What to do and see in San Simeon, United States: The Best Places and Tips

February 24, 2018 Osvaldo Hartline

San Simeon (ZIP Code: 93452; area code 805) is a town and census-designated place on the Pacific coast of San Luis Obispo County, California. Its position along State Route 1 is approximately halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, each of those cities being roughly 230 miles (370 km) away. A key feature of the area is Hearst Castle, a hilltop mansion built by William Randolph Hearst in the early 20th century that is now a tourist attraction. The area is also home to a large northern elephant seal rookery, known as the Piedras Blancas rookery. It is located seven miles north of San Simeon on Highway 1.
Restaurants in San Simeon

1. Moonstone Drive

Moonstone Beach Drive, Cambria, CA 93428
Excellent
78%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 605 reviews

Moonstone Drive

Oceanfront scenic loop that parallels Highway 1.

Reviewed By Peggy H - Delavan, Wisconsin

The ride along Moonstone Beach is absolutely gorgeous, with views of the ocean and beaches all along. The walk - mostly on a boardwalk - is stunningly beautiful. A must if you are in town or even passing through.

2. Elephant Seal Rookery

Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, CA 93452-9715 +1 805-924-1628
Excellent
78%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

Elephant Seal Rookery

Reviewed By GRS-SJS - Sebastopol, California

It was a rainy day but we still walked out along the trail. The beach was wall to wall with seals but there were still a large number of elephant seals. The loud sounds coming from the elephant seals filled the beach. Great fun watching seals making they way into and out of the surf. Great parking area in size but lots of pothole puddles.

3. Piedras Blancas

15950 Cabrillo Highway, San Simeon, CA 93452
Excellent
79%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 614 reviews

Piedras Blancas

Reviewed By operalover939 - Toronto, Canada

Early March is just the right time to see the rookery. The male elephant seals are at one end of the beach, the females and recently born pups are still together, lazing away the time. The rookery is little more than 25 years old, but the elephant seals have made themselves fully at home. A lovely view!

4. Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Off Highway 1, South on Windsor, Cambria, CA +1 805-927-2856
Excellent
88%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 285 reviews

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Reviewed By TravellingJan - San Carlos, California

No one knows about this place that is down a residential street in Cambria along the ocean. Amazing...just incredible wildflowers at end of February, beautiful rock formations along the jagged coast AND an accessible trail, so all can enjoy it. Wow...Don't miss it!

5. Moonstone Beach

Cambria, CA 93452
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Moonstone Beach

Charming and natural beach.

Reviewed By Helen R - Port Townsend, Washington

Saw plenty of seals and sea otters. Woodworking and access. Great little trail with wonderful views and wildlife.

6. Hearst Castle

750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon, CA 93452-9740 +1 800-444-4445
Excellent
63%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5 reviews

Hearst Castle

It took 28 years to complete William Randolph Hearst's lavish estate, which includes 165 rooms on 125 acres.

Reviewed By mattrileyx - London, United Kingdom

Really enjoyed the guided tour of the Grand Rooms (and outside of the house at the beginning). Fascinating to see what eccentric people spend their money on even if it is more kitsch than art. Only shame is that the house is actually split into 3+ separate tours and you're looking at $25 for each one.

7. William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach

750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452-9740 805-927-2035
Excellent
56%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 141 reviews

William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach

Reviewed By Perseverance - Kelowna

we stopped in for breakfast in our RV and enjoy the amazing scenery. Just down the hill from the Hearst Castle.

8. Piedras Blancas Light Station

15950 Cabrillo Hwy, Cambria, CA 93452 +1 805-927-7361
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 158 reviews

Piedras Blancas Light Station

Reviewed By sun1967flower - Tucson, Arizona

I have a renewed interest in lighthouses after taking this free tour today. Once a month in the summer they open the lighthouse and you can hike in. I think it was about four miles round trip. There were docents along the trail, and knowledgeable guides stationed in various places. There were spotting scopes set up to see whales and various other wildlife. Spectacular beauty.

9. Leffingwell Landing

Cambria, CA +1 805-927-2070
Excellent
60%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 69 reviews

Leffingwell Landing

This state park is a popular spot for picnics, weddings, and watching sunsets - or whales.

Reviewed By Geneen G

One of the most relaxing, gorgeous, serene, extremely beautiful places in California. I also enjoyed Morro Bay, Half Moon Bay and the Bay area. I have lived in California for many, many, many years and have worked in San Luis as well. perfection :)

10. Moonstone Beach

San Simeon, CA 93452
Excellent
58%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 349 reviews

Moonstone Beach

Charming and natural beach.

Reviewed By Auntie-Nanuuq - City of Angels

I took some nice photos, there is a boardwalk to the beach. Most importantly there is wide open coastal access and the mcmansions are back from the street....

I didn't see the many stones for which the beach is famous, but there is a nice park with plenty of free parking.

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