San Simeon

Events in 

San Simeon

Adventures with Nature
July 04 to July 30, 2019
San Luis Obispo County
The Central Coast State Parks Associations presents the Adventures with Nature series. 
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San Simeon
The Coastal Discovery Center invites visitors to experience a variety of events this summer. 
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Festival Mozaic
July 24 to August 04, 2019
San Luis Obispo County
The Festival Mozaic summer concert series takes place every summer throughout the county
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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.