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California Coast Series: Cambria to San Simeon

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

hearst castle san simeon
Hearst Castle

The 15-minute stretch between Cambria and San Simeon offers an abundance of West Coast-centric attractions- charming beach towns and incredible coastal views, to name a few. Whether you’re merely passing through these towns along the Pacific Coast Highway or planning a weekend trip here, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself longing to stay. Between these two coastal towns, you’ll find local wineries, mom-and-pop shops, seaside restaurants, ample saltwater fishing spots, friendly seals, and a castle (well, sort of).

neptune pool hearst castle
Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle

Where to stay in Cambria

Luxury stays: If you’re seeking luxury lodging, there are plenty of options in Cambria and San Simeon. El Colibri Hotel and Spa is a top-rated accommodation that’s located right along the coast. The Rigdon House is another popular option that’s located within walking distance of several restaurants and shops.

Budget stays: Airbnb is a relatively affordable lodging option. If you’re on a budget, I’d even consider staying in San Luis Obispo, which is located 40 minutes from Cambria. The average nightly price for homes in San Luis Obispo is significantly cheaper than in Cambria and San Simeon.

Sign up here to get $40 credit towards your first Airbnb stay.

san simeon saltwater fishing
Fishing in San Simeon


Breakfast at Creekside Gardens: Start your day off with brunch at this local favorite. Some other options include The Hidden Kitchen and Redwood Cafe. Once you’re finished with breakfast, don’t forget to check out some of the local boutique shops next door.

moonstone beach boardwalk cambria
Moonstone Beach Boardwalk

Moonstone Beach Boardwalk: This one-mile boardwalk offers a scenic stroll along the coast- the cliffside views serve as a perfect photo op.

casa grande hearst castle
Casa Grande at Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle: Hearst Castle, a luxury estate perched atop an ocean-facing hill, boasts decadent swimming pools, traditional guest homes, expansive gardens, a zoo (yup- we spotted zebras during our visit), and a mansion. Visiting the grounds requires a tour, which you could book online in advance. Various tours are offered, but the most popular is the Grand Rooms tour.

Click here to purchase your ticket and reserve your time slot.

guest home hearst castle
Guest Home at Hearst Castle

kitchen hearst castle
Kitchen in Hearst Castle

Friends of the Elephant Seal: Friends of the Elephant Seal is a viewing area where you can observe hundreds of elephant seals in their natural habitat.

elephant seals viewing area san simeon
Friends of the Elephant Seal

Grab an early dinner at Boni’s Tacos or The Cafe on Bridge St: These two restaurants are favored amongst locals and tourists. Grab a bite here and relax after your long day!

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