December/February...What to do and see when you vacation in Hearst Castle Country, Central California, month by month discription of what is going on nFmear Hearst Castle plus area tourist activities and nearby visitors points of interest.
Some things to do and places to see in Hearst Castle Country:
Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument
William Randolph Hearst Memorial California State Beach
Hearst San Simeon State Park
Junior Ranger Programs
Shamel Community Park
San Simeon Pier
Morro Bay State Park
Morro Bay State Park
Morro Bay Golf Course
Morro Bay Natural History Museum
Christmas at Hearst Castle
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse
Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
Other Pacific Coast Wildlife:
sea otter, California Gray Whale, harbor seals, deer, bobcat, hawks, sea gulls, pelicans, fox and more...
Click and Go Activities and Points of Interest List:
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! Most towns have some sort of lighting ceremony which often includes caroling, hot coco and a visit from Santa Clause. Although community oriented these small events can still be fun for a visitor and also there are some areas of every town that are famous for pretty lights and Christmas time decorations, it is a cheering American pastime to take holiday season evening drives to view the pretty holiday lighting and extravagant decorations. Some annual holiday events like the SLO Christmas Parade and the Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade are so enjoyable they are worth an extra effort and drive to attend for visitor and resident alike.
December in San Luis Obispo County, Hearst Castle Country, Shopping, Lighted Boat Parade, Castle Holiday Tours and more...
One of the Best Times to Tour Hearst Castle is During the Christmas Season, Breathtaking...
Towards the end of September the seasonal Hearst Castle (reservations: 1-800-444-4445 ) Evening Tours usually start up; these tours are long fun completely guided tours esnhanced by docents reenacting as 1930s guests and castle staff. On this tour visitors will walk through the gardens and visit the lavish Casa del Mar guest house and many rooms in the large Casa Grande main house. This extensive tour takes approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes. A special Accessibly Designed Evening Tour is also available. The Castle interior gets even more breathtaking during the holidays when it gets decked out for Christmas with Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths and all with vintage lights and decorations just like Hearst did back in the day.
Christmas time at Hearst Castle is an event that is not to be missed! The main house and guest houses are decorated just as they might have been on Christmas in the 1920s and 30s, creating an impressive sight and a special atmosphere that is sure to make the season bright for you and the whole family.
The Grand Rooms Tour and the Evening Tour are excellent ways to see many of the best and brightest holiday decorations during this special time of year. Volunteers often dress in period clothes and pose around the castle making it even more realistic and interesting.
No need to make up excuses to celebrate during these next few months, Christmas is on Monday December the 25th in 2017, New Years Day on Monday January 1st in 2018, Friday February 2nd, 2018 is Groundhog Day and then Valentines Day is Wendsday the 14th, 2018 and Presidents Day Monday the February 19th in 2018, ya hoo!
The first rains on the Central California Coast often come in the middle or towards the end of October but the "Rainy Season" Generally Runs from November - February in Central California plan your road trips and adjust accordingly and check weather and road conditions before you leave home.
DECEMBER 2017 in Hearst Castle Country- This is the month you should consider seriously taking advantage of the central coasts off-season rates and getting away from the hustle and bustle of your Christmas holiday routines and treating yourself to a coast winter adventure; Plan a road trip to Hearst Castle Country this December, the prices are down and the weather is often very pretty!
November 24-December 23, 2017 -- 4th annual Cambria Christmas Market: Cambria Pines Lodge Property 4 to 9PM: festive outdoor market in the German American tradition. food, drink, music and gifts. A $5 admission fee will be charged for those 12 and older, thereís also a season pass. Vendors feature locally made items, ornaments, toys, jewelry, woolen goods, hand blown glass, candles and more! Nightly extensive Christmas lighting and nightly live entertainment and music. To simplify parking shuttle vans will run from the market location at the Cambria Pines Lodge to other Cambria parking locations including the Cambria Nursery at 2801 Eton Rd, and Main Street locations, the Veterans Memorial Building, the Cambria Medical Building, the former Bank of America and the Community Health Center (800-966-6490).
Christmas Market will also be open 5:00/9:00PM as will most businesses throughout the downtown business district for Cambriaís 24th Annual Hospitality Night Thursday December 3rd (more information call 805-927-3624 or 800-966-6490).
