All Hearst Castle tours last about two hours and include the Neptune Pool, a Greco-Roman outdoor pool, and the Roman Pool, an indoor pool lined with Venetian glass and gold.
On any tour, the guides share stories about life at Hearst Castle, telling about sending for china dishes from the San Francisco house when Winston Churchill visited Hearst Castle, explaining why there are still price labels on the catsup and mustard on the dining table and mentioning the celebrities who visited.
The Building the Dream film is included only with Tour One. If you take another tour and want to see it, you'll have to buy a separate ticket for it.
Tour guides have brochures in most common languages and in Braille. Hearst Castle offers wheelchair accessible tours, but you need to call at least 10 days in advance to reserve one.
On a busy day, you could easily arrive at Hearst Castle in mid-afternoon, only to find the next available tour is not until the following afternoon. Save frustrations and reserve your tours in advance. Learn how to make California state park reservations.
See It Now: Photo Tour
Hearst Castle Tour Options
Tour One: Includes 5 ground floor rooms in the main house, Casa de Sol (18 rooms, the Esplanade and gardens and admission to the Building the Dream film.
Tour Two: Focusing on architecture and art in the main house, this tour takes you to the upper floors to see an Italian-style suite, four guest rooms, the library, kitchen and Hearst's private suite.
Tour Three: Get an overview of the construction as you visit the earliest guest house, Casa del Monte(10 rooms) and the most recent addition, the North Wing. You'll also see the north terrace, grand entrance and a short film about the construction (this is not the same at the Building the Dream film shown in the National Geographic Theatre).
Tour Four: Given April through October, this tour focuses on the gardens and includes the wine cellar, Casa del Mar, where Hearst lived his final years, a hidden terrace and the Neptune pool dressing rooms.
- Tour Five (Evening Tour): Combines elements of tours one and two, plus Casa de Sol (18 rooms) and a 1930s newsreel. Given spring and fall, most Friday and Saturday evenings, this is my personal favorite and our most highly-recommended tour because the costumed docents bring the place to life.