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Hearst Castle, A California Gem

About halfway between Monterey and Solvang lies one of California’s most popular tourist attractions: Hearst Castle.

Built on more than 250,000 acres of California wilderness in the early 1920s, Hearst Castle was home to newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who lived there for more than 20 years. The estate features a 60,000-square-foot main house with 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms and 19 sitting rooms. During its heyday, it was also home to the world’s largest private zoo.

Hearst moved out of the property in 1947, and it became a California State Park in 1954. Today, it is open to the public as both a historic home and an art museum that displays dozens of precious works of sculpture and painting. Groups can choose from several special tours at the site, including a Grand Rooms overview, an art tour, an evening tour and a tour focused on the Hollywood stars who were frequent guests in the 1920s and 1930s.