The Palos Verdes Peninsula is one of the very best places for spying gray whales, and there’s an easy way to double your viewing pleasure: combine a bluffside ramble with a lunch overlooking the dramatic coastline. It all happens via a 2-mile (round-trip) stroll on the Palos Verdes Peninsula: the Bluff Top Trail runs right up to Nelson's
, a Pacific-hugging bistro (and part of the Spanish-style Terranea Resort). The trail starts from a parking lot on Palos Verdes Drive South, just north of the resort. Hike through coastal sage and prickly pear cactus along the bluff, taking in unobstructed views that include a spectacular vantage of Point Vicente Lighthouse
. Scan the sea for signs of grays: flukes, sudden ocean sprays, a really excited tourist jumping up and down and pointing….After half a mile, the path reaches Nelson's, where the outdoor patio is perfectly perched above the water and features a firepit and an official whale bell to announce sightings. The protocol: ring once if you spot a whale and three times if you spy a spout! (Two rings signals a dolphin sighting.) Pair a seasonal microbrew with signature fish and chips, then kick back and—wait!...is that a blowhole? Fluke, fluke!The parking area for Bluff Top Trail is located at 6610 Palos Verdes Dr. South. Take I-405 to Manhattan Beach and exit at Rosecrans Ave. Drive 1.5 miles west on Rosecrans to Sepulveda Blvd./Pacific Coast Hwy. Turn left and continue 5.9 miles south to Palos Verdes Blvd. Turn right and drive 7 miles to the trailhead (veering right when Palos Verdes Blvd.intersects with Palos Verdes Dr. West). Begin down Bluff Top Trail from the south end of the lot. Hug the cliff's edge for .5 mile before reaching Nelson’s. The Bluff Top Trail and Nelson's are dog-friendly!