Set on a bluff in Rancho Palos Verdes, Terranea Resort stands out among Southern California luxury resorts. Located about 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, the resort has ocean-view golf, acclaimed restaurants that use ingredients from the resort’s own garden, and an indulgent spa—all of which adhere to the resort’s sustainability program.
And while you can always soak up those ocean views from a poolside chaise, Terranea offers some cool ways to interact with its natural setting, tucked between three preserves. On a recent episode of the California Now Podcast, Lauren Bergloff, the resort’s sustainability leader, shed light on Terranea's unique experiences that offer you a view of both the ocean and its residents.
Daily Nature Walks and Whale-Watching
Every morning at 10 a.m., Bergloff leads a guided nature walk along the trails of Terranea, exploring the property’s 14 acres of restored native habitat. Fun fact: The resort is on the former grounds of the Marineland of the Pacific theme park, which was here from 1954 to 1987, and the locale has also made cameos in TV shows and movies, including Pirates of the Caribbean.
Some of the best views, of course, are out over the water. On a typical day, Bergloff says, you can see blue or gray whales, dolphins, sea lions, and seals. “On land, you could probably see some lizards, some cottontail rabbits,” she adds. “What's really neat about Terranea is if you look up into the sky, we can see redtail hawks, osprey hunting in the kelp forest, and peregrine falcons. I have to say that my daily nature walk is my highlight.”
Get down onto the sand, right by the water, and you can see how much marine life is often hidden in plain sight. “One of my favorite activities to lead with families is the tidepool tour,” says Bergloff. The two-hour activity includes a walk to the two coves on the resort grounds. “We go on a little hike on a low tide when the pools of water are leftover and you can find sea anemones, sea urchins, hermit crabs, even little tiny fish that live down there. It's super fun. Because it is a preserve, there is so much life for you to actually see and it's just like a real-life aquarium.”
Paddle Out with a Kayak or Paddleboard
To get fully immersed, take a tandem kayak to see more wildlife and the kelp forest along the shore. You don’t need to have any kayaking experience—a staffer will either paddle with you, or get you launched onto the water with a friendly push. “You follow that kelp forest all the way from our beach cove to the lighthouse, which is right before our property, and it's a gorgeous trail,” says Bergloff. “You stay hugging the coast and [depending on the time of year] you can see whales almost every day. It's really, really special.”
Want more of a challenge? Try ocean paddleboarding. “You have those little waves coming through,” Bergloff says, “so I consider it very much a workout as well as an experience. But you get the same view as the kayaking tour, just a little higher up. If it’s a clear day, you can look straight down into the kelp forest and see all types of animals and kelp—it's beautiful.”