraces, pools and enchanting walkways. The land is a beautiful retreat for visitors, with views of the Pacific Ocean and California countryside.
Elephant Seal Pups Venture into the Ocean
Young elephant seal pups will begin to leave Piedras Blancas Rookery and head into the Pacific Ocean waters. The pups will head north, some swimming as far as Alaska. Eventually they will migrate back to the shores of San Simeon.
Hearst’s Epic Private Zoo
William Randolph Hearst filled his private zoo at Hearst Castle with hundreds of wild animals, including leopards, grizzly bears and elephants. At the time, Hearst owned the largest private zoo in the world. Now his home is a tourist attraction and zebras can be seen roaming on the grass of the property.
The Enchanting Hill
Hearst Castle is nicknamed the “Enchanting Hill” for good reason. The Neptune Pool is complete with Grecian-style temples and crystal-clear water, the exterior of the castle is Spanish inspired and the grounds include gold and marble statues among gorgeous gardens. The castle in the clouds includes stunning views and fascinating history.
California’s Grandest Castle
Nestled on the top of a hill in San Simeon, Hearst Castle is secluded yet grand in every way. Built in 1947, the castle includes terraces, pools, gold and marble statues, 160 rooms and stunning Pacific views. William Randolph Hearst also established an extensive art collection at the estate.
Vacation in Quaint San Simeon
With a population under 500, San Simeon has small town charm with epic coastal views. The hidden gem includes two bucket-list attractions: Hearst Castle, a grand castle built on a hill in San Simeon, and Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, the largest public elephant seal viewing area in the world.
Social Distancing with the Elephant Seals
The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery remains open to the public. A mile-long boardwalk and trail allow visitors to safely view the creatures while practicing social distancing. Spring is a busy time at the rookery from the elephant seals to brown pelicans to sea otters.
Zoom Storytime at Hearst Castle
Parents and children joined California State Parks via Zoom for a reading of “How A House Is Built” by Gail Gibbons. A State Parks employee read the book from the Main Terrace in front of Hearst Castle. This activity is part of the California State Park Home Learning Program.
San Simeon News, March 2020
Family Friendly Trips to Take in March
With your children out of school for at least a week, it’s a good idea to prepare fun things to keep busy. A family friendly road trip might be the best solution to keep everyone happy. Travel California’s Pacific Coast Highway through San Simeon for gorgeous views and lots of open space to explore.
Hearst Castle Celebrates 100 Years
To commemorate 100 years of Hearst Castle, California State Parks is highlighting the achievements of its’ architect Julia Morgan. The California native was recognized by the American Institute of Architects and awarded their Gold Medal for her outstanding career. The park has created a tour in her honor, and will update the details in the coming months.
Hearst Castle - An Iconic California Destination
On the Pacific Coast Highway, the iconic hilltop estate of Hearst Castle sits overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The castle contains an art collection of over 25,000 artifacts ranging from all over the world, but primarily Spain and Italy. The castle was constructed over a 28 year time period, and is still under construction in some areas.
Virtual San Simeon Sunset Walk
Hearst San Simeon State Park, Morro Bay State Parks and the Central Coast State Parks Association hosted a virtual sunset beach walk in San Simeon via Facebook to bring a little of San Simeon to viewers. During these challenging times, it is important to take time for the things that make you happy.
San Simeon News, February 2020
America’s Top Ten Castles
Begin your tour of America’s amazing castles with a visit to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. The castle includes views of the Pacific Ocean, luscious gardens and incredible architecture that are a sight to behold. See for yourself why Hearst Castle is the best-known and most visited castle.
Castles to Visit in Your Lifetime
Hearst Castle was rated one of the most beautiful places to visit in North America. William Randolph Hearst nicknamed his estate La Cuesta Encantada, Spanish for “the enchanting castle.” This estate, along with the surrounding town of San Simeon, is one you will want to visit within your lifetime.
