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Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

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San Francisco...
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Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

I'll be traveling with my senior parents and plan to take two tours of Hearst Castle. Is there a place to sit down and rest in between the tours up top? Is there a place to buy snacks? Are the snacks up top? Are there snacks at the visitors center? or should we bring we bring our own? (water, etc)

Santa Clarita...
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1. Re: Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

Yes, they sell entrees, snacks and drinks in the visitors center. Nothing is sold at the Castle but I was there in July and was told bottled water was sold on occasion up top, but I didn't see it that day. Their prices aren't cheap (typical touristy prices) so you'll probably be better off bringing food (or at least water) with you.

You can walk around the Castle grounds after your tours are over.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

Thank you for the info. It is very helpful. Are there any benches to sit at up top? Or will we be standing while we await our second tour?

San Diego...
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3. Re: Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

Yes, there are plenty of wicker chairs in various places you can sit in, distributed around the gardens and in front of the pool, and you can relax and lounge around, enjoy the views and pretend you're a Hollywood star of the 1920s Iiving the high life. It's really nice and you can stay as long as you want in the outdoor areas, then take your next tour, or, if you're all done, take the next bus down to the visitor center when you are ready. They are very strict about food: no food whatsoever at the castle or the grounds surrounding it. Chewing gum is strictly prohibited too. When you get off the bus at the top, you have to drop all these items in the trash before starting the tour. Bottled water is the only thing that is allowed on the tours, at the castle and on the grounds around it. I don't recall seeing it being sold up there. Down at the visitor center, of course, anything is allowed and there are snack bars and a cafeteria-style restaurant at the visitor center.

Edited: 10 August 2014, 07:34
Cambria, California
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4. Re: Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

If you're traveling anytime between now and through Labor Day weekend, best to buy your tickets in advance to get the times you want.

You can stay on the grounds while waiting for your second tour. There are faux wicker chairs, benches and they let you sit on the outside marble benches on the Main Terrace, in front of Casa Grande. There are cushioned chairs at the Neptune Pool and other terraces have some marble benches that can be used. As included in previous answers, NO food is allowed on the bus or while you are on the hilltop, and only water. You can bring your own water, use the drinking fountains around the ground at the Castle, or buy it there - if there is someone selling it which usually there is during summer months.

One person in your party needs to walk down to the terrace your guide will point out to check in for your second tour, and your parents can wait near where the tour will pass (your first tour guide can help you determine that) when it's time to join that tour.

San Diego...
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5. Re: Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

By the way, there is no water in the Neptune Pool at this time, and all the fountains and water features on the grounds are also bone-dry right now. Very disappointing. I read that the Neptune Pool had a leak. The indoor Roman Pool does have water in it though. At the visitor center, the normal bathrooms are closed and there are lines of porta-potties between the building and the parking lot. The reason for all this is stated is because of the statewide water drought, but they also tell you that the castle gets its water supply from an underground spring 6 miles away.

Edited: 10 August 2014, 17:00
Grover Beach...
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6. Re: Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

It's really bone dry up in northern SLO County. San Simeon State Park shut off its water, so no flush toilets or showers for campers and Cambria has placed porta-potties at Leffingwell Landing and closed off the restrooms there. Some Cambrians have resorted to installing porta-potties at their homes, too! They have a strict mandatory 45% decrease in water usage in place and just agreed to a water rate increase to pay to have water shipped in!!

Before long, I fear that hotels up there will have a 2 night minimum stay requirement Mon-Sun to save water (Bedding and towels would only need to be laundered between guests).

Cambria, California
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7. Re: Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

Yes, it is disappointing that there is no water in the Neptune Pool - however, it is filled with spring fed water.

As it was explained to me, the springs on on Hearst Ranch property and it's their water that they need for their ranch operation. They allowed the water to refill the water lost to evaporation and leaks for months, but when the springs run low after 3 years of way under normal rainfall, it's time to make repairs. Add to that the Governor of California declaring a "severe" drought - no other option. Any pool needs repairs, especially in an area hit by earthquakes, and unfortunately, this one is no different.

Edited: 11 August 2014, 02:24
8. Re: Is there a place to rest at the top between tours?

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