San Simeon is home to world-famous Hearst Castle, known for its towering terraces, picturesque pools, lush gardens and opulent art collection. Located off scenic Highway 1, dramatic coastal cliffs and vast ocean views are a welcome sight for visitors. Fishing, camping and whale watching are all popular activities here. Just a short drive to the north, you’ll be able to take in even more scenery at Ragged Point, the gateway to Big Sur. In nearby Cambria, wine tasting, art and fabulous dining options await. Wild and rugged, the beaches of San Simeon have been carved by the crashing waves of the Pacific for centuries. Unspoiled, uninhabited and completely intact, San Simeon’s beaches are among the most beautiful in all of California. Come and visit San Simeon! For a list of all the area beaches << Click Here >>.
San Simeon Weather (When to Visit)
Being slightly inland means higher average temps than much of the rest of our county. Winter temps can rarely have extremes from low 40s to low 80s, but average temps are in the 60s and 70s. Summers see most days with temps in the 70s and low 80s. The warmest month is September; the coldest is December. Average annual rainfall is about 18 inches with February being the wettest month. Humidity here is in the 65% to 75% range. If you like to swim in warmer ocean waters, July and August are the best months to visit. Be aware that this is also high season. Fog often rolls in along the coastal areas in early summer; you’ll need a jacket, especially after sunset, close to the shore. It usually rains from December through March. From April to early June and in early fall the weather is almost as fine as in high season, and the pace is less hectic.
San Simeon Best Beaches
Point Sierra Nevada Dunes Beach
North of the point is a seldom visited sand dunes structure and a sandy beach. It’s a northwest facing beach and since the point is shaped like a hook, it catches driftwood and ocean debris and creates a perfect beach combing beach. If you are here at low tide, look for tide pools at the north end of the beach.
William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach
The beach is located near the historic town of San Simeon along Highway One and gives visitors the opportunity to hike, swim, fish and beachcomb. A popular beach spot, this protected cove also offers visitors pier fishing. Ocean kayaking is also popular. Picnic tables, barbecue grills and restrooms are available.
Arroyo Laguna Beach is a windsurfing and kite boarding hot spot. Arroyo Laguna is famous for its afternoon breeze, which can get up to 40 mph. On a windy day you can watch dozens of colorful kites and their riders flying high across the ocean’s surface.
Ragged Point Beach
Located at the Ragged Point Inn, the beach can only be reached by taking a short but steep trail .6 miles down a coastal bluff. Good shoes and a walking stick are recommended. Once you get down to the beach, a waterfall, small creek and pristine beach await. Then there’s the hike back up!
Hearst San Simeon State Beach
The beach has pebble piles for sorting, driftwood and fantastic ocean views. Surf fishing is popular here, as well as bird watching and relaxing. Bring a beach chair and a jacket for enjoying breezy spring afternoons.
San Simeon Tours & Activities
Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tasting Tour from Cambria and San Simeon
This door to door, hop-on, hop-off wine tasting tour service lets you set your pace and create your own wine tasting itinerary in Paso Robles Wine Country. The approximately 5-hour service picks you up at your accommodations and start you on their loops. They service over 60 wineries in the region and you just pick and choose where you want to “hop on” and “hop off” all day long. When you decide to “hop off” your driver walks you in, introduces you to the staff who will conduct your tasting. She will return in approximately 40 minutes, come into the tasting room, let you know s/he is back and if you’re ready to go you just “hop on” and proceed to the next winery of your choice. If you are enjoying yourself, you can stay for another approximately 40minutes, or longer. It’s your choice! Learn more about the Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tasting Tour.
Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles
Explore the incredible scenery and fascinating history along the Southern and Central California coast on this 12-hour day trip from Los Angeles. Enjoy one of the world’s most picturesque oceanfront drives as you head north, stopping first at Santa Barbara to visit its harbor, gorgeous beaches and historic Spanish Mission. Then see Solvang, a Danish-themed town near Santa Barbara. Finish the day with a visit at the sprawling Hearst Castle, constructed by famed publisher William Randolph Hearst. Your California coastal day trip also includes coach transport, live on-board commentary and Hearst Castle admission. Learn more about the Santa Barbara, Solvang & Hearst Castle Day Trip
Hearst Castle & Paso Robles Wine Country Tour from Paso Robles
On this full-day, small-group day trip, you’ll head along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway to luxurious Hearst Castle, beating the crowds with an early arrival. Enjoy a tour of the main house before hitting the coastal town of Cambria for a lunch break, followed by optional wine tastings at three different wineries. Tours include snacks and water, the Grand Rooms tour ticket, and comfortable transfers on a private bus. Learn more about the Hearst Castle & Paso Robles Wine Country Tour.
