Best Places to Visit in Malibu
Located just north of Santa Monica in Southern California, this beautiful beach town in Los Angeles County has 21 miles of scenic oceanfront properties backed by the Santa Monica Mountains. The combination of coastal charm and rugged terrain forms the basis of many of the city’s attractions.
From canyon hiking trails to sea caves and tide pools, Malibu offers countless activities and places to explore. State parks, county beaches, and exits to the Santa Monica Mountains line the city’s main thoroughfare, the Pacific Coast Highway. Visitors often plan their entire vacation around these roadside parking lots and campgrounds.
Malibu is also famous for its scenery. Malibu is a combination of surfing culture and a luxurious lifestyle, and no visit would be complete without visiting the oceanfront mansions and overwater surfboards. Places like Malibu Pier and Surfers Beach are a few places to experience the flavor of the city. Neptune’s Net and other seafood restaurants are known for their recently caught menu options for fresher flavors.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Malibu and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Malibu
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Malibu:
1. Malibu Pier
Located east of Malibu, the Malibu Pier is a historic attraction with a variety of modern features. The pier is 780 feet long and dates back to the early 1900s. California surf culture grew around this pier.
The famous Surfers Beach is just west of the pier. For over 100 years, surfers have flocked to it. It still attracts local surfers and surfers from all over the world. Malibu Lagoon State Beach is further west and provides a lively setting where the Malibu River meets the Pacific Ocean.
A long stretch of sand from Carbon and La Costa beaches is east of the pier. Expensive homes are found on the high water trail at the back end of these beaches, earning another nickname, “Billionaire’s Beach.” This long public stretch of beach is only accessible at low tide.
The Adamson House Museum is also next to the pier, where visitors can tour the history of Malibu on a regular basis. No visit is complete without walking along the pier. Many also choose to eat something fresh at the Malibu Farm Cafe in front of the pier.
2. Getty Villa
Getty Villas is a stunning recreation of a Roman cottage east of Malibu near Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles. It is one of two sites run by the nonprofit Getty Agency, whose mission is to preserve and share ancient art from around the world.
Getty Villa is different from other museums. The grounds are a delight to explore and include several formal gardens. These blooming landscapes include statues, pools, and columned courtyards known as peristyles. It’s a photo opportunity to visit these outdoor facilities time and time again.
Getty Villa also houses an impressive collection of ancient Greek and Roman art. On display are marble busts, rare coins and glassware. Other notable artifacts include a Roman-Egyptian mummy and a large statue of Hercules. The museum also houses an art collection from other important museums across the country.
Getty Villa is open six days a week and is closed on Mondays. Entry to the site and museum is free, but reservations are required. Guided tours are also available.
Address: 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, California
Official website: https://www.getty.edu/
3. Zuma Beach
Zuma Beach is one of the best beaches in Malibu for several reasons. This is a unique beach on the Malibu coastline because it is long and wide and has no mansions at the back end of the sand. There’s no need to take steep paths or stairs to get there, and there’s plenty of parking.
This expansive nature and easy parking make the beach a popular destination for large family outings. It is also a popular spot for beach activities such as sunbathing, volleyball, and beach walks. Marine activities such as surfing and swimming are also common. Lifeguards are on duty during the day.
Other amenities at Zuma Beach include restrooms, showers, and food vendors at both ends of the beach. There are more than 2,000 parking spaces on the beach and free parking is available throughout the PCH. Zuma is also the best place to see migrating whales in winter.
4. El Matador State Beach
El Matador State Beach is one of three beaches, including Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, a few miles west of Point Dume. El Matador is popular thanks to its incredibly photogenic coastline. This landscape contains huge boulders in the surf, also known as sea stacks, inviting all kinds of exploration.
The gravel parking lot at Matador State Beach is located off the Pacific Coast Highway. The plot does not have enough space to accommodate the popularity of the beach, so finding a place can sometimes be difficult, especially on weekends. Getting to the beach early in the morning is the best option to secure parking.
It is a somewhat steep walk to the beach and includes a series of stairs. However, visitors don’t even need to go to the beach to enjoy the beautiful scenery, as the view from the parking lot is incredible. Sunsets are often spectacular.
El Pescador and La Piedra are two other beaches at Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, one mile west of PCH. These two beaches, though generally less crowded, still see some crowds.
5. Point Dume State Beach
Point Dume has a stunning coastline in Malibu with coastal cliffs and expansive beaches. This natural landmark is located near the middle of the Malibu coastline and forms the northern edge of Santa Monica Bay. Point Dume is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from butterflies to marine life and hundreds of bird species, along with a few visitors throughout the week.
