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Monterey to Hearst Castle

Leeds, United...
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Monterey to Hearst Castle

Hi, we'll be visiting Monterey in mid-October. Whilst we're there we were thinking of visiting Hearst Castle for the day but wondered whether this would be realistic as we'd like to explore Carmel and Big Sur on the way. According to Google maps it will take over 3 hours to drive without stops.

I was thinking we could book a tour later in the afternoon but then we risk having to drive back in the dark.

As we're first-time drivers in the States we're a bit concerned about how tricky it would be to get back to Monterey without any accidents.

Taking all this into account, would we be better just taking a whole day exploring Big Sur instead and leaving Hearst Castle for another trip?

Thanks

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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1. Re: Monterey to Hearst Castle

I live an hour south of Hearst Castle but visit the Monterey area frequently. I remember one visit where a couple staying at the same B&B did a day trip to Hearst Castle and said that, if they had known how long it would take to get there and back, they wouldn't have done it! Given the time of year of your visit with sunset coming MUCH earlier, I'm not sure I would recommend it as a day trip. Better to book a room in Cambria and spend the night and return to Monterey the next day, IMO.

However, you wouldn't have to take Highway 1 back to Monterey. You could continue south on Highway 1 for 12 miles down to Highway 46 and cut over to Highway 101 north to Salinas to get back to Monterey a bit quicker without risking driving Highway 1 in the dark. Still about a 2 hour drive, though. Just another option to consider.

Edited: 10 August 2014, 17:57
Leeds, United...
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2. Re: Monterey to Hearst Castle

Taking it all into account I think we may be best exploring Big Sur for the day instead. Been doing some research and I think there will be more than enough to see and do there! We will just have to look forward to doing Hearst Castle another time.

Thanks for the advice!

San Jose, California
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3. Re: Monterey to Hearst Castle

I think saving Hearst Castle for another time is a good call.

Brisbane
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4. Re: Monterey to Hearst Castle

Last October we left Monterey around 10.30 am to drive Highway 1. We drove round the headland from Monterey then through Pebble Beach and Carmel (didn't stop in Carmel, just drove around) made nurmerous photo stops on the way- longest was to film the elephant seals, and arrived at Hearst Castle around 2pm and were lucky enough to get a tour. We were on our way to LA to fly home so overnight at Morro Bay.

Driving Highway 1 was one of our main reasons for our trip. We were driving on the "wrong" side of the road too.

I wouldn't recommend driving that road in the dark, and not much point as you are there to see it.

We loved Monterey, and our drive. Have a wonderful trip

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Monterey to Hearst Castle

We plan to visit Monterey in late September. Our plan is leave early (7 AM) to drive down 101 (inland?) to 46 then over to Hwy. 1 up to Hearst. Take a couple of tours then drive up Hwy. 1 through Big Sur, etc. back to Monterey. Would we have time to do all this? We'll be in the area for a week and have a cottage booked for the week so I hate to spend the money for a night in Cambria or elsewhere. Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: Monterey to Hearst Castle

GiGi-in-GA

I would probably reverse it: Highway 1 down to Hearst Castle. Highway 1 to Highway 46 to Highway 101 to Highway 68 back to Monterey. The reason being that you don't want to risk driving Highway 1 back up to Monterey in the dark. Too much to see/do along the Big Sur coast. Better to enjoy that drive with ample daylight for both the drive and your Hearst Castle tour, then return via the quicker and safer route of Highway 101.

Edited: 19 August 2014, 23:54
7. Re: Monterey to Hearst Castle

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