Senior Center Visits San Simeon
The Selma Nick Medina Senior Center traveled to the Piedras Blancas Rookery in San Simeon to view the elephant seals along the shoreline. Then, they continued their tour to the quaint sea-side town of Cambria. Their mini-vacation was full of fun and adventure
Worth the Detour
Hearst Castle is comprised of 125 rooms and 127-acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. William Randolph Hearst was constantly building and rebuilding on the grounds of “the ranch” with help from architect Julia Morgan. There is plenty to explore and discover in this beautiful hidden gem.
Our Valentines, the Elephant Seals
Visit the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery to view the local marine inhabitants, who will steal your heart this Valentine’s Day. There is informative signage displayed at the rookery viewing platform, detailing what elephant seals eat, their mating rituals and the details of pupping season. These fascinating creatures are full of life and fun to observe.
2020 Dream Destination
Take a road trip along Highway 1, a scenic route that hugs the Pacific Ocean coastline, for breathtaking views and an adventure you’ll never forget. Along your way, stop by to admire the architecture and extensive art collection at the famous Hearst Castle in San Simeon. It’s bound to be a trip you’ll never forget!
Spring Break Road Trips
As Spring Break approaches, consider adding Hearst Castle in San Simeon to your agenda. The property boasts over 160 extravagant rooms, lavish gardens, the remains of a private zoo and an airstrip on a 123-acre property. It was even known as a celebrity getaway in the 1920s.
Coastal Adventures Along Highway 1
Explore the coast with an adventure at Fiscalini Ranch. The 1.6-kilometer trail along the Pacific Ocean welcomes hikers, horseback riders and bicyclists. The trail stretches along the seaside bluff and is home to many endangered species. Keep your eye out for red-legged frogs and Monterey pines.
Hearst Castle’s Attendance on the Rise
Hearst Castle’s attendance rose 4.1 percent in 2019, and the castle predicts attendance to continue to grow. While the castle has accommodated up to 1 million visitors in a year, that level isn’t sustainable without changing the visitor experience and potentially causing damage to the property. See what the rage is all about, and experience Hearst Castle for yourself!
Elephant Seal Pups are Preparing to Leave the Beaches
The past few months at the Piedras Blancas Rookery have been lively with elephant seal pups on the shore. The weaned pups have now packed on weight, from their birth weight of about 70 pounds to their current 300 pounds. View these fascinating creatures at the rookery from a safe distance for free.
Stories From Former Hearst Castle Museum Director
Former Hearst Castle museum director, Hoyt Fields, first fell in love with the castle and the property in 1969 when he was offered his first job. Over five decades later, Fields still works as a retired employee of the State Parks at Hearst Castle with hundreds of stories of his time at the castle.
Spending the Weekend in San Simeon
San Simeon is full of life with gray and humpback whales off the coast, sea birds gliding in the breeze and elephant seals finding warmth in the sand at the Piedras Blancas Rookery. There is plenty of coastline and sea life to explore in San Simeon.
San Simeon News, January 2020
New to San Simeon, Winter Elephant Seal Tours
This winter California State Parks will be hosting guided elephant seal tours every weekend from January through the end of March. These fun and educational tours will be led by knowledgeable staff members and teach you about the lifecycle of the elephant seal. For more information on the tours read this article on KEYT.
The Best Places to Travel in 2020
Travel + Leisure’s editor-in-chief, Jacqui Gifford, joined the TODAY show to talk about the best places to travel in 2020. During her feature, Gifford recommends the Central Coast for the beautiful beaches and wine country – lucky for you, San Simeon has both of these attractions in one easy location!
It’s Officially Elephant Seal Breeding Season
San Simeon kicked off elephant seal breeding season with the first pup being born on December 16. More births are expected to happen throughout January and February and trained volunteers will be posted at the rookery throughout the season to answer visitor’s questions.
Unexpected California Attractions
If you’ve ever driven along Highway 1 in San Simeon, you may have been surprised to see zebras grazing in the open fields. These surprising creatures are the remnants of what was once William Randolph Hearst’s private zoo. Today, the herd of zebras freely roam the Hearst Ranch property. Be on the lookout and you may just be able to see them grazing near the highway.
