Hearst Castle – San Simeon, California

Hearst Castle is located approximately half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco so if you are on a road trip between either of these two locations its worth taking a day to stop here.  If you have been through any castles or stately homes in Europe, it will feel very familiar.  Extensive gardens, antiques, grand rooms and so on.  I particularly liked the two pools, the beautiful indoor blue tiled pool and the sparkling outside one.

Entry is via a number of guided tours starting from around $US25 and for each tour you need to ride to the castle on a bus from the visitors centre.  They recommend allowing around 1 hour per tour.  Most tours take around 40-45 minutes.

There is plenty of dining and shopping available at the visitors centre plus a number of exhibits.  We did one tour before lunch, allowed ourselves a two our break to have lunch and explore the visitors centre and then did the second tour.  I strongly recommend booking your tours online here if you know when you will be going – particularly if you are going at a busy time of year such as school holidays.

Once you are done for the day, I also recommend stopping and visiting the Elephant Seal colony just a little further along the road.


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    • The pools were amazing, I am not sure what was more impressive, the indoor blue one or the outdoor one. Apparently due to the drought in California the at least one of the pools is empty as it was were leaking.

  1. Brilliant! We have our first California adventure on our hit list for later this year. This looks great. Was it $25 each or per family?

    • It was $25 each for the first tour – which is the only way to see it – you pick which areas of the castle you want to see. I don’t recall if additional tours were cheaper, I seem to think they were. We did two tours and they were wonderful!

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