Royal Palms County Beach

Royal Palms County Beach

Hermit crabs, sea anemone, sea stars and sea urchins are just some of the beautiful marine life to see in their natural habitat at the tide pools at Royal Palms. Sturdy footwear is recommended as you traverse the rocks to view the unusual life forms in the wet nooks and crannies of the rocky shoreline. This beach has tide pools, swimming, surfing, fishing, a picnic area, a promenade, restrooms, and public parking (190+ spaces). If you time your visit during low tide, you’ll be able to examine the tide pools without getting wet. On the other hand, if you’re a diver and you want to get wet, high tide is the time to go.

White Point Park sits above Royals Palms Beach on the bluff. On this upper level there is a children’s playground and small park. This space also offers terrific views with a picnic area, benches, a path along the cliff and additional parking. On a clear day you can see Catalina and possibly even whales during migration season.

Royal Palms County Beach
1799 Paseo Del Mar
San Pedro, CA 90732

Royal Palms Sunset
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Royal Palms Painter
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Royal Palms Gulls
Royal Palms Surfers
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This area has a long and rich history that not many people know. Rancho de los Palos Verdes, meaning “range of green trees,” was a 31,629-acre Mexican land grant that was given in 1846 by Governor Pío Pico to José Loreto Sepulveda and Juan Capistrano Sepulveda. The grant encompassed the present day cities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, as well as portions of San Pedro and Torrance. The Sepulvedas had already been herding livestock and grazing cattle on the Rancho since 1809.

In 1898, then-owner Ramon Sepulveda built housing and leased land to 12 Japanese-American fishermen from Los Angeles who had discovered an abundance of abalone and other readily harvestable sea life in the area. The fishing village thrived until about 1906 when outside anti-Japanese propaganda began to affect this industry. Restrictive laws concerning how much shellfish could be taken were also enacted when the once-rich supplies of shellfish were quickly depleted. Japanese fishermen subsequently moved from White Point to San Pedro, Terminal Island, and Wilmington.

August 1922 Photo courtesy Palos Verdes Library District
August 1922
Photo courtesy Palos Verdes Library District

In 1915, the discovery of a sulfur hot spring in the area by brothers Tojuro and Tajimi Tagami, led to the Tagami brothers developing a bathhouse together with Ramon Sepulveda. They built roads and dug out the hot spring, and by 1925 the resort included a 50-room hotel, cabins, restaurant, sulfur baths, various salt water swimming pools, an enclosed boating area, a terrazzo dance floor surrounded by stone fireplaces and carved stone benches, and a pier which ferried tourists to a nearby fishing barge.

During its heyday in the 1920s, the White Point Health Resort was one of the most popular beach resorts in Southern California, especially among Japanese-Americans. The resort thrived. Physicians would send patients to the resort for the curative powers of the hot springs. Newlyweds would stay there for the beauty of the weather and location.

White Point Hot Springs Hotel with Ramon Sepulveda on Horseback Photo courtesy Palos Verdes Library District
White Point Hot Springs Hotel with Ramon Sepulveda on Horseback
Photo courtesy Palos Verdes Library District

A variety of factors led to the resort’s demise. A huge storm battered the coast in 1928, damaging the concrete pool and some buildings. Then in 1933, the Long Beach earthquake caused the natural sulfur hot springs to stop flowing. Although the hotel continued to operate despite these set-backs, the Depression hurt the resort economically and the resort finally closed in the late 1930’s. The final blow came in 1941 with Pearl Harbor and the rise of anti-Japanese hysteria. In February 1942, federal agents raided the surrounding community for security reasons and by April 1942 its residents had been moved to internment camps.

The federal government took over the area incorporating it into the nearby Fort MacArthur military defense complex. The resort’s buildings were demolished and fortifications were added to the shoreline and nearby hillside. The state of California bought the beach area in 1960 and it became Royal Palms State Beach. In 1995, the land was deeded to the county and became Royal Palms County Beach. In 1982, the fountain from the original resort was moved to the upper level where it stands today. In 1997 the site underwent a $2 million renovation with the addition of the children’s play area, picnic tables and new restrooms. Descendants of the original Tagami family that built White Point Health Resort were in attendance at the dedication.

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy
White Point Health Resort - July 1925 - Photo courtesy LACFD Station 48
White Point 1920 - Photo courtesy of Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California
The same fountain now sits atop the cliffside in White Point Park
Royal Palms Beach seen from above at White Point Park, 2015
  1. By White Point Nature Preserve | Best of the South Bay on January 8, 2015 at 5:36 PM

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