Hearst Castle - WHICH Tour Best?

Apr 1st, 2006, 05:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 46
Hearst Castle - WHICH Tour Best?

Hello! I'm going to Hearst Castle at the end of April and have already taken the "Experience Tour." I'm coming with a friend who has never been to any tours. Any opinions on "which tour is best"? I know it depends on individual taste but just wondering if anyone could give some opinions. Thanks!!!
Sallie27 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 05:27 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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I went last year and took the 1st Tour - it was recommended for those who haven't visited before. It was beautiful, got some great pictures (the gardens, pools, dining area, more).

I didn't realize it was a higher elevation and wore shorts and a short sleeved shirt. I recommend, depending on when you go, check the weather up top!

cwojo99 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 07:32 AM
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I've taken Tour 1 and Tour 2, and I enjoyed Tour 2 much more because the guide was experienced and had a wealth of information whereas our guide on Tour 1 was a retired police officer who was way out of his league trying to describe a grand home filled with art objects. I gather that the best guides "graduate" out of Tour 1.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 09:15 AM
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I had a great guide on Tour 1. Being a docent is an individual thing, there is no script. Just the luck of the draw.
mlgb is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 12:10 PM
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When visiting with someone who has never been before, assuming they ARE interested, how can you not opt for a repeat of "tour #1"??

Not only is it common courtesy, but it keeps you from having to worry about which tour to take.

I've been to the Castle twice, and took tour #1 both times, the second for the benefit of a friend in the newspaper biz who was making his first visit there.

NorthwestMale is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 01:53 PM
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Oh, I'm not being selfish...she doesn't care either way, really, and I don't want to see the same tour twice.
Sallie27 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 05:32 PM
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Highlights of Tour 2 include visiting extravagant bedrooms and the indoor swimming pool. You also get to see the famous out door pool, included on Tour 1, and our guide gave us fascinating information about the exterior of the building.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 05:39 PM
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Central and North CA Coast wardrobe/ weather tip: wear layers and that includes long pants, LOL.
Apr 2nd, 2006, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 133
Check to see if the evening tour is available for your visit. My brother lives in the area, so I've been on all of the tours over the years. The evening tour is magical and my definite favorite. A little longer in duration than the other tours and not the crowds found during the day.
sightseer is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 05:54 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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My wife and I plan to do at least the #1 tour in July, but she's specifically interested in the garden tour. Has anyone taken that one? Do you get to see as much of the gardens on the first tour as you do in the garden tour?
djdave is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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If I remember #1 tour does part of the garden. I know that my ex and I found this place amazing, so I'm sure that any tour, from what I hear from my relatives...will be lovely. We took panoramic shots that turned out incredible. Book your tickets and hotel way ahead. We couldn't find a place near by, because we had left it too late, and had to drive through winding and hilly roads (though great scenery) for about an hour. Some tours start really early, so this could be a problem if you are not prepared. Also the clothing suggestions of a light jacket or layering is a good idea. There are some lovely little hotels close by in Cambria or San Simeon. The last time we visited the area, we stayed at a nice, clean little Mexican Hotel with a pretty water fountain outside. Another time we stayed at San Simeon Pines Golf Resort, which is situated on a very pretty lot, not too expensive and have foxes that nest in the low hanging trees. There are walking paths across the street that overlook the beach which are very scenic. I believe there is also a park closeby. If you are going to this area you should really check out Cambria, a cute little artist colony which have beautiful houses and hotels/motels overlooking the beach. There is a great little indoor/outdoor restaurant there where you can get breakfast/lunch and a tan at the same time. In the colder months they put heaters outside for you. Also the actual San Simeon has the original docks and country store (beachside) where the shipments of goods came in for Hearst Castle. I think there is a tiny park there too.Another very interesting thing to see... look for cars parked on the beachside in the middle of nowhere and you will find the Natural Sea Elephants reserve.I don't think there are signs. You will see folks walking around, looking down and taking photos. We spent about an hour and a half each time we went. Lots of Sea Lions to see too. This and Montery/Carmel are some of my favorite areas of California, although take warning, it is a high allergy area for vegetaion, so if you have allergies, make sure you have medication, eyedrops and puffers along with you. Avoid Big Sur at "night", dangerous, without scenery and it gets dark fast as the ocean mist rolls in.
kachinadoll is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 02:16 PM
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I live not too far away from Hearst Castle so it's a usual stop when I have visitors. The tours often run at similar times so I have taken a separate tour from my guests on occasion. Now that I've taken all the tours I usually go along on Tour 1 with them. Tour 2 is an interesting tour. The garden tour was a dissapointment to me.
sequess is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 05:02 PM
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I'm about to book a tour here, probably number 1 as none of us has been before. My question is, I notice that the web site tells how many stairs in each tour. What are the stairs like? Are they steep and hard to climb, or are they pretty easy? I ask because my mother, who's 83, is coming too and although she's very fit and active, I don't want to push her too much!
Barbara is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 07:58 PM
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The tours are open to people of all ages and all stages of vigor and decrepitude.

The stairs are the kind a wealthy man requests for his castle.

If your mother can climb stairs, she can climb the ones at San Simeon.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 08:59 PM
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Thanks very much, happytrails.
Barbara is offline  
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