Overview of White Point

White Point

California Mid
USA West


There's something for everyone at White Point. Beginner and expert divers will find interesting underwater vistas to explore. Ship wrecks and old construction have left bits and pieces of history strewn through the area. Plus, reefs and kelp around the point are harbors for the elusive critters.

Directions: 1.5 miles East of the junction of I-110 and the Pacific Coast Highway, take Western Ave South toward the ocean. In about 5.5 miles, it will merge with West Paseo Del Mar. You'll see the view of the following picture.


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01/17/2014 Tim from CA (Avg: 3.46 Review) - I love this place, a lot of critters and fish around the rocks. Best part is three hot water vents. When you can see black sand , then you're near or over the vents. The parking lot is the best right on the sand. Short walk in and out! Site: is white beach and palm beach two sites in one. If you need a dive buddy just email me..

08/05/2013 Joe from Long Beach (Avg: 4.06 Review) - 8/2013 kicked out from the sandy beach just South of the lifeguard house swung wide around the rocks and headed South around the point before turning around. However, access would have been even easier from the rock cove left of the bathhouse ruins(yes, the Japanese built a small resort here utilizing the warm water vents!). Visibility cleared out to about 30 feet in some spots-averaging 10-20. Exited into the small cove next to the bathhouse just after high tide with no issues. The trick I bet is to do this on a hide tide if you are going to enter over the rocks. Watch the currents/surge around the point since the rocks funnel the current. There must be an eddy here since at falling tide I was being pushed shoreward at one spot.

08/19/2012 Todd Morgan (Avg: 2.75 Review) - We went on low tide and the rocks were to slippery to get in. I have never done a rock entry before and we left to dive at Veterans Park as it was to slippery and too far to walk out. I tried both the north and south. How do you do this without breaking your neck?

04/07/2012 Scott 2 (Avg: 3.72 Review) - Parking was $8 at 10:00am. Rocky entry in center of cove on east side of park. Difficult entry even at high tide with small 1-2 ft waves. Takes time but well worth it! Kicked out to white point on left side facing water. Saw many stars urchins, some perch, bass and garibaldi. Palm kelp forest was fascinating and rocky reef was great. White point is named for the white fluff growing around the hot vents. Current pulled us out to sea a bit, but with less than 30 feet deep, we surfaced half way to get bearings and we farther out than expected! Returned on a 0 degree heading and explored the cove. Railroad tracks, urchins, stars and rocks were beautiful in the shallow lighted cove. Going back tomorrow to explore the west side of the cove and kelp. This is a special place, above and below the water. Bring cat food to feed the spayed feral kittens who live in the rocks.

10/02/2009 Scuba Diver Girl Stephanie (Avg: 3.58 Review) - My husband and I were heading back from San Refugio in Santa Barbara and went to the old Marineland first. There is no way to get in to scuba there. The resort has insured that divers are not going to get down to the coast to dive via that route. We heard about White Point being the only access to the shore from PV and went to check it out. It cost $7 to enter. Once down the life guard directed us to the Southern most end of the parking lot. We found a couple other divers gearing up. The entry is a little tricky and that includes the exit, this is due to the pebbles on the beach and the thousands of sea urchins in the water. Once out it was very cool. This is an area you really need to plan your dive appropriately and navigation is very important! We went over quite a few of the thermal vents off the coast, through reefs, and out into the kelp on an out reef. This is definitely a dive I would recommend for those in the area that are into shore diving. There were quite a bit of fish to see. I am sure it is tough on days when the surf is high, so check conditions before heading out.

10/02/2009 Jay (Avg: 3.63 Review) - Palos Verdes forecast called for temperature around 87 degrees - light winds from NNW and swells from the West. So I decided to hit White Point. I called it correctly... water was around 70 degrees - no breakers and the tide was out around 1:30pm. I walked as far south as I could and decided to enter the water. Visibility was great, 20 foot within 50 yards of shore. As I kicked out farther, visibility dropped to 10 ft. Saw my first octopus !!!

07/20/2008 Ken from Cypress (Avg: 2.91 Review) - We first went to Laguna's hot spots to find 4ft surf and poor viz. We headed up to PV and dove White's Point. We didn't get into the water until 11am (high tide was 11:31am), but the entry was easy (though rocky). You're not going to be overwhelmed by the wild life here, but I was amazed by what I'd consider to be giant sea stars. We kicked out well past the exposed rocks on the west side of the cove and found the water to be apx 20~23ft with viz in the 10~15 foot range once in the deeper water. I'd dive this site again, but I think I'd enter from the Royal Palms beach (south end) and kick over to the cove (I didn't like the rock entry and exit). You can expect to see several species of sea stars, urchins (at least two species) and cold water anemones. We also saw an octopus scooting across the bottom and a couple of empty lobster traps. There was very little current and found ourselves being pulled to shore as the tide was coming in.