The nearly 34-acre nose of Point Dume is a National Preserve. This sanctuary is a great place to hike and observe nature, including the miles of Santa Monica Bay views. Sunset is an incredible time to visit, but visitors will want to bring their flashlights back in the car.
Beaches stretch out on either side of Point Dume. To the east, Big Dume Beach, also known as Dume Cove Beach, is a popular spot for surfing and exploring the rugged surroundings. And it’s not as crowded as other beaches on the coast as it’s a bit of a walk to get to the beach.
West of Point Dume is Westward Beach, operated by Los Angeles County. Located at the easternmost point of Zuma Beach, Westward Beach has similar facilities such as volleyball nets, lifeguards, and restrooms. Westward Beach is where Point Dume has the most convenient parking spaces.
6. Neptune’s Net
Of all the iconic seafood restaurants in Malibu, Neptune’s Net has a smorgasbord. Operating in the same building since 1956, the hotel has long been frequented by celebrities, locals and motorcyclists.
Neptune’s web is easily recognizable by the Pacific Coast Highway. Customers might even recognize him from his roles in Hollywood movies like Point Break and Ironman 3. The restaurant is open on a first-come, first-served basis 364 days before Thanksgiving.
While Neptune’s Web is the most notorious, it’s certainly not the only seafood dish in town. Other good places to visit include Duke’s Malibu and Malibu’s Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe. Paradise Cove Beach Cafe is well worth checking out, including its very own Postcard Beach.
7. Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park offers the best opportunity to explore the Santa Monica Mountains behind Malibu. This popular state park spans 8,000 acres and includes 35 miles of hiking trails and fire trails. This expansive land contains more than 3,000 acres of designated nature reserves, making the area a wildlife-watching hotspot as well.
The 14-mile Malibu Creek runs through the park. This riverbank corridor offers the main hiking trail with several trails branching out in each direction. This main trail is wide and easy to navigate, even for first-time hikers. Visitors will encounter unique stops along the way, including the location where the 1969 movie “Planet of the Apes” was filmed.
Malibu Creek State Park is also home to a popular campground. It has more than 60 places for RV and tent camping. Each stop has picnic tables, fire rings, and views of the towering Santa Monica Mountains.
8. Leo Carrillo State Park
Leo Carrillo is a beautiful state park west of Malibu that includes 2.5 miles of shoreline and a popular canyon campground. Leo Carrillo’s daily activities include surfing, fishing from the shore, and exploring sea caves at low tide.
The coastline of Leo Carrillo is divided into southern and northern beaches. Both beaches are accessible from the ocean from the state park entrance, on the other side of the PCH. The cliff known as Sequit Point is in the middle of the beach. Here, when the ocean recedes, sea caves and tide pools appear.
Leo Carrillo’s campground accommodates tents and caravans. More than 120 locations can rise from ocean to canyon. All campsites have access to toilet facilities with picnic tables, fire rings, and coin-operated showers. There is also an on-site store that offers camping gear such as firewood and snacks.
9. Solstice Canyon
Malibu offers some of the best hiking in Southern California. All thanks to the towering Santa Monica Mountains behind the city. Much of the highland land is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Solstice Canyon is one of the few places to explore in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It offers lush landscapes and different options for easier and more strenuous hikes. The perennial waterfall next to the brickfield of the Roberts Ranch home is a popular place to visit, with about three miles round-trip.
Solstice Canyon is just one small part of a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Other trails include Franklin Canyon Park and Rocky Oaks. The standout trail, however, is the 67-mile Backbone Trail, which weaves the spine of the entire mountain range.
Official website: https://www.nps.gov/samo/index.htm
10. Adamson House
The historic Adamson House is located between Malibu Lagoon and Surfers Beach, adjacent to the Malibu Pier. This Spanish Colonial style home dates back to 1929. Today it is a National Historic Site for the public to explore.
A guided tour of the Adamson House Museum takes you through the intricate gardens and stunning interior of the house. In particular, the walls are covered with lots of tiles and present a beautiful mosaic of Spanish and Moorish influences. Other architectural features include hand-carved doors and glass bottle windows. In addition, each room is decorated with period furniture.
Currently, Adamson House is open Friday and Saturday. Doctors set out throughout the day, including an in-depth look at the Adamson and Lind families and their impact on Malibu. Tours do not require reservations.
Address: 23200 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, California
Official website: https://www.adamsonhouse.org/
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Malibu. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Malibu, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.