Hearst Castle Tours
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Hearst Castle, perched along California’s Central Coast, is the ostentatious creation of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan. This 90,000-square-foot (8,361-square-meter) estate comprises 165 rooms and 127 acres (51.4 hectares) of gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways—all now open to the gawking public.
Construction of Hearst’s Moorish-style castle began in 1919, and it was his private residence until his death in 1951. La Cuesta Encantada, which means “enchanted hill,” opened to visitors in 1958. Today Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark. The home is furnished with items collected on Mr. Hearst’s travels, such as monastery ceilings, Byzantine tapestries, Spanish and Italian artworks, and gaping fireplaces from Gothic castles. In its heyday, Hearst Castle also boasted the world’s largest private zoo.
To see any of the castle or grounds, you must purchase one of the tours offered. The Grand Rooms Tour, which includes the Assembly Room, refectory, gardens, theater, Neptune Pool, and Roman Pool, is the most popular. Highlights on other tours include the Casa Grande, the guest houses, and Casa del Sol, in addition to the main house. Evening tours are also available—a great way to beat the Central Coast’s summer heat.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Reserve tickets or a tour ahead of time for this popular attraction; admission is available up to 56 days in advance on the site.
- There is a handicap- and wheelchair-accessible tour available in the evening during spring and fall that skips much of the walking and stair climbing.
- The only dining option with food for purchase is at the Visitor Center.
- Temperatures in San Simeon can be high in the summer, and there is a considerable amount of walking and stair climbing involved.
How to Get There
Reach Hearst Castle from the north via Highway 101 to Paso Robles. The castle’s entrance is about five miles (eight kilometers) inland, atop the Santa Lucia Range, about five miles (eight kilometers) north of Hearst San Simeon State Park. Alternatively, book a tour from Paso Robles or Los Angeles that includes transportation.
When to Get There
Hearst Castle is open from 9am every day, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Summer temperatures can be quite high; a spring or fall visit is lovely. Holiday time at the castle brings the Holiday Twilight Tour, with twinkling lights and decorations galore.
During Hearst’s heyday in the 1920s and ’30s, he often entertained stars from Hollywood and members of the political elite. Famous guests included politicos Winston Churchill, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt; and entertainers Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, the Marx Brothers, and Greta Garbo.
Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, USA
Hours: Varies by season
Admission: Adult: $25; Child $12
1 Tours and Activities to Experience Hearst Castle
Experience the iconic Big Sur road trip with a self-guided driving audio tour! Drive over Bixby Bridge, pull over at McWay Falls, and enjoy the rugged coastline on this segment of the Pacific Coast Highway/Route 1. As you drive, learn about the fairytale cottages of Carmel, the purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach, and the enormous elephant seals at San Simeon. Discover the fascinating geologic history and environmental factors that make Big Sur a must-do California roadtrip. Here's how it works: Within 30 min, we'll send you two things: a unique password and an app. Download the app, enter password, & download tour. When you arrive, head over to the first stop. Stick to the route and speed limit for the best experience. Password is valid for 30 days from Travel Date. Recommended: Purchase one tour per vehicle. Everyone can listen at the same time! This is not an entrance ticket to attractions along the route. Check pandemic rules and opening hours before your visit.
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are Hearst Castle hours of operation?
Hearst Castle hours of operation: Varies by season. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.
What's the best way to experience Hearst Castle?
The best ways to experience Hearst Castle are:See all Hearst Castle experiences on Viator.