Palos Verdes Peninsula, California
Aerial view of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the Palos Verdes Hills, with Los Angeles city center in the distance
Aerial view of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the Palos Verdes Hills, with Los Angeles city center in the distance
Coordinates: 33°45′31″N 118°20′45″W / 33.7586472222°N 118.345844444°W / 33.7586472222; -118.345844444
CountryUnited States
CountyLos Angeles
 • Total37.5 sq mi (97 km2)
 • Total65,008
Time zonePST (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC−7)
Area code(s)310/424

The Palos Verdes Peninsula (Palos Verdes, Spanish for "Green Sticks [trees]")[1] is a peninsula and sub-region of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, located within southwestern Los Angeles County in the U.S. state of California. Located in the South Bay region, the peninsula contains a group of cities in the Palos Verdes Hills, including Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates, as well as the unincorporated community of Westfield/Academy Hill. The South Bay city of Torrance borders the peninsula on the north, the Pacific Ocean is on the west and south, and the Port of Los Angeles is east. As of the 2010 Census, the population of the Palos Verdes Peninsula is 65,008.

The hill cities on the peninsula are known for dramatic ocean and city views, distinguished schools,[2] extensive horse trails,[3] and high value homes.[4]


Native Americans

The Point Vicente Lighthouse on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the National Register of Historic Places.

The peninsula was the homeland of the Tongva-Gabrieliño Native Americans people for thousands of years. In other areas of the Los Angeles Basin archeological sites date back 8,000 years.[5][6] Their first contact with Europeans occurred in 1542 with João Cabrilho (Juan Cabrillo). Chowigna and Suangna were two Tongva settlements of many in the peninsula area, which was also a departure point for their rancherías on the Channel Islands.

Spanish and Mexican era

Don Manuel Domínguez, a signer of the Californian Constitution and owner of Rancho San Pedro, which included all of Palos Verdes until 1846.
In 1846, Rancho de los Palos Verdes was separated from Rancho San Pedro and granted to brothers José Loreto Sepúlveda (pictured) and Juan Capistrano Sepúlveda.

In 1846, José Dolores Sepúlveda and José Loreto received a Mexican land grant from Alta California Governor Pío Pico for a parcel from the huge original 1784 Spanish land grant of Rancho San Pedro to Manuel Dominguez.[7] It was named Rancho de los Palos Verdes, or "ranch of the green trees", which was used primarily as a cattle ranch.[8] It was also briefly used as a whaling station in the mid-19th century.

American era

By 1882, ownership of the land had passed from the Sepulveda family through various mortgage holders to Jotham Bixby of Rancho Los Cerritos, who leased the land to Japanese farmers.[9]

Frank Vanderlip, representing a group of wealthy east coast investors, purchased 25 square miles of land on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1913 for $1.5 million.[10] In 1914, Vanderlip vacationed at Palos Verdes in order to recover from an illness, and he was astounded by scenery he compared to "the Sorrentine Peninsula and the Amalfi Drive". He quickly initiated development of Palos Verdes. He hired the Olmsted Brothers, the landscaping firm of John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., to plan and landscape a new subdivision.[11] The Olmsted Brothers contracted Koebig & Koebig to perform engineering work, including surveying and road planning.[12] However, the project stalled as World War I started, and Vanderlip accepted a chairmanship to the War Savings Committee in Washington, D.C. in 1916.

By 1921, Vanderlip had lost interest in overseeing development of Palos Verdes and enticed Edward Gardner Lewis to take over the project with an option to buy the property for $5 million. Lewis was an experienced developer, but lacked the capital to purchase and develop Palos Verdes. Instead, he established a real estate trust, capitalizing the project through the sale of notes which were convertible to Palos Verdes property. Under the terms of the trust, Lewis sought to raise $30 million for infrastructure improvements, effectively borrowing from investors for both the land and the improvements. He succeeded in attracting $15 million in capital, but far short of the $35 million needed. The trust dissolved and ownership of Palos Verdes reverted to Vanderlip.[13]

Vanderlip established a new real estate trust to purchase 3,200 acres from his land syndicate and establish the subdivision of Palos Verdes Estates. The new trust assumed not just the land, but also the improvements made by Lewis. They were not complete, but they were substantial: improvements included many sewers, water mains, and roads; landscaping, parks, and a golf course. They opened Palos Verdes for public inspection in June 1923.[14]

Palos Verdes Estates was organized and landscaped by the Olmsted Brothers and in their planning, they dedicated a quarter of the land area to permanent open undeveloped space.[15]