3-Day California Coast Tour: Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Yosemite
See the best that California has to offer during this 3-day, 2-night West Coast tour, covering some of the Golden State’s top cities and outdoor areas. Start your trip in Los Angeles, snaking north by van or motor coach through California hotspots including Santa Barbara, Solvang, Yosemite National Park, Carmel, San Francisco and Hearst Castle. It’s a memorable opportunity to explore one postcard-worthy destination after the next. Your tour of the California coast also includes two nights of accommodations and a driver-guide. Learn more about this 3 Day California Coast Tour.
3-Day California Coast Tour: San Francisco to Los Angeles
Experience the spectacular scenery, wildlife, and culture of California’s coastline, on an epic, 3-day adventure from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Sit back and relax as your friendly guide handles the driving along coast-hugging Highway 1, stopping along the way to explore highlights like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Santa Cruz beaches, the sea cliffs of Bug Sur, luxurious 17-Mile Drive, jaw-dropping Hearst Castle, and downtown Santa Barbara. Finish the one-way journey with a train ride into the sprawling glamour of Los Angeles. Tour size is limited to eight people for a more intimate, small-group experience. Learn more about this 3-Day California Coast Tour.
Best San Simeon Restaurants
Ragged Point Restaurant $11 – 30
Ragged Point’s restaurant has quickly become known, both locally and internationally, for its unique ambiance as well as its sumptuous, fresh cuisine. Whether you’ve come for a romantic dinner, an inspiring business lunch, or a delicious breakfast break from your Highway 1 vacation, our restaurant is sure to please. Since our dining room is made of glass from floor to ceiling, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset or a starlit evening while you dine. Telephone: 805-927-5708 Web: Ragged Point Restaurant.
El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant $11 – 30
Indoor and ocean view patio seating with house specialties such as homemade vegetarian salsa, lamb shanks in a mild tomato sauce and our famous “Margaritas De Vino” made with Los Cabos Agave Especial Wine. Telephone: 805-927-3872 Web: El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant.
Cafe Zack $11 – 30
A local favorite for anniversaries and other celebrations, Zack’s serves classic European dishes in an intimate, two-room 1930s cottage adorned with local art. Entrées of note include seafood specials (depending on the local catch), slow-roasted boar shank and filet mignon, the latter typically crusted in peppercorns or topped with porcini mushrooms. Telephone: 805-643-9445 Web: Cafe Zack.
Ember $11 – 30
A barn-style restaurant with high ceilings and an open kitchen, Ember enjoys a red-hot reputation for Italian-inflected dishes prepared in an authentic Tuscan fireplace or a wood-burning oven. Chef-owner Brian Collins, a native of Arroyo Grande, the town bordering Pismo Beach, honed his culinary skills at Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse Restaurant. Ember doesn’t accept reservations, so come before 6 or after 8 to avoid a wait. Telephone: 805-474-7700 Web: Ember.
First & Oak $11 – 30
Create your own custom tasting menu by choosing among five different groups of eclectic California-French dishes paired with local wines at this elegant farm-to-table restaurant inside the Mirabelle Inn. The seasonal menu changes constantly, but regulars include smoked sweet-and-spicy duck wings, truffle-roasted cauliflower, local spot prawns, short rib bourguignonne, and pears poached in red wine from the sommelier-owner’s organic Coceliquot Estate Vineyard. Telephone: 805-688-1703 Web: First & Oak.
Best San Simeon Bars
San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill
They offer ocean views from every table. Their menu has a variety of fresh foods from exquisite appetizers, to fulfilling main courses, and tasty desserts. In addition, their restaurant is well known for our premium steaks, seafood, and their diverse selections of wines. Telephone: 805-927-4604 Web: San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill.
Sea Chest Restaurant & Oyster Bar
The Sea Chest has been serving fresh seafood for over 35 years. Located a stone’s throw away from Moonstone Beach, it is a popular stop for visitors and locals who enjoy the exhibition-style oyster bar. Telephone: 805-927-4514 Web: Sea Chest Restaurant & Oyster Bar.
San Simeon Lodge Restaurant & Bar
They offer a full bar with great drinks from draft beers to any cocktail with reasonable prices. Come and join us for happy hour from 4-6 PM every day. If you are in a party mode join us for “Karaoke With Elvis” on Friday and Saturday from 8pm-1am. Telephone: 805-927-4601 Web: San Simeon Lodge Restaurant & Bar.
Madeline’s Wine Shop is located in the heart of picturesque Cambria, CA at 788 Main St. Inside the store you will find an extensive selection of boutique wines from the California Central Coast including vintage and hard-to-find wines, a large selection of beautiful stemware, decanters, tabletop, wine and picnic accessories as well as gourmet cheese and cured meats, Our selection of wines change constantly as we discover new wineries and new releases. Telephone: 805-927-0990 Web: Madeline’s.
Originally established in 1866, Mozzi’s Saloon is the last remnant of “the Cowboy bar” in Cambria. Completely remodeled in 2007 with the original ambiance as yesteryear. Full bar, Live Music,Pool and Snooker tables, friendly atmosphere, bar menu. Telephone: 805-927-4767 Web: Mozzi’s Saloon.
Best San Simeon Hotels
Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
As the only oceanfront resort in San Simeon and Cambria, the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort is designed for a relaxing and satisfying stay. The comfortable guestrooms offer a warm, casual style and useful amenities like free WiFi, a mini-fridge, and Keurig single-serve coffeemaker. Conveniently located along the Pacific Coast Highway, just three miles from Hearst Castle, seven miles from the Elephant Seal Habitat (Rookery), and 10 miles from the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse.
Little Sur Inn
Little Sur Inn is a family-owned oceanfront Hotel located on Moonstone Beach Drive in the resort village of Cambria. We are a pet-free and smoke-free property. Most rooms have either a full ocean view or partial ocean view with a fireplace in every room. Relax in a jacuzzi tub in the full ocean view rooms. Every room has free internet access, Flat Screen TV, refrigerator, microwave, and coffeemaker. A free continental breakfast is included with your stay.
Fireside Inn on Moonstone Beach
This beachfront hotel in Cambria features 46 comfortable guest rooms with in-room gas fireplaces – as well as generous Moonstone Beach hotel amenities, like complimentary Wi-Fi, bath robes, flat-screen TVs, and in select rooms – jetted tubs and private terraces! Guests can enjoy a year-round heated pool and spa and complimentary hot breakfast each morning, the perfect way to start your day! Ideal for family vacations and romantic escapes, our comfortable Moonstone Beach hotel is located within close proximity of iconic attractions.
Pelican Inn & Suites
Pelican Inn & Suites invites guests to unwind in oceanfront accommodations with complimentary Wi-Fi, pampering robes, upscale bath amenities, and complimentary breakfast every morning. In addition, we offer several Moonstone Beach hotel deals – from Hearst Castle Tours to Stay Longer & Save – so guests can simply let go and relax by the ocean.
J Patrick House Bed and Breakfast Inn
A free wine hour, homemade evening cookies and full breakfast are included daily at The J Patrick House. Moonstone Beach Park is 4 minutes’ drive away. A fireplace and free WiFi are included in rooms. Styled in modern white linens and elegant wood furnishings, each room provides a window seat at Patrick House. Free spa toiletries are featured in the private bathroom. Towels and linens are provided. French toast, eggs florentine and other rotating breakfast dishes are served daily.
Thanks for this super in depth article! I love the look of California. I noticed that a lot of the locations and place names you described were in Spanish; is this destination a good place to practice my Spanish (I’m currently studying it) or is it majority English speakers?
No Benji, you will find that this is going to be predominantly English spoken here. I think it is the heritage of some of the places that gives them a Spanish name. It is beautiful, and a visit to San Simeon would be a great beach destination with lots of activities as well. Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.com.
Oh, you make me crave for vacation!! I moved to the US about 5 years ago and live in the NYC area. I have never been to California or West coast at all. These days I’m looking for a destination for short end of August getaway with 3 kids from 3y old to 8y old.
What can you recommend for a family like mine? Children friendly hotel, for example, on a reasonable budget?
Whales could be a great attraction!
Ok, the best bet with a family and budget in mind is going to be the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort. which will run about $109 a night, depending on when you go. There are so many things for kids from the whale watching to birds to the elephant seals. I think they will have a blast! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
You have a good eye and mind to know everything there is to know about whether a destination is worth going to or not. I’m really impressed! I’ll be checking all your other posts out to see what other cool places you have reviewed, so I can narrow it down to where I want to go on my next vacation 🙂 Great job and wonderful reviews on some amazing places!
