Just south of Los Angeles proper, San Pedro is a major port that welcomes over one million passengers each year. In fact, it's the largest cruise ship terminal in the U.S. on the Pacific Coast, and if you're stopping in Los Angeles during a cruise, you're likely to dock here. But San Pedro is much more than a port of call, whether you've arrived by boat or car, particularly when you exit the cruiser zone. Here's where to explore the best of the region:
The Tide Pools of Point Fermin
Huddles of rocks and pockets of shallow pools await visitors who journey down to the ocean from the walkway and staircase of Point Fermin Park. At low tide, there's an abundance of tide pools teeming with sea creatures, making it arguably the best place to beachcomb in Los Angeles county. From hundreds of hermit crabs to sea urchins to sea anemones, there's plenty to find along the rocky shore. (Just know that you'll be in the company of birds who are also on the prowl…)
Korean Bell of Friendship
The Korean Bell of Friendship sits atop the hill of Angel's Gate Park. This vantage point offers expansive views of the ocean in all directions, but the bell itself is a sight to see. A gift from South Korea to mark the the bicentennial of the U.S., it sits in solitude for most of the year. It is struck to sound out on a few days of the year, though: Korean Liberation Day on August 15, Constitution Day on September 17, New Year's Eve, Korean American Day on January 13, and Independence Day.
Point Fermin Lighthouse
The Point Fermin Lighthouse dates back to 1874, when it opened as a beacon for the Palos Verde Peninsula. It was served as a guide until just after Pearl Harbor, and though it no longer operates, it still stands proud and is recognized today as a historical site. The public museum here is open Tuesday through Sunday, with free guided tours at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.
For the more adventurous, take a stroll to the Sunken City, which sits just below the cliffs that connect Cabrillo Beach with Point Fermin Park. Luxury bungalows once occupied real estate on the cliff, but a yearlong landslide that began in 1929 forced them over the edge and into the sea. Now, the leftover slabs of concrete create a somewhat post-apocalyptic but eerily beautiful view.