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Family Vacations in California

Family Vacations in California: Hearst Castle
William Randolph Hearst’s hilltop castle will amaze kids with its grandeur.

Hollywood celebrities, business tycoons, and political heavyweights of the 1920s and 1930s were all entertained by William Randolph Hearst at Hearst Castle, an opulent 165-room hilltop hideaway above the California coastline in San Simeon. Hearst was not one to live the simple life, and his home overflows with unbelievable treasures and priceless art from all over the world. He spent millions building his estate and, in its heyday, he entertained lavishly.

Hearst's heirs presented this grandiose Shangri-la and its treasures to the state in 1958 for public exhibition. Some of the home's many rooms can be viewed in the five different tours offered to visitors. First-timers should opt for Tour One through the gardens and into the cavernous main entry hall. Other parts of the mansion, including the billiard room, the dining hall with its king-size trestle table and bannerlike flags, the private theater, and the indoor Roman Pool lined with actual gold-leaf glass mosaic tiles, are a part of this tour. Nighttime tours include a living-history program, when the castle comes alive with docents dressed in elegant 1930s clothing playing poker in the sitting rooms or lounging about in the ornate library.

Hearst Castle Information

Address: 750 Hear St. Castle Rd., San Simeon, CA

Telephone: 805/927-2020, 800/444-4445

Hours of Operation: 8:20 a.m. - 3:20 p.m., daily

Admission: $24 adults; $12 kids

Get away from the hustle and bustle with a visit to a Spanish-style beach town. On the next page, learn about visiting Santa Barbara.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Los Angeles City Guide: Explore the City of Angels -- Los Angeles is brimming with restaurants, shops, attractions, and the occasional celebrity hotspot.
  • California State Guide: From north to south, California encompasses mountains, deserts, beaches, and vineyards. Learn about it all in our guide to California.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.