Hearst Castle: A Sight to Behold
Trevor Summons, with the Santa Barbara Sun, walks you through exactly what to expect while touring the famed Hearst Castle. Hear the history behind the magnificent estate and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, learn about the famous architect who designed it and find out what stops are along the tour.
Exploring San Luis Obispo County
Located along the 100-mile stretch of California’s coastline and nestled between rolling hills, San Luis Obispo County sits perfectly between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A perfect vacation destination for all, read Noreen’s guide in Food Wine Travel Magazine on exploring the region here.
The Best Places to Travel in 2020
California’s Central Coast was rated the best place to visit for plant moms in 2020. Tour the gardens at Hearst Castle for breathtaking flora or visit the coastline in Spring and find rolling bluffs filled with poppies and other wildflowers.
San Simeon News, December 2019
California’s Central Coast is one of the Top 50 Best Places to Visit
Travel + Leisure just named California’s Central Coast one of your must-sees in 2020.
Located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this stretch of highway has long been considered a stop along the way. Now rising up as its own destination, you can enjoy sand and surf, food and wine, stunning hikes, and historic architecture all in one place. Hurry up, now is the time to go before the secret’s out!
Your U.S. Travel Destinations for 2020
Whether it’s a day at the beach, eating and wine tasting your way through the region, or exploring the historic Hearst Castle, California’s Central Coast has something everyone can enjoy. Named one of the top 50 places to visit in 2020, this refreshingly low-key destination is waiting for you to come and explore all it has to offer.
Elephant Seal Pupping Season has Begun
Each winter female elephant seals flock to the Piedras Blancas Rookery to safely give birth, while the young males come back to fight for dominance. Visit the Rookery this winter to see the influx of elephant seals, but please remember to give these new mama’s and pups their space.
San Simeon News, November 2019
Decorating Hearst Castle for the Holidays
Thanksgiving weekend Hearst Castle’s Holiday Twilight Tours will open to the public for select days throughout the month of December. Decorating the ninety-thousand square foot castle in twinkling lights, towering Christmas trees and more for the holiday season is no small task. NBC Los Angeles highlights the talented team who sets it all up. Experience the castle adorned in awe-inspiring décor for yourself by joining one of Hearst Castle’s Holiday Tours.
Exploring San Simeon’s Gems
One man’s vacation to the charming town of Cambria leads him to discover the Piedras Blancas Light Station, Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery and Hearst Castle – all in one trip. Read this article by Travel Scope to read more about his experience in San Simeon and his favorite parts of his trip.
San Simeon News, October 2019
Cambria Scarecrow Festival Contest Winners
With 100 new sculptures joining the festival this year, visitors flocked to the streets to see and photograph this year’s scarecrows. The 2019 Cambria Scarecrow Festival was such a success, even the local homeowners joined in on the festivities and showcased their own creations outside their homes. See if your favorite scarecrows won awards and which scarecrows took home the win in categories such as “Most Imaginative” or “Using the Unexpected.”
Scientists Explore Large Octopus Garden off San Simeon’s Coast
Scientists have been exploring an octopus nursery 50 miles off of San Simeon’s coast, where hundreds of female octopus have been laying their eggs. Being a part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary means it is common to find a plethora of sea life in the area, however, an Octopus Garden is rare. It is only the second Octopus Garden to have ever been discovered, and the largest on record. Read more about this fascinating scientific discovery and view footage of the Octopus Garden here.
Cyclists Ride Through San Simeon to Support Wounded Veterans
The annual Project Hero California Challenge happened again with over 50 military veterans, first responders and their supporters, cycling from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara. The cyclists made a stop in San Simeon on Tuesday, October 15 and then continued down the coast – many on hand cycles, recumbent bicycles and adaptive bikes – to complete their 300-mile-long journey.
Taking it Slow in San Luis Obispo County
Selling Travel magazine shares their insight on taking a road trip along the historic Highway 1. If you’re looking for insider tips, the experts suggest visiting the elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery in San Simeon, and we couldn’t agree more! Find more of their Central Coast Highway 1 Travel Tips on pages 44-45.
