Hearst San Simeon State Park
Protect yourself, family, friends and your community from COVID-19 by following these prevention measures while recreating in California’s State Park System:
- Know Before You Go – Prior to leaving home, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find out what restrictions and guidelines are in place. Have a back-up plan in case your destination is crowded. Stay home if you are sick.
- Plan Ahead – Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer.
- Play It Safe – Find out what precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors, especially if this is your first time visiting the State Park System. Learn more at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
- Keep Your Distance – Avoid crowds. If there are too many people at a park or beach, please visit on a different day.
Wear a Mask – State Parks continues to follow guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health:
- Everyone: In indoor settings, such as museums and visitor centers, face coverings are required regardless of vaccination status.
- Fully Vaccinated Persons: Face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events.
- Unvaccinated Persons: Face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Leave No Trace – Leave areas better than how you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. Do not disturb wildlife or plants.
Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.
What is open now?
- Day Use Parking Lots
- San Simeon Creek and Washburn Campgrounds
What is currently closed?
- Coastal Discovery Center
Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument:
- Hearst Castle
- Hearst Castle Visitor Center
- 2 vehicle maximuim per campsite. Trailers count as a vehicle.
- No Extra Vehicles and No Overflow Parking after the 2 Vehicle maximum per campsite.
- Dogs must be leashed in the campground. Dogs are prohibited on the beach and trails.
Hearst San Simeon State Park is one of the oldest units of the California State Park System. The coastal bluffs and promontories of the scenic park offer unobstructed views of the ocean and rocky shore. The park includes the Santa Rosa Creek Natural Preserve, the San Simeon Natural Preserve and the Pa-nu Cultural Preserve which were established in 1990.
A 3.3 mile trail runs through parts of the San Simeon Natural Preserve and the Washburn Campground. The trail includes scenic overlooks, rest-stop benches and interpretive panels with information on wildlife and habitat. A portion of the trail along the seasonal wetland is wheelchair accessible.
- Santa Rosa Creek Preserve is an area which includes valuable riparian forests and coastal wetlands, that provide habitat for endangered Tidewater Goby.
- San Simeon Natural Preserve consists of vast wetlands, riparian areas, and several undisturbed native plant communities including unique mima mound topography. The Preserve is also the wintering site for monarch butterfly populations.
- The 13.7 acre Pa-nu Cultural Preserve contains the most significant archeological site within San Simeon State Park. The site has been dated to 5850 years before the present, and it contains significant evidence documenting prehistoric technology, subsistence practices and social organization over the course of several centuries.
A unique opportunity to view northern elephant seals is available at the Elephant Seal Boardwalk in Hearst San Simeon State Park. This vantage point provides an ideal location to view these marine mammals from a safe distance.
Located around Point Piedras Blancas, the elephant seal rookery extends along 6 miles of the shoreline. Elephant seals may be seen throughout the year. The largest populations and the most activity are during the months of late January, April and October. Although elephant seals spend most of their lives in the open ocean, they arrive at the rookery to give birth, breed, molt and rest from long migrations in the ocean in search of food.
The viewing areas are open to the public year round and are wheelchair accessible. Docents are on site to answer questions. No reservations are required and there is no fee. Restroom facilities are not available at this location. The nearest restrooms are 4 miles south of the viewing areas at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach.
Location - Directions
San Simeon State Park is located 35 miles north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1, and 5 miles south of the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Visitor Center. The community of Cambria is located 2 miles to the South and offers gas stations and grocery stores.
San Simeon Creek Campground
The San Simeon Creek Campground offers 115 campsites for tent camping or recreational vehicles. The maximum length for an RV is 35 feet. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table. There are currently flush toilets and shower facilities in place. Chemical toilets are available. A dump station and pay phone are available. Firewood is for sale from the campground host.
Recreational activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, surfing, beachcombing, bird watching and whale watching. The Junior Ranger Program is a regularly scheduled interpretive program for children. Interpretive walks of the San Simeon Trail may also be available.
This primitive campground is approximately 1 mile inland from the beach on a plateau overlooking the Santa Lucia mountains as well as the Pacific Ocean. Washburn campground can be accessed from the San Simeon Creek Campground entrance station. Facilities here include a fire ring and picnic table at each campsite, in addition a shower facilities is available to registered campers.
- ARAMARK Sports & Entertainment (Restaurant, catering & retail services)
- Hearst Ranch Beef (Hearst Ranch beef sales)
- Destination Cinema, Inc. (Hearst Castle Theater)
Junior Ranger Program
This is a special program for kids that provides the chance to partake in a variety of fun and educational nature-oriented activities at Hearst San Simeon State Park. Parents should bring their kids to the Campfire Center at the San Simeon Creek Campground for fun regularly scheduled programs about the Central Coast.