“The earth has music for those who listen.”
San Simeon is located along scenic Hwy. 1, 40 miles north of San Luis Obispo. It’s about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles – if you’re taking the coastal route, driving time from either city is approximately six hours. You can always take a shorter, more direct route, but we prefer the windy coastal roads – the views and vistas along the way are worth the extra drive.
Fun San Simeon Attractions, City Sightseeing Tours & Day Trips
Hearst Castle – San Simeon’s Top Tourist Attraction
Visit the world-famous Hearst Castle, an Historical State Monument. It’s San Simeon’s top tourist attraction and one of California’s most popular sites. The castle’s fabulous Neptune Pool (pictured at top) – a Greco-Roman style outdoor pool with statues and fountains, is a sight to behold. We also liked the Roman Pool – a stunningly romantic indoor pool lined with blue Venetian glass and gold tiles. The Castle offers daily tours – advance reservations are strongly recommended as tours sell out quickly. Tours include a lot of walking and stairs, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Open daily, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Plan a fun weekend getaway to San Simeon and the beautiful Central Coast. If you’re driving south from San Francisco, stop at Big Sur, one of the world’s most scenic destinations – its ocean and coastal views are breathtaking. Take a fun side trip and visit Santa Barbara, Elephant Seals, Cambria, and Solvang.
Be sure to check out San Simeon’s Elephant Seals, especially during December-March (birthing and breeding season). Stop by Elephant Seal Vista Point on the beaches of Piedras Blancas, located approximately 4.4 miles north of Hearst Castle. You won’t believe how big and noisy these elephants seals are – large males are 14-16 feet long and weigh between 3,000-5,000 pounds; adult females are 9-12 feet long and weigh between 900-1,800 pounds; and the little Pups are 3-4 feet long and weigh 60-80 pounds at birth. Our favorite time of year to visit the Elephant Seals is over Valentine’s day – the peak of mating season.
Visit the picturesque seaside village of Cambria, located just four miles south of Hearst Castle.
Enjoy a taste of Denmark in the quaint Danish village of Solvang – a 2-hr drive from Hearst Castle. Explore the Santa Ynez Valley and go wine-tasting. We really loved visiting Solvang – it’s a fun place to stroll and shop.
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The Best Time To Visit San Simeon
Spring (April-early June) and Fall (September-October) are good times to visit San Simeon. Peak tourist time is during the Summer months – between June and August. Expect hot temperatures and long lines.
The best time to visit San Simeon’s Elephant Seals is during December-March (birthing and breeding season) and Valentine’s day (the peak of mating season).