Our campground at San Simeon State Park was amazing, although the fog was thick and it was FREEZING at night. It was right on the beach, so we spent both evenings there watching the sunset and enjoying some wine. We went to Cambria both days for food (K had the most enormous burrito I'd ever seen!) and to walk around and escape the frigid fog. And then we witnessed a high speed chase, which was incredibly exciting! As we were pulling out of the quaint little village area onto Route 1, a Jeep went flying by with a flat tire and we saw that a police officer had just thrown down spikes in the road, snatching them back in time for a parade of cruisers to zip past after the Jeep. California, high speed chase... it seemed fitting, somehow.
I had booked the campground primarily because I wanted to visit Hearst Castle, and it was totally worth it! The mansion was at the top of a huge hill, which seemed more like a mountain after we'd ridden the bus up the winding, winding one-way road to the top, and it was magnificent. It was more magnificent than Vizcaya, even, but I think Vizcaya had more of a romantic, lost-in-time kind of feel. Hearst Castle is just GRAND. My favorite part was probably the pools. I had a hard time not jumping (or even dipping my feet) into the one shown above (apparently doing so can get you arrested), but there was also an indoor pool that was completely covered in mosaic and would have been amazing for a late-night swim. Before we left town we stopped to see the sea lions at a beach nearby, which was also really cool (and smelly). They are the ugliest creatures, but so fascinating to watch (all animals are, really, people included!). We had a great time in the San Simeon/Cambria area--a perfect first stop on the golden coast road!