Every weekend, Malibu’s sun-soaked beaches and secluded coves draw hundreds of sun-seeking day trippers from Los Angeles and it’s not hard to see why. White sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and miles of sparkling ocean beckon year-round.
Malibu offers 27-miles of coastline with too many beaches to take your pick from. Whether you’re looking for a beach to learn how to surf or a stretch of white sand to sunbake, you’re bound to find a beach that suits!
But there is more to Malibu than beaches. The Santa Monica Mountains which run the entire length of Malibu’s coastline also offer opportunities to enjoy Southern California’s sunshine. In these mountain you’ll find hiking trails with ocean views, hidden waterfalls, and beautiful canyons.
So pack a towel and your swimsuit, and don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes, because in Malibu you can hike and swim all in the same day! Here’s a guide to the best things to do in Malibu.
Malibu Bucket List
The Getty Villa is a museum that holds a vast collection of Greek and Roman artwork that are dated between 6,500BC and 500AD, all of which are housed inside a re-created Roman country home.
Explore 4,000 years of ancient art from the Stone Age to the final days of the Roman Empire. On the second floor of the museum you can take in temporary exhibitions featuring works of art from museums around the world and Getty’s own collections.
Even if you’re not interested in the art, the palatial courtyards and manicured gardens are worth the visit alone. The villa’s largest garden features a beautiful reflecting pool, colonnaded walkways, and views of the Pacific Ocean. Do you want the good news? Admission is free!
2. Paseo Miramar Trail
Paseo Miramar translates to “a walk with sea views” in Spanish, and true to its name, this hike offers phenomenal ocean views.
This trail is located at the southern end of Malibu in Pacific Palisades. You’ll begin at a trailhead that will immediately begin a steep incline and it won’t be long before you leave the dense L.A. neighborhood behind.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be amazed by the expansive views of Los Angeles, Santa Monica Beach and the Pacific Ocean. If you’re looking for a hike with a nice sunset, this is it!
3. Malibu Pier
Famous for its iconic white towers and rough hewn planks, Malibu Pier is a favorite destination among visitors to Malibu. This beloved historic pier which was built in 1905 has since become Malibu’s most recognizable landmark.
Take a stroll along the pier and enjoy sweeping views of Malibu’s scenic coastline and glistening ocean. Watch surfers catch a couple of waves at adjacent Surfrider Beach and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a pod of dolphins riding the waves too.
This is also one of the best places in Los Angeles to catch a sunset, so if you can stop by in the evening you really should.
4. Malibu Farm Cafe
Malibu Farm is a casual restaurant on Malibu Pier that is loved by both Malibu residents and tourists. Whether you stop by for breakfast or brunch, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a lazy Malibu morning.
There are actually two Malibu Farm restaurants here; a full-service restaurant at the start of the pier, and a counter service cafe at the end of the pier. On the menu you’ll find dishes like blue corn nachos, fried egg sandwiches, crab cake, and coconut cod ceviche.
Relax over a glass of rose and enjoy your meal whilst looking out over Malibu’s stunning coastline.
5. Fish Off Malibu Pier
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Malibu, bring your fishing rod or rent one from Ranch At The Pier and cast a line from Malibu Pier. Fishing from Malibu Pier is a great way to spend a few hours in Malibu and you may even get lucky and hook a halibut or mackerel.
Since first opening to the public in 1938, the Malibu Pier has been a popular spot with fisherman. In summer, the season peaks with halibut, thresher shark & bat rays while corbina & mackerel are year round catches.
Ranch At The Pier which is located at the end of the pier, can hook you up with bait and essential tackle. No fishing permits are required to fish on the pier.
6. Learn To Surf At Surfrider Beach
Surfrider Beach is one of the first places where modern surfing culture developed. The legendary point break became a popular surf spot in the 1950s and today, it is one of the most popular surfing beaches in Los Angeles famous among surfers for its long right-hand break.
This world-renowned beach is one of the best beaches for beginners to learn how to surf because because Surfrider Beach has gentle rolling waves in the summer.
A surf shop across the road from Surfrider Beach offers board and wetsuit rentals along with lessons, but if you’d prefer to organize your lesson in advance, check out the private surf lessons offered on Viator here.
7. Malibu Seafood
Malibu Seafood is the best seafood restaurant in Malibu. The establishment’s consistently long lines to order food prove how terrific this establishment has stayed over the years.
They serve a variety of seafood sandwiches, clams, steamed mussels, Dungeness crab, sea scallops, swordfish, mahi mahi, halibut, and more. Food here is always excellent whether you order steamed, grilled, or fried seafood. You could even take home fresh catch and cook it yourself!
8. Point Dume Trail
Point Dume Cove Trail is a hike that offers stunning views of Malibu’s beaches and coastline. This hiking trail inside Point Dume Natural Preserve is situated atop coastal bluffs which overlook the Pacific Ocean. Along the trail, you’ll see gorgeous wildflowers, perfect sunsets, and possibly dolphins, sea lions and whales.
The trail leads to two overlooks where you can look down on Dume Cove, Westward Beach and Zuma Beach. On the way to the overlook, keep an eye out to your left for a trail down to Dume Cove Beach. Dume Cove has tide pools and a long stretch of sand to stroll across.