Beach Vacations You’ll Want to Take This Fall
Find San Simeon in Simplemost’s list of beaches vacations that are even better during the fall. Among their list of locations and activities is a visit to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. With elephant seal populations peaking throughout the months of October and November, it is the perfect time to visit the rookery.
Male Elephant Seals Head to San Simeon for Winter
Each winter the large male elephant seals lose fights for dominance on other beaches and haul their battered bodies back to San Simeon to heal their battle wounds. This occurrence marks the second period of the year when elephant seal populations rise in San Simeon. If you would like to learn more about these fascinating critters while visiting, look for the docents that are at the Piedras Blancas Rookery daily to answer your questions.
Day Trips from Santa Barbara
Hearst Castle is a worthy day-trip attraction and an easy 2.5-hour drive from Santa Barbara. Hit the road this fall and book a tour at the historic and iconic Castle that is sure to take your breath away.
What’s New with Sebastian’s General Store
Plans for Sebastian’s General Store building are underway as owners prepare for what’s to come. Stephen Hearst and the Hearst Corp. are currently working hard behind the scenes to restore the historic building after it’s closure in early August. Their goal for the building? To keep the authenticity of Sebastian’s General Store, with the design deeply rooted in the building’s past.
The Road Trip of a Lifetime
Leave the city behind with a trip along the Central Coasts’ Highway 1 Discovery Route for the best Highway 1 experience you can find. Discover the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, elephant seals, uncrowded beaches and a historic lighthouse. Stay oceanfront at the Cavalier Resort for panoramic views and tour the regal Hearst Castle. For more ideas on what to do, read this article by Travel by ENTREE.
San Simeon News, September 2019
A Look at The Good Life on California’s Central Coast
Take a break from your busy schedule with a trip to California’s Central Coast, where the pace of life is slow, but jam-packed with things to do during your stay. Stroll along San Simeon’s beaches, watch elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery and enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from Ragged Point. Read more.
Hearst Castle’s Holiday Feast
Dine at the Castle as if you were one of William Hearst’s esteemed guests with sparkling wine and hors d'oeuvres, a wine-paired dinner, live entertainment and professional yuletide portraits. The Foundation at Hearst Castle will host this holiday feast at Hearst Castle on Saturday, December 7 as a fundraiser for the Castle’s restoration and preservation efforts.
Firefighter Saves Seal Among Cheering Crowd
As an encouraging crowd watched from the San Simeon Pier, local firefighters paddled out to save a seal hooked and tangled in fishing line. The Marine Mammal Center was alerted and called for help when they realized they were not able to safely help the seal who was anchored to the pier. Read more about this rescue on USA Today’s For The Win.
San Simeon News, August 2019
Explore Highway 1 with a Stop in San Simeon
This iconic highway is the perfect place to satisfy your wanderlust with plenty of activities the entire family can enjoy. On pages 86-87 find the low-down on all there is to do in San Simeon, including tours of the famous Hearst Castle, lunch and wine at Hearst Ranch Winery, a night’s stay at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, tours of the historic Piedras Blancas Light Station and elephant seal sightings.
Discover One of the World’s Greatest Places in San Simeon
We are excited to share the news that Hearst Castle has made Time’s World’s Greatest Places list for 2019. It’s overwhelming to see the San Simeon destination listed alongside sites like Zakouma National Park in Chad, Teatro Galli in Italy and Red Sea Mountain in Egypt. Read the article here to see what makes Hearst Castle one of the world’s greatest places to visit, and book your tour if you haven’t already!
Dwellings of the Rich and Famous
Discover 10 extravagant homes once belonging to the rich and famous in this article by The Travel. Making the list at number one is Hearst Castle, originally belonging to newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst. Sitting upon La Cuesta Encantada, or the Enchanted Hill, in San Simeon, CA the castle is now a National Historic Landmark and offers daily tours.
