500 San Simeon Creek Road, Cambria
San Luis Obispo County
Hours: dawn to sunset
Facilities vary by location.
Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.
Moonstone Beach stretches from the mouth of Santa Rosa Creek 1½ miles to the north. Moonstone Beach Drive parallels the beach and leads to several access points.
Visitors are attracted by the variety of polished, colored stones on the beach. The rocks were washed down from the nearby hills and smoothed as they tumbled downstream. Once on the beach they are polished even further by the rolling waves. The rocks are chalcedony, a type of microcrystalline quartz.
From the north the best way to access Moonstone Beach to take Moonstone Beach Drive off Highway 1 and go one third mile south to a beach parking area. From the south take the Windsor Blvd. exit and turn north onto Moonstone Drive. After one third mile turn onto York Street and find a beach parking area.
Washburn Day-use area is next to the campgrounds at Hearst San Simeon State Park. Visitors to the day-use area will find two parking areas. One is inland from Highway 1 and has restrooms, piped water, BBQ grills and picnic tables. It is a more sheltered place to enjoy a picnic. Beach access is easy via a trail under the highway bridge. The ocean-side parking area has several picnic tables.
A raised wooden boardwalk and trails connect the Washburn Day-use Area to the Washburn primitive camping campground a short distance up San Simeon Creek. Traditional campsites are found across the creek in the San Simeon Creek Campground.
No dogs are allowed on the beach here.
The Hearst San Simeon State Park also includes Hearst Castle, the Santa Rosa Creek Natural Preserve, the San Simeon Natural Preserve and the Pa-nu Cultural Preserve.
The beaches within the boundaries of Hearst San Simeon State Park are spread along 22 miles of coastline from Cambria to Ragged Point.
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