Abalone Cove Beach, California
Just outside Los Angeles on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, this rocky beach below a cliff in Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is a SoCal hidden gem. At low tide, the intimate Abalone Cove Beach is dotted with watery pockets teeming with temporary residents waiting around for the next high tide. Stoop to see colorful starfish, scurrying hermit crabs, and wildly patterned sea slugs. The views of Catalina Island are excellent year-round, but summer is the prime season to spot blue whales off the coast.
What to Do: Naturalist-led tours based at the peninsula's Terranea Resort will help you identify tide-pool critters. Head toward the beach's sea caves when the tide comes in and you'll experience the blowhole effect. Also check out the nearby Point Vicente Lighthouse and natural-history museum.
Getting Here: Access the park from Palos Verdes Drive South. A 20-minute hike down a steep hill from the parking lot will take you to the beach.