If you’re heading west, 5 reasons to visit the California gem of Terranea

By: Kristin Finan
April, 2021

Terranea’s landscape is the stuff of dreams, particularly in spring, when the panorama of the cerulean Pacific Ocean and azure sky are framed by rolling meadows blanketed in yellow wildflowers.

In March, I visited this resort property, set on a bluff overlooking Catalina Island in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, about 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles, for the third time and was once again instantly enamored with the sheer beauty that emanates from its 102 acres.

If you’re planning to visit California, here are five reasons to consider a stay at Terranea.

1. Whale of a time

Every year, from December to May, about 20,000 gray whales trek from Alaska to Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, passing by the Palos Verdes Peninsula – and Terranea – as they go. Spying whales while sipping a microbrew and nibbling on a supple pretzel at Nelson’s, which features casual Californian fare and is one of a half-dozen restaurants on the property, has become one of my favorite pastimes. Want to learn more about the local marine life? Stroll through the Point Vicente Interpretive Center, which is located next door and includes information on everything from the number of gray whale sightings each season to displays on the city’s former life as a home to Marineland, once the world’s largest oceanarium that closed in 1987. The inside of the center has been temporarily closed due to COVID-19; check website for latest updates.

2. See the light

One of the most picturesque places to snap photos during a visit to Terranea is at the adjacent Point Vicente Lighthouse, which was built in 1926 to keep ships from running into the craggy California shore. The lighthouse grounds are typically closed, but they’re open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the second Saturday of each month except March, when the lighthouse is open on a different date. These hours are subject to change due to the pandemic, however, so be sure to check the website or call ahead. And even if the grounds are closed, you can still get close enough to the lighthouse to marvel at all of its 67 feet.

3. Hollywood gold

I may love Terranea, but I’m not the only one – the property has also been a Hollywood darling for decades. Its ocean coves, located directly under Nelson’s restaurant, were made famous by the 1950s television series “Sea Hunt,” and the property has since popped up in everything from the 2012 Judd Apatow comedy “This Is 40” to a 2020 episode of the NBC drama “This Is Us.” For me, catching an unexpected glimpse of it in a movie or TV show now instantly evokes a happy nostalgia, like running into an old friend while on vacation or catching a whiff of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies through a bakery window. Even during our early-morning checkout in March, dozens of trucks and trailers filled one of the on-site parking lots, preparing for yet another day on the set.

4. Grab a bite

Having rarely eaten out over the past year due to the pandemic, visiting Terranea in March was refreshing – each of its six restaurants offer al-fresco experiences that are not only safe but stunning. Helmed by Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra, the dining options at Terranea are fresh and diverse, from the seasonal, gourmet menu at mar’sel, which incorporates locally sourced ingredients and is home to an elaborate Sunday brunch, to the family friendly Catalina Kitchen, where flatbreads, seafood and steak are among menu highlights.

5. Relax and reset

Terranea is frequently named in best-of awards for its spa program – including “best massage with a view” by Los Angeles Magazine – and with good reason. In a nod to its location, many treatments here incorporate aspects of the sea, from the Revitalizing Marine Massage, which uses Mediterranean algae to stimulate and detoxify the body, to the Ocean’s Renewal Massage that incorporates mineral-rich Laminaria Seaweed Oil. Reservations are required and amenities are limited currently due to COVID-19; call ahead or check website for details. Additional options such as seaside yoga and seaside cycling are also available.

If You Go

Getting there:

Multiple airlines offer direct flights from Austin to Los Angeles. Terranea is a 30-minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport.

Stay:

Terranea is a luxury resort on the Southern California coast that offers accommodations ranging from standard guestrooms, all with private balconies, to expansive villas.

Info:

Follow Austin Travels


Austin Travels is a women-owned, Austin-based travel magazine committed to highlighting destinations in Texas and beyond through the lenses of diverse and talented writers.