02/08/2008 Brett Bateman (Avg: 3.98 Review) - Most people do not understand that when you dive White Point it's actually two parks. Facing the ocean to the left is White Point with the hot vents and to the right is Royal Palms which is a heavy kelp forest. Went diving in January and had a vis of 20-30 feet. Entry was rocky however waves were no taller then a foot and just take your time. Saw the railroad tracks from the little train from the hotel. Hot vents were really interesting, look for white hairs on rocks look closely and you can see the heat coming up. Mostly a rocky bottom on White Point side little bit of kelp. Saw 14 inch sculpin and a legal size lobster. Looking forward to the Royal Palms side of the park. Water temp was around 53 and went no deeper then 38 ft.

11/13/2007 James Sarah Madison (Avg: 3.26 Review) - 10/28/07- We dove this site after attempting to dive at Long Point (Old Marineland)- the gate there was closed, so we drove on to White Point. As a result of this, we started our first dive about an hour after high tide. It has a rocky entry, which only became longer and more difficult to navigate throughout the day. We had good spirits about clattering about (at one point I fell on my back and got my BC wedged into some rocks like a turtle). It's well worth the potentially tiresome entry! Even with visibility in the 8-12 ft range the site was really beautiful, full of sea life. The bacterial mats were interesting, and the water was full of huge clouds of krill.

03/09/2007 Anonymous (Avg: 2.06 Review) - Very tricky entry because of slippery rocks and currents. Lost fins, knife, and fell due to the slippery rocks. Seemed to be some neat animal life in the few feet of water we spent looking for lost gear. I would highly recommend putting fins on in very shallow water and kick quickly to get away from the big slippery rocks!!! Parking situation was close to the entry point and the bathrooms nearby were a plus.

05/06/2006 Scratt (Avg: 2.99 Review) - Visibility was poor, and waves made entry and exit rather difficult. Try to go to this spot on calm days only. It is a must-see for the hydrothermal vents. Just look for the white bacterial mats and feel the warm water!

04/29/2006 Chris Spencer (Avg: 3.87 Review) - This place is nice with a rocky bottom and the only place on the PV peninsula with no ridiculous hike down and then up a 500' hill! I saw large schools of fish and many Spanish caravans. The craggy rocks make up nice formations. I was the only diver out all three times I dove here. Entry is relatively easy in the protected cove. My max depth was 28 feet.

12/21/2004 Kimberly Woods (Avg: 3.37 Review) - This site is wonderful for the beginner and those new to diving in Los Angelos. The entry is sometimes slippery but the rocks are small and easy to glide over with your B. C. filled. There are plenty of animals and plants to look at, especially on the outer area of the cove where the current picks up. The most exciting, if you haven't seen them before, are the underwater hot water vents. You can recognize them by the surrounding white algae. The area use to be as a bath house which used these vents to supply the bath water.

08/17/2004 J. Williams (Avg: 2.86 Review) - There are actually 2 spots to enter; one in the rocks at the east end and one in the sand right in front of the parking lot. The one through the rocks is a tough entry/exit, but provides some nice reef habitats among the urchin barrens and sulfur springs. Beware of the surge pushing you through canyons and into urchin spines though. The sand entry actually requires you descending over a boulder field (watch out for feral cats!) before you get to the sand. The sand extends about 50 yards out until you hit a beautiful kelp bed rock reef with plenty of life. I've been out when vis is under 5 ft, and when it's almost 30. Pick a good day and good tides.

07/21/2003 Jeff Bennett (Avg: 2.96 Review) - The entry is slightly harder than expected. The rocks are extremely slippery in the shallows. But overall, this dive site is a very nice dive for new divers. The water depth is not much more than 30 feet even 150 yards offshore. The reef offers several kelp beds and an abundance of Sea Urchins. (Too many! I was picking spines out of places that I hate to mention... ) I'd advise that if you want to dive this site, bring a wagon, or a wheeled tote to move your gear with.

10/24/2002 Anonymous (Avg: 1.96 Review) - The entry is great but the Vis was very very poor. I'd guess the best was about 5 feet. My buddy and I dropped in and got out ASAP. We drove north about 2 miles or so to the old Marine Land. The diving there was great that day, about 15-20 foot Vis. The walk is not the best but well worth it that day. Good luck! And Remember, keep old Marine Land as a backup if white point turns out bad.

