Those seeking a bit of privacy from the greater Los Angeles area seem to gravitate to the South Bay’s Palos Verdes Peninsula. Just a short drive from the bustling metropolis, this area appeals to both families and retirees alike with its easy access to plentiful entertainment, shopping and dining opportunities, paired with quiet, secluded streets and neighborhoods. Among the largest drawing points? An ideal site that features breathtaking ocean views via extravagant homes in the upscale communities of Rolling Hills Estates, Rolling Hills, Palos Verdes Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes that are among the most impressive in all of California. Prices range from a few million dollars to upwards of $15 million, with many boasting amazing amenities such as indoor pools, and personal tennis and sporting courts. Palos Verdes’ population is roughly 50 years old and brings in about $200,000 in median annual household income. The median property value is $1.1 million, and nearly 80 percent of its residents are homeowners who work in the fields of management, administration, sales, business and financial operations. Residents also are privy to many recreational opportunities, including biking, horseback riding, surfing and hiking along numerous nature trails. Another plus? Some of the top schools in the country. Here, a little about the four cities that make up this alluring area that has shown up on Forbes’ Most Expensive Home List.
Rancho Palos Verdes
The largest city on Peninsula hosts a bluff-top site known for its spectacular ocean views of the South Bay and Catalina Island. It has the most tract-type homes on the hill, and it also hosts a trio of golf courses—including the popular Los Verdes Golf Course and Ocean Trails Golf Club—along with opportunities for water-related activities such as swimming, sailing, surfing and beach volleyball, along with horseback riding, bird watching, and biking. Among the attractions: Wayfarers Chapel, known for its unique modern style of architecture and scenic location on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific; Point Vicente Lighthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the South Coast Botanic Garden; and numerous shops and restaurants.
Palos Verdes Estates
Incorporated in 1939, this is the oldest of the four cities on the Peninsula. New York financier Frank A. Vanderlip Sr. purchased the land from the Bixby family in 1913 with the idea of building a planned, residential community. The new community was laid out and landscaped by the famous Olmsted Brothers, sons of Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., who designed Central Park in New York City. Gently winding roadways, green hillsides, paths, stands of eucalyptus, pepper and coral trees were established, and 28 percent of the land area was dedicated to being permanent open space. According to Mayor Betty Linn, today’s Palos Verdes Estates is a place where residents and visitors alike can surf in the early morning, grab some brunch in one of the quaint restaurants, hike one of the parklands, get some food for a picnic at one of two markets and watch the sunset along the bluff tops. The city also has other offerings, including golf and tennis clubs, a beach and athletic club, and stables.
Rolling Hills Estates
The third-largest city on the Palos Verdes Peninsula features a limited number of residents known for preserving the unique rural environment laced with 25-plus miles of equestrian trails. Not only does it offer some of the largest lots, with many areas zoned as equestrian, it also has six city parks and a mile-long commercial district that includes open-air shopping plazas with a movie theater, an ice rink, and a blend of specialty restaurants, popular national retailers and local merchants.
This private, gated equestrian community is found along the picturesque hills of the Peninsula, offering spectacular ocean and city views. Incorporated in 1957, it is the smallest city on the Peninsula with most of its lots coming in at more than an acre.