Many road-trippers along the Central Coast make time to visit Hearst Castle. Considering how unique the castle really is, it’s worth a full day. In order to enjoy your visit to Hearst Castle consider arriving in the late morning and check in immediately for your VIP Tour. While other tours focus on only one or two aspects of life at the “ranch,” the four-hour VIP tour spans the gamut and touches on everything.
Highlights include some of the upstairs bedrooms (there are 56 in all), a few of the bathrooms (there are 61 of those), grand ballrooms, and the famous Neptune pool, where the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst threw many of his legendary pool parties. The VIP tour also focuses on the castle’s collection of art and antiques—all told, there are nearly 10,000 pieces. Your guide may even take you past what used to be the world’s largest private zoo; zebras still roam the property today. Over the course of the tour, your guide will regale you with stories about architect Julia Morgan, who was the first female architect in California; what life was like when Hearst was on property; and how the castle became a California State Park and a National Historic Landmark. You also will learn how the design for the building is a mashup of historic architectural styles that Hearst admired in his travels around Europe.
Following your afternoon at the castle, drive north to Big Sur where you’ll check in at the Post Ranch Inn. The resort is made up of individual cottages that dot the redwood-laden hillsides of Big Sur with unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean, maximizing privacy and encouraging you to unplug.