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Palos Verdes has a Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.[16]

Geology of Palos Verdes Peninsula

Reef Restoration

The reef restoration began in May 2020 involving over 30 acres (12 ha) of new habitat. Located off the coast, this restoration consists unique designs and locations with of rock relief habitats which provide habitat for marine life.[17] It avoids existing functioning reefs and instead uses those areas as inspiration[17] These habitats have been impacted by deposited or settling sediment such as sand. The main goals of the restoration project is to restore the rocky-reef territory and maximize ecosystem benefits.[17]l

Reefs are productive ecosystems.[18] Two Types of monitoring have been done for the restoration site. The first one being geophysical and oceanographic monitoring. The restoration project uses high-resolution multi-beam bathymetry data[17] which is an instrument that uses echo-sound to measure the depth of water at different angles to create 3D maps of the ocean floor. The team used before and after pictures of the site from October 2019, the date prior to alterations, 3 different dates throughout 2020, and the final date December 2021. By 2021, the team used Edgetech 6205 MultiPhase EchoSounder,[17] which is sends and receives audible pulses that also map the ocean's floor. Results showed net gain between 2019 and 2020.[17] There was little net loss and fewer net gain between 2020 and 2021. Between 2019 and 2021, there were was mostly no change.[17]

The second monitoring method was biological monitoring. The team used instruments which detected specific fish species' density and size. These instruments also showed the kelp canopy and other marine plants. By 2021, the team was able to say there was a significantly higher giant kelp density compared to the previous 3 years.[17] There was also an increase in biotic cover, total fish density, and total fish biomass by 2021.[17] Although kelp does function as a habitat and food source of marine species, it is not necessary for fish biodiversity. Instead, rock relief is linked to fish biodiversity.[19]

Human caused factors such as pollution and over harvesting have altered urchin-dominated areas. Historically, pollution mitigation has been overlooked in artificial reef restoration programs.[18] A way to mitigate issues is through assisted recovery and/or passive restoration. Experiments that have included pollution mitigation have seen a 100% success rate of achieving cleaner environments within their testing site.[20] Heavy metals have been found in Southern California coasts. Some of these are lead, zinc, and scientists have also found DDT. The highest concentration of DDT in sediments in California have been found off the coast of Palos Verdes. 98% of sediments tested off the coast of Palos Verdes contained DDT which has contaminated 100% of two fish species. These species are the Pacific sanddab and longfin sanddab.[21] High amounts of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrate have also been detected in the water.[21] These factors have caused fish tissue to decrease between the 1970s and 1980s.[21] Due to the high concentration of DDT, commercial fishing is banned off the coast of Palos Verdes. Another factor where marine restorations fall short is in accounting for multiple important variables. Some examples are nutrients, light, wave exposure, and temporal temperatures.[18]

Another stressor that reefs and other marine ecosystems face are human population increases. Population increased in California's coast during the 1900s. It went from 200 thousand people in Southern California in 1900 to over 17 million in 1998.[21] Palos Verdes has been identified as a hot spot for sewage found in sediments. Invertebrates, plankton, and several species have bioaccumulated increasing amounts of chlorinated hydrocarbons as they approach Palos Verdes.[21] When there are high levels of pollution, fish diseases such as tumors and fin erosion levels also increase.[21]


Palos Verdes Peninsula is an upper class area, and the average household income is $231,303 per year.[22]


The historic Mediterranean Revival style Malaga Cove Plaza, in Palos Verdes Estates

Areas of commerce include historic Mediterranean Revival style Malaga Cove Plaza and the Promenade on the Peninsula. Smaller shopping centers include the Peninsula Center, Lunada Bay Plaza, and Golden Cove Plaza.

The largest peninsula commercial district is in Rolling Hills Estates, with many shopping centers including The Promenade on the Peninsula with a megaplex movie theater and an ice rink.

The Palos Verdes area has ocean views, coastline views and city light views.[citation needed]

The Peninsula is home to the Promenade on the Peninsula mall, originally an enclosed regional mall with two department store anchors, May Company California and Bullocks Wilshire, as well as the Peninsula Center, which originally had a Buffums department store.[23]


In this night-time aerial photograph of Los Angeles, San Pedro is in the center and right foreground, including part of the brightly lit Terminal Island. The dark peninsula to the left of San Pedro is Palos Verdes.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority provides bus service within and to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.[24] The Palos Verdes Peninsula is within 40 minutes of both LAX and Long Beach Airport, which together provide access to most of the United States aboard all major carriers.


