Before you start looking for a place to stay near Hearst Castle, you need to know the area. The town closest to the castle is San Simeon, but more towns are within a half hour's drive. And while the castle is the best-known attraction in this area, but it's far from the only one. You can easily stay in any of the towns listed below.
Options for Hotels on the Central Coast
When you start looking for a place to stay, the links below lead to Tripadvisor where it's easy to read reviews and compare prices. However, you'll have to do your searches one town at a time — or choose one place to start, then use their map view to zoom out and browse around.
Before you do that, you need to know where the towns are located and what their pros and cons are. That alone might help you narrow down your options. From south to north, options include:
You could spend an entire weekend in Morro Bay even if you didn't drive 35 miles north to see Hearst Castle. The town is popular with families, birdwatchers, along with fishermen, kayakers, surfers and others who enjoy outdoor recreation.
It should be the first place you look for a hotel if the price is a concern. It's also big enough to have plenty of places to eat - and there's a lot do to along the waterfront area. Look for Morro Bay hotels, read guest reviews and compare prices at Tripadvisor.
Cambria may be the most charming town in the area, filled with shops and places to eat, and its streets lined with lovely gardens. It's a fun place to go all by itself, but it's also a convenient base for visiting Hearst Castle and the coast around it,
Along the coast, a string of places to stay near Moonstone Beach have lovely ocean views but are not right on the beach. Look for Cambria hotels, read guest reviews and compare prices at Tripadvisor.
The tiny, cute town of Cayucos is many people's favorite place along the coast.
You'll find a few hotels - a couple with excellent ocean views - along with some good restaurants and a few shops. Look for Cayucos hotels, read guest reviews and compare prices at Tripadvisor.
Many people associate San Simeon with Hearst Castle. Lots of people think it's the only place to stay when visiting the big house on the hill. However, the town itself is tiny with few dining options and little else to do. Look for San Simeon hotels, read guest reviews and compare prices at Tripadvisor.
Located north of San Simeon and Hearst Castle, Ragged Point is one of the most scenic spots in the area. The one hotel there — the Ragged Point Inn — has gorgeous views and an on-site restaurant. It's about a 20-minute drive north of Hearst Castle and is a good choice for an overnight stay between a day spent visiting the castle and another continuing north on CA Hwy 1.
Things You Need to Know About Central Coast Lodging
You won't find any big chain hotels along this part of the coast, although there are a few Best Westerns and the like.
None of the hotels in the Hearst Castle area are right on the beach. Some places in San Simeon are on the clifftops just above it, and others in Cambria are across the street.
Don't let the distances fool you. It's a 90-mile drive up the coast from San Simeon to Carmel, but it will take 2 to 3 hours. If you plan a full day of sightseeing in the Hearst Castle area, don't try to make it up to Carmel or Monterey for the night, or you'll miss all the gorgeous scenery. And maybe get scared senseless by driving on an unfamiliar, winding road in the dark.
Once you've picked a few good candidate hotels for your trip, apply all the best tricks to get the lowest possible rate.
Central Coast Vacation Rentals
You can find vacation rentals in any of the towns listed above at Airbnb. However, prices are somewhat high, and they aren't as good a bargain as they sometimes are in the bigger cities. And don't be short-sighted. High cleaning fees can drive up your daily rate for one- to two-day rentals. And if you change your mind, cancellation fees can be exorbitant, and Airbnb doesn't refund your booking fee.
Camping Near Hearst Castle
If you're looking for a place to pitch your tent or hook up your RV, check out these campgrounds and RV Parks on the Central Coast.