When it comes to Los Angeles coastal communities, places like Santa Monica and Malibu get all the glory. However, there’s a beautiful community in the South Bay called Rancho Palos Verdes that I think is definitely worth checking out.
I spend a lot of time in RPV, actually, since my husband’s family lives there. You won’t find big, sandy beaches to lounge on here as the whole place is rocky cliffs and rough coastline. If that’s what you’re looking for, it’s best to head to Redondo Beach or indeed North to Santa Monica. However, if you’re looking for dramatic ocean cliffs, beautiful hiking trails, and some truly luxurious places to eat and hang out, you just might want to give Rancho Palos Verdes a shot.
The thing I love the most about this town is how secluded and unlike the rest of Los Angeles it feels like. There’s a reason for that: back in the 1950’s they attempted to extend Crenshaw Blvd. all the way to the coast, but it didn’t go so well. The construction paired with the geologically unstable ground in Portuguese Bend created a massive landslide that destroyed several homes. The land was deemed unstable and has since been left as glorious open space (where I often go hiking when I’m in town).
Here are some of my favorite things in this beautiful little beach town…
Also known as “the glass chapel”, this beautiful little church in a gorgeous tree-lined area is an extremely popular place for weddings. It’s also definitely worth taking the time to stop by and take a look at as the building is unique and quite breathtaking, really. I would recommend that if you are planning to visit to check their website and call ahead to make sure you won’t be showing up when there is a wedding or event.
The relatively new Teranea Resort is a luxurious playground where, if I’m being honest, everything is pretty expensive. Still, I love going there as it’s a lovely place to wander around with gorgeous places to check out the views of the coastline and some pretty scrumptious restaurants with awesome coastal views to eat at, if you’re feeling like a splurge. It also is a full fledged resort, so if you’re feeling fancy, it’s a great place to stay and make your vacation. I’ve never stayed there, however, since I have a perfectly good free place to stay not too far away with relatives, so I can’t attest to what an overnight stay is like. Let’s talk about those restaurants, though….there are 8 different restaurants at the resort. Some of my personal favorites are Nelson’s (relatively affordable dining with a killer ocean view) and the awesome (and expensive) Sunday brunch at the Catalina Room.
Hiking Palos Verdes
Palos Verdes actually has some really great hiking trails all over the city, and it’s the perfect place to get out into nature and escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. There’s the Portuguese Bend Reserve, the Forrestal Nature Preserve, and trails from Del Cerro Park that are all wonderful to explore, as well as others. Check out this site for information on hiking in Palos Verdes.
Point Vicente Lighthouse
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While you’re in town, check out the Point Vicente Lighthouse and the Point Vicente Interpretive Center, which is a really beautiful place to walk around and an incredible spot for whale watching from shore at certain times of year. This area also features a museum, shop, picnic area, and walking trails with incredible views of the ocean cliffs with the waves crashing below.
This beautiful little cove and the surrounding area features some hiking trails, tide pools, and beaches (albeit rocky beaches). It’s a good area to go for a swim and explore some of the area’s marine wildlife.
There is a really, really beautiful botanic garden in Rancho Palos Verdes where you can explore flora and fauna and relax in a truly peaceful atmosphere. I went to a wedding here a few years ago and it was an absolutely gorgeous location, but even if nobody is getting married, I think it’s a wonderful place to relax and spend your afternoon wandering around a beautiful place.
Eating without breaking the bank
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There are some great restaurants in Palos Verdes, particularly at Teranea Resort. However, if you’re going to be spending some time in P.V. and you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, I suggest you head over to the Golden Cove shopping center where you’ll find The Yellow Vase, an awesome little brunch spot, as well as a Starbucks and a Subway where you can get some cheap eats and a few other places as well. There’s also a Trader Joe’s in that parking lot where you can pick up some pre-prepared salads, sandwiches, and lots of goodies. I highly suggest you choose The Yellow Vase and get yourself a delicious quiche and a giant latte with a cookie for dessert, but sometimes you just want quick food. Now you know where to get it. There are also some decently priced options at the Promenade on the Peninsula mall, but that’s quite a bit inland so you’ll need to drive away from the coast to get there. There are also a ton of places to eat in Redondo Beach, which is just North of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
You also may want to check out The Original Red Onion, which is slightly inland, but a really popular local Mexican restaurant with a delightful atmosphere.
Have you spent any time in Rancho Palos Verdes? Have any favorite spots people should know about? What would you most want to do while visiting town?