Thank you so much Zulfan. I do love beaches, kind of a passion of mine. It is such a great way to spend a vacation to just relax, unwind, venture out and do some sightseeing, or just to sip a cool drink watching the sunset.
Beautiful San Simeon, complete with beautiful weather most of the year! The Hearst Castle is charming with those towering palm trees beckoning all who see it to enter its splendour.
The cliffs are amazing too. Reminds me of Ireland–sort of. A great place to visit–or even live if it weren’t so expensive. Thanks for sharing this post. It was quite a “cliff-hanger” 🙂
Thank you Robert for visiting Beach Travel Destinations. Yes, it is a beautiful place for sure. Glad you enjoyed your digital visit here 🙂
Hearst Castle and winery seem to be the first place one would want to visit. The Hearst beach also is a good place for the tourist to play. Some great eateries and hotels too for the traveler. Great Video.
Thanks Mick, San Simeon really is a great coastal community that would make a wonderful beach vacation and so much more. Thanks for stopping by!
Whale watching sounds like fun! As a horseriding enthusiast and Western saddle expert, I’d love to visit Mozzi’s Saloon. Ragged Point Inn seems very glamorous with completely unobstructed views of the magnificent Big Sur Coast from atop of a 350-foot cliff – I feel like I’m right there as you describe it. Great post.
Whale watching is fun. Their skin is so rough and they do have very bad breath LOL. But amazing creatures for sure. Yes, I do believe that Mozzi’s Saloon would be right up your alley Shalisha! Thanks for stopping by to visit San Simeon.
These are some really nice destinations. I find nothing more peaceful than sitting on the beach in front of a beautiful blue ocean. While I do live in a tropical environment, I’m about due for a vacation myself.
Then time to go Wendy! You will love San Simeon. Especially this time of year. Thanks for stopping by to visit Beach Travel Destinations.
Your post looks really great, and it covers everything that one would want to know prior to visiting this vacation site. One question for you….what is really unique about this vacation spot? Can you answer it?
The Hearst Castle is very unique and something you will not see anywhere else. I would have to say that is what is unique about San Simeon. A truly wonderful coastal community in central California. Thanks for stopping by to visit San Simeon.
Wow, what a beautiful place to visit, I would love to be right there at this moment:) Those places are to unwind and relaxes. We are planning to travel with a couple of friends for two weeks and we didn’t have any idea where to go. This is it! I found the place. I will share it with my friends and will decide together. The Pelican Inn & Suites seems to be a great spot to spend the vacation there. How many days would be enough for visiting all these places?
Thank you for this useful post!
Hi Daniella, your two-week visit will be a great amount of time to see everything, and give you time to also just relax and maybe do some wine tastings in the area. I believe you are going to have a wonderful time!
Awesome, another great destination for my wife and I to check out now in our retirement. We like wine tasting so we will be trying out the Hearst Ranch Winery.
The Cavalier Oceanfront Resort oceanfront room look like the place to stay and so close to a lot of cool things to do.
Thanks for another great informative post.
You are very welcome Curtis, I am glad you have enjoyed visiting Beach Travel Destinations. You will love to visit San Simeon. It is a wonderful coastal community.
I have wanted to visit San Simeon ever since I heard about how magnificent Hearst Castle is. Also, it’s been one of the only places in California I haven’t seen mentioned for a while. I am glad that you took the time to include this destination because it sounds like a great vacation place I am sure to go very soon.
Hearst Castle is wonderful, and it is especially nice to be in such a beautiful area. Anyone visiting Central California should visit San Simeon and plan time for Hearst Castle. Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.com
I was looking for a great beach holiday and this site has everything you can need to make the right decision. Central California does look beautiful, and with so many things to do and see.
Glad I found your site, thanks for the ideas and reviews
You are some welcome John, I am glad I could give you some beach destination ideas. I do agree that Central California is beautiful. You would have an amazing time no matter where you stay in the area. Thanks for stopping by to Visit San Simeon.
It would be quite interesting to do some outdoor activities. I think of riding a bike and I wonder can I rent it from somewhere near? Do you have any information about that?
There are no bike rentals right in Cambria that I know of. But there are bike rentals in areas that are close by such as in Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, and in Morro Bay. Theese are all fairly close to San Simeon. I hope this helps 🙂 Thanks for stopping to visit San Simeon.