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Hearst Castle

DaveNV

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It's been about 20 years since I last visited Hearst Castle, and my spouse has never been. We're putting together a central California coastal driving trip for next Summer, and we want to see HC.

From their website, it looks like the tours are different now? They used to have scheduled times and tours. Now it seems like it's more unstructured. Is that right? Anyone have recent experience with the place and how best to see it these days? We'll be driving down from Monterey for the day, but want to have a sunset dinner at Nepenthe in Big Sur on the way back. So we can get an early start and spend the day, but we can't stay too late.

Thanks,
Dave
 

zinger1457

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Maybe it's changed but we were there in April and they did have set times for the tours. We didn't make advanced reservations but the day we were there the weather was lousy so it was no problem getting on a tour. If going during the summer and especially on a weekend I would recommend making reservations if available.
 

northwoodsgal

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I was online a few days ago looking to see what the tour availability was for Christmas week. If you look again at the web site, there is a link to purchasing tickets in advance at certain times.
 

DaveNV

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Hmm. I'll have to take a closer look. I didn't get all the way down to the purchase link - I just read the descriptions of the tours they offer now. Thanks!

Dave
 

Deb from NC

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Hi Dave,
I've never been to the Hearst Castle and it's on my bucket list. Trying to
figure out the best way to see it and the Ca. Coast. Are you going to stay in a timeshare ? (If so, I was wondering which one?) Or is it better to just
pick out a couple of nice hotels (any recommendations?) Thanks!
Deb from NC
 

Passepartout

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We did HC 12 years ago after the Rose Parade and Bowl game on the millennial new year of 2000. It was part of a NB drive to the Monterrey area using PCH. Had to stop from time-to-time to scope whales in the ocean on their migration.

The only tips I have are to allow more time than you think it will take. There aren't any TS there- or until you get up to Santa Barbara or even Oxnard area. We wanted to stay as close as possible to Hearst, and take 3- or more tours. iirc, this is about as nice a lodging as we found there: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g33039-d80074-Reviews-BEST_WESTERN_PLUS_Cavalier_Oceanfront_Resort-San_Simeon_California.html Otherwise there were pretty forgettable chain hotels.

The PCH drive is one of the great ones! Made me want to put down the top and feel the wind. Unfortunately we were in a rental minivan and I think Hertz would've frowned on it.

Jim
 

vkrn

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We did the Hearst Castle tour in March. It was great! We stayed at the San Luis Bay Inn (DRI timeshare) in Avila Beach. It was a good central location for exploring and a great resort.
 

nightnurse613

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Thanks to a TUGGER we were able to snag a reservation at Avila this past July. Drove to the Castle and back. They definitely had scheduled tours. Was about a 75 minute drive but my husband and I are very familiar with the area. If I remember there was some discussion about a less organized tour but, with that much stuff, it's not likely they will let you wander around too much!! We took the general tour; it gives a great orientation and let's you see most of the important stuff. We had our grand kids and stopped at Elephant Seal Beach about 7 miles further up the coast highway. There were (literally) tons of these mammals - my grand kids loved watching them fight and flip sand on themselves. We also saw some parasailing along the way. The first 20 miles to Ragged Point are pretty smooth sailing and then the mountain driving begins. It's a very special drive (when it's not foggy and there are less than 200 motor homes on the road!)- -except for the driver who won't be seeing much of the trip except mountainside and cliffs in the air!
 
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DaveNV

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Hi Dave,
I've never been to the Hearst Castle and it's on my bucket list. Trying to
figure out the best way to see it and the Ca. Coast. Are you going to stay in a timeshare ? (If so, I was wondering which one?) Or is it better to just
pick out a couple of nice hotels (any recommendations?) Thanks!
Deb from NC
Hi Deb,

The posts just above this one will give you some great ideas for stays during a coastal trip. We're staying in the area three days, so are staying at a motel in Pacific Grove, near Monterey. There are some great places to stay around the area, and lots to see. We're combining Big Sur and Hearst Castle one day with a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, (the most amazing aquarium ever, and not to be missed!) on a second day, and general exploring of the area on the third day. The Monterey Peninsula is a really interesting place to see, and well worth the trouble to get there.

I hope you can make it out to see it. Have fun!

Dave
 

Deb from NC

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Thanks all! We're hoping to make it out to the areaa next fall. I will definitely put the aquarium on my list, that is something DH and I will
both enjoy. It will be fun planning this trip..hoping to add in a few days in
San Francisco as well....looking like a 2 week trip (at least!)
Deb
 
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