The Grand and Glorious Hearst Castle

Have you driven up the central coast of California? I adore the region for its dramatic cliffs, rocky beaches and gorgeous vistas. I can see why William Randolph Hearst fell deeply in love with San Simeon. If you haven’t toured Hearst Castle, you are missing out on California’s most amazing spectacle of engineering, beauty and madness! The story of Hearst Castle is one of romance, celebrity, love, family and ceaseless devotion. Hearst’s life was so full of drama that I’m surprised there’s not a Netflix show based on his empire!  Did you know that the estate once held the world’s largest private zoos? If you’re lucky you may even spy a wild zebra roaming the vast grounds!

Speaking of grounds, they are extravagant and intricately detailed. The gardens, architecture, pools, libraries, and villas were painstakingly built to house and entertain. Walking around makes you feel like you are on an almost fictional set of fantasy.

We really enjoyed the Upstairs Suites Tour, where we imagined ourselves as on of William’s esteemed guests… lounging in the golden towers or taking a swim in the Neptune pool with Cary Grant. If you have kids, it’s a good tour to take because there are fun windy staircases and secret passageways. The tours are each about an hour long with a docent leading the way. You do have to remain within the tape lines for all tours, so you might want to consider this if you have small children.

After you’ve marveled at the estate and explored the mansions, be sure to stop at the Elephant Seal Rockery and Moonstone Beach which are both nearby. The kids will love seeing the seals and they can get all their wiggles out, by exploring driftwood forts and collecting moonstones!

 

Visiting San Francisco? Check out 5 Free things to do in San Francisco! 

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