December 2nd, 2017,Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade: A breathtaking beautiful annual event; the spectacular parade of all shapes and sizes of boats bedecked with lights and decorations for the holiday season that begins and ends at Tidelands Park; the announcing station is at the north end of the Embarcadero and the awards ceremony is at the Yacht Club. There are food vendors and live entertainment at Tidelands and Anchor Parks. Saturday December 9th 2017 TBA -- Holiday Feast at Hearst Castle: (sells out early!) -- beautiful banquet to benefit the worthy Friends of Hearst Castle, a delicious gala event that recreates the glamour of those exciting times when the rich and famous of the day gathered in W. Rís hilltop estate for a taste of the truly good life: fabulous food and wine, good company, spirited conversation and great entertainment (805-927-2138); the enchanting evening begins with a luxury coach ride to the hilltop, a sparkling wine reception followed by a five-course meal served in Mr. Hearstís Refectory dining room. Each course is paired with the best local wines. Music of the era will fill the house and usher guests through this magical evening. Each guest will take home a special Castle-inspired Holiday Gift, and a professional keepsake holiday photograph. 2017 Ongoing Friday-Monday:Cambria Historical Museum (805-927-2891)... Santa & Mrs Clause will be there for photo ops December TBA, Cambria Hospitalitay Night...Historical Museum Burton Drive at Center Street, New displays and exhibits opening Friday, Sat., Sun., 1:00-4:00pm; & Mon. 10am-1pm, Free admission to museum and gardens. 2017 & ongoing all year every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through the middle of June 2018 --Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Tours : two hour tour of the historic Piedras Blancas Light House and Light Station grounds. Tour meets 9:45 AM the old Piedras Blancas Motel, about 1.5 miles north of the Lighthouse on Highway 1. You will be met there and escorted to the lighthouse in your car (do NOT go to the light house or wait by entrance gate). No tours on Federal Holidays. Groups of 10 or more need to make special arrangements. $10 adults/ $5 for children 6-17, Children under 5 are free. Call 805-927-7361 or email PiedrasBlancasTours@gmail.com for more info. Piedras Light Station Tour Info BLM Friday December 1st, 2017-- San Luis Obispo 42nd annual Christmas Parade:Christmas floats, bikes, and of course Santa; Parade begins 7pm at the corner of Palm and Chorro, continues on Higuera and comes to an end at the corner of Higuera and Nipomo streets. DecemberTBA, Holiday Open House at Harmony Cellars: 4:30-6:30pm, Delight in an evening of holiday cheer as chestnuts roast; mull wine and watch as they light Chuckís Christmas tree made of barrel staves. Bows to decorate the tree will be sold over the holidays to raise money for RISE of San Luis Obispo (a nonprofit organization that serves both victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault/abuse and their loved ones). Specials on wine and merchandise, too. 4:30-6:30pm. No reservations necessaru. December 9th, 5-9 p.m., The annual Winter Wonderland Celebration in Atascadero's historic downtown Colony District; included are 50 tons of snow, Christmas Carousel, Santa & Mrs. Claus, Main Street Entertainment Stage, Elks Little Train, Christmas Castle, BMX Bike Demonstrations and dozens of food and gift vendors, plus bouncers for the kids and lots of holiday music. Bring a few dollars to eat, bounce or shop, but everything else is free and the kids love it! December 9th, 2017 Cayucos: 9th Annual Christmas in Cayucos Celebration 5:00pm-8:00pm; merchants along Ocean Avenue
have open house special sales & Christmas decoration competition. Tree lighting ceremony & free horse drawn carriage rides, children's activities, strolling carolers and a visit from Santa. Unique holiday shopping with gift ideas, special offers, giveaways, refreshments and entertainment. (805-995-1200).
Did you know William Randolph Hearst loved to entertain and every December he would deck the castle out lavishly for the season? And did you know that every December they still lavishly decorate Hearst Castle with vintage decorations for Christmas like he did? You should include a tour of Hearst Castle into your Big Sur Scenic Highway 1 road trip!
January in San Luis Obispo County Hearst Castle Country, Cayucos Polar Bear Dip, Winter Bird Festival, Winter things to do ...
