The tiny town of San Simeon existed primarily to support the construction efforts up the hill at Hearst Castle . The town dock provided a place for ships to unload tons of marble, piles of antiques, and dozens of workers.
The general store and post office acted as a central gathering place for the community, and you can still walk up the weathered wooden steps and make a purchase here. Around the corner at the building’s other door, you can buy a book of stamps or mail a letter at the tiny but operational post office.
The William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach (750 Hearst Castle Rd., San Simeon, 805/927-2020, www.parks.ca.gov , daily dawn–dusk) sits in San Simeon’s cute little cove and encompasses the remaining structure of the old pier. You can lie on the beach or have a picnic up on the lawn above the sand.