San Simeon Journals

California's Central Coast

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A May 2013 trip to San Simeon by MilwVon

Elephant Seals Photo, San Simeon, California More Photos
Quote: We enjoyed a brief afternoon visit in Monterey, before heading on to San Simeon. Our drive took us south along Hwy 1 along the Pacific Ocean. We visited several attractions in the San Simeon area and enjoyed wonderful dining.

Hearst Castle

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Attraction | "The Pinnacle Jewel on California's Central Coast"

Hearst Castle Photo, San Simeon, California
Quote:
The Hearst Castle was the final attraction of our four day whirlwind tour that stretched from Los Angeles to Monterey . . . and points between. Nothing like saving the best for last, which is saying something given the high quality activities that we enjoyed on our road trip. It is no wonder why it was named "La Cuesta Encantada" translated to "The Enchanted Hill" by William Randolph Hearst and the architect Julia Morgan who spent nearly 30 years on the project . The hilltop views across the ranch land and to the Pacific Ocean are truly enchanted. Upon arrival to Hearst Castle, guests are encouraged to enjoy the exhibits and movie "Hearst Castle, Building the Dream" at the Hearst Castl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2013

Hearst Castle
750 Hearst Castle Road
San Simeon, California 93452
(805) 927-2020

Piedras Blancas Light Station

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Attraction | "More Than "Just" a Light House"

Piedras Blancas Light Station Photo, San Simeon, California
Quote:
The Piedras Blancas Light Station served maritime traffic since 1875 but became functionally obsolete with the advent of improved GPS navigation. It is now under the management of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) having transitioned from the US Coast Guard in October 2001. Today supported by the nonprofit group Piedras Blancas Light Station Association (PBLSA), tours are provided by volunteers dedicated to restoring and preserving this magnificent historical landmark.The availability of tours is seasonal and limited, even during the summer. For the most current information on tour schedules be sure to check in with the website of the PBLSA (http://www.piedrasblancas.org/tours.html). ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2013

Piedras Blancas Light Station
15950 Cabrillo Highway
San Simeon, California 93452
805-927-3719

Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas

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Attraction | "Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery"

Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Photo, Big Sur, California
Quote:
Located in San Simeon just south of the area of the Central Pacific Coast known as "Big Sur" there is a stretch of beach and shoreline that is home to thousands of elephant seals. These behemoth marine mammals migrate to and from this rookery to mate, give birth and at this time of the year, molt. April through early June finds mostly females and juveniles here, with the sub-adult males and adult males arriving later in June and July respectively. Molting is simply the shedding of the outer layer of skin and fur and takes several weeks to complete.During their "catastrophic molt" adults spend most of their time laying on the sandy beach, while the youngsters can often be seen frolicking...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2013

Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas
Piedras Blancas Beach
Big Sur, California

Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront

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Hotel | "Great Location - Exceptional Price"

Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Photo, San Simeon, California
Quote:
If you had told me we could get an oceanfront resort room with an ocean view for $107 (+ tax) per night for two people, I would not have believed it.* That was the rate quoted on the Best Western website, for seniors & AARP members. The resort is truly a full service location, with an outstanding restaurant (see separate review), a heated outdoor pool, three hundred yards of sandy beach, evening bonfires and a staff willing to do "whatever it takes" to meet their guests' needs.We stayed her for two nights, arriving the first just in time for dinner and the sunset. We got up early both mornings in order to go out to see the elephant seals on a nearby beach. With a noon check out, we...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2013

Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront
9415 Hearst Dr.
San Simeon, California 93452
(805) 927-4688

Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort

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Restaurant | "Outstanding Dining Experiences . . . EVERY Time"

Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort Photo, San Simeon, California
Quote:
During our two night stay at the BW Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, we had the opportunity to enjoying the food, service and ambiance of their on-site restaurant. I must start out with my general personal bias against hotel restaurants. Many if not most, are a necessary evil to complement the lodging experience. Poor service and lousy food are often the norm. Very rarely do they actually add to the overall experience and value. In the case of the Cavalier, both objectives were met.Upon arrival our first night, we tired having had a very long day involving a drive from LA to Monterey and then south on Hwy 1 to San Simeon. We had spent three hours midday touring the Monterey Bay Aquarium a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2013

Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
9415 Hearst Dr.
San Simeon, California
(805) 927-3276

Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill

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Restaurant | "Delightful Seafood Dinner"

Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill Photo, Cambria, California
Quote:
Before my trip, I had done some inquiring for dinner recommendations in the area. The Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill came highly recommended by locals and visitors alike. Given the limited options around San Simeon and the less than positive reviews of several places in the area, we were generally very happy with this choice.The menu was quite expansive, with appetizers, soups & salads, entrees and desserts being offered. Because their prices were a bit more than what we had seen the night before, we opted to keep it simple. My sister ordered the Cove Scampi . . . "large prawns sautéed with mushrooms, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs finished with white wine and butter. Served wit...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 7, 2013

Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill
6550 Moonstone Beach Drive
Cambria, California 93428
(805) 927-3859

Monterey Bay Aquarium

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Attraction | "Interesting & Educational - A Winning Combo"

Monterey Bay Aquarium Photo, Monterey, California
Quote:
I have been to several aquariums, many of which serve as research and educational marine biology laboratories. I would put the Monterey Bay Aquarium right up there at the top for the high quality visitor experience provided!Having driven up from the LA area that day, we arrived right around noontime. While perhaps at the height of the visitor traffic, it was generally easy to get around through the two floors of exhibits and interactive displays. I should note, we were visiting mid-week and there were several school groups also touring the aquarium. This was most apparent in the dining areas including in front of the otters' exhibit by Cindy's Waterfront Cafe and the gift shop....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2013

Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, California 93940
(831) 648-4888

Cannery Row District

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Attraction | "AKA Ocean View Avenue"

Cannery Row District Photo, Monterey, California
Quote:
Previously known as Ocean View Avenue, the main street through the touristy section of Monterey was remained in recognition of John Steinbeck's novel "Cannery Row" which took place in the sardine canning factories that lined the waterfront of the city. Unfortunately, with the overfishing that occurred in the 1950's all of the canneries have since gone out of business. After 57 years of operation, the last to close its doors was the Hovden Cannery in 1973. Today visitors can learn more about this cannery as the building is now home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and features an interesting exhibit with historical photos and equipment on display.When we arrived to Cannery Row, we parked in ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 7, 2013

Cannery Row District
Cannery Row
Monterey, California

The Drive from Monterey to San Simeon

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Story/Tip

Along Hwy 1 Photo, Big Sur, California
Quote:
After spending nearly three hours at the aquarium, it was time for us to make our way south along "The 1". Highway 1 is a two lane road that connects the central coast towns from Monterey to our evening's destination, San Simeon. Having been forewarned to not attempt this twisting and winding two lane road after dark, we wanted to provide for plenty of viewing time along the way. As the driver, taking photos could only be done from designated pullouts and viewing areas.The Garmin had the route at roughly 100 miles and two & a half hours. It took us nearly four! Generally referred to as the Big Sur area of California, the scenery was spectacular. Some of the areas were in tall pin...Read More

About the Writer

MilwVon

MilwVon
Milwaukee, Wisconsin