San SimeonUnited States of America

Image for San Simeon featuring heritage architecture, a church or cathedral and religious elements

Visit thousands of elephant seals on the beach and tour the famous Hearst Castle. This little coastal town will keep you busy for days.

San Simeon is most famous for Hearst Castle, the lavish estate built by publishing tycoon, William Randolph Hearst. The castle is known for its ornate façade resembling a Spanish castle and the lavishly decorated 165 rooms within. The sprawling gardens outside are equally impressive. Don't miss the Neptune Pool, an outdoor water complex in the style of ancient Roman baths.

Just a short drive away is San Simeon's other main attraction, the Piedras Blancas rookery. This beach is home to over 17,000 elephant seals. Stop here and marvel at this massive community of creatures, from newborns to adults, frolicking in their natural habitat. Overlooking all of this is the iconic Piedras Blancas Light Station. This gleaming white structure has guarded the coastline since it was first illuminated in 1875.

A trip to San Simeon is not complete without at least dipping your toes in the Pacific Ocean. At William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach you can do everything from surfing to fishing. Discover one of San Simeon’s best-kept secrets at Jade Cove, a secluded beach dotted with deep green pieces of jade.

The stretch of coastline from San Simeon north to San Francisco has been designated the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Gain an appreciation for the diverse sea creatures and plants that live here at the interactive Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay.

When you drive on California's famous Route 1 along the Pacific coast, you can't miss San Simeon. This tiny town is roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Take the 4-hour drive from either city for sensational views of the ocean before arriving at your destination.

California’s Pacific coast is a special place; there is no better place to experience it than in San Simeon. Whether you are touring one of the area’s many attractions or simply enjoying a day at the beach, this charming town is sure to delight.

Top hotels in San Simeon

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Cambria Pines Lodge
Cambria Pines Lodge
3 out of 5
2905 Burton Dr, Cambria, CA
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
NZ$183
per night
Feb 27 - Feb 28

Situated in a rural location, this spa hotel is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and 2.5 mi (4 km) from Moonstone Beach Park. Cambria’s Historical ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,010 reviews)

"We had 4 adults and 2 children stay in a family suite. The space was great, enough room to spread out and when babies needed naps having the bedroom was super helpful. My only complaint is the sofa bed and Murphy bed was pretty uncomfortable. The Friday night pizza event was awesome! Perfect for ..."…"

Reviewed on 17 Feb. 2020

Cambria Pines Lodge
Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
3.5 out of 5
9415 Hearst Drive, San Simeon, CA
NZ$200
per night
Feb 23 - Feb 24

Nestled on the beach, this San Simeon hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of San Simeon State Park, William Randolph Hearst State Park and Leffingwell Landing. Moonstone ...

4.2/5Excellent! (1,250 reviews)

"Georgeous property friendly staff very clean and convent to Hearst castle"…"

Reviewed on 20 Feb. 2020

Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
San Simeon Lodge
San Simeon Lodge
2.5 out of 5
9520 Castillo Drive, San Simeon, CA
NZ$86
per night
Mar 23 - Mar 24

Situated by the sea, this motel is within 3 miles (5 km) of San Simeon State Park, William Randolph Hearst State Park and Leffingwell Landing. Moonstone Beach ...

3.7/5Good! (2,004 reviews)

"Great view of the ocean and really close to town for great restaurants. The facility was very nice along with the rooms."…"

Reviewed on 17 Feb. 2020

San Simeon Lodge

Popular activities in San Simeon

Moonstone Beach Park
Image for Moonstone Beach Park

Moonstone Beach Park

5/5(3 reviews)

Spend a leisurely day on this rugged and wild stretch of beach, where the sand glitters with shiny round moonstones and the boardwalk promises staggering views.

Ragged Point
Image for Ragged Point

Ragged Point

4.5/5(8 reviews)

Take in one of the Big Sur coast’s finest views from high above the water or hike down a cliff-side trail to see the impressive Black Swift Falls.

San Simeon Pier
Image for San Simeon Pier

San Simeon Pier

3.5/5(4 reviews)

Drop a fishing line to hook walleye perch and rubberlip or spend some time enjoying the views from this long timber pier that juts out from a protected cove.

Top activities in San Simeon

Coast Tour to Santa Barbara, Solvang & Hearst Castle
Image for Coast Tour to Santa Barbara, Solvang & Hearst Castle

Coast Tour to Santa Barbara, Solvang & Hearst Castle

88% of travellers recommend
NZ$260
Per adult
Mystery Thrill Seekers - Cambria
Image for Mystery Thrill Seekers - Cambria

Mystery Thrill Seekers - Cambria

NZ$54
Per adult
Paso Robles Wine Adventure from San Simeon
Image for Paso Robles Wine Adventure from San Simeon

Paso Robles Wine Adventure from San Simeon

NZ$223
Per adult

Reviews of San Simeon

3.8

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
1
5 - Excellent 7.6923076923076925%
4 - Good
9
4 - Good 69.23076923076923%
3 - Okay
3
3 - Okay 23.076923076923077%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

Jan 9, 2020

It was a great place to stay to be close to Hearst Castle. Not much more to the town but a very convenient stop off point.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Oct 13, 2019

Loved seeing the Elephant Seals.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Sep 5, 2019

Didn’t have enough time to explore it all but nice spot to stop between SF and LA. Almost exactly half way

4/5 - Good

Brenda

May 10, 2019

It’s a sleepy town but other than right in front on the sea, it feels a little depressed.

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