Your Place to Stay near Hearst Castle

Treat yourself to something special and walk through a piece of American history when you take a tour of the famous Heart Castle while a guest of Apple Farm Inn. Our hotel offers exceptional lodging and modern amenities while remaining the premiere place to stay in San Luis Obispo.

Hearst Castle Information

Approaching San Simeon from the south, two white towers appear in the distance, an unlikely apparition in the rolling hills above the Pacific Ocean. This is Hearst Castle, a San Luis Obispo attraction well worth a visit, and not only because of its 90,000 square feet of living space, 56 bedrooms and 61 bathrooms, two pools and a movie theater. It is worth seeing thanks to its status as one of the world's greatest showplaces of wealth, art, impeccable taste, and the imagination of a great man.

Plans for the castle began in 1919. It was built over a span of 28 years, but much of it remains unfinished. The grounds at one time extended to 250,000 acres, including an exotic animal zoo. William Randolph Hearst left the castle in 1947. It was donated to the state of California in 1957 and is now managed by the Park Service. Hearst Ranch, 82,000 acres of mountains and oak-crowned hills, along with 18 miles of pristine California coastline, is undergoing one of the most complex land-preservation deals in state history.

Hearst Castle Tours

There are numerous tours of the castle available, offering in-depth Hearst Castle information. The tours range from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes in length, at varying times during the day, depending on the season. Tour buses drive you from the visitor's center up the steep five-mile road to the castle. Though you can purchase tickets upon arrival, prior reservations are strongly recommended.

Grand Rooms Tour – 60 minutes

The Grand Rooms Tour at Hearst Castle is a must-see for anyone visiting the area. The tour lasts approximately 60-minutes and takes visitors through a number of the castle's most lavish rooms, including the Assembly Room, Billiard Room, Refectory, Theater, and Library. Along the way, guests will learn about the history of the castle and its famous owner, William Randolph Hearst. The tour culminates in a visit to the majestic Neptune and Roman pool, which is adorned with statues, murals, and stained glass. With its wealth of information and breathtaking surroundings, the Grand Rooms Tour is an unforgettable experience.

Upstairs Suites Tour – 60 minutes

The Upstairs Suites Tour allows visitors have the opportunity to see some of the most lavish and opulent suites in the castle, including the Doge’s Suite, Library, Gothic Suite, Duplex Bedrooms, and Celestial Suite. These rooms are lavishly decorated with antiques, artwork, and tapestries. The tour also a glimpse into the daily life of Hearst and his family, as well as the many famous guests who stayed at the castle. This tour includes a look into the gardens and pools. The Upstairs Suites Tour is a must-see for anyone interested in the history and architecture of Hearst Castle.

Cottages and Kitchen Tour – 60 minutes

The Cottages and Kitchen Tour offers visitors the chance to explore two very different parts of fascinating history. Visitors can see Hearst’s Wine Cellar, Casa del Monte (the grandest house on site), Casa del Mar and industrial sized Kitchen in just 60 minutes!

Accessibly Designed Tours (ADA)

Hearst Castle offers many ADA tours to accommodate guests. These include visitors who have difficulty climbing or descending stairs, and can't stand long periods at a time when walking is impossible due the terrain's condition such as steep slopes that may be difficult for wheelchairs accessibility purposes. Accessibly designed tours available: Grand Rooms Tour, Evening Tour, and Holiday Twilight Tour.  

Seasonal Tours at Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle Evening Tour – 120 minutes

The Hearst Castle Evening Tour is offered seasonally and allows you to experience the Castle illuminated at night. The evening tour at Hearst Castle takes visitors on a guided tour of the main features of the estate, including the main building, gardens, and swimming pool. The evening tour is an excellent way to experience the beauty and grandeur of Hearst Castle, and it is also a great opportunity to learn about the history of the estate and its famous owner, William Randolph Hearst.

Holiday Twilight Tour – 75 minutes

The Holiday Twilight Tour at Hearst Castle is a special event that takes place during the Christmas season. Visitors can tour the estate after dark, when it is illuminated with festive lights and decorations. The tour includes stops at Casa del Sol, the grand rooms of Casa Grande, the Kitchen, Theater, both pools and the gardens. Guests can also enjoy live music and refreshments while they tour the castle. The Holiday Twilight Tour is a special way to experience Hearst Castle during the holiday season.

The IMAX Theater at the Visitor Center shows the movie, Hearst Castle: Building the Dream, every 45 minutes starting at 8:15 a.m. You may view it either before or after the tour. Visit their website or call at 1-800-444-4445 to make your reservations.

Directions to Hearst Castle

From Apple Farm Inn, turn left onto Monterey Street and travel approximately seven blocks. Turn right onto Santa Rosa, which shortly becomes Hwy 1. Follow Hwy 1 for 42 miles to the Hearst Castle Visitor Center entrance on your right.