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Hearst Castle on the California Central Coast

Susan Helene Kramer


Hearst Castle in San Simeon overlooks the California Central Coast, about 40 miles north of San Luis Obispo and about 250 miles south of San Francisco. In 1957 Hearst Castle, the former home of William Randolph Hearst was donated to the State of California, and is called California Historical Landmark Number 640.


I have gone on two of the public tours and there was enough to see to justify both trips. I recommend the Grand Rooms Tour for your first visit to get an overview of living quarters, artwork, the large Roman pool, garden terraces and more.


There is a lot of walking maneuvering up and down106 stairs. There are two scheduled Accessibility tours where you can use your own or borrow a wheelchair provided free of charge - instead of walking you’ll be on a tour tram.


Tour prices are $25.00 per adult and $12.00 per child ages five to twelve. Children under age five are free when with a paying adult. Now where else could you get so much for your money for half a day’s adventure and sights that will be remembered for a lifetime.


I went on my tours in the middle of the afternoon and then stayed on in San Simeon for a meal at one of the beach side restaurants overlooking the Pacific Ocean.


Both times I drove 150 miles back to Santa Barbara in the evening, but you could choose to stay overnight in a nearby town. The photo is typical of the hilly terrain in San Luis Obispo County.


Driving directions from north or south – take RT 101 to San Luis Obispo.

Take CA-1 North/Cabrillo Highway 39 miles to the right hand turn off to Hearst Castle Road for 2 miles.


You will be driving along the Pacific coast through the towns of Morro Bay, Cayucos and Cambria.


Take your camera along to record your trip, including the spectacular views. For comfort while on a day trip I like to layer my clothes, carry water in the car and snacks to eat while driving. It would be most convenient to refuel your car and eat your main meal in San Luis Obispo, since it is the largest city and has the most options.


Don’t arrive at the castle hungry - the tours last an hour and 45 minutes. There is free parking onsite.




Make reservations for one of the several tours by visiting this web page -

For driving directions all over North America - Rand McNally Road Atlas


Article and photo of San Luis Obispo County by Susan Helene Kramer

Copyright 2012-2015 Susan Helene Kramer
Santa Barbara, California USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Published by Creations in Consciousness
web site


page created May 4, 2013