If you want a really unique L.A. beach experience, check out Abalone Cove in Palos Verdes. It offers a short trail hike down to a rocky beach leading to caves and tidepools. It can be a really cool and unusual date experience! One warning though – you will get wet!


To get to Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, you’ll probably take either the 405 or 110 freeway. From there, you’ll have to do quite a bit of surface street driving, but it’s worth it.

Parking is $6 for 2 hours and $12 after that. The park closes at 4PM. I recommend going in the morning when it opens to avoid most of the crowds. This used to be a “hidden gem”, but the word has gotten out. It will be crowded on a holiday weekend.


This is a pretty short hike so you don’t really need to bring much. In fact, whatever you do bring with you on the trail will probably end up getting wet or at the very least, splashed! You might want to put your phone in a waterproof bag to be safe, or leave it altogether. Your shoes will definitely get wet. Choose ones that give you a good grip on slippery rocks though.

If you want to minimize getting wet, go during low tide.

The Hike

The trail starts out innocently as a familiar-looking dirt trail going from the cliffs down to the beach.

Abalone Cove Cliffs

Near the beginning of the Abalone Cove trail

Abalone Cove warning signs

Note the warning signs…

Once at beach level, you’ll be walking over a rocky shoreline. The trail will end at a tall cliff protruding into the ocean:

Cliff at Abalone Cove

Get around this cliff to see the tide pools

You’ll have to get around this to see the tidepools. This will require navigating on some rocks near the edge of the water, but you should remain dry for the most part. After this, you’ll reach the first tidepool area:

Abalone Cove tide pool area

The first tide pool area

Right around this point you’ll reach the first cave:

Cave at Abalone Cove

First cave during high tide

During low tide, you’ll be able to simply wade across the water to the other side, maybe only getting thigh-deep in water.

I went during high tide, when it was more treacherous. Some folks stayed dry by going over the rocks in the cave, but these were very slippery and the timing had to be right to avoid waves. I don’t suggest that route. I opted to simply swim across, but that meant getting totally wet!

On the other side, you’ll find more tidepools with all kinds of little creatures such as hermit crabs and sea anemones!

Abalone Cove tide pools

Tide pools

Notice the cool alien-looking rocks!

Abalone Cove sculpted rocks

Sculpted rocks

You might also see some seals or even whales offshore.

At this point, we turned back, but you can continue on to a second cave and further adventures!

As you can see, Abalone Cove can be a fun and interesting date! During this experience, I truly felt like I was in another world far from Los Angeles. It reminded me of the ending of the original Planet of the Apes. I expect to see a ruined Statue of Liberty just past the next cliff!


You’ll be hungry after this experience. Head back to PCH for a large select of casual restaurants, such as the Corner Bakery Cafe.

What was your experience at Abalone Cove like? – Brian


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