The South Bay possesses some great high altitude viewing perches. That’s easy to forget if you’re part of the majority that lives inland, but if you know the public parks to go to, you can always remind yourself of high places we have in our backyard. These are 3 of the best views in the South Bay area, making them ideal for a number of uses like photoshoots, picnics, sight seeing or picking out clouds and giving them names.
3. Del Cerro Park
If you drive up Crenshaw Boulevard into the hills of Rancho Palos Verdes, you will eventually come to the end of the street at Del Cerro Park. For that reason, it’s often discovered by curious drivers, who are then rewarded by the stunning view of the rolling hills and the wide open Pacific. The park is mostly a large, rectangular grass field with a hill that arcs up over the distant ocean. This makes it an ideal dog park for energetic canines. There are a couple of benches, a barely-there dirt trail, and a few plaques worth considering, but it always leads back to that view.
The west end of the park looks out over the Pacific from a high and distant vantage point. On clear days you can see straight through to Catalina Island, and it’s not unusual to see hang gliders taking off from adjacent cliffs. There’s also a second view, to the north where the parking lot is located. It frames the hills and the luxurious residences that sit on them like hats. Hiking fans will take note of the trail down, including a gigantic staircase that can provide a real climbing workout. On misty or foggy days, it’s this view that provides the natural beauty of haze rolling over the summits, filtering out sunlight.
2. Los Arboles Park
Commonly known as “Rocketship Park,” Torrance’s Los Arboles Park is a popular destination for those looking for a widescreen portrait of the city. Unlike Del Cerro, it faces towards the cityscape, resulting in an eyeful of the South Bay. It’s a real “I can see my house from here!” type of spot. While the miles and miles of streets are a great and dizzying sight, it’s made all the more delightful by the presence of the rocketship structure that is its nickname-sake. The unique play place is ideal for a park so close to touching the sky. Take note that it’s for children, though – any grown ups attempting to enter its 3 tiered interior might find themselves stuck in its tiny entrances.
1. Founder’s Park
Drive past Rancho Palos Verdes’ famous mansions, through Trump’s National Golf Club, and weave your way around their practice putting green. If you’ve followed this trail correctly, you’ll find yourself in the best public viewing spot the South Bay has to offer. Unlike others, this park offers a full 360 degree view of the ocean and surrounding hillside. It’s similar to the view at Del Cerro, but lower and intimately close. So close that you can walk a trail directly to a rocky, barely inhabited beach. It may be tricky to find at first because visitors often think they’re trespassing onto Trump’s course, but Founder’s Park is open and worth braving the ire of golf carts.
Most of the park is a green grass hillside with winding paths and strategically placed cliffside picnic tables. A single gazebo stands tall on a flat grassland with an ocean backdrop, making it a popular rental for wedding photography. But that’s barely half of what the park has to offer. Along the edges are openings into dirt trails that take you lower into the hillside. It gets a little steep, but this minor hike leads to tree-lined corridors and intimate views of the great Pacific crashing onto the shore.
What’s your favorite viewpoint in the South Bay? Do you have a secret spot?
Del Cerro Park
2 Park Pl, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Los Arboles Park
5101 Calle De Ricardo, Torrance, CA 90505
1 Ocean Trails Dr, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275