You can plan your Hearst Castle day trip or weekend getaway in a jiffy using the resources below.
Why Should You Go? Will You Like It?
- Get a Preview: Take a look at our Hearst Castle Pictures
- Hearst Castle is popular with the star-struck and celebrity-seekers. Fans of architect Julia Morgan may also enjoy this place.
- See how other California for Visitors readers rate Hearst Castle.
Best Time to GoHearst Castle is busiest in summer, when vacationers drive up hotel prices and pack the tours. Buy your tickets in advance if you're visiting then.
The castle grounds look best in spring and fall, when the gardens flourish, skies are clearer and the night tours are offered. The non-air-conditioned house is also cooler inside.
Because the main attraction is indoors, you can visit any time, even in the rain. Hearst Castle is decorated for Christmas every year from mid-November, and in winter, you may see the elephant seals in action at nearby Piedras Blancas.
5 More Great Things to Do Near Hearst Castle
- Take a Hearst Castle Tour: They offer three of them.
- Hearst Castle Night Tour: It's even more fun than the ones given during the day, but it's only offered in spring and fall.
- Piedras Blancas Lighthouse: Tours of this classic lighthouse are given once a month.
- Elephant Seals: The elephant seal rookery, right on Highway One about 4.5 miles north of Hearst Castle is most interesting during breeding season, from December through February.
- Take a side trip to nearby Cambria, Cayucos and Morro Bay: All three of these seaside communities have a laid-back ambience and beautiful coastal views.
Tips for Visiting Hearst Castle
- On a busy day, tours can sell out quickly, and if you arrive in late morning, you could end up waiting until late in the day (or even the next morning) to take one. Buying tickets in advance will help you avoid this problem.
- Tours last about two hours, but allow almost a half day to take the tour, see the film, browse through the exhibits and do a little shopping in the gift shop.
- In rainy winters, Highway One landslides can sometimes Highway One. Check road conditions online or call 800-427-7623 or 916-445-7623 before you go.
- Pets are not allowed on tours, and kennels are not available.
Best BitesYou'll find a wide variety of places to eat in the area. For a nice Sunday brunch, try Hoppe's Bistro in Cayucos or take a Sunday brunch cruise in Morro Bay.
Where to StayThe town of San Simeon is closest to the Castle and offers a number of nice places to stay if you're spending all your time at the castle, but is otherwise unremarkable. Within a half hour's drive, you can find a place to stay in Cambria, Cayucos or Morro Bay, all of which are better places to base a weekend getaway. Check our recommended hotels and campgrounds.
To get the best lodging bargain, read about how to find a good place to stay, cheap.
You can't stay overnight at Hearst Castle, but you can bunk down at Hearst's Hacienda near Jolon. Make a two-day trip out of it by stopping at the Hacienda on Friday night, then head over the mountains to the coast and visit Hearst Castle on Saturday.
Getting To Hearst CastleDriving? Hearst Castle is 250 miles from Los Angeles or San Francisco, 320 miles from Sacramento, 93 miles from Monterey and 455 miles from Las Vegas. It's located on California Highway 1, 35 miles north of Morro Bay. If you're driving north on US 101, exit onto Highway 1 north of San Luis Obispo. Going south on US 101, exit at Highway 46 near Paso Robles and take it to Highway 1, then go north.
Flying? The nearest airport is in Monterey. Check airfares.