The rocky cliffs, hard-sand beaches and swirling ocean current along the curvy Palos Verdes Peninsula can easily be mistaken for Northern California. There are suited-up surfers off shore, but the land follows steep ups and downs as it hugs (and sometimes falls into) the Pacific. It's a good place for a close-to-home getaway, particularly for those who haven't yet explored what must be among the least touristy parts of Southern California.
The bed: Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes opened three years ago on the site of what once was the Marineland aquarium that opened in the 1950s. The ocean-side hotel with 582 rooms is offering a deal for early bookings. There's also a spa, where guests may book a treatment or pay $40 for day use, and golf course.