Palos Verdes is a rare gem in Los Angeles County. Home to expansive properties, countryside roads, and gorgeous beaches, it will make you forget you’re only minutes away from the constant bustle of downtown Los Angeles.
The lifestyle in this scenic peninsula is all about enjoying nature to the fullest. Outdoor activities top residents’ list of the best things to do, taking them from the woodlands to the ocean, and everywhere in between.
The communities of Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates are well known for their equestrian tradition, excellently preserved over the years. More than 90 miles of riding trails meander through these two communities, encompassing 25 miles of city bridle paths bordered by charming white rail fences. The pleasant weather allows for horseback riding in Palos Verdes any time of the year, and equestrian events are staged all year round.
Many homes in Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates are horse properties that back up to riding trails, equipped with everything you need for raising equines. You’ll also find a number of equestrian centers, offering horse boarding services, riding lessons, and other related services. These include:
There’s no better way to enjoy the fascinating Palos Verdes outdoors than traversing its picturesque hiking trails. Marvel at rugged bluffs rising above the ocean along these trails. Explore wide open spaces, canyons, and nature preserves. Discover little-known historical landmarks, such as Battery Bunker at White Point Nature Preserve. You can even get a bird’s-eye view of the busy downtown from one of the area’s highest peaks.
The trails in Palos Verdes range from easy to difficult. You’ll find everything from kid-friendly paved loops to more challenging uphill paths that will test your endurance.
Find some of the best hikes in Palos Verdes here.
Every year, from November to May, an estimated 20,000 grey whales make their way from the frigid Bering Sea in Alaska to the warm waters of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. The waters along the Palos Verdes Peninsula are part of their journey, and whale-watching season has become an occasion locals and tourists eagerly await each year.
Since 1984, the Point Vicente Interpretive Center has been the main site for whale watching in Palos Verdes. This 10,000-square-foot facility located next to the Point Vicente Lighthouse has designated a special oceanfront area where people can come with their binoculars to spot these massive mammals. In addition, the center also features walking trails along the coast where you can spot pelicans and sea birds flying at eye-level.
If you want a more intimate encounter with the grey whales, you can join one of the whale watching cruises offered by private operators and resorts in the area. Get on a boat or catamaran and have the chance to get a closer view of these beautiful sea creatures. You might also get to see humpback whales, orcas, fin whales, and other marine life while on the cruise.
Parks and open spaces
The communities in the peninsula feature beautiful parks, gardens, and open spaces where you can find the best views in Palos Verdes. The top spots to visit include:
- Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
Founded in 1988, the conservancy encompasses 1,600 acres of open space that serve as habitat for a wide array of animal and plant species, including the at-risk El Segundo blue butterfly, the Palos Verdes blue butterfly, and others. The conservancy’s topography includes beaches, bluffs, canyons, and ridgelines, providing stunning views that can’t be found elsewhere.
- South Coast Botanic Garden
Aptly called “The Jewel of the Peninsula”, this beautiful 87-acre botanic garden is home to over 2,000 species of plants originating from various parts of the world, including cherry blossoms, rose varieties, fig trees, succulents, fuchsias, and more. The abundant plant life has attracted over 200 species of birds that make their home in the garden at different times of the year.
- Pelican Cove Park
This 10.5-acre park features breathtaking views of the Gulf of Santa Catalina and the Pacific Ocean. There are various trails in the area, one of which connects the park to the shoreline.
- Bluff Cove Overlook
Part of the Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve, this overlook features spectacular views of Bluff Cove and the Santa Monica Bay coastal area. Bluff Cove is a scenic surfing spot that also serves as a wintering area for shorebirds.
Get more information on parks and nature destinations in Palos Verdes here.
Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach – collectively known as the Beach Cities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula – boast some of Southern California’s most popular beaches. Featuring boardwalks, parks, restaurants, and other facilities, these iconic California destinations buzz with activity from day to night.
If you want something a bit more peaceful, go further south and explore the rugged coastline of Palos Verdes Estates. Gorgeous coves with large swells, perfect for some serious surfing, just might be your idea of the best beaches in Palos Verdes.
For more tips on what to do and where to go in Palos Verdes, check out these pages: