Central Coast Vacations
Hearst renamed the hilltop that crowned his huge ranch “La Cuesta Encantada” – The Enchanted Hill. By 1947, Hearst and Morgan had created an estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways – an American castle! William Randolph Hearst died in 1951 and in 1954 the Castle became a California State Park.The site was opened to visitors in 1958. Since that time it has been operated as the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument. The Hearst family continues to use an older Victorian house on the property as a retreat – the original house built by George Hearst in the late 19th century
Highlights of any tour could include: the Neptune Pool and the Roman Pool, the Wine Cellar which was constructed during the Prohibition Era and featured vaults to protect Hearst’s collection, the Hearst Airport which is original airstrip built in the 1920s providing an easier and much faster way for W. R. Hearst’s architect and guests to reach the estate, the Zoo which was once the site of the worlds largest private zoo and the lush and serene Gardens of Hearst Castle.
Dive into the Monterrey Bay Aquarium
One of the worlds premier Aquariums built along the Pacific Ocean offers all who visit a divers view of magnificent underwater life. Featuring over 100 galleries and exhibits you will learn all about the colorful marine world and the numerous environments over 700 species call home – including the gangly octopi, toothy barracudas, humungous turtles and seahorses.
Located next to the aquarium is historic Cannery Row which was made famous by John Steinbeck. Once the center of a thriving sardine fishing industry you can now enjoy a variety of restaurants, shop for souvenirs or take a whale-watching tour.
Carmel-by-the-Sea & Pacific Grove
These two enchanting towns should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Carmel-by-the Sea is best known for it’s picturesque cottages, flower-bedecked gardens, a unique white- sand beach, quaint boutiques, world-renowned galleries and a diverse array of restaurants. The Carmel Mission is the town’s earliest historic site and is one of the loveliest of all California missions.
Pacific Grove is sprinkled with Victorian cottages and is a preferred winter haven for Monarch butterflies.
Also be sure to visit Point Pinos Lighthouse, the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the west coast.
And of course... no trip to California is complete with a drive along the famous 17-Mile Drive, home to the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Course, the Lone Cypress, magnificent mansions, playful wildlife along the coastline and breathtaking natural beauty.
Take Aim on the Winchester House
If you enjoy the weird and wonderful this 24,000 square foot Queen Ann Victorian style mansion is a must see.
Once owned by the reclusive heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune who was influenced by a fortune-teller who predicted Winchester would live as long as she continued building her home. Construction proceeded around the clock, by some accounts, without interruption, until her death on September 5, 1922.
We don’t want to give to much away, however, be sure to visit the 160-room architectural structure which combines Victorian style with hundreds of unexplained features and haunted by ghosts including Sarah Winchester herself.
Did you know you can now stay overnight in house, if you dare?! Ask us how.
Travel Back in Time
"Everyone on board!!" Prepare to experience the ride of a lifetime as a passenger on a late 1800’s steam train. You will wind through an enchanting redwood forest, travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest.
This trip will make everyone hungry so bring your appetite as you will want to dig into a delicious barbeque in the general store before you go explore the original California logging camp.
Strolling on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk
Visit Californias oldest surviving amusement Park.
Set alongside the beautiful Pacific Ocean the boardwalk features over 34 old-fashioned rides including a 1911 Looff carousel, the world-famous Giant Dipper, an historic wooden roller coaster and the ultra scary Haunted Castle which will take you on a spooky ride deep below the Boardwalk.
For thrill seekers there are many scream-inducing thrill rides, as well as gentle kiddie rides, casual restaurants, gift shops, games, indoor arcades, and miniature golf for those who enjoy a quieter experience.