JANUARY 2018 in Hearst Castle Country/San Luis Obispo County - The best way to start out the New Year is to wake up in on the California Central Coast! If you have never have been to a central coast New Years party you are missing out, we know hot to party out an old year and start anew. Most all the Castle Country live music venues and resorts have a special New Years bash of some sort with live music, special menus and hotel room/dinner/party package deals. One of my favorite places to ring in the New Year is at the Ragged Point Inn Resort and I have experienced the New Year party at Ragged Point many times and can tell you first hand much fun is had by all! Most resorts New Years parties are probably similar, the whole resort is one Big Party, celebration going on in the rooms, in the lounge and everywhere; people have some much fun they often return to their same favorite Central California Coast establishments year after year.
Generally more than a hundred zany people start the new year out by jumping in the chilly Pacific Ocean January 1st next to the Cayucos pier in the infamous Carlin Carlin Soule Memorial Polar Bear Dip. Wetsuits are not allowed, most wear swimsuits but some come in crazy costumes. This 2018 celebration will be the 33nd year for this foolish annual event; festivities begin at 9:30 the big dip happens at noon.
It never gets really cold here on the coast, one of my favorite Christmas Day traditions is to take a long ride in my convertable with the top down but January does have the years lowest temperatures. The cooler temperatures drive away the fog and mist making for beautiful blue daytime skies and at the night phenomenal star viewing because of the lack of pollution and ambient light. You will want to consider the forecasts when you plan your trip because the rainy season has begun but it usually includes breaks with fabulous weather. Tuesday January 6th, 2018 & ONGOING every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through the middle of June 2018 --Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Tours : two hour tour of the historic Piedras Blancas Light House and Light Station grounds. Tour meets 9:45 AM the old Piedras Blancas Motel, about 1.5 miles north of the Lighthouse on Highway 1. You will be met there and escorted to the lighthouse in your car (do NOT go to the light house or wait by entrance gate). No tours on Federal Holidays. Groups of 10 or more need to make special arrangements. $10 adults/ $5 for children 6-17, Children under 5 are free. Call 805-927-7361 or email PiedrasBlancasTours@gmail.com for more info. Piedras Light Station Tour Info BLM January TBA 2018 is SLO County Restaurant Month: The San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau has declared January Restaurant month so for all month you can get a special 3 course dinner for $30 at some of the counties finest restaurants located all over the county. A choice few closest to Hearst Castle Are: CAMBRIA: Robin's Restaurant, 805.927.5007, (ROBIN'S 3 COURSE SPECIAL RESTAURANT MONTH MENU 2016). January 12th-18th, 2018 -- 22nd annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival: Guided Tours of the Estuary and many surrounding areas. San Luis Obispo County and Morro Bay now ranks in the top of American birding areas and this event has become a major winter birding festival famous throughout the U.S.A.; more than 200 species are usually sighted. Schedule of Special Events 2018
Late fall and winter farmers, and gardeners finally get some well deserved time off and although any season it is good to visit the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens now is not usually the best time for the plants but they always schedule off-season events like, gardening symposiums, art shows and such that farmers, gardeners, photographers, or art lovers should enjoy and appreciate.
You can now spot the California Gray Whales migrating south towards the warm Baja California seas and look for baby sea otter pups with their mothers, they are born January/March.
If you want to see the giant gray whales up close Virg's Landing of Morro Bay runs whale watching excursions December/April (805-772-1222).
