Los Angeles Day Trip – Seals, Whales, Lighthouses & More!

What could be better than marine mammals, whales, lighthouses, delicious food and a beautiful sunset?  How about being able to see all of the above in the same afternoon?  Plus you’ll be able to throw in a visit to a Lloyd Wright designed glass chapel as well!

Thanks to close proximity, it is easy to visit a handful of historical landmarks and points of interest along the beautiful Palos Verdes/San Pedro Coastline in one day.  All of these places are kid-friendly, un-crowded, and offer free admission (donations accepted at some spots) and free parking.

Here is the EcoBuzz Los Angeles guide to a fun, family-friendly AND economical day trip in Los Angeles:

Seals, Sea Lions, Birds, Forts, and the Korean Bell:

Start your day with a visit to the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur (more information and directions here: Sea Lions and Elephant Seal Released After Rehab).  After you’ve watched the marine mammals and smiled until your face hurts, take a short walk across the road.  The Marine Mammal Care Center is adjacent to the Bird Rescue Center, Fort MacArthur, Angel’s Gate Park, and the Korean Bell.

California Sea Lion

California Sea Lion rehabilitated at the Marine Mammal Care Center


Whales, Lighthouses, and Lloyd Wright Architecture:

Hop back in your car and continue south on Gaffey towards the ocean.  Follow Gaffey Street all the way to the end (it’s just 1/2 mile down the road) and park in front of the green belt (directions here).  You have arrived at the historic Pt. Fermin Lighthouse and Pt. Fermin Park.  A few miles down the coast on beautiful Palos Verdes Drive South you will find Wayfarer’s Chapel (designed by Lloyd Wright), the Pt. Vicente Interpretive Center, and Pt. Vicente Lighthouse.  Note:  You can no longer drive down Paseo del Mar to connect up with Palos Verdes Drive north due to a landslip.  Instead drive back up (north) on Gaffey and turn left on 25th Street.  25th Street will turn into Palos Verdes Drive South and meet up with the gorgeous coastline again.

Pt. Vicente Lighthouse

View of the Pt. Vicente Lighthouse (with Catalina in the background) from the Pt. Vicente Interpretive Center


Delicious Food and a Beautiful Sunset:

End your day with dinner at Nelson’s at the beautiful Terranea Resort (the site of the former Marineland).  Nelson’s is THE perfect place to have a meal and watch the sunset.  Hint:  Everything is delicious (and I do mean everything) but the shrimp tacos are AMAZING.  And don’t forget to take a walk on the beautiful trails throughout the resort, visit the tidepools, and walk down to the secluded Terranea beach cove.  You can even explore a sea cave!

Side note:  Although the other locations on this day trip are not Fido-friendly, Terranea is a dog-friendly resort.  I definitely recommend returning for another visit with Fido.  Nelson’s even offers outdoor dining with your pooch.

Sunset at Nelson's

Sunset at Nelson's at Terranea Resort


Happy Trails!

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