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Road Trip: Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in Rancho Palos Verdes

Road Trip: Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in Rancho Palos Verdes

Abalone Cove Shoreline Park was a wonder-filled adventure for our family on a holiday weekend. I owe my outdoorsy friend, Cindy at CAOpenSpace.org, thanks for turning me on to all that Rancho Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy has to offer in terms of hiking and open spaces with views of the Pacific. We’ve been 2 times in the past month and it was spectacular BOTH times. On this particular trip, we even saw whales from shore at Pt. Vicente — spouting and diving where we could see the fluke. Wow!

Location:  From Orange County, take Interstate 405 north towards Los Angeles. Take the 710 or 110 to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  We like to take the 710 which turns into the 47 because the kids like to cross Terminal Island in Long Beach/San Pedro Harbor to see the ships and freight trains. Plus we get to go over the Vincent Thomas and Gerald Desmond bridges.  (Another way to go is the 110, exit at Sepulveda and then turn left at Hawthorne to go over the peninsula from the north to south).  MAP TO ABALONE COVE SHORELINE PARK  (link supplied by the Conservancy)

Highlights:

  • You’ll start in a meadow with pepper trees and grass where you can picnic, then as you are spellbound by the view of Catalina Island – you’ll head to your left to get down to the beach. The trail is a bit steep and slippery. Once down on the beach, you walk on the rocks to the point where the tidepools are exposed. It’s possible to get partway around the corner to see a small sea cave.
  • After tidepooling, we actually hiked UP the hill so we could stand on the point above the tidepools. I recommend taking the wide road-sized trail. We clambered up the skinny marked trail which I would NOT do again with kids. I’m a klutz and it was too slippery for me. Luckily, we survived! From the top of the bluff, we had a hawk fly right near us at eye level.
  • Not as crowded as many of the LA beaches we’ve visited
  • Plentiful tidepools
  • Kids felt sense of adventure on the trails and walking on the rocky beach path
  • Potential for seeing whales
  • Photography opportunities abound
  • We had some great bird sightings: egret at the tidepool, a hawk on the ledge, pelicans and gulls
  • Absolutely beautiful outing with amazing views of Catalina. It took us 2 hours to get the full experience.
  • Keep an eye out for fossils! We took a break in the shade and found a fossil that is probably millions of years old. (Don’t collect them, take a photo and leave it for the next child to find!)
  • You can pair this with tons of other potential outings in San Pedro, Redondo Beach, or on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Be Aware:

  • Only open limited hours — (Mon. – Fri. 12 noon – 4pm) and (Sat. & Sun. 9am – 4pm)
  • Not for strollers or those with health conditions. It’s a rocky beach and a steep hike back up from the tidepools.
  • Bring water, snacks, towels, possible a change of clothes for the kids, and wear sunscreen.  It can be hotter or cooler here at the coast – so come prepared wearing layers and maybe have a jacket in the car.
  • All restrooms are portable toilets.  There’s one at the top of the trail near the parking lot and one near the tidepool.
  • Be careful on the rocks and keep your eyes on the waves – it’s easy to get swept away by a big set.
  • Look, but don’t touch in the tidepools.  There’s no signage, but I just go crazy when I see people picking up and squishing the poor little tidepool animals.
  • Check the tides before you go – click the link for how to do check!

Checklist:

  • Parking is $5
  • All restrooms are portable toilets.  There’s one at the top of the trail and one near the tidepool.
  • Trail is dirt and the beach is rocky.
  • Water looked beautiful, but a bit discolored (green foam) in places from runoff. Surf was rough near the rocks on the day we visited.
  • FOOD: There’s a Trader Joe’s and Subway at the corner of Palos Verdes Drive and Hawthorne Blvd (north of Abalone Cove).
  • RESTROOMS: Clean restrooms inside the Pt. Vicente Interpretive Center which is across from the food stores.
  • Debi’s review over on GoExploreNature.com
  • Read Cindy’s review of Abalone Cove and the hike — she’s got tons of details!
  • Read the official Palos Verdes Land Conservancy website for details

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