A gem along the rough, rugged Palos Verde coastline, Abalone cove boasts a well-maintained trail system, prolific tide pools, sweeping views, and a bit of a sandy beach. Oftentimes, when one contained location sustains so many rich, adventuresome nooks, some aspects outshine others. Not the case when it comes to Abalone Cove Shoreline Park—each turned corner presents a new, and even more breathtaking delight.
This lovely open space offers picnic tables with a view right off the bat. Before embarking on the trail down to the beach or on a hike to Portuguese Point, it’s well worthwhile to slow down and savor the panoramic vista. On a clear day, Catalina Island sparkles on the placid ocean in the distance, and supremely lucky visitors get a glimpse of dolphins playing in the waves closer to the shoreline.
The Abalone Cove Trail begins from the southernmost end of the parking area and bears right down toward the beach. A slice of the trail intersects with the historic California Costal Trail, which first began to take shape in 1976 and now extends over 1,200 miles from Mexico to the Oregon border.
Eventually this trail spills out onto a wide, rocky beach. Speckled with shiny abalone shells, it’s clear to see why this beach is named as such. Several hundred feet away gleam the tide pools. Best visited at low tide, these pools are home to a host of sea creatures. Exercise caution over the uneven and slippery terrain—it’s suggested that kids stick to the outskirts. Though they attract a moderately sized crowd, there typically is plenty of space for each explorer to have a portion of the tide pools to herself. Visitors enjoy ample opportunities to get a glimpse of sea hares, anemone, small octopi, hermit crabs, and more.
Forge on toward the sea caves or backtrack up toward the 5-mile round-trip hike to Portuguese Point—either way, be sure to break out your camera often, and find a way to persuade your crew to hang around to watch the sun slink its way into the sea in a burst of sherbet color.