Hearst San Simeon State Park contains most of the waterfront property along a 20-mile segment of Highway 1 north of the city of Cambria on California’s Central Coast. This area of the coastline, which is centered on the town of San Simeon, is probably better known for Hearst Castle than the lovely beaches along the shore. While the Castle should not be missed, each state beach in this park is a worthy destination by itself. Hearst San Simeon State Park has thirteen different beaches from Santa Rosa Creek on Moonstone Drive in Cambria to San Carpoforo Creek on the southern Big Sur Coast. Many of these beaches are hidden gems that few tourists ever see.
Elephant seals, birds and other wildlife can be spotted on these remote beaches. Most of the beaches are large enough for long beach walks and are tops for beachcombing. While beach visitation is highest during the summer months, this scenic drive and these beaches are worth seeing any time of year.
Cambria and San Simeon have many options for food and lodging. If you are driving northward there are even more options along the highway near the beaches of Big Sur. Camping is available at the San Simeon Creek Campground and additional tent camping spots can be found at the primitive campsites of Washburn Campground. Both of these campgrounds are near San Simeon Creek Beach. Hiking trails wrap around the Washburn Camp, but the best place to get out and walk around in the park is on the boardwalk above Moonstone Beach.
Kayaks can be rented at William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach where it’s usually calm on San Simeon Cove. After exploring this beach consider stopping into Sebastian’s General Store and Cafe just up the street on San Simeon Road.
Here are the beaches in Hearst San Simeon State Park listed from south to north.