©Author Adventures

William Randolph Hearst’s castle in San Simeon, a small town with a population below 500 residents, is a living symbol of the extravagant life of the newspaper tycoon. Its website can be found at hearstcastle.org. Read about William Randolph Hearst here: britannica.com.

Plan to devote at least one full day to see this architectural masterpiece, designed across many years by Julia Morgan. It is unlikely that you can attach a visit to Hearst Castle on a day when you are visiting other places because it offers so much to see and tours are scheduled in advance. The bus ride from the Visitor Center to the hilltop location takes approximately 20 minutes.

After the tour, you catch the bus back down and can enjoy a meal and a film about Hearst or the Hearst property in an on-site theater. The gift shop offers a wide range of collectibles, from coffee-table books about Julia Morgan to children’s books to Christmas ornaments. Anticipate that, by the end of the day, you will spend approximately $50-70 per person for the tour ticket, a meal and a small souvenir.


Elephant seals like the ones in this video can be seen in a protected area of the San Simeon shore, late fall through early spring.


Enjoy relaxing on the shores of San Simeon before leaving the area.

The Hearst Castle is the final stop on our Southern California Trail, followed by the Northern California Trail’s first stop in Monterey.

Patricia Smart