The edge of the Palos Verdes Peninsula extending down to the Pacific Ocean.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District has one of the highest rated API scores in California[25] and has one of the highest average SAT scores[26] and one of the highest percentage of students successfully completing the Advanced Placement exams[27] in the county. There are three high schools, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (formerly called Rolling Hills High School), Palos Verdes High School, and Rancho Del Mar High School (located in Rolling Hills). The former Marymount California University, a co-ed Roman Catholic four-year college was located in Rancho Palos Verdes.[28] A private K–12 school, Chadwick School, is also located there. Rolling Hills Country Day School, adjacent to the Botanic Garden, offers a private K-8 education. In total, there are 11 elementary schools, 3 intermediate schools, and 3 high schools located on the peninsula.

In the Eastview neighborhood of Rancho Palos Verdes, however, residents have the option to choose either PV schools or the surrounding LAUSD schools (i.e. Dodson Middle School, Dana Middle School, San Pedro High School, etc.).

Additionally, students are also able to attend the California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson due to its attendance boundaries stretching to the South Bay, which is about 20-40 minutes from the peninsula itself.


The Peninsula is served by the Palos Verdes Library District,[29] which operates these three libraries:

The 40 Families Project based at Peninsula Center Library documents the history of the Japanese-American community on Palos Verdes before World War II.[30]

Parks and recreation

Aerial view of Marineland of the Pacific, in 1965, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The Trump National Golf Course.

The peninsula is frequented by runners, hikers, horseback riders, bird watchers, surfers, scuba divers, fishermen, and bicyclists. The area is home to several golf courses and country clubs. In addition, nude sunbathers formerly frequented Sacreds Cove (or "Smugglers Cove") until the city of Rancho Palos Verdes enacted a 1994 ordinance that ended such use of that beach.

The infamous Palos Verdes surf spots have been in the spotlight many times over issues of localism. The most notorious surf spot for localism in Palos Verdes is Lunada Bay, which can hold any winter swell and has been known to rival Sunset Beach, Hawaii on a big day. Localism in Palos Verdes reached a turning point in 2001 when a civil rights lawsuit was filed after a particularly violent confrontation with Hermosa Beach surfers.[33] Surveillance cameras were placed in the surfing area but were later removed.[34] In 2016, The Coastal Commission targeted the group after "renewed reports that their unpermitted structure [built along Lunada Bay] was being used as a spot for ongoing bullying and intimidation." On July 12, 2016, City Manager Tony Dahlerbruch recommended the removal of the illegal structure after pressure from the California Coastal Commission.[35]

The Trump National Golf Club is a Donald Trump venture with a golf course on the Ocean Trails cliffs. The 18th hole of the prior golf course fell victim to a landslide caused by a leak in the sanitary pipes underneath it. In the summer of 2006, the golf club erected a 70-foot flagpole for an American flag; critics claimed it was illegal, but the golf club was allowed to retain it after a City Council vote.[36]

The Marineland of the Pacific site near Portuguese Bend is currently home of Terranea, a luxury oceanfront resort.[37]

There are numerous nature reserves in Palos Verdes: Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve, Agua Amarga Reserve, and Portuguese Bend Reserve. The reserves contain coastal sage scrubs habitats, a community of fragrant and drought resistant shrubs and flowering plants. In August 2009, wildfire burned approximately 165-acres of the Portuguese Bend Reserve. As a result, restoration has been done to reinstall native plants and animals to the area.[38]

Flora and fauna

Native plants

Native animals

Notable places

Interior of the Wayfarers Chapel.
Remains of the wrecked Greek freighter SS Dominator along the Palos Verdes Peninsula coastline, 1965.


Notable people

This article's list of residents may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are residents, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (September 2019)

