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About Us

hearst memorial beachAbout the Coastal Discovery Center

The Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay is a joint venture between the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and California State Parks, and has been cooperatively managed by both agencies since it opened in the summer of 2006. Located at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach, the center highlights the connection between land and sea through engaging exhibits and interpretation provided by trained volunteers. Free to the public and open year-round, the Coastal Discovery Center offers visitors an exciting opportunity to learn about the natural and cultural treasures of the region, and the role sanctuaries, parks and the public play in protecting these treasures for future generations.

Our Theme Statement

The relationship between land and sea provides a unique environment, diverse in resources, drawing humans over time for its rich natural bounty, economic opportunity, recreation and inspiration. Our protection and management of these dynamic, fragile and rugged resources will result in their continued use and enjoyment for generations to come.

Major Partners

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) collaborated with the California State Parks to build the 2000 sq. ft. center. State parks offered the beachfront building and National Marine Sanctuaries provided redesign and reconstruction funding and partnered with parks to produce the exhibits.

Location, Location, Location!

The Coastal Discover Center's spectacular location at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach is in the vicinity of many popular visitor and recreational attractions, close to historic San Simeon, only 7.5 miles from the picturesque village of Cambria and part of the beautiful San Luis Obispo region. The beach gives visitors the opportunity to relax, picnic, hike, swim, kayak (rentals available) and fish from the pier.

Across the way, world-famous Hearst Castle hosts over 600,000 visitors each year. A few miles to the north, more than 15,000 elephant seals can be seen easily above a secluded cove. (live elephant seal webcam)

Just north of the rookery and completed in 1875, the Piedras Blancas Light Station was the third of its kind to be constructed on the Pacific coast, creating a distinct landmark for the area. Many of the region's most beautiful natural areas, pristine beaches and treasured landmarks are protected and preserved by California State Parks.

costal discovery center points of interest map

Meet Our Staff

Meet our Coastal Discovery Center Partners

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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