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Visit nearby Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle was constructed from 1919 to 1947 by newspaper baron and former congressman William Randolph Hearst. The main structure, called Casa Grande, has over 60,000 square feet and features a huge medieval dining room, a pool designed after Roman baths, and a main sitting room full of European artwork. Guests were welcome at all times, and they could stay at one of the three guest houses, or they could take advantage of the Casa Grande's 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, and 19 sitting rooms, but there was no room service... all guests were expected to take dinner with Mr Hearst and the other guests in the main dining room. While staying at the house, visitors were welcome to use the Neptune Pool, a huge swimming pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean and framed with actual Greek ruins that Hearst imported from Europe, or they could enjoy the huge collection of animals at the world's largest private zoo. The buildings at Hearst Castle were designed by architect Julia Morgan.
Five tours of Hearst Castle are available: the experience tour for an overview, tour two for the upper floors, tour three for the north wing and Casa Del Monte, tour four for the gardens, and the evening tour. Guided tours are $20 to $30 per adult depending on the tour you choose and the season. Though some people recommend skipping the experience tour and moving on to tours two or three for a more in-depth look at the castle, we decided to try this basic tour to get a good background and overview of the facilities. We started at the Neptune Pool, went through Casa Del Mar, then entered Casa Grande to visit the main sitting room, the dining room, some guest rooms, the theater, and the Roman Pool. After the one hour and 45 minute tour, you may watch the National Geographic film on the building of the castle back at the visitors center. I thought this was a great tour for our first visit, especially as we weren't overly familiar with the background of the castle.
The Hearst Castle
The Hearst Castle is just 30 minutes north of Morro Bay in San Simeon.It is the famous palace of William Randolph Hearst that was visited by movies stars, heads of state, etc. It is now very touristy but worth seeing if you're along the coast.