Palos Verdes is a name often used to refer to a group of coastal cities on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, USA. Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, and Rolling Hills Estates are the predominant cities in the area, with a portion of San Pedro occupying the eastern end of the peninsula. This affluent bedroom community is known for its dramatic views from the Palos Verdes Hills, schools, extensive horse trails, and high home prices.
The peninsula was originally inhabited by Native Americans belonging to the Tongva (sometimes referred to as "Gabrielino") tribe, and first described in 1542 by Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo. In 1827, Jose Dolores Sepulveda procured a parcel of the original, 1784 Rancho San Pedro Spanish land grant from Manuel Dominguez, and named it Rancho de los Palos Verdes ("range of green trees"), which was used primarily as a cattle ranch. By 1882 ownership of the land had passed from the Sepulveda through various mortgage holders to Jotham Bixby of Rancho Los Cerritos, who leased the land to Japanese farmers. After the turn of the century most of Bixby's land was sold to a consortium of New York investors who created The Palos Verdes Project and began marketing land on the peninsula for small horse ranches and residential communities. Palos Verdes Estates was the first city incorporated on the Peninsula and was one of the first master planned communities in Los Angeles County. The other incorporated cities on the Palos Verdes Peninsula include Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills Estates and Rolling Hills.
Practically the entire commercial district is in Rolling Hills Estates. There are many shopping centers there, including The Promenade of the Peninsula. This outdoor mall includes a megaplex movie theater, many eateries, and an ice rink.
Areas of commerce include "The Promenade" mall, Malaga Cove, and Lunada Bay. Lesser known shopping centers include the Peninsula Center, Dominos and The Village.
The area where Marineland of the Pacific once stood subsequently served as an outdoor set for commercials, film productions, and, in 1996, the MTV Beach House. Fox filmed some scenes of its teen drama, The OC, at locations in and around Palos Verdes. The site is currently home of the luxury oceanfront resort, TERRANEA .
Donald Trump's latest venture is Trump National a golf course on the Ocean Trails cliffs. The 18th hole of the prior golf course fell victim to a landslide caused by a leak in the sanitary pipes underneath it. Trump has been heavily criticized for poorly managing the property, including dismissing employees en masse, failing to keep it in business, and upsetting locals with unnecessary and/or unapproved construction. In the summer of 2006, the Trump Organization illegally erected a 70 foot flagpole but was allowed to retain it after a City Council vote .
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District has one of the highest rated API scores in California , and has one of the highest average SAT scores and one of the highest percentage of students successfully completing the Advanced Placement exams in the county. There are three high schools, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (formerly called Rolling Hills High School), Palos Verdes High School (the latter located just a half block from the Pacific Ocean), and Rancho Del Mar High School (located in Rolling Hills). Marymount College, a co-ed Roman Catholic two-year college is located in Rancho Palos Verdes. A private K-12 school, Chadwick School, is also located there. Rolling Hills Preparatory School , a private 6-12 school is also located on the peninsula. Rolling Hills Country Day School, adjacent to the Botanic Garden, offers a private K-8 education .
The Peninsula is served by the Palos Verdes Library District which operates the Peninsula Center, Miraleste, and Malaga Cove Libraries.
The area is frequented by runners, hikers, horseback riders, bird watchers, surfers, scuba divers, and bicyclists. The area is home to several golf courses and country clubs. In addition, nude sunbathers formerly frequented Sacreds Cove (or "Smugglers Cove") until the city of Rancho Palos Verdes enacted a 1994 ordinance that ended such use of that beach.
The infamous Palos Verdes surf spots have been in the spotlight many times over issues of "localism". The most notorious surf spot for localism in Palos Verdes is Lunada Bay, which can hold any winter swell and has been known to rival Sunset Beach, Hawaii on a big day. Localism in Palos Verdes reached a turning point in 2001 when a civil rights lawsuit was filed after a particularly violent confrontation with Hermosa Beach surfers. Surveillance cameras were placed in the surfing area but were later removed.
Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean films were partly photographed on and off the coast of Palos Verdes Peninsula. A tent city for production was constructed in the Redondo Beach Marina. The Black Pearl and several production vessels were seen on the waters daily as were helicopters filming for overhead shots.