9. Zuma Beach
Zuma Beach is the most popular beach in Malibu. This beach is beautiful due to its white sand and stunning mountains that tower in the background.
If you’re looking for a beach to sunbathe and swim, this is the best of all the Malibu beaches to spend a few hours at. At the south end of the beach you’ll find volleyball nets and a large paid parking lot.
The southern end of the beach is usually the most crowded and the further north you go, the less beach-goers there are on the shores.
10. El Matador Beach
The most impressive beach in Malibu is El Matador Beach! This beautiful beach features rugged sandstone cliffs that plunge dramatically into the ocean. There are also huge sea stacks that line the beaches shoreline.
This secluded beach is perfect for sunbathing, strolling and picnicking. The interesting rock formations also make this a great beach for photographers, and in fact, this is a popular beach for photoshoots.
El Matador Beach is just north of popular Zuma Beach. There is a small parking lot off the Pacific Coast Highway. The beach is accessed via a short trail that leads to a steep staircase that eventually takes you to the shoreline.
11. Solstice Canyon Trail
The Solstice Canyon Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Los Angeles, and certainly the most popular hike in Malibu! It is a two-mile out and back hike that leads to a beautiful 30-foot waterfall.
This unique hike follows a paved path that leads hikers to the ruins of an old ranch house before reaching Solstice Canyon Falls.
To complete this hike as a loop, hike back along the Rising Sun Trail. Although this trail is steep, it will take you up to some phenomenal views of the Pacific Ocean.
12. Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park is an 8,000 acre wilderness preserve that is home to picturesque rolling grassy hills, impressive mountain peaks, and serene woodlands filled with gorgeous oak trees.
This stunning state park is often touted as the “Yosemite of Southern California” and offers miles of hiking, biking, and horse riding trails for outdoor lovers.
There are a number of great hiking trails in Malibu Creek State Park, but the best trail here is the Rock Pool & Century Lake Trail. It is an easy 4.4-mile trail that will take you to a hidden oasis where you’ll find a gorgeous rock pool surrounded by lush trees.
Other places you must see at Malibu Creek State Park include the MASH filming site and Malibu Lake.
13. King Gillette Ranch
Adjacent to Malibu Creek Ranch is King Gillette Ranch, a large ranch that was once owned by King Gillette, the inventor of the Gillette razor blade. Gillette purchased the 588-acre property in 1926 and built a sprawling mansion in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.
Today, King Gillette Ranch is a large park open to the public for hiking, picnics, and special events. There are several hiking trails through meadows and along mountain ridgelines.
The most popular hike here is to Inspiration Point where you can see amazing views of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Canyon, and Calabasas.
A number of wildlife native to Southern California call King Gillette Ranch home and if you’re lucky you may spot coyotes, deer, weasels, ground squirrels, and even rattlesnakes. Mountain lions also roam the area however you are unlikely to see these big cats.
14. Malibu Hindu Temple
One of the most unique places you can visit in Calabasas is Malibu Hindu Temple. The temple which was first established here in 1981 and built in the traditional South Indian style, is actually one of the largest Hindu temples in the western hemisphere.
Visitors are welcome to wander through the temple and grounds to admire the beautiful building with its intricate carvings, and enjoy the spaces provided for meditation and picnics.
Malibu Hindu Temple is open to the public on weekends from 10am to 5pm and closed during the week.
15. Neptune’s Net
Neptune’s Net is a popular seafood shack situated towards the far northern end of Malibu. This historic restaurant has been around since the 1950s and has seen its fair share of celebrity customers. These days the eatery is frequented by bikers, road trippers, and tourists.
Neptune’s Net has two different kitchens. The “Restaurant Side” has fried food and bottled and canned beverages. The “Seafood Side” has fresh and live seafood and draft beer.
Take your order across the street to County Line Beach to enjoy your fish and beer with ocean views.
Where To Stay In Malibu
The Surfrider Malibu Inn – Surfrider Inn is a four-star hotel located on the iconic Pacific Coast Highway directly across the road from Malibu Pier and Surfrider Beach. This 20-room boutique hotel features a guest-only restaurant and rooftop bar.
Calamigos Ranch – Calamigos Ranch is a luxury guest ranch hidden in the Malibu Hills. The lavish accommodations are situated on a 250-acre property and feature private cottages and bungalows.
Bungalow at Carbon Beach – This ocean-front bungalow on “billionaire row” is a one bedroom vacation home that is very affordable for its location at Carbon Beach.
Top-Rated Tours In Malibu
Malibu Wine, Food & Beach Tour Discover the gems of Malibu from an open air bus and enjoy complimentary wine and snacks. Includes a photoshoot on the beach in Malibu.
Small Group Malibu Wine Hike Get to know a Malibu vineyard on a 2.5 mile loop guided hike. You’ll get to see amazing views of the Malibu hills and cave paintings of the local Chumash people.
Scenic Malibu Electric Mountain Biking Tour Pedal along the trails of Malibu on an electric mountain bike during this adventurous excursion. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced rider, your guide will adjust their route and pace to your abilities.
You Might Also Like:
Like it? Pin it!