What to Know
- Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument is located near California Highway 1, in San Simeon on the Central Coast
- The landmark was the home of publisher William Randolph Hearst
- It reopens on May 11, 2022; online reservations open on March 31
HELLO AGAIN, HEARST CASTLE: The Golden State? It's notably gargantuan, an admittedly over-the-top statement that would still be fully embraced by most people who've spent time roaming its vast coastline, epic mountain ranges, and spectacular deserts. But there are some California idylls that continue to feel more away-ish than others, as though you've slipped through a time window, onto a different and more remote plane. The Central Coast can wonderfully feel that way to its fans, and especially the area around San Simeon, which is home to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery and, overlooking the beach, the hills, and the Pacific Ocean, Hearst Castle, one of our country's most famous private residences.
BUT WAIT: We should say former private residences, for the grand manor built by publisher William Randolph Hearst, with architect Julia Morgan at the helm, transformed into an open-to-the-public treasure, an enormous, intricately designed abode that's been explored by millions of visitors over the decades. Those visitations came to a halt in 2020, for two reasons: Pandemic closures, which impacted many attractions around the state, and a multi-month road project, which involved the removing of older asphalt, the building of concrete retaining walls, and the restoration of some of the property's stone walls. Another major update? The "storm-damaged, clay pipe culverts dating from the 1920s were replaced and enlarged to withstand modern storm systems such as the atmospheric rivers that recently damaged the road," shares the castle's information team.
THE BIG REOPENING DATE? Now that this sizable safety-minded effort has concluded, Hearst Castle is ready to reopen to the public, after two years out of view. The reopening is scheduled for May 11, 2022, with online reservations opening on March 31. The landmark's 100th anniversary had been postponed, but supporters can expect to see centennial celebrations return to the schedule soon. And a tour devoted to the castle's acclaimed architect? Look for The Julia Morgan Tour to debut as one of the centerpieces of the reopening roll-out. For everything coming up at Hearst Castle, visit the destination's official National Park Service site now. Looking to plan a larger road trip along Highway 1, which features amazing elephant seals, incredible hiking, and all sorts of charming, beachfront towns, in addition to the colossal and colorful castle? Swing by the Highway 1 Discovery Route headquarters to jumpstart those daydreams.