The Inaugural Best Buddies Cornhole Tournament
Each year the international non-profit Best Buddies races along the scenic Highway 1 to the finish line at Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Aside from racing, the Best Buddies team throws different fundraising events throughout the year. Check out their inaugural Cornhole Tournament here.
A Wedding Fit for Royalty
Socialite, activist, model and heiress to the Hearst Corporation, Amanda Hearst tied the knot at Hearst Castle early this month. Amanda Hearst is the founder of the sustainable fashion retail company, Maison de Mode. She married Norwegian film director, Joachim Rønning, at this fairytale location in San Simeon, CA. Find photos and details about this magical celebration at Vogue Australia and Vogue Paris.
The Hearst’s Weekend-Long Celebrations
Although the Hearst family no longer owns the iconic Hearst Castle, after the Hearst Corporation donated it to California State Parks, the family gathered at the historic monument once again. Amanda Hearst, great-granddaughter to William Randolph Hearst, tied the knot with Norwegian Director, Joachim Rønning in a wedding fit for a queen. Find photos from their weekend of festivities in People Magazine.
Your Luxury Guide to Big Sur
Harper’s Bazaar outlines how to travel through Big Sur in style with extravagant inn’s, dining and breathtaking parks. Stop just south of Big Sur for a tour of the luxurious Hearst Castle, views of elephant seals, wine and dine in Old San Simeon or enjoy some outdoor adventure with numerous beaches and hikes. Find your perfect Gateway to Big Sur itinerary here.
Noteworthy Pools Inspired by Hearst Castle
Los Angeles based photographer, Tim Street-Porter, has toured the world taking snapshots of some of the globes most stunning pools. Amongst these oases includes the classic Hearst Castle pools along with George Hearst’s pool in Palm Springs, CA – modeled after the pools from the Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
Road Trips to Take this Fall
This autumn, embark on the adventure of a lifetime with a road trip through San Simeon. Discover San Simeon’s Hearst Castle with a tour of the grounds and castle rooms. Head north and find the Piedras Blancas Rookery where you can watch the giant elephant seals basking, barking and battling on the sand. Stop for a glass of wine and a bite to eat at Hearst Ranch Winery, now located in the Hearst Seaside Warehouse.
Summer Cruising Through California
On pages 40-41 of Walnut Creek Magazine, find your perfect itinerary for heading north on Highway 1. First stop is Hearst Ranch Winery in its new location at the Hearst Seaside Warehouse. Enjoy a glass of wine with lunch before a tour of the historic Hearst Castle. Be sure to look out for the famed elephant seals along the way.
Expert Insights on a Pool-Cation
Anyone with access to a pool knows the key to a perfectly executed summer is lounging next to the water, jumping into the cool abyss when the weather gets too hot and the occasional tsunami-causing cannonball. Pool experts gathered a list of the best pools to jump in for your next pool-cation, including Hearst Castle’s Neptune Pool and Roman Pool. Find the rare, but occasional chance to swim in these pools when you become a member of the non-profit in charge of the castle’s preservation – The Foundation at Hearst Castle.
From Wine Country to the Coast
Luxury Magazine encourages you to start your next vacation in California’s Central Coast wine country and continue the adventure to the coast. With a quick drive west on Highway 46, you will reach the quaint seaside town of San Simeon. Discover Hearst Ranch Winery, elephant seals, tours of Hearst Castle and the historic Piedras Blancas Light Station.
Discover California’s Central Coast
Fall in love with the magic of the Central Coast. Explore historic San Simeon with a hike out to Piedras Blancas Light Station for an educational tour. Opt for wine tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery after a tour of the breathtaking Hearst Castle or plan a picnic and spend the day at the beach at San Simeon Cove. Read more about this enchanted vacation spot in The Senior Reporter of OC and Not Born Yesterday!
San Simeon News, July 2019
Plan a Stop at Hearst Castle
LA Travel shares highlights from their trip through California’s Central Coast. Among the list is San Simeon’s Hearst Castle, described as “the most popular and spectacular monument in the area.” Read more about Hearst Castle’s history and what you can see during a tour in this article.
