San Simeon and the Hearst Castle is a highlight on the drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Hearst Castle: This is one of the top tourist sites in California that should not be missed. I went back for the second time to explore William Randolph Hearst’s famous hilltop home that was built between 1919 to 1947. The house contains 68,500 sq. ft and has 115 rooms, including 38 bedrooms, a library, movie theater, kitchen and living quarters for the household staff. The estate is filled with art and antiques from his collection. You start at the large visitors center and then take a bus to take one of the three tours offered of the house and grounds. You can also see the Neptune Pool and the Indoor Roman Pool.
You can spend a few hours or an entire day taking the tours and visiting the grounds. The tours include the Grand Rooms, Upstairs Suites and Cottages and Kitchen. There are also evening tours. There are several cafes and places to buy food at the visitors centers. I highly recommend buying your tickets online before you go to make sure you get the times you want. You just check in at the ticket window with your receipt and then wait for the bus at the specified location. I opted for the Grand Rooms tour and was at the Castle for around two hours.
After you visit, you might drive to the beach and the WR Hearst Memorial State Beach known for its large northern elephant seals and have lunch at Sebastian’s Store, a cafe at 442 Simeon Rd.which is located in a State Historical Landmark building. It also has a tasting room for the Hearst Ranch Winery.