This is also a good time to view the now protected Elephant seals, (Mirounga angustirostris), once over-hunted to near extinction have large populations along the Big Sur Coast; in January the pregnant females begin to appear at favored beach locations and give birth to cute little babies within days. The best place to view the elephant seal activities is at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal rookery; there they have developed bluff-top boardwalks with nature interpretative signs and docents are also often on hand to answer questions; see what the elephant seals are up to right now on the new elephant seal livecam. January TBA, 2018-- Annual Cambria Art & Wine Festival: begins on Friday morning with related special shopping deals and entertainment all over Cambria. The main kick off Party on Friday night from 6-10 pm includes the art show preview, wine & food pairing and entertainment. Saturday, the Vets' Hall is open from 10 am-4 pm for the art show/silent auction. Wine tasting for the main event is on Saturday from 1 to 4:30 PM and includes the art show/silent auction, wine tasting, as well as gourmet food and demonstrating artists at the Bianchini House in Cambria's east village. On Sunday the shopping specials continue throughout the village. Enjoy the artists' faire, barbecue & raffle drawings at the Vets' Hall. Meet the artists and enjoy them and their works. January & Ongoing TBA 2018 --Pacific Coast Wine Trail events often sponsored by Hearst Ranch Wines: Wine Pairings , and Dinners at Cambria and other local wineries and restaurants. Sunday January 28th, 2018 -- Jolon, CA -- Support the historic mission, have dinner and take a vacation...Sunday Brunch and Cutting of the Roses at Mission San Antonio de Padua ; 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Sunday, see the museum, shop the mission gift shop, extend your stay and soak up some Hearst historical flavor by spending the night staying at the Hearst Hacienda and Guest Lodge (reservations 831-386-2262).
Find the Perfect Gift
for the Perfect Xmas.
Take a Shopping Vacation in San Luis Obispo County...Hearst Castle Country...
Find that unique gift for a special friend, or shop till ya drop in Hearst Castle Country SLO
Christmas Gift Shopping? Cambria's East Village, Gift Shops, Antique Stores & Art Galleries as far as the eye can see...
Embarcadero Gift Shops, Morro Bay, CA
Burton Street Gift Shops, Cambria
Gift Shopping In Central California: The holiday season is often a stressful anyway and most people leave at least some of their gift shopping till the last minute. Why not pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag and come to Hearst Castle Country and take a gift shopping vacation?
The opportunities for finding that special gift are endless. Want to find something truly unique, one of a kind? Why not take a tour of some of the areas local Art Galleries, Gift Shops and Antique Stores. Some places like Cambrias West Village have developed for the purpose of providing visitors with unique shopping opportunities.
The Embarcadero on the waterfront of Morro Bay is another place that has one gift shop or art gallery after another; Morro Bay also has numerous antique and second-hand stores.
Costco Wholsale Store
Fermintations Wine Shop
If you are looking for something more traditional the normal gift shopping venues abound here too, you will find no shortage of shopping malls and big name discount stores like Costco, Wallmart, and Target here plus wonderful places to sit, relax and lunch or coffee when you get ready to drop. If big stores aren't your style why not try the small town of Harmony, California, population 19. Harmony is located just south of Cambria on the Pacific Coast Highway 1 and have lots of unique gifts, their is an Art Gallery/Pottery Shop, Glass Blower with studio & Gift Shop, and a Harmony Wine Cellars.
You could make a great day or two wine tasting and shopping for wine related gifts around Hearst Castle Country; start with Hearst Ranch Wine at Sebastians in San Simeon, head south for a tour of tasting around Cambria for Cutruzzola Vineyards, Twin Coyotes, Stolo Winery, Moonstone Cellars, Black Hand Cellars and more...hit Harmony Cellars and stay on the coast continuing to Cayucos Cellars then Morro Bay (Chateau Margene) or continue on to and past S.L.O. or head east inland on highway 41 or 46 for Paso Robles Wines, hope you have have a designated driver or you won't make it back.
Want to find out more about shopping on the Central California Coast?
try these great Hot Central California Coast Gift Shopping Links:
February is the last month you will see theMonarch Butterflies in Hearst Castle Country; many have already moved on to find milkweeds which is the plant they need in order to lay their eggs. Till the end of February few of the monarch butterflies can be seen in the gardens of Ragged Point and there is a park dedicated to the monarchs in a eucalyptus grove at Pismo Beach; there are viewing areas with telescopes, interpretive displays and during the season the docent trailer opens at 10am and closes at 4pm daily; docents give talks daily at 11am and 2pm till February 29th. Saturday Tuesday & Thursday February, 2018 & ONGOING every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through the middle of June 2018 --Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Tours : two hour tour of the historic Piedras Blancas Light House and Light Station grounds. Tour meets 9:45 AM the old Piedras Blancas Motel, about 1.5 miles north of the Lighthouse on Highway 1. You will be met there and escorted to the lighthouse in your car (do NOT go to the light house or wait by entrance gate). No tours on Federal Holidays.