09/28/2002 Gregg Steffen (Avg: 3.58 Review) - This Site Is Great, Yes It Is A Challenge But Thats Why We Dive. Visibility Has Been Great Everytime With The Exception Of One Time In June Of 2002 When A Storm Came Thru, Other Than That This Place Is The Best. Check It Out!!!

06/03/2002 Jason (Avg: 1.60 Review) - I thought this would be a great dive site due to the close parking to the shore, but it turned out to be my worst dive ever. We swam out to where the kelp beds are just outside of the cove and dropped down to about 30 feet where the bottom was (at least I think it was the bottom). I honestly couldn't even see my own feet. My buddy and I decided to swim around to see if the vis got any better, but it was really murky. The lifeguard on duty said that only a few times a year the water is clear, and it's not predictable. I sure wouldn't come back unless I had confirmation from a diver that the water cleared up

03/03/2002 John Burton (Avg: 3.00 Review) - SNORKELING REVIEW: Early March water temp 53 deg. so wetsuit is a must! Although you can park right next to the water, the shore is very rocky with some large underwater rocks (3+ ft) and strong shore swells. Best to enter at high tide wearing gloves & booties with sturdy soles. Put fins on in water. About 40 feet from shore, water is 10 feet deep. Very few fish seen near shore, but plenty of sea urchins and anemones. If you swim out to kelp 50-75 yds offshore, there is much more life, including crabs and large fish. Water visibility about 15 to 20 feet. Plenty of fishermen nearby so watch out for hooks and lines. Arrive 10 or 11am to secure parking. Fee is $5.00 to park near shore; $2.00 at top of hill (a very long walk with gear and food). I did not vote on scuba conditions so ignore those scores

12/29/2001 Colin MacDiarmid (Avg: 2.53 Review) - White Point is the only site in Southern California where you can park just steps from your entry/exit point. The quickest entry can be made in the center of the cove. Hide tide is the best time to dive here. The entry is a series of jumbled boulders waiting to trip up the unsuspecting diver. At high tide, you can make your way to knee deep water, then leap forward and start kicking fast! Depths inside the cove are shallow until you reach the open sea, where the bottom drops to twenty feet. Just outside the cove are warm water vents. The sulpher from these vents covers rocks and plants with a white coating. To the East of the cove are small walls about fifteen feet high that can be covered with lobsters at night. If the conditions are calm, you can venture into the shallow surge channels just East of the exposed rocks here. You will find remains of a small train that used to run next to the hotel and pool before World War 2. The wheels are about six inches in diameter. A healthy kelp bed is found just offshore from the East side of White Point. Here you will find Calico Bass, Garibaldi, Batrays and the occasional Smoothhound Shark. Straight out from the center of the cove is a reef system marked by a plaque dedicated to divers and a scientific study by USC marked by floating bleach bottles. Please do not disturb the area. West of the cove near the lifeguard tower are the scattered remains of the ferry Melrose. It was the first ferry used to transport autos. After a long career in the San Francisco Bay it was converted into a fishing barge until a storm beached it here. The best part about diving here during high tide is the exit. There are two concrete slabs about eight feet square that are exposed, but close to the water's edge. Here you can remove your gear, shower with a bottle of water heated by the sun in your car while you were diving. You can then put on dry clothes and pack your gear without getting sand in your car. Diving White Point at night can be very exciting. Since the parking lot closes at dusk, you must park at the top of the fire road South of the baseball field and hike down to the water. Because of the rocky bottom terrain, exits must be made carefully and quickly to avoid incoming waves. Visibility is usually poor, with five feet being average. However several times a year the visibility can reach forty feet. These are the days to explore as much of the area as possible.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: CM1601


Entrance at White Point 

Once you reach the ocean, take this road heading down the cliff into the Royal Palms State Beach.




Overview at White Point 

An overview to the right of where the surfers usually hang out.




Overview at White Point 

And an overview to the left shows the point for divers.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CM1604


Parking at White Point 

Drive to the South end of the park until you see this gravel area.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CM1605


Entry at White Point 

The entry is not as bad as it looks. Make sure you can negotiate the swells, then assist your buddy into the deeper water.




Scenery at White Point 

A little history of the area. You can still observe (and feel) the hot springs just a short distance off the shore.

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  White Point  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  2.60
Bottom Conditions:  3.10
Reef Conditions:  3.15
Animal Life:  3.20
Plant Life:  2.80
Facilities:  2.95
Solitude 3.65
Roads:  4.10
*Site Average:  3.11

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.00
Beginner Scuba:  2.95
Intermediate Scuba:  3.25
Advanced Scuba:  2.80
Night diving Scuba:  2.75

Number of reviews for this site: 20


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