Overview of Hearst Beach

Hearst Beach

California Mid
USA West


A great place for finding creatures-of-the-sand, Hearst Beach offers a protected cove that's perfect for new divers getting their feet wet, or old divers checking out new gear. It's a full service park with concessions, so plan on staying the day.

Directions: Drive 34 miles North on Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

09/28/2012 Jon (Avg: 3.25 Review) - Very low vis.

05/25/2009 Bryan Zavisza (Avg: 2.51 Review) - This is one of my least favorite sites to dive. The walk to the shore diving entry is LONG. The surface swim is VERY LONG (a boat is recommended) Then once you get out there the visibility is most likely to be very poor and the surf is likely to be big. There are some cool animals and reef topography here if you are lucky enough to see more than 3 feet in front of you. Best diving is around the point in the kelp forest (again boat recommended). I had a friend see a thresher shark here. It is kind of a 'sharky' area with the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery right up the coast. I was doing a research project and would not come here for a fun dive.

12/24/2004 Brian Xavier (Avg: 1.98 Review) - I dove this site a year ago and it was a lot of work. I carried my gear to the north end of the beach with a dolly, and went through the 2-4 foot surf to dive next to the wall. I kicked way out, but the water remained shallow. When I finally dove, the water was beautiful, with lots of sand dollars- a crystal blue (20 ft. depth). In order to get into the rocks you have to use a yak or paddle WAY out. Saw no fish but I was in sand nearly the entire dive. I have dove from kayak a few times here, but the viz can be really bad. Pick a good viz day and the diving/spearfishing can be great. Dive further out near the point and kelp. I have seen divers kill big lings and lots of rockfish. P.S. One of the best dive sites in the state is nearby. Cambria Rock is about 10 miles south of San Simeon and the diving can be excellent with a boat or yak. Drop down in 50-60 feet and see literally thousands of rockfish and some big reds and lings. Pick a flat day for this, as it gets rough far out at the rock. Anchor your yak and drop down the anchor line. Be ready for some big fish! Some of the old-timers have told me that the water is generally clearer in Cambria than other nearby places.

04/07/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 2.99 Review) - When I came in the summer and every time I drove by this spot the visibility looked pretty bad. We dove it once and had about 1ft vis. Besides that this spot is easy to enter and has some excellent potential with lots of reefs and kelp beds. I will return on a better day.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: CM0201


Entrance at Hearst Beach 

Follow the signs off Highway 1 to the park entrance.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CM0202


Parking at Hearst Beach 

Plenty of parking next to the pier. Restrooms and a snack shop are to the right.

Left Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: CM0203


Left Entry at Hearst Beach 

A sandy entry to the left.

Right Entry



Right Entry at Hearst Beach 

And the same to the right. Charters are available to take you out to the point, should you prefer a rockier environment.

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Hearst Beach  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.50
Bottom Conditions:  1.50
Reef Conditions:  1.75
Animal Life:  2.50
Plant Life:  2.75
Facilities:  3.50
Solitude 4.25
Roads:  4.25
*Site Average:  2.68

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.50
Beginner Scuba:  2.75
Intermediate Scuba:  2.50
Advanced Scuba:  2.25
Night diving Scuba:  2.00

Number of reviews for this site: 4


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