Hearst San Simeon State Park Beach Activities

San Luis Obispo County

Nearby Attractions and Events

Hearst Castle

Highway 1, San Simeon, CA
Tour the famous Hearst Castle.
A variety of tours are offered.

Outback Trail Rides

One mile south of Cambria on Highway 1
One to two hour trail rides (May - October).
Outback Trail Rides

Nitt Witt Ridge

Nitt Witt Ridge is the creation of Arthur Harold Beal who spent 50 years creating his own castle in Cambria using a hodge-podge of materials collected over the years. The current owners, Mike and Stacey O'Malley, will take you on a tour of the place for $10. By arrangement only.

Annual Chili Cook-off & Car & Motorcycle Show

April 21, 2018
Veteran's Hall and Pinedorado Grounds in Cambria
Enjoy hot cars and hot chili, music, prizes, cold beer
10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cambria Chamber of Commerce

Virg's Landing

1169 Market Ave.
Morro Bay, CA
(800) 772-1222
Whale Watching & Sport Fishing
Virg's Landing

Pinedorado Days

Labor Day Weekend, 2018
Saturday parade, fun activities, music, kiddie rides, and games.
Pinedorado Days

Hearst San Simeon State Park
Beach Activities

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

Moonstone Beach Boardwalk and Tide Pools

A wheelchair accessible boardwalk extends along the shore at Moonstone Beach, making a great place for a casual stroll and to enjoy the coast. Vista points and benches are located along the route. In several places stairs and paths lead down to the beach. Watch for marine wildlife such as harbor seals and sea otters. At the north end of Moonstone Beach at Leffingwell Landing is a great place to explore tide pools.

Leffingwell landing, San Luis Obispo County, CA

Boardwalk from Leffingwell Landing to Moonstone Beach

Hiking San Simeon Creek Trail

The 3.5-mile San Simeon Creek Trail circles the San Simeon Creek and Washburn campgrounds. A quarter-mile section of the trail over a wetlands area is a raised boardwalk and wheelchair accessible. Start the trail at the Washburn Day-use Area.

Viewing areas and interpretive signs are set along the trail. Hikers pass through Monterey pines, Cambria pines, cottonwoods, lush riparian areas, and grassy slopes.

Hiking North to Hearst Memorial Beach

Ambitious hikers can do the full 4.6 miles north from the Junge Ranch area near San Simeon all the way to William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach. Others may opt for simply a couple of miles along the bluffs before the trail descends to the beach.

Begin the hike a short distance north of San Simeon Creek Road at the end of Lone Palm Drive.

Scarecrows on Moonstone Beach

In October the city of Cambria and Moonstone Beach are taken over by more than 200 scarecrows. Created by local artists and businessmen, the scarecrows line the streets and invade the beach. It's all part of the annual Scarecrow Festival.

In years past, Moonstone Beach hosted scarecrows such as Don Quixote, Oscar Crew-Sky diver, Moonstone Scuba Man, and a surfer stuck in a tree with Land Sharks circling below.

Cambria Scarecrow Festival

Junior Ranger Programs

Play games, hike trails, create your own animal, discover tracks, observe wildlife, all while making friends your own age in some of the best places in California! Check the campground bulletin board for information.

Junior Ranger Program for children ages 7 - 12 covers topics such as geology, ecology, history, safety, plants, and wildlife. The Program can take place over several days, or you can start at one park, and then at another time go to a different park. Children should plan to spend about an hour at each activity. At Hearst San Simeon State Park the program is available from Thursday through Monday at 10:00 AM.

Junior Ranger Cubs

The Cubs program is for ages 4-6 and is held at 9:30 AM and 10:00 AM.

The Junior Ranger Program is offered free of charge to visitors who have already paid park entrance or camping fees.
California State Parks Junior Ranger Program

Into the Surf


Waves along the coast around Cambria tend to be larger than north at William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach. the beaches are generally considered at an intermediate surfing level, but you will often find surfers of all abilities out. A spot known as Cardiacs has a reputation for being particularly challenging when the surf is right.

The main San Simeon beach at Washburn Day-use area and Moonstone Beach see a fair number of surfers who like the steady roll of waves. An area known as Exotic Gardens can get exciting when conditions are just right.

Another favorite spot is at Pico Creek at the town of San Simeon. A point offers some protection there. Most surfers consider autumn the best season to head out on the water.

Good winds attract a number of kitesurfers and wind surfers.

Leffingwell Landing

Launch Ramp

Leffingwell Landing is a small concrete ramp extending to the sand. It is used to hand-launch small boats such as inflatables and kayaks.


Divers usually head out in small boats from the landing to dive spots off the shore. Visibility close to shore is poor, but once farther out near Cambria Rock it improves greatly. Extensive kelp beds are found there along with numerous fish.

Hears San Simeon State Park coast, San Luis Obispo County, CA

San Simeon Coast


Advanced kayakers like to launch at Leffingwell Landing and make the 6-mile paddle north along the coast to William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach. The journey takes about 3 or 4 hours.

Central Coat Kayak Fishing sponsors the Cambria Slam Down at Leffingwell Landing in September. For information, see Central Coast Kayak Fishing.

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

Search This Site