San Simeon

Events in

San Simeon

Hearst Castle Holiday Twilight Tours

December 10, 2018

Experience Hearst Castle in all its yuletide splendor. Spend an evening in the nostalgia of a bygone era. 

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Adventures with Nature

December 13, 2018

The Central Coast State Parks Associations presents the Adventures with Nature series. 

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Exploring Tidepool Communities at the Coastal Discovery Center

January 05, 2019

Join biologists from Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to explore the amazing plant and animal communities

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San Simeon: Land of castles and endless coastline.

Hearst Castle

Experience the grandeur of Hearst Castle.

  • In its heyday, Hearst Castle hosted celebrities―from Charlie Chaplin to Greta Garbo―as well as journalists, entrepreneurs and politicians like Calvin Coolidge and Winston Churchill. And now? You.
  • Careful preservation of this lavish hilltop estate affords a view into the life and times of its owner, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.
  • Designed by groundbreaking architect Julia Morgan and built between 1919 and 1947, Hearst called it “La Cuesta Encantada,” Spanish for “The Enchanted Hill.” Today, the 127-acre complex welcomes visitors to explore its main building, three guest houses, gardens, fountains, pools and artwork, and artifacts as a California State Park.
  • Hearst Castle hosts a variety of tours (some of which are ADA-accessible), including a Grand Rooms Tour, Upstairs Suites Tour, Cottages & Kitchens Tour, and Evening Tours (spring and fall only).
  • Tours depart and return from the Hearst Castle Visitor Center, where guests can enjoy dining options, gift shops, an art gallery, a free exhibition on the extraordinary life of William Randolph Hearst, and a five-story IMAX theater showing the film “Hearst Castle – Building the Dream.” (Tickets included with the price of daytime tours or sold separately.)

Piedras Blancas Lightstation

Bring history to light at the Piedras Blancas Lightstation.

  • Tour this landmark lightstation, a remnant from the days when this stretch of coast was critical to the region’s economy―and when lightstations sat on the cutting edge of maritime navigation.
  • The lightstation is open to guided tours on specific days.
  • Named after the white rocks that threatened the safety of passing ships, Piedras Blancas is a historic park with a lightstation overseen by the Bureau of Land Management and a non-profit organization dedicated to its preservation.
  • Part of the California Coastal National Monument and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Piedras Blancas is also a wildlife sanctuary where seabirds, elephant seals and humpback whales can be viewed when in season.

Elephant Seal Rookery

Get wild at the Elephant Seal Rookery.

  • One of the area’s most entertaining free attractions, the Elephant Seal Rookery is where pods of northern elephant seals come ashore to mate (most recently: 1,600 pups!), give birth, molt and rest.
  • One of the most exciting times at the rookery? December, when bulls fight for proximity and attention from females, as well as the end of January when birthing season peaks.
  • Docents with Piedras Blancas Friends of the Elephant Seal are regularly on-hand to answer questions about the fascinating life cycle of the elephant seal, and interpretive signs give insight into the rookery and its inhabitants.
For more information, a visitor’s center and gift shop are located eight miles south at Plaza del Cavalier in San Simeon.

Old San Simeon

Immerse in Old San Simeon.

  • This idyllic little cove offers a wealth of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, the foodie, or the vista-hunter.
  • Built on shoreline known for its whaling in the 1800s, the 800-foot San Simeon Pier is an idyllic spot to fish, watch for wildlife, or take in a sunset.
  • The pier overlooks William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, a protected area that offers picnic tables, barbecue grill stands and restrooms.
  • Notable wildlife in the area includes sea otters, elephant seals, seabirds and migrating humpback whales, best viewed by kayak.
  • For lunch, grab a burger and beer at Sebastian’s Cafe, or wine tasting next door at award-winning Hearst Ranch Winery, just a stone’s throw from the beach.
  • The easy-moderate San Simeon Bay Trail takes you through coastal forests and out to secluded vistas.

Coastal Discovery Center

Explore at the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay.

  • The Coastal Discovery Center explores where land meets sea and abundance of natural and cultural treasures therein.
  • Open year-round with free admission, the Center’s exhibits highlight the role of sanctuaries, parks and the public in managing and protecting coastal areas for future generations.
  • The Center is a joint venture between Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and California State Parks, and participates in the Junior Ranger Adventure Program an interpretive program for children ages 4 to 12 (accompanied by an adult) that explores San Simeon’s natural splendor, from hiking and viewing elephant seals to visiting the Coastal Discovery Center.