by Gabrielle Antonette
Hearst Castle wasn’t at the top of my to-go list. Even just sitting on the beach nearby all day would have appealed to me more. Alas, this was a family trip, and my parents still get to tell me what to do sometimes. I’m not going to say it wasn’t enjoyable. It’s actually a stunning piece of California coastal land covered in beautiful objects + zebras. It’s fun to take a tour and hear some stories about William Randolph Hearst and his notable dinner guests, i.e. Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill. Ultimately, though, it’s a garish display of wealth. The story is that Hearst, a newspaper mogul, made tons of money in the late 1800s/early 1900s and bought all this stuff, donated it to the state, and now they charge people $25-$75 (depending on which parts of the estate you're interested in) to look at it. It would be like people paying to walk into Mark Zuckerberg's house 100 years from now, which they probably will. Some of my discontent with this tourist attraction may be rooted in jealousy, sure. I’d love to have those pools, or any pool. Bottom line: take your family and you'll all have a nice time because you're probably less bitter than I am about the wealth gap. It's about a 4 hour drive from Los Angeles, and can easily be added on to a trip to San Luis Obispo, Cambria, or Cayucos.