Piedras Blancas Motel

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The Piedras Blancas Motel

Piedras Blancas Motel is a vintage roadside motel-and-diner complex located along the Central Coast of California approximately seven miles north of the historic village of San Simeon.


The property is the very last remaining ocean-front complex of its kind to exist along such a remote, wild and rural section of two-lane historic State Route 1 anywhere south of the Big Sur Coast and was the only remaining private development amid 13 miles (21 km) of coast scheduled to become parks.[1]


It is now owned by the state park system of California which has yet to respond to a variety of preservation efforts.[2][3][4] T

he property is visible on historic maps of the William Randolph Hearst holdings as being, amid the 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) Hearst owned for eighteen miles (29 km) along this coastline, the one tiny parcel of land he was never able to acquire from its owners.[5]


The exact construction date is uncertain, but the 12-room facility is known to have been built in the early 1950s, just before tourists began visiting Hearst Castle in significant numbers.[3] The hotel served vacationing families of returning American GIs throughout that decade. It continued to serve vacationing Americans and foreign tourists, and still offered rooms for as little as $28 per night, until its closing by the Trust for Public Land and the State of California in April 2005.[citation needed]

Various members of the public, including locals, foreign tourists, and historians, have requested the re-opening of the motel, and in October 2005 a grass-roots citizens group -- Citizens for the Preservation of the Piedras Blancas Motel—was formed to advocate for the restoration and revival of the complex as a low-cost motel for members of the public, and to plead for the protection of its buildings from the elements until such a restoration can occur.[6]

The property had also historically served as a small RV camp site and beach, gas station, and gift store; the pumps and tanks for the gas station portion have been removed, and the private beach opened to the public. In 2007, the demolition of a motel annex which contained three suites was blamed by the State on coastal erosion.[7] Historic Highway One and the context for the motel have also been endangered by new housing construction in the area. As of March 2008, the Piedras Blancas Motel remains physically neglected and closed to the public.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paul Rogers (2005-04-26). "Non-profits Rescue Coast Plan" (PDF). Mercury News. Retrieved 2008-03-27. [dead link]
  2. ^ Jack Boulware (2005-12). "Piedras Blancas: Opening the Door to the Hearst Coast". The Trust for Public Land. Retrieved 2008-03-27.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b Paul Rogers (2005-01-14). "'50s Motel Sounds Jarring Note on California's Central Coast". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  4. ^ Glen Martin (2007). "Back at the Hearst Ranch". California Coast & Ocean. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  5. ^ "Hearst Ranch West Side Access Comparison" (PDF). Hearst Ranch Conservation. 2004-07-27. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  6. ^ a b Donald Faxon (2008-03-26). "SAVE THE PIEDRAS BLANCAS MOTEL!". Citizens for the Preservation of the Piedras Blancas Motel. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  7. ^ David Sneed (2007-02-06). "Hiking Hearst 3: North of Piedras Blancas". San Luis Obispo Tribune. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 

Coordinates: 35°41′19″N 121°17′18″W / 35.68864°N 121.28842°W / 35.68864; -121.28842