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Having lived in south Los Angeles County over 55 years there has always been a beach nearby. Not everyone here wants a tan or is built for a swimsuit, so rocky beaches have their attraction. One of the best, and known only to locals and explorers, is Royal Palm State Beach. It's address is 1799 W. Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, CA 90732, which you will not find in time to make the turn. Use the address on mapquest to get the directions. When they say 'north Western becomes west Paseo Del Mar' it doesn't tell you that the road makes a casual left and continues along the coast having changed name and direction. Just at that curve in the road is the sharp right turn to go down to the beach.
During peak season you will pay a nominal fee to enter. This is good because it helps keep up the park. You will drive down a steep grade where you can turn left or right to park where rock ends and ocean begins. When the tide is out and the weather is warm enough you can carefully climb across the rocks to enjoy the life teeming in the tidepools; each its own little world, alive with hermit crabs, sea anemones, small fish, etc. Please leave this location as you find it, cleaner if you can, by treading softly on the homes of these tiny sea creatures and cleaning up after yourself. Too many do not.
There is no sand on this beach; there are no sunbathers. You will be treated to the sound of the surf hitting the shore in a hypnotic rhythm. You will see people fishing on the tallest rock. If you decide to walk out to that rock be aware of the tide. If it comes in while you're on the rock you will get very wet getting back to your car or will have a long wait until the tide goes back out. Also, if you decide to perch on the topmost spot of the rock, watch the surf. Some of the sneaky bigger waves have been seen to knock guys off the top and send them rolling. None of it is truly dangerous, but could be annoying to downright painful.
The hills and rocks are home to feral cats who live on the food from visitors. Don't know how the State of California feels about it but some people feed them cat appropriate stuff. Don't be mean to them and don't allow children to hurt them. You can see family resemblances and some are the color of their surroundings, kind of grayish, brownish. They share the rocks with the seagulls who are always on the lookout for a trash can left open.
On a clear day you can see Catalina Island. On grey days the fog will pass off and on between you and Catalina with a very magical effect.
It is very busy in the summer with families scouring the pools, but its beautiful anytime of year so if you're here in winter, even better. All in all, time spent at this beach will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. The fresh salt air, soothing sound of the waves, and mild exercise of walking on the rocks makes a great outing.
While in the area you might as well continue down the road you initially left to see the Pacific Ocean on your right as you curve around the California Coast, on the edge of the earth. Stop at Point Fermin Park if you can find parking. The view from this park is panoramic since you are on the cliffside. In warmer weather this park is attractive to hang gliders. This drive and stops are a great part of Southern California.