Is the Hearst Castle Overrated

Updated: September 29, 2021 | Has affiliate links

Hearst Castle, CaliforniaHearst Castle is one of the few buildings in America that bears the name “Castle”. We just don't have castles here like they have in Europe. Castles are a thing of the past and especially in California we don't have old buildings except for the few old missions that are scattered along the coast. I know I am exaggerating a little but not too much. So, just the name Hearst Castle becomes interesting almost immediately to the tourist.

My Favorite Tourist Attractions at Hearst Castle

  • It’s worth visiting Hearst Castle but only on a sunny and clear day. If it’s cloudy or raining and you can wait…go on a different day. The castle is great, but the view is simply amazing.
  • Stop along Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) and visit the Piedras Blancas beach. If you visit during the winter you will get to see over one hundred Elephant Seals.
  • Across the way from the Hearst Castle entrance off Highway 1 is the San Simeon pier and beach which is very pretty as well.

Is the Hearst Castle Overrated?

Hearst Castle, California - Neptune Pool
Neptune’s Pool is one of the main tourist attractions at Hearst Castle
See my photos from Hearst Castle

Well, depending what you expect to see. If you expect to see a 1000 years old castle then yes, it’s overrated. But if you realize you’re in California where probably the oldest California mission was built in 1769, then you can’t expect to really see old castles in California. So, I believe that for California, the Hearst Castle is not overrated and it’s a great family travel destination especially if you count the amazingly scenic surrounding area.

Hearst Castle, California
Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California is a blend of European Architectural styles.
See my Photos from Hearst Castle

Plan Your Trip to Hearst Castle in San Simeon California

A map of the San Simeon and surrounding area.

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Hearst Castle is located in San Simeon California which is about 3 hours north of the Los Angeles area. The closest city is San Luis Obispo which is home to one of the 27 old California Missions.

If you want to visit Hearst Castle I recommend that you try to stay overnight in one of the neighboring towns. For example Cambria is very close to Hearst Castle and it’s inexpensive to find a motel there. Plus, Cambria is home to many artists and it has delightful restaurants and shops. We stayed in town at the affordable Blue Bird Inn or right on the coast at the beautiful Ocean Point Ranch.
Find budget hotels in Cambria

We usually spend three nights in Cambria and we drove along the coast through another stunning area called Big Sur. It is certainly worth spending a few days exploring the area.

Is it Worth Visiting Hearst Castle?

Have you visited the Hearst Castle and San Simeon? We loved our visit at the Hearst Castle even though we had to visit twice, as the first visit was during a downpour and heavy fog. The fog was so heavy that we could not see anything outside the castle windows.

Coming back during a sunny day was absolutely amazing as the views of the California coast from the top of the hill are simply gorgeous. We understood then why this hilltop is called the Enchanted Hill.

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