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San Simeon

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  • San Simeon

    Approximately half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast lies San Simeon.

    • Elephant Seal Viewing

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    • San Simeon Coastline

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    A key feature of the area is Hearst Castle, a hilltop mansion built by William Randolph Hearst in the early 20th century that is now a tourist attraction.

    Make a stop at Elephant Seal Rookery, where you will see hundreds of seals playing and sunning themselves on the beach.

    If you are a surf lover, head to Pico Creek Surf Spot located at the north end of San Simeon. Its a popular surf sport for short and longboarders as well as kite surfers. Explore the wonders of the central coast from your kayak or boat. Hiking and biking trails are abundant in the area with stunning views around every corner. Be sure to see the beautiful San Simeon Point and Cove.

    Drive into the back country and see the roads lined with vineyards and rolling hills. The region is home to over 80 wineries, so be sure to stop for a wine tasting.

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    • Top Tip 1

      Everyone should drive Highway 1 - the Pacific Coast Highway, but our tip is to do it from north to south. Whichever direction you take the scenery is stunning but you get a better view going south because you're on the ocean side of the road.

    • Top Tip 2

      Hearst Castle is a must-see stop as you drive along the coast, taking you back to the early days of Hollywood.

    • Top Tip 3

      Wine tasting tours are plentiful in Napa and Sonoma. Our favourites are Jordan's and Chalk Hill. Try the Library Tasting tour, a wine and cheese pairing at Jordan's and the Culinary Tour at Chalk Hill, a wine and food pairing prepared by Chef Didier. Both are exceptional experiences and amazing value.

    • Top Tip 4

      Visit the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. On Thursdays, from 6pm, enjoy music, cocktails and entertainment whist experiencing world class exhibits and star gazing on the living roof.

    • Top Tip 5

      San Francisco - where do you start? Visit North Beach for the cafe culture, take a tour to Alcatraz (we recommend you pre-book it), see Lombard Street, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, take a sightseeing tour of the city on a fire engine, shop in Union Square.

    • Top Tip 6

      For spectacular scenery, and to escape from the desert heat, take a ride on the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway. If you're in downtown Palm Springs on Thursdays, you'll enjoy VillageFest, offering live entertainment and an array of stalls selling food and gifts.

    • Top Tip 7

      Yosemite National Park is one of California's great natural wonders. Stay for a couple of nights and include a guided horseback ride for a tour with a difference.

    • Top Tip 8

      Follow the scenic 17-Mile Drive coastal route between Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove for stunning views of the Monterey Peninsula. There's a small fee to drive this route but it's worth it.

    • Top Tip 9

      Rent a bike or rollerblades and enjoy people watching along the boardwalk at Santa Monica and Venice Beach.

    • Top Tip 10

      When visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, book the VIP ticket which allows you to jump the queues and includes behind-the-scenes access.

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