San Simeon Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui
  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui
  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui

Most Recent Things to Do in San Simeon

  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Go to Hearst Castle

    by machomikemd Updated Aug 7, 2011

    hey, most of the people who stay here in San Simeon has the Hearst Castle in Mind. there is no single grand tour of the complex, what the administrators did is to split the tours of the Hearst Castle into 4 kinds of tours (to be able to make more money?) and you cand do all of them if you have a whole day and part of the night free time ok.

    according to their website:

    All tours view the Castle’s two spectacular swimming pools—the outdoor Neptune Pool and the indoor Roman Pool. All visitors will also receive a ticket for our exclusive 40-minute film Hearst Castle – Building the Dream, shown on a five-story screen at the Visitor Center’s Hearst Castle Theater. This fascinating glimpse behind the scenes is shown all day at forty-five minute intervals. The first screening begins at 8:15 am.

    Grand Rooms Tour
    View the magnificent ground floor rooms of La Casa Grande (big house) where Mr. Hearst's guests met their host and were entertained during their stay at La Cuesta Encantada (the Enchanted Hill). See the Assembly Room, where guests met for cocktails, the Refectory, where meals were served, the Morning Room, Billiard Room and Theater. Your knowledgeable Guide will bring this estate to life sharing stories about Mr. Hearst and his many guests who visited for nearly three decades in the early part of the last century. Stroll the grounds at your leisure at the conclusion of your guided tour inside the castle.

    Upstairs Suites Tour
    View guest quarters and Mr. Hearst's private floor as you climb high up inside the castle. Visit two libraries and learn how Mr. Hearst's art collection was utilized in the castle. Stroll the grounds at your leisure at the conclusion of your guided tour inside the castle.

    Cottages & Kitchen Tour
    Visit the Wine Cellar, two lavish guest houses (including the one Mr. Hearst used when he first stayed here), and the surprisingly modern kitchen. Stroll the grounds at your leisure at the conclusion of your guided tour.

    Fondest memory: Ticket Prices:
    Tours Adult Ages(5-12)
    Grand Rooms Tour $25 $12
    Upstairs Suites Tour $25 $12
    Cottages & Kitchen Tour $25 $12
    Evening Tour $36 $18

    Children under 5 are free when accompanied by a paying adult.
    Prices are subject to change without notice.

    I did the grand rooms tour 21 years ago and on a revisit, did the Upstairs Suites Tour.

    entrance welcome inside wow me
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Go To Paso Robles

    by machomikemd Updated Aug 7, 2011

    Paso Robles Wineries are just about a 45 minute drive from San Simeon via Highway 46 east. Visiting the fable Hearst Castle in San Simeon at the Central Coast of California can be breathtaking and more so if you are fond of wines and vinyards, it is just less than an hour drive from the nearby Paso Robles Wine Region of Central California via California Route 46 and Highway 1 South and if you are touring the Hearst Castle on your own and not on any part of a bus tour group, Paso Robles can be an exciting excursion since they have many fine wines here (althoug is is much smaller in acreage than Napa valley and Sonoma in Northern California). You will find 26,000 vineyard acres, producing more than 40 winegrape varieties ranging from Spanish to Italian, Bordeaux to Rhône, including the area's heritage variety Zinfandel. The styles of wine are diverse in this very distinct region. Wine Tasting in a local winery in Paso Robles will cost about $ 5 for regular wines and $ 8 for the vintage and premium wines.

    wineries to paso robles what vinyard to go? grapes have a wine
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Wine Tasting
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • bevjerry's Profile Photo

    Lighthouse Tours at Piedras Blancas

    by bevjerry Updated Apr 4, 2011

    You can now take a tour of the Piedras Blancas Light Station during the week, not just on the third Saturday of the month.Tours are currently available every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9:45. The weekday tours are longer (1.5 - 2 hours) and more informal than the third Saturday tours. Knowledgable volunteers lead the tours and you have plenty of opportunities to take pictures and learn and ask questions. Reservations are not needed for groups of less than 10 people. Just meet at the old Piedras Blancas motel one and a half miles north of the light station on Highway 1 at 9:45 AM any Tuesday or Thursday and a Bureau of Land Management volunteer will escort the caravan through the locked gate at the station. No fee is charged, although a donation is requested to assist in the restoration of the property.

