70th Seaside Celebration – Hearst Castle Excursion



About the Excursion:

Hearst Castle is the final result of a man with a passionate vision and the means to pursue it, meeting an architect with the talent and ambition to make it reality. If you are a fan of art, history, architecture, or just having your breath taken away by the grand and the bold, then Hearst Castle should definitely be on your list.

The tour consists of an hour exploring the first floor of the main house (the Grand Room tour), after which guests are free to explore the castle grounds and its myriad of statues, landscaping, tilework, fountains, and pools before heading back to the visitor center. Once back at the visitor center, guests can peruse the gift shop and watch a documentary on the history of Hearst Castle.




Leave Cambria Pines Lodge: 8:00 AM

Hearst Castle Movie: 8:45 AM

Grand Tour Begins: 10:00 AM

Explore the Grounds: 11:00 AM

Lunch: 1:00 PM

Return to Cambria Pines Lodge: 3:00 PM


What to Wear:

  • Wear comfortable shoes for walking!

You do not need pricy walking shoes for this excursion. However, you’ll be doing a lot of walking and you don’t want tired feet to get in the way of the experience.

  • Wear layers!

San Simeon averages a high of 60° (F) in January, but you’ll be doing a good bit of walking around with a group of people and it’s always best to have options. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a turtleneck when the sun comes out!


Helpful Tips:

  • Make sure your camera is charged and ready to go!

There are TONS of beautiful opportunities to take pictures, and cameras are completely allowed during the tour both inside and outside (with the exception of flash photography indoors). Believe me, you will want to take pictures. I’m not a huge shutter-bug myself, and I took 135 of them while I was there. The best part is, just point your camera and shoot and you’ll have yourself a post-card worthy picture 85% of the time. I took the picture at the top of the page with my phone.

  • Don’t leave the Hearst Castle grounds before you are ready!

After the indoor tour, you will be released to wander the Hearst Castle grounds. You can choose to leave Hearst Castle and return to the visitor center via the Hearst Castle buses at any time. However, once you’ve left Hearst Castle for the visitor center, you can’t go back! So be sure you are ready to leave.

  • Watch the Documentary!

There is a 45 minute documentary shown in the visitor center’s theater. It’s definitely worth a watch to learn more about the history of the site. Be sure to make time for it before the group leaves for the hotel. On another note, you will most likely be given a movie ticket in order to enter the theater. If you want to watch the movie with friends, make sure you meet up for it and don’t cash in the ticket before you are ready.

  • Don’t let the stairs scare you!

There’s a rather daunting set of stairs to get up to the main level of the Hearst Castle grounds from the bus drop off point. Believe me, I was scared too, but I made it up there and so will you! The good news is, they are NOT a sign of things to come. Once you get up those first stairs, everything else is well leveled and easy to traverse with almost no stairs in your way, including a nice smooth downhill walk back to the buses. Also, Hearst Castle will gladly offer transport assistance to anyone who can’t make that first flight of stairs.