One time not so long ago in the seaside Southern California town of Palos Verdes, there was a thriving population of abalone fish. As a result, the area became widely known as a fishing community to the point of a huge loss of the abalone population. Though there's protection provided for the area's wildlife in the current day, the name Abalone Cove stuck.
Photo: Day Trips LA
Abalone Cove is part of the only true south-facing headland on the coast of Southern California. It sits below the lofty cliffs of Palos Verdes, down a windy trail that leads you down to the water. You can park in the paid lot that will lead you easily to the head of the trail. The secluded nature of this area makes it a local favorite, but be careful on your trek down, as the trail can be steep at times.
Once you reach the water, look out for the lifeguard stand to see where you can enter the water for your dive. To your left, you can check out the intertidal pools that are brimming with tidepool creatures during low tides. Check out different types of crab, sea urchins, anenomes, and more. Once you're ready to dive in, the waves are usually calm. Use your judgement if they look rough!
Photo by Weekend Sherpa
You'll get visibility around 15-20 feet and will be swimming amongst kelp and rocky reefs. Swim toward the tidal pools to the west and you'll start seeing underwater life! You can see rays, bass, nudibranches, plenty of reef fish, and even octopus and horn sharks!
Cover photo: Stephen Hawe Group