Elephant Seals and Hearst Castle – RV Road Trip: Six States in Three Weeks Series

What do you love about RV travel?  I love the flexibility.  Here’s why.  Surprises.  Whether good or bad, surprises happen, and in a RV you can take most things in stride.

We left Kirk Creek Campground early since we had five hours of driving ahead of us.  Our next destination was Sequoia National Park, only about 200 miles, but mostly on two-lane, curvy roads, certain to slow us down.  Little did I know what was in store for us.

Surprise One

Elephant Seals.  Thousands of Elephant Seals.  We pulledIMG_5632 in at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery about 30 miles south of Kirk Creek Campground.  This unplanned stop was fantastic.  A large parking area greeted us with plenty of room for several more RVs.

As we walked along the trail beside the beach, we chatted with one of the volunteer docents with Friends of the Elephant Seal.  They were extremely knowledgeable and happily answered all the questions my family asked.  IMG_5634Since 1997, the docents have been helping visitors understand these mammals and they do a great job.

I could not believe how close we were to the seals.  And they were huge.  Male elephant seals can be 14-16 feet long weighing 3,000-5,000 pounds or more!

During our time here, in April, the wind was brisk, so be sure to have jacket or wind breaker handy.  Ready to see them now?  Check out the live cam here.

Surprise Two

A few miles south of Piedras Blancas is Hearst Castle.   IMG_5743 IMG_5747 IMG_5752Want to walk through history and relive the 1920s and 30s?  Hearst Castle is a must stop destination.  Started as a modest hilltop retreat, Hearst Castle is the epitome of a grand vision and hard work.  I was thrilled to take a few hours awayIMG_5740 from our drive to tour this attraction.

The parking area accommodates hundreds of visitors and tour buses and we had no problem finding parking.  We started in the visitor’s center, decided upon a tour and waited for our tour time.  Another advantage of a RV?  Food.  While we waited, instead of purchasing sandwiches at inflated prices, we headed out to the trailer, fixed up a great lunch and saved some cash.

When the tour time arrived, we hopped on a bus to drive us up to William R. Hearst’s home.  Several different tour options are available.  We chose the recommended Grand Rooms Tour at a price of $25 per adult and $12 per child ages 5-12.

After exiting the bus, you are transported back in time.  During the tour, you get to experience what it was like to be a honored guest at Hearst Castle.  The artwork, the furniture, all the details left me speechless.  I was in awe of the beauty.

We could have easily spent all day here, but the time came when we realized we had some miles to cover.  We loaded back in the truck and started to head east toward Sequoia National Park through the wine county of Paso Robles and into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Stay tuned and subscribe to my blog with your email to read my next post about Sequoia National Park and our stay at Sequoia RV Ranch in Three Rivers, CA.  Want to follow the whole Six States in Three Weeks Series?  Read The RV Trip that Changed My Life, Getting to California, and Big Sur.

Thank you so much for reading.  Please feel free to share across your social networks and comment below.  I love learning about your experiences and opinions as well.


A=Kirk Creek Campground | B=Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery | C=Hearst Castle | D=Sequoia RV Ranch

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