William R. Hearst State Beach, Winery, Schoolhouse

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San Luis Obispo, CA
William R. Hearst State Beach, Winery, Schoolhouse
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The wooded peninsula that frames William R. Hearst State Beach sets a magical backdrop for the shimmering pale waters you'll find here. A lagoon leads to the sea, and a high wooden pier juts out into the water. Eucalyptus trees stretch to the sky, and you walk through a forest of the multi-colored trees to get to the beach. It's a cold, dark-sanded beach covered in driftwood. Kids have fun using all the sticks for their games.
We lucked out and discovered two gigantic elephant seals lazing on the sand among all the weekend beach-goers. I had no idea elephant seals were so tame! But I was nervous when visitors were letting their children stand right next to the seals. Seals can roll fast and crush you. So stand back!
It was exciting to watch the elephant seals fling sand onto their backs. What a treat!
According to the docents, never get between an elephant seal and the ocean- this is dangerous! Elephant seals can move faster than humans. Also, don't allow dogs near elephant seals.
Overlooking William R. Hearst State Beach is Hearst Ranch Winery San Simeon. It is lovely to eat at the food truck, The Cruisers, that comes Thurs-Mon 11-3. You pay for your food inside the huge indoor area, at the far end. Then you sit out on the first part of the patio (the first two picnic tables on the right), with the sea in the distance. The food truck will bring your food to you. You don't need to stop in and talk to the snooty mean lady at the front counter in the indoor area. If you want to buy a glass of wine ($10) or a wine tasting ($25) you can sit at the tables closer to the water, but you will have to talk to the rude lady at the front counter! She will ask if you have a reservation. This is a beautiful place to eat, with the ocean ahead of you and a eucalyptus forest to your side. 
Stop and look at the adorable one-room schoolhouse built in 1881, called Old San Simeon Schoolhouse, at 750 Hearst Castle Rd. It looks so sweet with the backdrop of the mountains and castle behind it and horses standing nearby. This is where Hearst went to school. 
While you're here, you must visit the amazing Hearst Castle!
Head up the coast just a few minutes more and you will come to Piedras Blancas, an elephant seal viewing area, where hundreds of elephant seals gather.
Head south down the coast 45 minutes and check out the very cute beach town of Cayucos, where you can stop to eat.

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Miles of rugged coastline await you in this part of California!

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The lagoon and sparkling waters of William R. Hearst Beach.

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I love the bark of eucalyptus trees!

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What a pretty beach!

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Elephant seal lazing beside weekend beach-goers!!

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Elephant seal flinging sand on his back!

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What a funny dangling nose the elephant seal has! It's called a proboscis.

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The forested peninsula and pier.

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1878 barn and white Spanish building at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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Blue ocean view, as you taste wine, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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Enjoying an idyllic September afternoon at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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Couch with a view, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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The table you can sit at if you want to eat at the food truck but not taste wine.

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You can still see the ocean from the non-wine-tasting table, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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On the left is a table you can sit at if you don't want to taste wine, but just want to get food from the food truck.

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Tables and chairs, plus umbrellas, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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Table with a gorgeous view, for wine tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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View from the food truck table, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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The pier at William R. Hearst Beach, San Simeon Pier, as seen from Hearst Ranch Winery.

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The glistening water and strand of trees.

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Kelp on the shore, sailboat, and bright blue sea.

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San Simeon Pier, and birds divebombing.

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Chairs and eucalyptus trees, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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Looking back at the winery from the ocean.

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Sitting by the woods, at the tables for non-wine-tasters, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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The long table where you can eat lunch, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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Long table where you don't need a reservation, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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The view from a wine tasting table, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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Plenty of tables for all to enjoy the wine tasting, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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White Spanish building, at Hearst Ranch Winery.

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The old schoolhouse where Hearst's son went to school! The horse adds to the bucolic setting.

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Field, horse, and old schoolhouse, across the street from Hearst Ranch Winery.

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Directions

About 6 miles north of Cambria, pull off Highway 1 at the sign for William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach. There is plenty of parking, and entry is free.
Hearst Ranch Winery San Simeon, 442 Slo San Simeon Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452. Open daily 11-4. The food truck, The Cruisers, comes Thurs-Mon 11-3.

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Sophie

2010-07-13 04:00:00

Oh my God, amazing!!!

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Steve

2009-09-09 20:48:00

Sunny Fall days, when the hills are green and the sky is blue, this area is a fantasyland. This was Hearst's private beach once upon a time and he sure knew how to pick a place to build a mansion!

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Last Updated: Sun, 15 Oct 2023 15:59:03 GMT

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