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Hearst Castle - Is the Grand Rooms tour really the best for first timers?

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Hello!

My friend and I will be driving from Big Sur to LA in August and are wanting to stop at the Hearst Castle. We only have time for one tour. Preliminary research has people saying two different things: 1) First timers should do the Grand Rooms tour and then 2) The Grand Rooms tour is crowded and too short (not enough rooms).

I'd love to get some other perspectives so we can choose which tour to take. We're late 30's - early 40's women, no kids. We are artist types and love historical things, architecture, costumes, etc.

We'll be there too early for the evening tour, unfortunately. Should we follow everyone's advice and do the Grand Rooms tour, despite the crowds and few rooms? Or should we go crazy and see the Upstairs rooms or the Cottages & Kitchens.

I very much appreciate any feedback!

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