On President's Day, we decided to make a trip to San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle for the very first time. Located in San Luis Obispo County, San Simeon is what I call a slice of heaven. It is not densely populated, right by the coast and full of amazing scenery. 

HEARST CASTLE
My boys, 2 and 5 years old, really loved the bus ride up to the castle. When you book a tour at the visitors center, you have to get up to the mountains by bus from the center (inclusive). The higher you climb, the more exciting you get and the whole time, you can see the Hearst Castle getting nearer. Once there, you get separated into different groups according to the tour you booked for. We did the kitchen and cottages but before we got to see those, we passed by the magnificent outdoor pool.

As you're greeted by your tour guide, you will be given a set of strict rules like: don't touch anything, stay within the gray carpet inside the area and no flash photography inside. They spend a lot of effort preserving this wonderful estate for all visitors to enjoy for years to come.

The cottages were amazing and I loved hearing the history but what I enjoyed more were the views from up high in the mountains. Looking down, you feel like royalty.

Kids under 5 get to visit for free. They consider every child under 5 as a lap child on the seat of the bus. After we got off the bus, I quickly realized that chasing my little ones and making sure they didn't touch anything were huge tasks, so be forewarned! We purchased our tickets online but I feel like if you know that a certain session is not going to be sold out, you could probably just show up at the visitors center and buy your tickets there 30 minutes before and skip the extra online fees. But of course, there's no guarantee. We booked the 12:20PM slot and our bus ride up was not even halfway full. Address of Hearst Castle: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452

ELEPHANT SEALS
About 9 minutes away from Hearst Castle is the natural habitat of the elephant seals (also in San Simeon). You can also utilize the designated boardwalk and viewing areas to see them better too. There's no parking fee nor entry fee as you're watching them in their natural home. However, there are no public restrooms either.

(All photos of Hearst Castle and elephant seals were taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com. Please give credit if you plan to use them.)

Address of Friends of the elephant seals: 250 San Simeon Ave, San Simeon, CA 93452.

During the month of May, you'll see hundreds and hundreds of female elephant seals with their pups but no males

See other family-friendly things to do in San Luis Obispo County.
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