View Map

Overview

One of California's oldest parks has not deteriorated with age. In fact, it's grown more lovely with time. From its Monterey Pine forest to the stellar seaside walks, Hearst San Simeon State Park shows off the finest the Central Coast has to offer: picturesque beaches, fed by San Simeon creek (a habitat for the endangered red legged frog), provide ideal spots to camp, picnic, swim and surf. In winter, monarch butterflies cluster in the native pines, flying in magical displays more common in Northern California. The park is split into three main sections — the Santa Rosa Creek Preserve (where it is common to spot endangered Tidewater Goby), ...

One of California's oldest parks has not deteriorated with age. In fact, it's grown more lovely with time. From its Monterey Pine forest to the stellar seaside walks, Hearst San Simeon State Park shows off the finest the Central Coast has to offer: picturesque beaches, fed by San Simeon creek (a habitat for the endangered red legged frog), provide ideal spots to camp, picnic, swim and surf. In winter, monarch butterflies cluster in the native pines, flying in magical displays more common in Northern California. The park is split into three main sections — the Santa Rosa Creek Preserve (where it is common to spot endangered Tidewater Goby), San Simeon Natural Preserve, and Pa-nu Cultural Preserve (an archeological site dating back 5850 years). Other highlights include camping (there are more than 115 sites), surfing, fishing and whale watching. At the beach you can hire boogie boards and kayaks. Adjacent to the state park is Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument, the brainchild of William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan. The famed Hearst Castle is made up of the 115-room main house decorated with European art and antiques, guesthouses that have hosted presidents and celebrities, and dramatic gardens. There are a variety of tours of the castle, but all include a steep walk up stairs, so wear comfortable shoes.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

view full overview

Michele Bigley for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, fall, winter, spring