Visitors to White Point Beach in San Pedro will find a beach that is drastically different from its northern counterparts such as Manhattan, Venice or Santa Monica Beaches. Instead of vast expanses of pristine sand covered with sun bathing beauties, there are beautiful gardens, a children’s playground, picnic tables, steep cliffs, a rocky shore and tide pools.
Though I have to drive farther to get to it, I’d have to say it’s my favorite beach. What I like best about White Point/Royal Palms Beach is how peaceful it is. Being a little off the beaten path for tourists, you can actually enjoy the beauty of your surroundings without fighting traffic and crowds!
If sunbathing is your primary goal, then you probably want to stick with one of the beaches mentioned above. What little sandy area there is on the beach is wet and. at high tide. underwater. It isn’t recommended for swimming either due to the rocks, but plenty of surfers venture out into the waves.
The primary experience here is tidepooling and I believe White Point Beach has some of the most easily accessible tide pools in Southern California. Though there are steep cliffs between the upper portion of the beach and the lower portion where the tide pools are, you can drive to the lower portion and park there as well. The tide pools contain communities of small marine animals such as sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, coral clusters, sea urchins, and starfish.
It’s illegal to remove any of the creatures from their habitat. They say you can “pet” them, but that can be traumatic for the creatures. In particular, don’t take the starfish out of water no matter how tempting. Being out of water for even short periods of time is a shock to their systems and can kill them. Instead, bring a good camera and take lots of pictures. The water is shallow and clear. The cameras I use and recommend are shown right below in the Amazon link.
You may have heard of White Point Beach by the name of Royal Palms Beach, or may see both names when searching for it on maps. They are two separate beaches that share the same entrance, though it isn’t all that clear which is which. The best I could gather is the upper portion of the beach where the picnic tables, formal gardens, children’s playground and benches overlooking the ocean are located is Royal Palms Beach. The lower portion with the tide pools is White Point Beach.
Royal Palms Beach was actually a popular hot springs resort during the twenties, but it became a victim of the Great Depression. The resort structures were destroyed during the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake. The area down below was a Japanese fishing area in the early 1900s. There are actually about a dozen plaques around telling the rich history of the area.
The entrance to the beaches is where Western Ave meets West Paseo Del Mar. The exact address is 1799 Paseo del Mar, San Pedro , CA 90732. You won’t miss it. If you want to enjoy the gardens and benches, park on the upper level or along Paseo Del Mar. To see the tide pools drive down Kay Fiorentino Drive and then go to your left to the end. You do have to pay to park in either location, but the cost is quite reasonable compared to other beaches!
Other things to do while you are down in the San Pedro/Long Beach area would be to visit the Point Vicente Lighthouse and info center about 7 miles north in Palos Verdes. Or head south a couple miles to the Point Fermin Lighthouse. Right above it on the bluff is the Korean Bell of Friendship that you’ll want to check out. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Ports O’ Call Village, the Battleship USS Iowa Museum and the Queen Mary are all in the area. You won’t run out of fun things to do!
See more photos of White Point Beach and the tide pools after the break…
Video by Mark Stout Photography.
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