Hope you guys are not tired of coves, tide pools, and red, layered cliffs. A few weeks ago, I published some photos of Pelican Cove located in Rancho Palos Verdes. I have continued hiking around the area and was able to visit a place that was on my sight for quite some time.
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is a 64-acre reserve containing important natural marine resources and the bottom of the Portuguese Bend landslide area.
The reserve features two beaches, tide pools, beautiful bluff-top viewing areas, and paths snaking around the arid terrain. There are two promontories from where you can have a bird’s view of the coves. There are several miles of trails so make sure to get a map before visiting.
In this article, I am giving you a good idea of what to expect when visiting this park.
All the action starts on the parking lot area (which is on top of the cliffs). From there, you can choose the trail that keeps you on a high area or the trail that takes you down to the beach.
I suggest checking the beach area and then, continue walking to the tide pools (close to one of the cliff’s face).
The tide pools in Abalone Cove can be described as blunt and raw. The rocks, which several sea creatures call home, look like a cake with many layers. It is like the forces of nature conspired to create various sets of stepped terraces in here.
When you enter the park, you receive a piece of paper detailing the more than 25 species you can find in the tide pools. The tide has been too high the times I have visited. I have only seen a couple of stars, anemones and sea hares. Keep an eye on the tides if you want to increase your opportunities to encounter more creatures.
Once you have checked Abalone Cove, you can ascend to the high trail and walk all the way to Portuguese Point, the promontory separating Abalone Cove from Sacred Cove.
The views from Portuguese Point are breathtaking. Catalina Island is on full display in front of you. It is also interesting to observe the “dark spots” formed by the tide pool rocks. The contrast against the deep blue seas makes the views even more fantastic.
Be careful when walking around since the cliff sides may be unstable. Please stay on designated areas.
Sacred Cove is also known as Smuggler’s Cove. This cove is hard to spot because of the cliffs surrounding it.
Because of its seclusion, some people use it as a nudist beach. I am warning you before you visit! This is not a legal activity in the city, but I do not envision police officers getting there anytime soon.
The other interesting thing about this cove is the presence of sea caves. They can be accessed during low tide. A lot of people visit just to check the caves.
Access to the cove is by foot from the Portuguese Point trails. Keep in mind the trail going down is steep. Watch your footing.
Note: Some people access the cove from the Portuguese Bend Reserve. The reserve’s entry point is located at the top of one of the hills in the peninsula. If you choose to do this, you will need to go down the hill (through trails), cross the street (Palos Verdes Drive), enter the Abalone Cove Shoreline Park (by jumping the low fence separating the street from the park) and hiking down the cove. Then, you will have to do the same thing in reverse but uphill. It is a 6-mile round trip hike. It is much easier to access the cove from the park’s parking lot.
From this point, you will have yet more amazing views of Sacred Cove plus front row views to Portuguese Bend. There is a trail that takes you to a small beach area.
There is a lot to do in the area. It is very easy to spend an entire day hiking, doing watersports or hiking on the beach.
I have a detailed article on the best Palos Verdes Hikes and Trails. I recommend checking out that article to plan out your day. Most of the hikes in the area have a free access.
Close to Abalone Cove, you will find the following:
- Pelican Cove
- Terranea Resort and several hiking trails
- Wayfarers Chapel
Abalone Cove: Where to Eat
The Palos Verdes Peninsula is a natural heaven. We love it here because it is not heavily commercialized.
That means you are not going to find restaurants, eateries or cafes at every corner. The options are somewhat limited. However, that is a small price to pay in order to be in contact with so much beauty.
If you are feeling a bit hungry, your best bet is the Golden Cove Shopping Center. This compact area has several restaurants, a coffee shop, a supermarket, and a convenience store. It is located about 2 miles from Abalone Cove.
In the peninsula, you can also stop by the Lunada Bay Plaza (4 miles), the Malaga Cove Plaza (7 miles) or the Peninsula Shopping Center (7 miles).
Or, if you prefer, you can opt to eat at one of the fabulous restaurants located at the Terranea Resort. The resort offers fine dining experience in conjunction with magnificent ocean views.
Abalone Cove: Location
Abalone Cove is located 25 miles from the Los Angeles International Airport, 30 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, 35 miles from Santa Monica and 33 miles from Venice Beach.
The park is much closer to the beach cities in Los Angeles County (Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach). We are talking about 10 to 12 miles.
This is a good option for those who have visited the Los Angeles more than once or for residents looking for a beautiful day trip.
Abalone Cove: Access and Fees
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park exact address is 5970 Palos Verdes Drive South (in the Rancho Palos Verdes city).
There is a fee to enter the place. You are allowed to be there for free for 30 minutes. After that, it is $6 for two hours and $12 if you spend more than that. I understand the price can be considered on the high side but it is on par to what other state beaches charge. There are a lot of free hiking options in the area if you do not feel like paying.
The park is better accessed by car. Parking is readily available on-site.
Abalone Cove: Dress and Accessories
Dressing in layers is recommendable. Mornings and evenings can be chilly. Remember to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Also, keep in mind you will need sturdy shoes if you want to hike/walk around. Water and snacks (nuts, dry fruits) are great additions to your daypack.
After jumping over rocks, climbing steep hills and getting lost among the dry bushes, I can say I got a Mediterranean feeling. I am not trying to get into clichés in here but I got that sweet sensation gorgeous places can only give you. The best thing is that this slice of paradise is located close to home. Give it a try if you are in the Los Angeles area!
More of the South Bay
While checking the wonders of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, it may be a good idea to stop by the nearby towns.
- Redondo Beach Pier: What to Do, See and Eat
- Things to do in Hermosa Beach
More of Los Angeles
- Find out how to spend one fun-filled day in Los Angeles
- Get inspiration by reading my Los Angeles Ultimate Bucket List
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