Hike to Terranea Beach Sea Caves

Los Angeles Pelican Cove Parking Lot

Added by Tiffany Nguyen

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Short and easy hike to one of the best caves in the South Bay
  • Scenic rocky shoreline with plenty of tide pools filled with marine life to discover
  • Best during low tide for easy access to the sea cave

Head to the Pelican Cove parking lot where there’s plenty of free parking right at the trailhead. From the parking lot, take the Point Vicente trail and you will see views of the Point Vicente lighthouse down the coast to your right. Continue on the trail through the luxury Terranea Resort which is home to Nelson’s restaurant, where you can grab a bite to eat after exploring. As you continue, check out the tide pools on your right and take some time to discover the different marine life that calls this area home. Be sure to check the surf report and go during low tide for easy access to the sea cave.

After leaving the tide pools, you’ll pass the restrooms and showers and beach access is not too far in the distance. You can often see dolphins swimming in the distance from the telescopes on the bluffs. One of my favorite parts of this beach is listening to the unique sound of the water rushing back into the ocean as it passes over the irregularly shaped rocks. Once you make it to the beach, climb over the rocks on the far left side to get to the cave. During low tide, climbing down into the cave for a photo op with Catalina Island in the distance is super easy.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel
  • Sun block
  • Sun glasses
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Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round



Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby

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How to Get There

9 months ago

Easy And Short Hike To Sea Caves

I really enjoy coming to this location to get close to the ocean waters and capture the sunset. The sea caves is a good walk from the end of the descending trail on rocky terrain to get around the cove. It's a great place for photos and I would highly recommend this adventure!

9 months ago

11 months ago

Beautiful Walk

Fun rock formations at the end of a lovely walk, combined with a snack and glass of wine at Nelson's made a beautiful day. I'm not sure I would call this a "hike", but i will definitely recommend this for a fantastic afternoon activity in Palos Verdes

11 months ago

11 months ago

Awesome Hike

Found the caves. Thanks Tiffany for the trip! Some additional details. The trail from the Pelican Cove parking lot is called the "Blufftop Trail" and you'll take it east from the parking lot towards the Sea Caves passing through the Terranea resort. Make sure you time it so you get there at low tide. Though I went at a low tide of +1.6 and I did have to time it with the incoming ways in order to not get wet. Happy Hiking!

11 months ago

over 1 year ago

Couldn't find the caves! :( Tiffany, take me with you next time you go! I timed the trip with the low tide, and read the directions and "beginner" rating, figured I'd pull right up and see "Point Vicente Trail" marked, but didn't. Following these directions as carefully as I could, this was my adventure: So, I parked at Pelican Cove Park parking lot (yes, plenty of free parking) Facing the ocean in the lot, there are two trail heads. one to your right, one to your left. The one to the left is called Terranea trail, not Point Vicente trail. The trail to the right forks off into two trails: the Tovemore trail down to the beach, and the unmarked trail following the highway that goes straight toward the lighthouse. Thinking the unmarked trail parallel to the highway must be the aforementioned "Point Vicente trail," I followed that. Seemed logical, since that trail seemed to be heading in the direction of the Point Vicente lighthouse. I walked down the Tovemore trail just to be sure, but down there, I didn't see any resort or restaurant to walk through, as described, so I went back up and tried the unmarked trail. As I followed this unmarked trail, it again forked after a couple minutes: go straight or up that hill? I walked up the hill, only for it to lead me back to the same straight path. Now I'm heading straight on this unmarked trail parallel to the road, and I get to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. I read the directions carefully again, and realized I must be in the wrong place. Nice views, but if there was any beach access, the Terranea Resort wouldn't be in its path, and now the tide was rising, so I headed back determined to find this "Point Vicente trail." I got back to the parking lot where I started and came to the conclusion that there is no Point Vicente trail. Maybe this adventure was written before, when there was a Point Vicente Trail. But today, there is none. At least not in Palos Verdes, at the Pelican Cove Parking lot or at the Terranea Resort. I still got a workout in, got some sun, saw a little gopher prairie dog thingy with long teeth, and climbed on some rocks down at the beach, but didn't find the caves. Maybe on another low tide day off, I'll go explore. Note: bring water shoes, cuz if you're gonna explore, climbing all over rocks is required, and they are slippery. Also, be careful if you go at low tide and come back lots later, you could lose your beach access. Doesn't make it a difficult walk down to the beach on the Tovemore trail, but something to be aware of. :)

over 1 year ago

Added by Tiffany Nguyen

Email: tiffpenguinphoto@gmail.com

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