Malaga Cove


    Malaga Cove is the northernmost and sandiest beach in the city of Palos Verdes Estates. This spot is actually the south end of the long sandy shore that includes Redondo Beach and Torrance Beach (an area known as RAT Beach). Surfers enjoy this beach as do scuba divers, sunbathers and swimmers. This area tends to be less busy than the others because of its off-the-beaten-track location. Access to Malaga Cove is down the Malaga Cove Trail from a parking lot at the intersection of Paseo Del Mar and Via Arroyo. The trail begins on the north side of the lot. As the trail reaches the bottom of the bluff you can continue right and eventually get to the sandy beach or turn left below the Palos Verdes Beach & Athletic Club to a rocky shoreline with tide pools, dive spots, and a left-hand surf break known as Haggerty’s.

    The Beach

    2016-01-17 16.24.00 copyAbout 10 yards from the Parking lot (if you park in the Westernmost corner) is the paved path leading down to the Beach. The path is fairly steep in areas and turns into a dirt trail near the end. It can get quite slippery if there’s lots of sand, so be mindful of your footing. The bottom of the path opens to the beach which is mixed sand and reef bottom with some kelp. This is a popular surfing spot and the waves can get quite large.

    The Activities

    Surfing, swimming, scuba diving, sunbathing, and hiking are all popular activities at Malaga Cove.

    The Diving

    Water entry is relatively easy in light and moderate surf during High Tide. The shore leading to the water has lots of large loose rock, so be cautious when entering or exiting beyond the sand – especially during low tide. Avoid entry near the stream as urban runoff could be a problem here.

    Most of the diving in this area is pretty shallow with depths running about 10 – 35 feet in most areas within easy swimming distance. There are many Rocky Channels running parallel to shore loaded with sea life in the crevices.

    Visibility is generally good, averaging about 15-25 feet with occasional 30-40 foot visibility. Usually there is no noticeable current, but once in a while there may be a light south-easterly current running along the shore.

    What You’ll See

    Lots of rocks, heavy kelp, and sand. Beyond that, you’ll likely see lots of small invertebrates including brightly colored Spanish shawl nudibranchs, sea stars, decorator crabs, chestnut cowries, sand bass, bat rays, calico bass, tree fish, cabezon, giant kelpfish, blackeye goby, California sheephead, senorita, white seaperch, opaleye, horn shark, small reef fish and an abundance of octopus. Also common here is the California halibut & bat rays! During the months of March through June you’re likely see some small White Sea bass on the fringe of the kelp beds as well.

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    The Surfing

    2016-01-17 16.25.23 copyKnown as Haggerty’s to local surfers, Malaga Cove is a rocky point break that shoots out hard lefts, especially in fall and winter. With tidal changes and rock reefs, this break requires some skills and respect, especially when the swell is over 8 feet. This is an extremely nice-shaped wave and breaks differently from most Southern California waves because it likes a west and especially a northwest swell. Consequently, it’s made to order for those looking for winter surf in California. Best boards to use here are the shortboard or gun.

    The Parking

    Parking is usually plentiful and is FREE. No overnight parking after 9:00 pm and before 5:00 am.


    Lifeguard, Restrooms


    Sorry, no dogs allowed on the beach.

    Malaga Cove
    300 Paseo del Mar (east of Via Arroyo), Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274Malaga Cove

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