Marvel at the grand vision of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst with a tour of Hearst Castle, his luxurious estate turned museum, one of the world’s greatest showplaces. Just 45 minutes north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1, you can explore the magnificent Hearst Castle, a California State Park.
Situated on what would eventually total about 250,000 acres of ranch-land, Hearst Castle was designed by the first licensed woman architect in California, Julia Morgan. Known for both her humility and tenacious work ethic, she began what was originally planned to be a six-month project in 1919. What was eventually completed in 1947, is the Hearst Castle we know today.
Midway through the twenty-eight years of Hearst Castle’s construction, Julia Morgan designed a building that you might recognize next time you’re in SLO. Located on Monterey Street, the historic Monday Club was built from 1933 to 1934. While Hearst Castle is a statement of extravagance and luxury, the Monday Club continues to serve the SLO community through social, civic, and educational efforts to this very day.
Several guided tours of the estate give you an insider’s view of the 127 acres of gardens, the extravagant 60,645-square-foot main house, or the Neptune pool — which features an ancient Roman temple as its centerpiece. You might even spot zebras and other exotic animals roaming the grounds, since the estate once housed the world’s largest private zoo.
With multiple daily guided tour options, your party can choose between the Grand Rooms Tour, recommended for first-time visitors, the Evening Tour, in which staff dress in 1930s attire and meander about the Castle as a part of the Living History Program, and many other guided tours. Tours sell out daily so we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance.
From San Luis Obispo, visitors can drive to Hearst Castle by traveling along Highway 1 North. For the latest updates on road conditions and closures, click here.
Check out our Day Trip to Hearst Castle Photo Tour, featured on the #ShareSLO Blog.