Year Around and Special for February 14th ( Valentines Day), 2018 , -- Paso Wine Country Tours By The Wine Wrangler, Romantic Valentine's Day Wine Tasting Tour, 2pm - 5pm, (805.238.5700) Go with your Valentine on a wonderful wine tasting tour and taste of Paso Robles wine Country wines; exploring the flavors of the region along with a special paring of chocolates and ports offered exclusively at the Paso Robles Wine Club. Valentine's Day Special Includes: * Level 2 Wrangler Adventure Tour-Paso Robles * Chocolate & Port pairing at the Paso Robles Wine Club * Special logo glass to remember your day.
Follow the Pacific Coast Wine Trail anytime especially Ferbuary TBA, 2018 --Pacific Coast Trail Wine Tasting Passport Weekend: From San Simeon to Morro Bay, follow the Pacific Coast Wine Trail to discover wine and food pairings, wine discounts and more at nine participating wineries. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 21-22; Visit wineries and tasting rooms along the Pacific Coastline stretching from San Simeon ( Hearst Ranch: ) to Cayucos ( Cayucos Cellars ) with stops in between including Cambria (Quatro Dias and others) and Harmony ( Harmony Cellars ) ; kick-off the experience with a delicious special passport dinner paired of course with local wines.Friday the 20th in Cambria at Linn's (1-805-927-1499) Linn's Passport Menu . Fees vary by winery. A portion of tasting fees will benefit the Marine Mammal Center of San Luis Obispo. February TBA, 2018 -- SLO Craft Beer Fest - Locals and many of the best breweries in the U.S. will be featured at this event. Tickets include sovenir tasting glass, unlimited beer samples, selected food samples, and access to all the great music. Additional food available for purchase, shuttle service provided; ALEX MADONNA EXPO CENTER, San Luis Obispo, (805) 748-5386 -- SELLS OUT !!! GET TICKETS EARLY !!!
Links to Many More San Luis Obispo County & Monterey Events Calendars...
Whats Going On at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Sear Rookery December, January, February?...
Stuff from Online Retailer Barns & Noble
Lots of action at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
Two sub-adult male Elephant Seals at Pidras Blancas ,California, fighting for dominance (photo by Thomas B. Roach)
The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery: Late Fall and early Winter, the three months covered on this page, December, January and February offer some of the most fun and interesting elephant seal action viewing.
By December most sub-adult males hauled up onto the beach and are practice their talents at protecting territory. Almost like play their confrontations not as serious as the adult males, and can be fun to watch.
In late November and into December the bulls start arriving and staking out territory and fighting over females. These are real battles, violent and sometimes very scary, blood and cuts can be readily seen. The winners are known as the alpha males or beach masters and will be the ones that will mate with the females.
A great short video taken from the boardwalk at the Piedras Blancas Elephant seal rookery which shows almost everything that goes on that you might hope to see during this time. You see males fighting to be dominant, a seal giving birth, and a pair mating.
Cute Little Weiner Elephant Seal
The pregnant females haul out onto the beach in late fall and by mid-December the pregnant females are starting to birth with the peak around the middle of February. They give birth to their pup within a few days of their arrival on the beach and are very protective of their pups; they nurse them for approximately four weeks and after they have successfully mated they return to sea to forage and replace their lost weight while leaving the wieners in groups to play and learn how to swim and be seals.
The Elephant Seal viewing boardwalks and areas are adjacent to the two parking lots just south of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse.
Learn more about the timing of the seals other seasons from the
Elephant Seals Rookery Activities by the Month calendar on the activities near Hearst Castle San Simeon page.
- or - purchase this great new inexpensive ebook by Denise Kocek: Elephant Seal Seasons at the Piedras Blancas Colony, CA.
Google Search Central California Visitor Information Websites Including www.san-simeon-lodging.com for the best Central California Coast tourist information, travel tips & tricks...
I have provided this information on this web page to help you have wonderful vacation or trip. I have made this information current, complete and good to the best of my abilities but everything is subject to change at any time and I have to relieve myself of any responsibility for you, I have no control over how you use the provided tourist visitor information and accept no liability for anything that happens to you while you visit and vacation on the Central California Coast or anywhere else.