See also


  1. ^ #23 Real Academia Española
  2. ^ "Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Profile" (PDF). Palos Verdes Peninsula School District. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 25, 2006. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
  3. ^ "Rancho Palos Verdes Equestrian Maps". City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
  4. ^ "The Most Expensive ZIP Codes". Forbes. Archived from the original on January 24, 2007. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
  5. ^ laokay: History of Rancho Los Encinos. accessed 8/20/2010
  6. ^ "Prehistoric milling site found in California". Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  7. ^ "Plat of the Rancho Los Palos Verdes [Calif.] : finally confirmed to Jose Loretto Sepulveda et al. / surveyed under instructions from the U.S. Surveyor General by Henry Hancock, Dep. Survr., September 1859". Calisphere. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  8. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  9. ^ Gnerre, Sam (March 2, 2010). "Bixby Ranch". South Bay History. South Bay Daily Breeze. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  10. ^ Robert M. Fogelson (2005). Bourgeois Nightmares: suburbia, 1870–1930 New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 5–6.
  11. ^ Reason, Glen (August 27, 2019). "An Old Brochure Reveals How the Palos Verdes Peninsula Became a Massive Planned Community". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  12. ^ Robert M. Fogelson (2005). Bourgeois Nightmares: Duburbia, 1870–1930. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 6–8.
  13. ^ Robert M. Fogelson (2005). Bourgeois Nightmares: Duburbia, 1870–1930. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 8–10.
  14. ^ Robert M. Fogelson (2005). Bourgeois Nightmares: Duburbia, 1870–1930. New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 10.
  15. ^ "History of PVE | Palos Verdes Estates, CA". Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  16. ^ "Palos Verdes Estates, California Climate". Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i Williams JP, Williams CM, Pondella DJII and Scholz ZM (2022) Rebirth of a reef: As-built description and rapid returns from the Palos Verdes Reef Restoration Project. Front. Mar. Sci. 9:1010303. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2022.1010303
  18. ^ a b c Earp, Hannah S., et al. “A Quantitative Synthesis of Approaches, Biases, Successes, and Failures in Marine Forest Restoration, with Considerations for Future Work.” Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, vol. 32, no. 11, 2022, pp. 1717–31,
  19. ^ Stephens, John S., et al. “Factors Affecting Fish Diversity on a Temperate Reef: The Fish Assemblage of Palos Verdes Point, 1974-1981.” Environmental Biology of Fishes, vol. 11, no. 4, 1984, pp. 259–75,
  20. ^ Gianni, Fabrizio, et al. “Conservation and Restoration of Marine Forests in the Mediterranean Sea and the Potential Role of Marine Protected Areas.” Advances in Oceanography & Limnology, vol. 4, no. 2, 2013, pp. 83–101,
  21. ^ a b c d e f SCHIFF, KENNETH C., et al. “Southern California.” Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 41, 2000, pp. 76–93.
  22. ^ Palos Verdes Peninsula, Greater Los Angeles, CA Demographics Point2Homes, Yardi Inc.
  23. ^ "Rebranding becomes a way of life at Rolling Hills Estates Mall, July 4, 2015, Daily Breeze
  24. ^ "Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority". Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  25. ^ "Palos Verdes Local Educational Agency Report". California Department of Education. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
  26. ^ "School Wise Press School Snapshot: Palos Verdes Peninsula High School". School Wise Press. Archived from the original on October 24, 2006. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
  27. ^ "SAT, ACT and AP Test Results in California". California Department of Education. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
  28. ^ Tyler Shaun Evans and Lisa Jacobs, Daily Breeze (28 September 2022) UCLA buys Marymount California University property in Palos Verdes Peninsula to ease crowding "The 35-acre purchase is the largest in the public university’s history".
  29. ^ Palos Verdes Library District
  30. ^ Gottlieb, Jeff (January 1, 2010). "Old Palos Verdes Peninsula photo sparks a quest and pulls a community together". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  31. ^ "History & Mission - South Coast Botanic Garden Foundation". South Coast Botanic Garden Foundation. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  32. ^ "Facilities". Rancho Palos Verde City Hall. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  33. ^ "". Archived from the original on May 24, 2007. Retrieved October 1, 2006.
  34. ^
  35. ^ Therolf, Garrett. "Surfer gang's Lunada Bay 'fort' must go, city staff says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  36. ^ "Trump Gets OK for Illegal Flagpole". The Washington Post. September 21, 2006. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  37. ^ "California Luxury Oceanfront Resorts | Terranea Resort | Eco Resorts in Southern California". Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  38. ^ Conservancy, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land. "Lands: Palos Verdes Nature Preserve – Portuguese Bend Reserve | Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy". Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  39. ^ a b c d e Ph.D., Christine M. Rodrigue. "Palos Verdes native plant key". Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  40. ^ Deng, Jireh (March 22, 2024). "Part of Palos Verdes Drive South damaged by landslide will close temporarily for repairs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 23, 2024.
  41. ^ GJW. "THE O.C. Filming Locations: Palos Verdes". Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  42. ^ "NBC4 – Trending news and topics". Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  43. ^ Beale, Lauren (July 1, 2011). "Anderson da Silva buys Palos Verdes Estate home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 20, 2011.

Further reading