We left Santa Barbara and made our way to Monterey where we are staying for a few days. The journey in total was about five hours. We went along Hwy 1 which is the coastal scenic road, you can get there quicker along the 101 but we wanted to drive through the mountains and take in the view.
Halfway along the journey we stopped at San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle. Back in Santa Monica at the Annenburg Community Beach House we learnt about William Hearst as the beach house was initially his, which he built for his ‘lady love’, actress Marion Davis. Hearst Castle is William Randolph Hearst’s 28 year project that incorporates a variety of architectural designs from all over Europe. The place is gigantic. Anyway, it is now open to the public and there are a few different tours you can go on, or watch a 40 minute film about the story of William Hearst and his Castle, equally if you don’t want to pay for any of these things you can still learn a lot from the visitors centre and there’s a few little eateries. If you don’t even want that, at least they have nice clean restrooms! The tours are $25 per person and the film is included in that, or you can just watch the film for $10, free for under 5s. We just watched the film and explored the gift shop as we still had another 3 hours to drive so I didn’t want leave to late. I’d recommend the film, it was well made and really interesting. Faye sat quietly throughout and seemed to enjoy it.
Three miles North of the Castle still on Hwy 1 is the elephant seals habitat. There are some here all year round. Just pull over and jump out to see them.
Also along Hwy 1 is an Otter refuge and other places to pull in and look out to sea for animals. The roads are slow and twisty so it can be a nice break for the driver to stop at some of the ‘vista points’.
Faye was really good throughout the five hour journey. We had the Disney CDs on repeat, plenty of snacks and the dog bowl potty at the ready!