California Hearst Castle San Simeon

 California Hearst Castle San Simeon (9/25/2012) – Hearst Castle in San Simeon was a highlight of our driving trip of California’s Central Coast and an amazing must-visit place.

Neptune Pool Hearst Castle california
Famous Neptune Pool 
- Hearst Castle, California
Ariel View Hearst Castle San Simeon California
Hearst Castle - San Simeon, California
Hearst Castle excites your imagination taking you back to a glamorous time of America’s history. Hearst Castle boasts 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and at its prime, the world's largest private zoo. 

Hearst built the never-completed Hearst Castle on a 240,000-acre ranch at San Simeon, California, which he furnished with art, antiques, and entire rooms brought from Europe. He also used the ranch for an Arabian horse breeding operation.

Main House from Garden Hearst Castle California
Main House from Garden 
- Hearst Castle, California
During its heyday in the 1920s and '30s, invitations to Hearst Castle were highly desired. The Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into the estate's airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Hearst’s A-list guests included Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt. While guests were expected to attend the formal dinners each evening, they were normally left on their own during the day while Hearst directed his business affairs. At night, the theater at the Hearst Castle showed films from Hearst's own movie studio, Cosmopolitan Productions.
Pat Dunlap Neptune Pool Hearst Castle California
Pat at Neptune Pool 
- Hearst Castle, California
Neptune Pool Hearst Castle California
Neptune Pool - Hearst Castle, California

In addition to our tour, it was wonderful spending time wandering the grounds and beautiful gardens. The outdoor Neptune Pool was certainly a highlight of our visit to Hearst Castle (see photos). The Neptune Pool patio features an ancient Roman temple front, transported from Europe and reconstructed at the site. It also includes fountains, ornamental pools, sculptures, marble pavilions, alabaster lanterns, dressing rooms, and an ancient temple facade. It was rebuilt three times to suit Hearst’s tastes. The indoor Roman Pool is also beautiful (see photo).

Located near the California coastal community of San Simeon, Hearst Castle is half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, approximately 250 miles from both. Despite its rather remote location, Hearst Castle attracts about one million visitors per year. Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark mansion.

Dining Room Hearst Castle California
Dining Room - Hearst Castle
Recommended for first time visitors to Hearst Castle, we did the "Grand Rooms" museum tour for $25/person lasting about 45 minutes. The tour included a ticket to the entertaining and informative 40-minute film located at the visitor center. Tour guides were very knowledgeable and encouraged questions. Other tours are offered such as: “Upstairs Suites”, “Cottages & Kitchen”, and “Evening”.

Indoor Roman Pool Hearst Castle California
Indoor Roman Pool - Hearst Castle, California
Important Tips for visiting Hearst Castle: Order tickets ahead of time because tours book out especially during summer – order tickets. Allow about 2 hours to also enjoy the pools and beautiful grounds and gardens. Go early for less crowds. A nice food café is located in the visitors center. Free parking on site. Watch the included 40-minute movie before you go up to the house - it gives good context for better appreciation of your tour. Tour time is the time the bus leaves the visitor center, not the time the tour starts at the house. Even if it is foggy at the visitor center, it may be clear up at the house.
Beautiful Gardens Hearst Castle California
Beautiful Gardens - Hearst Castle, California

You can stay close by Hearst Castle in San Simeon or Cambria. Better yet, we stayed in Morro Bay, about 20 minutes south, offering more lodging options and a nice harbor restaurant area.

Guest House Hearst Castle California
Guest House - Hearst Castle, California
Some history... William Randolph Hearst built the largest newspaper chain and magazine empire in the world. Named La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill) by Hearst, the Hearst Castle was designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947. Hearst’s father owned the land and the family vacationed in tents many years before Randolph decided to build. William Randolph Hearst died in 1951 and in 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time Hearst Castle has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate and its considerable collection of art and antiques is open for public tours.
Nude Naked Woman Statue Hearst Castle California BreastsNude Naked Woman Statue Hearst Castle California Breasts

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