Being a broke single mom I am constantly looking for things to do for little to no money that will entertain not just myself but my child as well. I cannot speak on anyone else's financial situation, but I'm almost certain that most people like to save a buck or two. One of the things I love to do with and without my daughter is to be anywhere near the ocean. The ocean smells good, the air feels good and it’s so peaceful. A good friend of mine introduced me to the trails in Rancho Palos Verdes near Terranea Resort a few years ago for a workout. I was in complete dismay how beautiful this whole area was; it was like a scene from a travel magazine or like what non-Californians picture what California must look like in their minds. Living in the city makes you forget exactly how beautiful parts of Los Angeles can be, and that there is clear blue water in the ocean.
Terranea Resort is a beautiful hotel and spa by the sea with villas that don't quite match my paygrade. But, the resort does allow people to go and explore their trails attached to the hotel property. On one of the trails closer to the ocean, the trail ends in a beautiful mid-sized cave that you are able to climb down and walk around during the low tide. The cave is not a deep one, but it is large enough to hike down and explore. Occasionally I will pack a lunch for myself and my daughter and just go for the day. She can spend hours discovering all the small sea creatures in the tide pools. The upper section Pelican Cove Park offers free parking and the resort provides picnic tables and public restrooms for the general public.
That area also has a few walkable romantic trails. The sunsets are something out of a fairytale, and to add icing on the cake, there is an inaccessible lighthouse to go along with your beautiful scenery. On a clear day you can see Catalina Island off in the distance as well as the Whale migration, and dolphins jumping out of the water. I once went on a whale watching tour in the marina and saw maybe one or two whales and three days later went to Ranchos Palos Verdes and saw four times that amount of whales in the ocean for free. There is one particular trail that you can get a good workout in called the Toveemor trail that has two steep hills. At the bottom of the Toveemor trail, there is a park called Pelican Cove and its beauty is totally worth the struggle I endure walking back up these two hills. With all the tidepools and wonderful sounds of the rocks waves hitting the rocks I could spend hours in Pelican Cove alone.
Don't feel like going on trails and just want to relax at the beach? About a half a mile east of these trails is a beach called Abalone Cove. Granted, you may have to pay six to twelve dollars for all day parking, but if you want to avoid the beach crowds, and enjoy the beauty of this beach, Abalone Cove is perfect. This beach also has tidepools and trails to explore similar to the Pelican Cove area. This beach has actual sand to dig your toes in unlike Pelican Cove Park which consists of mostly Rocks.
If you are turned off at the fact that there are not any food places near, Rancho Palos Verdes is a short five to ten-minute drive to San Pedro and Torrance if you want to grab some food and make a day of it. So for a twelve dollar day (not including gas), you can enjoy Ranchos Palos Verdes trails and beaches for the day! You can find more information on the different trails that Rancho Palos Verdes has to offer on the Palos Verdes website at https://pvplc.org/_lands/trails.asp . I've only experienced a small part of what that area has to offer, I'm sure there is more than what I have seen. I am aware that you can go to any other beach in Los Angeles for free, and those beaches are amazing, but once you see what the big fuss is about Rancho Palos Verdes you will understand. I too was skeptical at first but now I'm completely sold!