Friday, March 14, 2014

Hearst San Simeon State Park



Yesterday we had one of those driving days we like, moving just 33 miles up the coast to Hearst San Simeon State Park. This one is a bargain in terms of California state parks. We are staying in the Washburn Primitive Campground, up the hill a mile from the entrance. The small section we’re in has nicely spaced sites and great views of the surrounding green hills. There are water spigots, vault toilets, and trash and recycling dumpsters, all for the low price of $20/night.

Interestingly I called the park to be sure the dump station was open and was told it was closed, along with the showers and flush toilets, due to the water shortage. There was nothing on the website to indicate that, and it was still open when we got here. Today the Reserve America site states the dump is open but there is no water. Jim just went to the nearby spigot and the water appears to be on. Guess we need to fill some jugs while we still can.

Debbie took this while she was on her roof cleaning the solar panels.

San Simeon Campground 1

Hiking trails are just across the road, as are horses. And we can even hear the surf.


After we got settled we took a ride to check out the elephant seals colony about 8 miles north on Hwy 1. It was some of the best free entertainment we’ve ever seen! You can read more about them here.


Juveniles huddled together.







Many of them were resting, but others were coming out of the water, moving around, and trying to mate. They make some very strange sounds.

This male tried a couple different females but they weren’t in the mood and really let him know.


We saw quite a few flipping sand on their backs. Not sure what that is all about. Scratching an itch, maybe?


And the views along the trail north of the seal colony weren’t bad, either. I think we’re going to like it here.




  1. $20/ just about a bargain anywhere these days.

    Great shot of your home.

    The elephant seals colony is amazing. That poor male. Guess the ladies all had sun headaches.

  2. Those elephant seals are something to see, all right. We enjoyed them when we were down that way a few years ago. Glad you're having such nice weather there.

  3. Great pictures of the seals. I think we just saw them from far above. That is a bargain for CA state parks. I remember years ago they were between $10 - $14, then just after we went up the coast, they doubled the prices. Whew!

  4. You grabbed a nice spot…hearing the surf sounds nice.
    Box Canyon

  5. Are you playing some Beach Boys music.....Surf City, California Girls etc. It looks like a beautiful
    site and....surfs up!

  6. Are you listening to some Beach Boys music...Surf City, California Girls, etc. It looks like a beautiful spot.....surfs up!

  7. Wow $20 to essentially boondock. Guess I'd better be prepared when I get to California. This looks like a fabulous area though so I guess I'll just start saving my pennies. It's your fault, your pictures are so beautiful.

  8. What a great place to be! Horses, seals, water, beautiful scenery. And $20 in California is a real bargain. Have fun! :)

  9. Oh looks like an awesome place to stay! Critters and beautiful scenery, you can't beat that. Good thing the camping is relatively cheap, because if you do Hearst Castle it is expensive!

  10. The rocks along the beach look terrific. Not sure I'd want to pay the price for dry camping though. I'll have to visit the CA coast vicariously through your posts.

  11. Great pictures. I'm putting this on my list of places to go next year. Thanks!

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. Hey guys, just catching up with ya!!! Looks like ya'll have a great place to call home for a minute! Those seals are AWESOME!! Great pics too. They flip that sand on them for sun protection...natures SPF for the seals! I love their sounds too, so different. We miss you guys and can't wait to catch up (hopefully) soon! Much love, give our love to Debbie too! Kyndal & James

  14. Just catching up with you guys! Looks like you've found a nice place to rest for now! Those seals are super cool, I love their distinct noises and love watching them play or fight on the rocks! They flip that sand over them for sun protection...natures SPF for the seals!! Have fun, keep in touch and hope to see you guys soon! Give Debbie & pups our love, too! Kyndal, James & the other 8 legs!

  15. Elephant seals are one of my favorites!! We first saw them 12 years ago on a motorcycle trip along the CA coast. I use to read my students a book about boy helping an injured elephant seal while doing a class project. The kids were always so fascinated by their looks. Have fun watching them while you are there.

  16. What a great spot you found!