    Postcard picture circa 1961
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • AliasGirl's Profile Photo

    The All Decadant Hearst Castle

    by AliasGirl Updated Apr 4, 2011

    You must stop on your journey through California (Highway 1) and stop at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. It is an amazing piece of Architecture.

    You should take the guided tours through the castle. There are several and you can check them all out in detail via the website below.

    The detail and elaborate decor is unbelieveable throughout the entire house(s) and the garden areas. One of my favorite tour stops includes the Neptune Pool and the Roman Pool. It is just breathtaking! Sigh!!!

    You'll walk away like I did with an obsession of those early days when William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies had their secret rendezvous at the Hearst Castle.

    Was this review helpful?

  • pigletsmom's Profile Photo

    Don't miss the pools

    by pigletsmom Updated Apr 4, 2011

    The Hearst Castle pools are both exquisite.
    The Neptune pool is an outdoor, decorated with white marbel cherubs and is breathtaking. The Roman pool is an indoor pool designed with blue and gold tile and is very mysterious and romantic. Both are extraordinary and two of the highlights of Hearst Castle.

    The magical Roman pool
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • pigletsmom's Profile Photo

    Hearst Castle Historical Exhibit

    by pigletsmom Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When you're waiting for your bus to shuttle you up the hill to the castle, you'll have some time to check out the exhibit. The curators have done a very nice job detailing the history and life of William Randolf Hearst and the story of the castle. On exhibit is memorabilia, photos, and wonderful old films. A really nice walk down memory lane.

    William Randolf Hearst
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    PIEDRAS BLANCAS BEACH HAS ELEPHANT SEALS

    by travelgourmet Written Sep 5, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Most people go to San Simeon to visit the Hearst Castle, take a tour, and then motor on back on Hwy 1 south toward San Luis Obispo or north to Monterey. If you take the north route through Big Sur on Hwy 1, more than great ocean vistas and large redwoods are to be seen. About 8 miles north of San Simeon is the colony of elephant seals that make Piedras Blancas beaches come alive with pups every January and February. You can see seals throughout the year, but December through February is the most active time. The male bull has a very large nose that makes the males stand out. Of course being up to sixteen feet in length and weighting more that an automobile is another reason they stand out. The females are much smaller and have the seal look that most people have seen.

    Parking is available to see the bulk of the elephant seals from overhead on a cliff that is about twelve feet above the sand. There are docents around in blue jackets that can answer your questions about the seals, but they are there to also protect them from humans. Please do not bother the seals and if one gets too close, back off and give them plenty of room. Be careful driving this stretch of Hwy 1, as the elephant seals can be seen along many of the beaches for miles and some drivers could be distracted. Don't let it be you. I have a Elephant Seal Travelogue with photos of males and females.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • kellinwood's Profile Photo

    Visit the elephant seal rookery

    by kellinwood Written Sep 1, 2009

    If your staying in Cambria or San Simeon, visiting the Hearst Castle, or just driving through on Highway 1, be sure to stop at the elephant seal rookery. Although the seals are most numerous during the winter, we stopped in late August and found plenty of the animals sunning on the beach. The elephant seals are huge! We arrived in late afternoon and found the seals moving up on the beach and throwing sand upon themselves. There is a large walkway above the beach from which the seals can be seen. If you can, bring binoculars to get a better look.

    Visiting the rookery is free. There is plenty of parking in a large lot on the west side of the highway. There are two viewing areas -- a large beach on the south side of the parking lot and a smaller one on the north side.

    More elephant seals on the beach Elephant seals on the beach 1
    Related to:
    • Zoo
    • Aquarium
    • Whale Watching

    Was this review helpful?

  • swimmergirl1's Profile Photo

    Kayaking at San Simeon Cove

    by swimmergirl1 Written Feb 8, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We had a great day kayaking at San Simeon Cove. We took a guided kayaking tour with "Sea for Yourself" and our guide was great. He led us over the kelp beds, taught us interesting facts about the eco system, we saw otters stick their heads out and warm themselves in the sun. Then we went over to the caves and it was exciting to kayak in and out of them. We highly recommend Sea for Yourself Kayak Tours.