Subscribe

@austintravelsmag

Red River is ripe with reasons to visit

Red River is ripe with reasons to visit

Must-Do’s in Denver

Must-Do’s in Denver

Falling for Cape Cod’s off-season charms

Falling for Cape Cod’s off-season charms

Heeding the call of Nashville’s siren song

Heeding the call of Nashville’s siren song

7 ideas for family fun in Panama City Beach, Florida

7 ideas for family fun in Panama City Beach, Florida

Reading Roxane Gay at the Mauna Lani in Hawaii

Reading Roxane Gay at the Mauna Lani in Hawaii

Keeping it cool in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Keeping it cool in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Summertime in Colorado: 4 spots ripe for family fun

Summertime in Colorado: 4 spots ripe for family fun

Conquering Austria’s Alpine Road

Conquering Austria’s Alpine Road

Fort Collins: Paddling, Hiking and Biking, Oh My

Fort Collins: Paddling, Hiking and Biking, Oh My

A new tour through the past at Oak Alley Plantation

A new tour through the past at Oak Alley Plantation

Explore the gravel roads around Fort Collins on the FoCo Fondo bike ride

Explore the gravel roads around Fort Collins on the FoCo Fondo bike ride

Fully vaccinated? Traveling to Puerto Rico just got breezier

Fully vaccinated? Traveling to Puerto Rico just got breezier

To date a matador: Seduced by Spain

To date a matador: Seduced by Spain

Cabin culture: Escape the crowds at these remote U.S. hideaways

Cabin culture: Escape the crowds at these remote U.S. hideaways

Essay: Can we really leave no trace when we travel?

Essay: Can we really leave no trace when we travel?

Mountain biking mecca Mesa Verde Country is a must-ride

Mountain biking mecca Mesa Verde Country is a must-ride

Bike to Bentonville for 150 miles of trails and much more

Bike to Bentonville for 150 miles of trails and much more

Colorado’s Calling –– Take a summer trip to this cool state now

Colorado’s Calling –– Take a summer trip to this cool state now

Set your sights on Steamboat Springs this summer

Set your sights on Steamboat Springs this summer

A foodie’s guide to eating (and foraging and making chocolate) in Costa Rica

A foodie’s guide to eating (and foraging and making chocolate) in Costa Rica

Discovering hints of home in Red River

Discovering hints of home in Red River

New Mexico road trip: 10 top experiences, from Albuquerque to White Sands

New Mexico road trip: 10 top experiences, from Albuquerque to White Sands

Diving into the history of falconry at The Broadmoor

Diving into the history of falconry at The Broadmoor

5 questions with influencer Jeff Jenkins, who helps ‘chubby people travel the world’

5 questions with influencer Jeff Jenkins, who helps ‘chubby people travel the world’

Finding a ranch to call home in Granby, Colorado

Finding a ranch to call home in Granby, Colorado

Oyster safaris and mystery solving along Sweden’s Bohuslan Coast

Oyster safaris and mystery solving along Sweden’s Bohuslan Coast

Escape to Los Angeles: 5 fun things to do in Southern California

Escape to Los Angeles: 5 fun things to do in Southern California

Adventures Await: Roaming the road in a campervan

Adventures Await: Roaming the road in a campervan

If you’re heading west, 5 reasons to visit the California gem of Terranea

If you’re heading west, 5 reasons to visit the California gem of Terranea

For every season: A house divided over Estes Park, Colorado

For every season: A house divided over Estes Park, Colorado

The soaking life: A baker’s dozen of the best historic spas across the world

The soaking life: A baker’s dozen of the best historic spas across the world

California escape: Peace, harmony and inspiration in Joshua Tree and Palm Springs

California escape: Peace, harmony and inspiration in Joshua Tree and Palm Springs

When the snow melts and winter crowds leave, these Colorado spots are the coolest

When the snow melts and winter crowds leave, these Colorado spots are the coolest

Dreaming of a Virgin Islands Vacation? Tips for traveling to St. John right now

Dreaming of a Virgin Islands Vacation? Tips for traveling to St. John right now

Dreaming of the RV life? Lessons learned from a 10-day national park road trip

Dreaming of the RV life? Lessons learned from a 10-day national park road trip

Colorado Ski Gems

Colorado Ski Gems

Escape crowds and capture memories in snowy Southwest Montana

Escape crowds and capture memories in snowy Southwest Montana

What to know before you book a ski trip during a pandemic

What to know before you book a ski trip during a pandemic