Registered as a national historic monument, Hearst Castle stands midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco near San Simeon, Calif. William Randolph Hearst, who owned all 250,000 acres the castle stands on, had the original vision for the castle, and Julia Morgan provided the design. The castle has 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. The castle offers tours, camping and movies on a five-story screen.
Make your travel plans. If you will fly, book your tickets well in advance for the best rate. Weigh the pros and cons of flying vs. driving. Having your own transportation will come in handy if you travel back and forth to the beach, located just a few miles away.
Pack your bags carefully. Even if you only stay a couple of days, bring a number of different outfits. Bring your bathing suit, along with flip-flops and a pair of sunglasses, if you plan on going to the beach. Wear comfortable shoes, considering the wide array of tours offered at Hearst Castle. All tours take place outside as well as inside the castle, so wear layers. If it rains, the tour will continue, so bring an umbrella as well.
Select the events you don't want to miss. During the holiday season, you'll see the castle fully decorated and it has an elegant, festive atmosphere. Some tours sell out quickly, so purchase your tickets in advance if possible. Other nearby attractions include whale watching, wine tasting and many quaint, family-owned upscale restaurants.
Book your lodging. The castle does not have rooms available for visitors to stay in, but you can camp at San Simeon National Park, a location marked by bluffs and fantastic beaches. Guests of the Hearst Castle can also find hotels nearby.
Tips & Warnings
- Make a check list of everything you will need before you start packing.
- The Hearst Castle is family-friendly.
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