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San Simeon Chamber
Click to enlarge this picture San Simeon Acres from the South Hearst Castle Country Road Trip
San Simeon Acres, a great alternative to lodging in Cambria: I love this place and over the years I have spent a lot of time here, even if I am passing by on the Pacific Coast Highway and don’t have time to stop I will at least exit the highway onto the frontage road so I can slow down an give the place a look-over. I especially like the beach, there is a gravel section and rocky areas with tidepools; it features one of the few of the areas surfable wave breaks and is great for kite-surfing when it gets blown out. There are a couple of good places to eat and although all the lodgings are all old most are well kept and aren't bad, there are a couple of nice places too.
A little background and history: San Simeon Acres is a motel row community that began growing near the mouth of Pico Creek in the late 50’s after the State of California began running tours of Hearst Castle State Historical Monument; it is about 3.5 or 4 miles south on the Pacific Coast Highway from San Simeon and the Hearst Castle Visitor Center. It lacks the beauty and charm and the trees that you find in Cambria, mostly all it is two ½ mile long PCH frontage roads, Castillo Drive on the land side of the highway and Hearst Drive on the Pacific Ocean side both lined with motels broken up by a few souvenir shops, restaurants and a liquor/general store. Most of the growth and building occurred from the mid 60’s to the mid 80’s when because of a well water and sewerage treatment shortage a building moratorium began which is still effective today. One inspired business manager installed some tall palms and Egyptian décor and hired an Elvis impersonator in an attempt to give the place a Beach Las Vegas flavor???. Too bad the building moratoriums weren’t more effective in Cambria; the motels are getting crowded together on Moonstone Beach Dr in Cambria you may like having more room to relax in San Simeon Acres.
Nearby Points of Interest: San Simeon Acres is just a few miles south of San Simeon and the Hearst Castle Visitors Center and a few miles north of Cambria. The Elephant Seal Viewing Area is about 9 miles north and Piedras Blancas Lighthouse is just north of there.
Beach Access and Day Use Parks & Picnic Areas: San Simeon Acres has its own beach, Pico Creek Beach if you are ok with smooth gravel beach broken up by rocky coastline. W. R. Hearst Memorial Beach is 3.5 miles north with great white sand beach and awesome picnic area. Another nice picnic area is Washburn Day Use Picnic Area part of San Simeon State Park just 1.7 miles to the south, nice picnic area and smooth gravel beach.
Best places to Eat: If you are doing lunch the very best place to go just 3.5 miles north in San Simeon is the historic Sebastian’s General Store and Cafe they have great sandwiches and feature Hearst Ranch grass raised beef; soak up some history and local Hearst ambiance, Hearst Ranch Wines have a tasting room there too. I enjoy eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Cavalier Restaurant, I used to work there 45 years ago and the food, service and atmosphere are still good. Cambria with so many great restaurant choices is just 5 miles south which really broadens your choices but if you want to stay in the “Acres” the Big Sur Cafe can be good and so can the Manta Rey Restaurant. When I stay at Motel 6 I usually just eat there at the Sunset Grill and I sometimes like to go with friends to the El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant eat and drink their great wine margaritas made with Los Cabos Agave Especial Wine.
Nearby Hotel Lodgings & Resorts: There are only two lodgings in San Simeon Acres that I would recommend, the Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort if I was going to stay and play or the Motel 6 if I just wanted a place to sleep, shower, grab a bite and be on my way. Many will tout their location and ocean views but only one establishment actually has any beachfront property or motel rooms and that is the Cavalier. The motel 6 is well kept, well run, and reasonably priced and even has a few rooms you can see the ocean from although it like most of the other lodgings in San Simeon Acres is not next to the beach.
Near Campgrounds: Two excellent campgrounds are just 1 mile south of San Simeon Acres, the entrances to both Campgrounds are the same just a short distance up San Simeon Creek Road. The San Simeon Creek Campground and Washburn Primitive Campground are both part of San Simeon State Park.
History & Museums: Sebastian's General Store and Hearst Castle Visitors Center are 3.5 miles north on PCH 1.
Gasoline, Public Restrooms, Supplies: No Gasoline or Public Restrooms are available in San Simeon Acres although you could use a restaurants restrooms in a pinch; the closest gas station and public restrooms are 5 or 6 miles south on PCH 1 to Cambria or north to Ragged Point 18.5 miles.
Other Facilities, Services or Activities:
San Simeon Acres is a great area for a Hearst Castle vacation base camp with Cambria dining, sighting and shopping just down the Pacific Coast Highway 1, Paso Wine Tasting Adventure waiting just over the Hill, Hearst Castle, the Elephant Seals and Piedras Blancas Lighthouse just north…you can be right in the middle of lots of fun and interesting exploration and entertainment!