5 Reasons to Visit Hearst Castle
As if you needed another reason, Forbes journalist, Will McGough, dives in to why you should plan to stop at Hearst Castle this summer during your drive along Highway 1. Bring the family along and see first-hand just what makes this historic castle so magical.
Your Summer Family Road Trip
Every summer vacationers hit the road for an adventurous trip across Highway 1. Every parent knows traveling with kids can be an adventure in itself– but San Simeon has you covered. Read this article and learn why San Simeon is your perfect family-friendly place to stay along your route.
A Dream Come True
Anyone who has been to Hearst Castle knows the feeling when you pass by the majestic pools, yearning to jump into the cool waters. Well there is no need to dream about it any longer because it can be a possibility by becoming a donor of the Castle’s non-profit, Foundation at Hearst Castle. Read Architect Digest’s article to hear more about this exciting news.
Calling All Thrill Seekers
The wind on your face, adrenaline pumping, outstanding views– what more could you want? Explore Highway 1 on your motorcycle this summer and cruise through San Simeon for the ultimate adventure. Be on the lookout for zebras, stop at an Elephant Seal Vista and grab a bite to eat at Sebastian’s General Store and Café on your way down the coast.
Bring the Kiddos to San Simeon
Ever thought about traveling the iconic Highway 1 with your kids, but never committed? Nadine Burbeck is here to give advice and recount the tales of her own trip with her three sons. Hear all about what her family did in San Simeon, where they stayed and why her kids loved it.
San Simeon News, June 2019
What’s New in San Simeon
If you’ve visited San Simeon, you know it is a historic town filled with intriguing stories to uncover around every corner. Now, the famous town is making history once again with some recent additions to the already unique itinerary. Read Phoenix Magazine’s article on “What’s New in San Simeon” to discover the exciting news and incredible events that you can add on to your itinerary during your next stop on the Central Coast.
Pinnipeds, galumphing and more!
John Lindsey recounts the tale of coming across a large herd of pinnipeds in open water, something he hasn’t seen since 1992. Read his article to learn about the life of these marine mammals and visit San Simeon’s elephant seal viewing point, located off of Highway 1, for a personal experience. Speak with a docent while you’re visiting for the opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures.
Pacific Coast Highway’s Must-See Sights
Highway 1 is full of hidden gems that are waiting to be explored. Plan your next trip to California’s famous Highway 1 and stay in San Simeon to discover a town that is like no other. Fill your time here with the historic Hearst Castle, famous bites at Sebastian’s General Store and Café, unmatched coastal views and exclusive wildlife viewings.
Plan A Day in San Simeon
Take some pointers from The Travel Writers on your next trip to San Simeon for a day of fun discoveries. Watch elephant seals play and lounge from the vista point, speak with docents and explore the surrounding trails. Make sure to stop at Sebastian’s General Store and Café for one of their famous burgers– pair it with a glass of wine from next door for best results. Read on to learn more about the unique activities and history San Simeon offers.
We Have Your Road Trip Itinerary
Follow Byways through their road trip down Highway 1 and you will find a weekend full of relaxation, friendly locals and unparalleled views. Our small coastal towns offer you plenty to do with beautiful hikes, exciting vista points and mouth-watering food and wines. Did we mention we have a castle?
Hearst Castle Brings Tourism to San Luis Obispo County
San Simeon’s Hearst Castle was mentioned in this month’s issue of Smarter Travel as one of the region’s best attractions, and we couldn’t agree more. Plan your next family vacation to San Simeon for a trip full of jaw-dropping views, historic adventures and fun coastal hikes. Read the article to discover all of the exciting things you can do in San Luis Obispo County during your next stay in San Simeon.
Ideal R & R Weekend in San Simeon
San Simeon’s very own chef, Ian McPhee, was highlighted in this article and praised for his mouthwatering, grass fed Hearst Ranch beef burgers. We agree that the food from Sebastian’s Café and General Store is the perfect representation of San Simeon style of “superior quality, served casually.” Imagine a weekend of rest and relaxation with a glass of Hearst Ranch Wines paired with one of Chef Ian’s irresistible creations, enjoyed on the peaceful deck with good company.
