I have featured the Palos Verdes Peninsula many times on this site.
If you are not familiar with it, this landform is located in the southwestern corner of Los Angeles County and it is one of the best green, open-space areas to visit in the metropolitan region. If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the place to go.
I have been a resident of one of the bordering communities for 15+ years. I am here to tell all about one of my favorite walking/hiking destinations: Pelican Cove.
Pelican Cove Palos Verdes
Once you reach the site, a half-moon shaped cove full of sapphire colored water opens in front of you. The only element separating you from the foamy waves is a 200 feet drop.
At closer inspection, you notice a zigzagging path taking hikers to the bottom. It is quite a steep hike down (at least for people with wobbly legs like me). However, the fear of slipping goes away since you feel a compulsion to stop every other second to snap a picture. Plus, it is not uncommon to stop to chat with other friendly souls that are coming back from the beach.
When you believe things cannot get better, you arrive at a beach completely covered with smooth pebbles. The hike may get you a bit nervous. Let me tell you, walking over tons of rocks is very challenging. A déjà vu of working out in a StairMaster took over my mind (ugh!).
The rocks move and your feet end in all sorts of unimaginable positions. Also, there are big patches of trapped kelp (yuck). It is not so simple to dodge them when your feet are not over stable ground.
Even with all those mishaps, the sound of the pebbles moving against each other is so soothing. Feels like nature is playing its own wind instrument.
If walking over the rocks proves too complicated, you can move at a faster pace by walking stretch path next to the bluff. It is easier to walk this “path” but be alert for rocks falling off the cliffs (remember all cliffs in the area are considered unstable).
At one point, you are going to make it to the tide pools. I have been surprised by the diversity of species found in this cove many times. The pools are full of anemones, urchins, crabs, snails, fish, sea hares and even sea stars. The colors of those living creatures ranged from pale to fluorescent.
Thinking about this gorgeous piece of paradise (only 10 miles from my house) give me goosebumps. I hope my descriptions are enough to entice you to visit!
The Palos Verdes Peninsula is an outdoors paradise. There are enough activities and sights to plan an entire day of fun.
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 Pelican Cove, you will find the following:
- Vicente Bluffs Reserve
- Point Vicente Lighthouse and Interpretative Center
- Alta Vicente Reserve
- Terranea Resort
- Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
- Ocean Trails Reserve
Where to Eat
The Palos Verdes Peninsula is a natural heaven. We love it in here because it is not heavily commercialized.
That means you are not going to find restaurants, eateries or cafes at every corner. And, you know what? We like it like that! On the other hand, there is still a decent range of options to keep your hunger under control.
Since you are on the side of the peninsula adjacent to the beach cities, I recommend having something to eat at Redondo Beach’s Riviera Village. This area is located 5 miles from Bluff Cove.
As the name implies, “The VIllage” gives you a homey, small-town feeling. But, do not get fooled by the name. The restaurants in here are good. I love Flying Fin Sushi, Creme de la Crepe, Casa Playa and Rebel Republic. For vegans and vegetarians, The Green Temple is a local favorite.
In the peninsula, you can also stop by the Lunada Bay Plaza (4 miles), the Malaga Cove Plaza (1 mile) or the Peninsula Shopping Center (12 miles)
Pelican Cove is located 17 miles from the Los Angeles International Airport, 32 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, 37 miles from Santa Monica and 35 miles from Venice Beach.
The reserve 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 area more than once or for residents looking for a beautiful day trip.
- Access: From Palos Verdes Drive S, signs will lead you to the park
- Parking: Public lot, if this lot is full you can park at Point Vicente or at the Terranea Resort
- Restrooms are available on-site
- It is a good idea to bring enough water for each member of your party and snacks
- Come prepared with comfortable shoes, sunglasses and a hat
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
- Terrific Things to Do in Torrance
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
- Venice Beach Murals
Have you been to the Pelican Cove Palos Verdes?
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