William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach

San Luis Obispo County

William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach


750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon
San Luis Obispo County


Hours: dawn to sunset

Main Attractions

  • Sheltered swimming beach
  • Pier for fishing and boating
  • Sea Kayaking

Other Facilities

  • Restrooms
  • Picnic area
  • National Marine Sanctuary Coastal Discovery Center
  • Food services
  • Boat rentals and charters
  • Nearby Elephant Seal Trail
  • Nearby Vista Point
  • Camping at nearby San Simeon State Park


  • Rip currents always possible

Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.

Special Regulations

  • No alcohol on beach or in picnic areas
  • No collecting


  • Picnic area
  • Parking, restroom
  • Nearby Elephant Seal Trail

Nearby Beaches

  • Hearst San Simeon State Park Beach, 5 miles south
  • Cayucos State Beach, 25 miles south
  • Morro Rock, 30 miles south
  • Mill Creek Beach, 30 miles north


Elephant Seal Webcam

Books of
Local Interest

William R. Hearst Memorial
State Beach

Protected from heavy surf by San Simeon Point, Hearst Beach is a popular destination for swimming, playing in the surf, and enjoying the warm sand. An 850-foot long pier attracts anglers, boaters, and sight-seers. The state beach extends south from the pier along the shore of San Simeon Bay for about a half mile.

The area was once William Hearst's private beach, and was donated to the county for a park in the 1950s. In 1970 became a state beach, and today it is part of San Simeon State Park.

Located directly across from the entrance to the Hearst Castle, the beach attracts a good number of tourists looking for a scenic place to relax and take a walk. Groves of eucalyptus trees stand along the shore and the Hearst Castle can be seen in the distance.

Into the Surf

The light waves make Hearst Beach a good place for beginning surfers, boogie boarders, and skim boarders. Sea kayaks are often launched here. San Simeon Bay provides a protected expanse of water for paddling.

surfers at William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, San Luis Obispo County, CA


Stray elephant seals beach themselves on Hearst Beach. Signs caution visitors to give them space. Many more elephant seals can be seen 7 miles north at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Lookout. Out around the pier expect to see harbor seals and sea lions. Swimming in the cove you will likely spot sea otters and dolphins while farther out a passing gray whale.

Food and Supplies

Supplies are available within walking distance in the nearby community of Old San Simeon. Sebastian's General Store includes a fast food restaurant/deli with great sandwiches and burgers. It can get crowded almost any time of year.

map of William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, San Luis Obispo County, CA
San Simeon Pier, William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, CA

Hearst Castle Tours

The only way for visitors to experience Hearst Castle is on one of the tours. A variety of tours are offered, including the Grand Rooms Museum Tour, Upstairs Suites Tour, Cottages and Kitchen Tour, and the Evening Museum Tour.
Information: Hearst Castle

looking north toward William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, San Luis Obispo County, CA

Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

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