Elephant Seals, Zebras and Elk, Oh My!
We love to see our unique coastal residents in the spotlight. San Simeon’s very own elephant seals and grazing zebras are a special sight that the whole family can enjoy observing. Summer time is the perfect season to gather with family and friends and head to the coast. The beaming sun and crashing waves act as the perfect environment to stroll and view these one-of-a-kind coastal inhabitants.
Marvel at Hearst Castle Along Highway 1
There is much to admire while visiting the enthralling Hearst Castle. Between the breathtaking views, to the fanciful pools and dramatic detailing, the Hearst Castle is a stop you won’t want to miss while on a drive down the coast. This article featured on Visit California, details the varying tours and must-sees at Hearst Castle. We know it’s a stop you don’t want to miss while road tripping down Highway 1.
San Simeon News, May 2019
Endless Discoveries on Highway 1
On a popular route traveled countless times, the Highway 1 stretch exhibits timeless beauty and splendor. A noteworthy stop on the way down the coast is the famous Hearst Castle. William Randolph Hearst inherited the vast acreage of land over 100 years ago and has built it into an iconic landmark on California’s famous Highway 1. Check out this article featuring San Simeon’s Hearst Castle on a journey down the coast.
Paws in the Sand
You don’t have to worry about leaving your furry friend at home again with a trip to the coastal town of San Simeon. With over nine different pet-friendly accommodations in the area, you can rest assured that you and your pooch will be taken care of. Explore the coast with six different trails and multiple beach options for your four-legged friend. San Simeon is happy to welcome the whole family to make for a memorable visit.
Celebrations Along the Coast
A group of four friends document their travels as they cruise down Highway 1. From touring William Randolph Hearst’s historical Hearst Castle and viewing the elephant seals as they are heading back out to sea after their molting season. The group celebrates the scenic views while making life-long memories. Read more.
Coastal Stops on a West Coast Road Trip
The coastal stretch from Monterey to Cambria features San Simeon by highlighting some of our favorite spots. In this article, there are three iconic stops made during this stretch - Piedras Blancas Light Station, the elephant seal rookery and iconic Hearst Castle. Step back in time and enjoy historic tours at both the Light Station and Hearst Castle. Or catch a glimpse of the elephant seals as they lounge on San Simeon’s beaches.
Amgen is Coming Through San Simeon, Here’s Everything You Need to Know
It’s that time of year again. Amgen Tour of California Cycling Race is gearing up and getting ready to go. Come see top cyclists pedal their hearts out as they make their way through San Simeon on May 15, between 2:00pm and 3:10pm. Please note, there will be HWY 1 closures on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 15 to allow our cyclists to safely continue on their journey. The Tribune highlights star cyclists and best spots to watch the race in SLO County.
Family-Friendly Fun on the Central Coast
The Central Coast is chock-full with family-fun activities, from playing on the beach, to scenic hikes, to ending the day fireside with gooey s’mores. In this article by Irvina Lew, she discusses how welcoming the Central Coast is to families. Specifically, in San Simeon, the beloved Hearst Castle tours fascinate kids of all ages.
Stopping in San Simeon on Your Coastal Drive
There are always a few must-see stops to make when driving down the scenic California Coast. Featured in this article by Megan Michelson, she breaks the drive from San Diego to Mendocino, outlining some key destinations to stop and explore. San Simeon is highlighted as a premier destination to stop to tour the famous Hearst Castle and take in the beauty of the estate."
What’s a Coastal Road Trip without a Stop in San Simeon?
We are all very familiar with the breathtaking views that come alongside a coastal road trip in California. In Westchester Magazine, Samantha Garbarini highlights some of the hotspots on the coast and features the famous elephant seals of San Simeon. Be sure to read her article to see how the elephant seals we know and love were featured as one of the highlights along the California Coast."
