Day Trip: Pelican Cove Park & Royal Palms State Beach, CA

Living in Southern California has its perks, especially all year long. Just a short drive down the dreaded 405 freeway and you'll end up near a lighthouse in Rancho Palos Verdes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A short scenic 1.7 mile walk along the Terranea Discovery Trail brings you to a cool filming location: The Lost Boys cave. My youngest brother Steve, decided we should break in his new car so we headed down to the Terranea Resort to walk the trails along the cliffs ending up at Terranea Beach Cove. Check out the photos of our day trip and get some tips for visiting the area.

Pelican Cove Beach Travel Guide - Terranea, Palos Verdes, CA


  • Hiking: Nearby trails offer opportunities for scenic hikes with ocean views.
  • Photography: Capture coastal views and wildlife with your camera.
  • Picnicking: Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal with a view at designated picnic areas.
  • Wildlife Watching: Keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, and seabirds along the coast.

What to Bring

  • Sunscreen: Protect yourself from the sun's rays, even on overcast days.
  • Water: Stay hydrated, especially during warm weather.
  • Snacks: Pack snacks or a picnic lunch if you don't want to opt for the resort restaurants.
  • Camera: Capture memories of your visit to Pelican Cove Beach.
  • Binoculars: Enhance wildlife viewing opportunities.


  • Check Tide Times: Plan your visit around low tide to explore tide pools.
  • Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from wildlife and refrain from feeding them.
  • Leave No Trace: Help preserve the natural beauty of the beach by cleaning up after yourself.
  • Follow Beach Rules: Observe posted signs and regulations for a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Weather Awareness: Be mindful of changing weather conditions and dress accordingly.

Nearby Attractions

  • Terranea Resort: Explore the resort's restaurants, shops, and other amenities.
  • Point Vicente Lighthouse: Visit this historic landmark for panoramic views of the coastline.
  • Abalone Cove Shoreline Park: Discover more beaches, trails, and tide pools nearby.

Area Map

Pelican Cove Beach offers a great escape with natural beauty, perfect for a relaxing day by the sea in the surroundings of Terranea Resort.

Below is a map of the entire area. The walking path begins off of the parking lot on Palos Verdes Drive South, with Bluff Top Trail, leading down to Shoreline Access, then to Terranea Beach Cove, aka the famous location of the The Lost Boys cave scene. We love 80s films, so this was a huge highlight.

During our walk, we saw so many tiny Chihuahas, which made me miss my little Stinker Corona (RIP to my baby dog). We also saw a bunny, lots of birds, and whale spouts in the ocean. It was both mine and Steve's first time exploring this location. 

The weather was awesome and it wasn't overly hot for our walk. The water was glistening blue and the skies were so clear. Perfect day for a hike. 


You will pass a restaurant called Nelsons, and you will smell delicious food in case you need a break from your walk. We were so tempted to stop and eat on the outdoor patio but we opted to just eat afterwards. 

The trail wasn't overly crowded and people were somewhat respectful when passing us. Some folks would not move aside but it’s ok. Patience is a virtue. 

Not pictured, but Steve spotted a famous actor on the Terranea Resort and it was Vince Vaughn with his daughter and their dog. I turned around and saw them as Vince's voice is unmistakable. 

Overall, this was a fairly easy trail with great views of the California coast. I sometimes take for granted  that I can easily access this area with just a short drive. People fly here to enjoy these types of views. My goal is to explore more locations like this on weekends. 

Things to Go Back and See/Do:

Nelsons - Grab food from Nelsons (#27 on the map)

Catalina Kitchen - Grab food from Catalina Kitchen (#29 on the map)

Sea Beans - Grab coffee or Chai Lattes from this place (#28 on the map)

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Trip Resources

If you’re planning a road trip, here are some helpful sites that I use. Note, below are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for every booking, with no extra cost to you. Thanks so much, in advance! - Anytime we need a rental car, we use this site to find deals. - I like to use this site to explore upcoming cruises that I'd like to take. I also refer to it to compare hotel prices, flights, and car rentals. - Book things to do, attractions, tours and discover new food. - When we’re not staying in an AIRBNB, we’re in a VRBO rental. We use this option when we want to enjoy a full house with individual bedrooms, a kitchen, backyard and other amenities. - Anytime I want reputable reviews, tips, and overall advice about a vacation area, I leverage this site. - Looking for cool tours in your vacation area? This site has a number of options. 

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