The location: Homeless Encampment.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A beach where a number of homeless people (including Daryl) had taken refuge after a big earthquake.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. The exact location isn't mentioned, but at one of Newport's beaches.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 15 (of season 4), "The Night Moves".

    When a big earthquake devastates Newport, Ryan is badly injured. As Seth rushes him to the hospital, their car breaks down on a lonely road (in the middle of the night), and they are forced to walk.

    Soon, it is evident that Ryan is too injured to walk very far, so Seth must go on without him, to bring back help.

    Along the way, Seth comes across this homeless encampment near the beach, and spots a familiar face: Daryl, a homeless guy who once had Christmas dinner at the Cohen house. Needing a way to transport the injured Ryan to the hospital, Seth asks Daryl for his one worldly possession: his shopping cart.  Daryl says no. Desperate, Seth trades the keys to his $70,000 car to Daryl in return for the shopping cart.

    (The next morning, we see Daryl arrive at Seth's car, and crawl inside to take a nap).

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A grassy rest stop & parking lot next to the beach - but nowhere near Newport.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The beach is Zuma Beach, on the west side of the Point Dume Peninsula, in Malibu. (Don't let the fake "Newport Beach" trash cans fool you - that's just set dressing.)

    (They shot this scene about a mile northwest of the Westward Beach parking lot where they shot Summer & Seth's sad farewell in the show's final episode.)

    The exact spot is a small grass lawn near a beach restroom building, at the east end of a beach parking lot off Zuma Access Road.

    The spot is located in the fork between where Pacific Coast Highway and Westward Beach Road branch. It's about 250 yards northwest of the Sunset Restaurant (which is at 6800 Westward Beach Rd).

    To get there, if you're headed west on PCH past Point Dume, once you pass Bonsall Drive, bear right on Zuma Access Road, a sort of spiral offramp that circles around under PCH and (if you stay to the right) then runs parallel with PCH past the parking lots. You'll pass through a toll-gate to pay parking fees, and will then drive past a parking lot on your left side. Pull into that first parking lot and head back to its far east end. That is where you'll find the grassy lawn and the restroom building seen in the homeless encampment scene.

    ( One irony is that Seth is supposed to be hurrying along that lonely road in the Balboa Wetlands (where he left Ryan) when he bumps into the homeless guy on the beach. In fact, that lonely road where they filmed the breakdown is actually 25 miles away from Zuma Beach. To make it seem closer, they also tossed in a couple of quick shots of Zuma while Seth & Ryan were first seen driving. )

    Here is a Bird's Eye view aerial photo of the exact spot.

    And here is a map link.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. It wasn't easy. The scene was dark and I didn't have much to go on. But I found a few clues: the low beach wall (seen in the scene) was made with an unusual notch in its top. The squared sidewalk (that Seth was walking on) separated a parking area from the grassy area where the homeless people were standing. Near the wall, there was a handicapped parking space at the corner where two sidewalks joined. There was a red-roofed restroom building behind them. There were stacked lifeguard towers visible on the beach, as well as volleyball nets. There was a thick wooden post in the sand near the end of the notched wall.

    At first, I thought it might be the parking lot at the south end of Redondo Beach (where they have often filmed in the past). But it wasn't. So, using aerial photos from Live Local, I worked my way up the beach for about 40 miles, looking for a grassy area next to a beach parking lot with a red-tiled restroom and a notched wall.

    I finally found those notched walls at Zuma Beach, just past Point Dume. (That didn't exactly surprise me, because Zuma was the same area where they shot the Seth & Summer scene in the very next episode.)

    Unfortunately, there were a number of almost identical red-roofed buildings on that stretch of Zuma beach, with similar parking lots. But the stacked lifeguard towers and the volleyball nets on the beach pointed me in the right direction.  I was able to confirm the exact location via a few minor, but crucial, details: the shape of the sidewalk, the amount of visible grass, the position of end of the notched wall compared to the sidewalk, and the large wooden post in the sand.

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