    That's me kayaking into the cave! me and my parents posing for a pic here comes dad kayaking into the cave! can you see the otter in the distance? so cute!
    Related to:
    • Kayaking
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • trvlrtom's Profile Photo

    Visit the beach

    by trvlrtom Written Nov 12, 2008

    If you are in San Simeon, most likely it is to see Hearst Castle. It is the major draw in this part of the California coast. While in the area you may want to make a quick stop at the nearby beach, located just across the highway from the entrance road to the castle. This beach is not unlike many along the coast. It has a fairly wide beach, a pier going out to the sea, and a place to enjoy a picnic or a walk. It is free to visit.

    A short drive south on highway 1 there is a great place to watch elephant seals. It is well marked and with a good parking lot. Surely worth a stop also.

    San Simeon
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • AVG2319's Profile Photo

    Hearst Castle

    by AVG2319 Written Jul 6, 2008

    If you are visiting San Simeon most likely it is to tour the Hearst Castle. Which is indeed a huge house on some of the prettiest countryside with beautiful ocean and mountain views it is easy to see why the home was built here. The Experience tour is a good overall tour of the property. You will take a bus up the long winding road to the Hearst Castle, and view the gardens, the guesthouse, the beautiful Neptune pool, the Castle and the indoor pool. The gardens are beautiful and the Neptune pool has a great view. House is kind of dark and eclectic

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Mar 6, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are only two places in California where you can view the elephant seals: Año Nuevo State Reserve (north of Santa Cruz) and Piedras Blancas (just outside of San Simeon). We chose Piedras Blancas to see the seals because Año Nuevo is so busy you must reserve a spot weeks in advance and they charge a fee for a guided tour, with no self-guided tour option.

    At Piedras Blancas the seals are visible from two main parking areas between the lighthouse and the entrance to Hearst Castle. There are also a few small pull-offs and trails north of the lighthouse that allow you to avoid the tourists and fences to view a smaller number of seals (from a safe and respectable distance of course).

    Our first stop was at one of these small pull-off areas with a walking trail to the water. Here, we were the only visitors in sight, and we were , unrushed and uninterrupted as we enjoyed a view of some 20 seals, mostly females and pups. After about 30 minutes we drove south to the first of the two paved parking lots which also was the less busy of the two. From here you can see dozens of seals up close, with the bulk of the seals off in the distance maybe a half mile away and surrounded by throngs of tourists.

    Elephant seals were thought to be extinct in the 1950s, but have since recovered to approximately 100,000 individuals with all of the breeding colonies in Mexico and California. The group at Piedras Blancas first arrived in the 1990s, and now numbers about 7,500 and is growing at a faster rate than the older, 5,000-member colony at Año Nuevo. These elephant seals are massive creatures, with average meals tipping the scales at 4,000 pounds.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Hearst Castle

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jan 26, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Casa Grande The Neptune Pool Flags in the medieval dining room The Roman Pool Sun droppin behind one of the guest houses

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Piedras Blancas Light

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jan 25, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Piedras Blancas (translates into "white rocks") lighthouse was completed in 1875. The architect for Piedras Blancas also built Point Arena Light north of San Francisco, which has a much different look. The original tower, built to a height of 115 feet, still stands, but the top section formerly housing the first-order Fresnel lens was removed in 1949 , due to the instability of the structure after a 1948 earthquake. The tower now has a stubby, unfinished look.

    In 2001 the Coast Guard transfered the light house to the Bureau of Land Management, which has plans to restore the tower. Tours are given the third Saturday of each month at 10 am and 1 pm--tour buses depart from the Hearst Castle Visitors Center 6 miles to the south. Cost is $15 per person.

    Piedras Blancas Light Station from the south Piedras Blancas Light Station from the south Piedras Blancas Light Station from the north Piedras Blancas Light Station from the north Lighhouse from the Hearst Mansion

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Old Town San Simeon

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jan 25, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    San Simeon was originally established as a whaling station in 1852 after the nearby Mission San Miguel was secularized and its lands sold. In the 1770s the general store was moved to its present location and the first wharf was constructed. The nearby Piedras Blancas lighthouse was constructed in 1875, and in the early 1900s the Hearst Family moved into town and started their nearby ranch and then the famous castle that overlooks the town.

    Today the town is virtually deserted except for the old general store, a historic one room schoolhouse, and some old warehouses along the water. Hearst State Beach is located at the pier on the edge of the old town.

    Sunset over the San Simeon Harbor

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: San Simeon

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

40 travelers online now

Comments

San Simeon Things to Do

Reviews and photos of San Simeon things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for San Simeon sightseeing.

View all San Simeon hotels