Although in close proximity to city attractions, Terranea is actually located between three different nature preserves: the Abalone Cove State Marine Conservation Area, the Point Vicente Preserve, and the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve.
Less than 2% of the world’s oceans are protected, and of the four marine-protected areas in Los Angeles County, two are in Palos Verdes—right off of Terranea’s coast. Because of the limited fishing allowed here, sea life is given the opportunity to mature and reproduce, making the area a haven for a variety of fish and aquatic species.
The Point Vicente Lighthouse, just northwest of the resort, is not just a charming beacon—the surrounding area is used by the American Citation Society, who count the number of gray whales that pass through the water from December 1 to May 31, for research purposes. The peninsula has a deep-water drop-off, which attracts the whales and allows them to come closer to the shores during migration.
Rare birds are also attracted to Terranea’s coastal sage habitat. With 14 acres of native plants, the resort organically attracts animals drawn to the region, such as the California gnatcatcher.
Among the endangered species that can be found on the property is the thumbnail-sized El Segundo blue butterfly. Look for them year-round and particularly during the months of May and June.
In the 1970s, pelicans were considered an endangered species because of the use of DDT that poisoned their food supply, but they’ve since been off the endangered list, and guests at Terranea rarely go a day without seeing one.
A picturesque two-mile coastal walk wraps about the resort, but a longer five-mile walk along the coast is also conveniently accessible.
Notice that the cliffs around the Palos Verdes Peninsula look like layer cake? Millions of years ago, this area was likely an island that rose up out of the water. Each slice is a marine layer that then merged to become part of the land.
While most of the northern Los Angeles County coastline tends to be flat, the rugged landscape around the Palos Verdes Peninsula includes jagged cliffs and cave formations—inviting for safe and guided exploration near the resort.
Can’t decide between a sunrise or sunset? At Terranea, you can typically see both overlooking the ocean, due to the peninsula’s unique location and 270-degree panoramic views.