Welcome to San Simeon

Come experience the rich history of San Simeon and William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach. Old San Simeon above the cove offers a wealth of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, the foodie, or the vista-hunter. Old San Simeon is built on the shoreline known for its whaling in the 1800s. While walking in Old San Simeon, stroll to the 800-foot San Simeon Pier 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. Wildlife is abundant in the area with frequent sightings of sea otters, elephant seals, seabirds and migrating humpback whales. 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. Looking for a hike? The easy-moderate San Simeon Bay Trail takes you through coastal forests and out to secluded vistas.

While in San Simeon, 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. The castle was 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.”

San Simeon boasts the largest free viewing area of Elephant Seals in California.  One of the most entertaining attractions, the Elephant Seal Rookery is where pods of northern elephant seals come ashore to mate, 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.

Visit one of the best lighthouse tours in California at Piedras Blancas Lightstation. Tour this landmark lightstation, a remnant from the days when this stretch of coast was critical to the region’s economy. 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.

Things to do in San Simeon

Come experience San Simeon like the locals.

San Simeon Travel Videos

Events in San Simeon

Plan your next roadtrip to San Simeon around events and happenings.

Jan
17
SLO County Restaurant Month
January 02 to January 31, 2020
SLO County
SLO County Restaurant Month celebrates the culinary talents and local cuisine of more than 40 area restaurants.
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Jan
18
Adventures with Nature
January 01 to January 31, 2020
San Luis Obispo County
The Central Coast State Parks Associations presents the Adventures with Nature series. 
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Jan
18
San Simeon

The Coastal Discovery Celebration Film Festival will be held at the Hearst Castle Theater   


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Jan
18
Life of the Northern Elephant Seal
January 04 to February 29, 2020
San Simeon
Winter is the most exciting time of the year to view elephant seals at Piedras Blancas rookery, where females give birth and males defend their territory. 
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Where to Eat in San Simeon

Check out all the restaurants and good eats in San Simeon.

Celebrating 30 years of fine food More Details
After a long day exploring the castle and the coast, come into the Big Sur Restaurant to relax in a casual atmosphere and enjoy a generous freshly-cooked meal. More Details
Sebastian's is not your typical general store off the highway.  Expect to find groceries and fresh food waiting to be prepared into a meal for visitors!


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The Truck is the latest and most innovative creation from Chef Santos MacDonal. Executive Chef Santos MacDonal began his career in the highly acclaimed Italian Restaurant, “Giorgio” in Malibu California, mentored by Chef Giorgio Baldi. He is known locally for the highly acclaimed and wildly popular Il Cortile Ristorante and La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant, […] More Details
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Where to Stay in San Simeon

Plan your stay at one of the many hotels or vacation rentals in San Simeon.

Ragged Point Inn, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is the perfect place for a magical getaway. More Details
Enjoy the Natural Coastal Beauty More Details
This vacation condo is located on the serene bluff, overlooking San Simeon Beach by Pico Creek. More Details
This beautiful 2 bedroom condo vacation rental is situated east of Highway 1, and the endless beach at Pico Creek, a favorite surfing spot in San Simeon. More Details
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More to Explore on Highway 1

Check out these other amazing places along the Highway 1 Discovery Route in San Luis Obispo County.

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