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A Day in San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle and Elephant Seals

Posted by on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 Under: Hearst Castle

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. 

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 as you get nearer. Once there, you get separated into different groups according to the tour you booked for. We picked the kitchen and cottages tour 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 allowed 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

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 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. The Pinterest image directly below (Photograph by was taken during May. 

The video clip below was recorded in July. There were less elephant seals but you can still see dozens of them during this time. During mating season, you'll see the big male ones too. The males are significantly bigger than the female elephant seals.

All photos via Pinterest on this page and others on this website are original photos from 

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

Read about my staycations at the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo.

In : Hearst Castle 

Tags: hearst castle  san simeon  elephant seals  pictures of castle 

About Me

San Luis Obispo Mom Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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All photos (except for ads) on including: homepage, 'Family-Friendly Things to do' page, 'SLO Restaurants' page,'Mom Groups & Childcare' page, and 'blog' page were taken by me so they are my original content and belongs to this blog/website.

To find family-friendly activities in the SLO area, go to the 'Family-Friendly Things To Do' page.

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