Make the Most of a Drive Along the Coast
From beach hopping to wine tasting and relaxing with a cup of coffee on the oceanfront, there are countless ways to enjoy the central cost. Read about the vast variation of activities, and remember to take time to visit these hidden gems along the iconic Highway 1 drive along the coast.
San Simeon News, March 2019
The Historic Hearst Castle Turns 100
Since 1919, Hearst Castle has overlooked the serene coast of San Simeon. William Randolph Hearst nicknamed the castle, “The Enchanted Hill,” because of the architecture and landscape that resembles his dreams. Over the last 100 years, Hearst Castle has been through a rich history from hosting parties for the rich to now tours for the public. Read about the stories from the past and insights from recent years.
Experience the New Highway 1 Trail
Learn about the history of California when you travel the new History and Heritage Trail along Highway 1. As you admire the rugged landscape that meets the ocean, learn about the history of the communities that have been there for hundreds of years with this new interactive map. Tour a lighthouse that was maintained by one brave man or use this map to visit historic spots that are hidden in plain sight.
Night Tours Now Offered at Hearst Castle
Explore Hearst Castle in a different light with their night tours this spring and fall. During this tour, the whole castle will be illuminated as you wander through the halls and into the library as well as other private rooms. Be taken back to the past with staff that will be clad in ‘30s attire, waiting on you as if you were a guest of Mr. Hearst.
Dream Weddings on the Central Coast
Celebrate your special day on the Central Coast with unique and dreamy venues. For a fairytale wedding look, no further than Hearst Castle. The castle was first built to entertain rich and famous guests with extravagant events but is open to the public for weddings. Read about this wedding venue and others on the Central Coast.
Rediscovering Road Trips on the Central Coast
Reminisce on the days when road trips were planned out for hours and maps were needed for directions. California’s Highway 1 takes travelers out of cell phone service to truly experience quality time and the scenic highway. Read this article from Rich Cohen and be inspired to take your next trip through California’s Central Coast.
Skip the Cities for Seaside Escapes
Instead of traveling to big cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles, discover somewhere in between on the Central Coast. San Simeon is an offbeat travel destination for tourists looking to experience outdoor adventures and the lifestyle of California. Explore a 100-year-old castle that overlooks the coast or stroll by the ocean safely viewing 5,000-pound elephant seals.
Last Minute Spring Break
Spend your spring break on the Central Coast of California enjoying these top picks for last minute trips. San Simeon is located perfectly in-between San Francisco and Los Angeles, making this destination a perfect stop on any road trip or a quick trip out of the city. Create your perfect vacation with hiking, tour of Hearst Castle, wildlife viewing and more.
Best Surf Spots on the Central Coast
Traveling along the coastline of California offers some of the best surf on the West Coast. San Simeon beaches offer a variety of waves, suitable for all levels. The sheltered cove, just south of San Simeon Point offers a perfect barreling right-hand wave when the conditions are right.
Chris Burkard’s Favorite Local Landscapes
San Luis Obispo native and photographer, Chris Burkard, shares his favorite places to capture the unmatched landscape of the Central Coast. Along W. R. Hearst Memorial State Beach is the trailhead to San Simeon Point where you’ll be inspired by the rugged views of the coastline. Follow the beach trail and see why this is one of Chris Burkard’s favorite places for inspiration.
Hearst Castle Named Top Travel Destination by San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle named Hearst Castle in the top 10 travel destinations in San Luis Obispo County. Perched atop the hills, overlooking Old Town San Simeon, Hearst Castle beckons travelers from all over the globe. Take a tour that is filled with rich history of this renowned destination and experience the grandness that Hearst Castle offers.
The Historic Hearst Castle Draws Visitors Back
Nestled in the hills of San Simeon, Hearst Castle Historical Monument draws visitors from all over the world and keeps them coming back, year after year. The allure of Hearst Castle and exploring the grounds allows visitors to experience the original purpose of the castle - a place of upscale entertainment and lavish artwork. Remodels and new tours keep the adventure alive and keep guests curious to explore the next new room.