Built by publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst and his architect Julia Morgan over the course of almost 30 years, Hearst Castle is an extravagant display of luxury perched on top of a hill overlooking the California coast. Take one of the many tours offered to get a view into the mind of a wealthy eccentric, and keep an eye open for the herds of feral zebras that roam along the PCH—the lone remnants of Hearst’s one-time, on-site zoo.
“one of the largest historic homes in the U.S.”
Hearst Castle is one of the largest of approximately 5,000 historic house museums in the U.S., with one of the most sophisticated guided tour programs in the country. Once the home of William Randolph Hearst, California State Parks strives to keep the estate looking like a private residence. The historic museum tours take the visitor back into time through the interpretation of a combination of many aspects regarding the historic California estate, including William Randolph Hearst and his family, and the collection, architecture, gardens and lifestyle at the Castle. Formal guide training is an integral aspect of Hearst Castle. Construction for the first of two Hearst Castle pools, the Neptune Pool, spanned 1924-1936. Three swimming pools were built on this site, each successively larger. Initial plans for the site called for a “Temple Garden” with an ornamental pool and temple structure. The Roman Pool Located immediately before you board the bus back to the Visitor Center, the intensely detailed, indoor Roman Pool is the perfect place to stop and reflect. Modeled after ancient Roman baths, this meticulously detailed, majestic pool is tiled from ceiling to floor, and features eight statues of Roman gods, goddesses and heroes. The Neptune Pool Continue the tour at your own pace to the dramatic and impressive Neptune Pool, and be sure to walk around the colonnades and Cassou statutes that provided the setting for lavish pool parties and lively social gatherings. Castle tour guides are initially trained a total of 168 hours with additional in-service training and ongoing independent study between tours, resulting in a high quality interpretive experience for all who visit this magnificent California vacation attraction known as “The Enchanted Hill.” Explore the upper floors of this architectural wonder called Casa Grande—William Randolph Hearst’s name for the twin-towered structure commonly known as Hearst Castle. Ascend its winding staircases to discover the most personal rooms of the California mansion.
Fabulous place! Has several different tours so be sure to check the website and plan the tour ahead of time - will save you time and effort getting there so you can do more in your trip!
I first visited Hearst Castle at the age of 10....and it Stuck with me until I could return at the age of 38. This place is fantastic and should not be missed on any trip of Central California (or driving north or south for that matter). There is plenty of parking, even for RVs and trailers and visitors should know that there are 3 tours to choose from so you won't be able to see the entire thing in one afternoon unless you book all three.
The options are: The main floor interior, the Second Floor interior or the guest houses. If you only have time for one, I suggest the main floor interior. You get the best general history that way, and all tours end at the fabulous and iconic interior pool.
Do not skip the movie which plays at the visitor complex. If you are afraid of heights or sharp drops, sit to the inside of the cliff face when taking the bus up to the castle itself. (trust us)
It gets very cold up there, so be sure to take a jacket.
I would come to this amazing place all of the time if I could. San Simeon is beautiful alone, but the Hearst Castle is a must-see! I was in awe of the architecture and it's history - the grounds were something out of a movie or painting. I also loved the wildlife surrounding the grounds, especially the zebras! Please make this a stop on your coastal CA trip, even if you can only get in one tour, it will be worth it. I would love to spend a night here, especially around the holidays!
This was one of my planned stops for a epic road trip from LA to Seattle. We got here a little late and just walked around the visitor center. I promised my fiancé we would come back and take the tour.
Really a great place full of history! Do not miss the Hearst ranch deli across the street! You must try one of their hamburgers! OMG!! Yum!
Such a beautiful place -I can't wait to go back! I strongly recommend that you make reservations. Tours fill up fast and You don't want to drive all the way there just to be turned away.
Couldn't visit the castle unfortunately. Note: make sure you get there before 5 or 6 o'clock otherwise you will not be able to do the tour.
Amazing! Beautiful and interesting. Definitely worth every penny, and I'll be back to do the other tours! The only thing was the food servers were rude, but the tour guide and everyone else were extremely nice.
A trip to Big Sur wouldn't be complete without stopping at Hearst Castleand gawking at the newspaper baron's massively gaudy estate. It's seriously so decadent it'd make Liberace blush. Great place for history buffs.
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