While on our road trip, we stopped at Hearst Castle. The famously decadent and ultimately unfinished property of William Randolph Hearst sits atop a hill and overlooks a dramatic coastline in San Simeon.
In order to visit Hearst Castle, you must park at the visitor center down the hill and purchase a tour or two (you can also book tours ahead on their site). We chose the Upstairs Suites Tour.
Every tour is 45 minutes to an hour, and includes a narrated ride up to the estate and back down (voiced by Alex Trebek, no less), and allows you to roam the grounds and view the pools at your leisure.
We saw several guest suites on our tour, along with Hearst’s room, office, and library. The library and office were especially worth seeing.
The home is decorated in a Spanish style with priceless art, doors, lamps, ceiling panels, and more, and there are 360 degree views.
The outdoor Neptune pool was drained due to the drought, but was still impressive.
Likewise, all fountains were turned off. The property has several smaller structures with guest suites in addition to the “big house.” It once had the largest private zoo in the country, and you can still spot zebras on the land (we saw them a couple of miles up the road when we left).
The indoor Roman pool is filled, and is perhaps the best part of the property available for viewing. It’s beautifully tied and throws around light in a really magical way.