Skip to main content

California Coastal Spotlight: Malibu

California Coastal Spotlight: Malibu

Take a visual tour of Malibu, a stunning coastal town tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains. Team


5 min read

June 08, 2023

The mention of Malibu often evokes images of grand celebrity homes and swanky pads overlooking the sapphire waters softly crashing against the pristine sands and craggy bluffs. Despite its glamorous reputation, the scenic city is much more easygoing than you might imagine.

Situated along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), merely 33 miles west of bustling downtown Los Angeles, Malibu is a picturesque paradise home to 20-plus spectacular beaches, dramatic canyons, gorgeous hiking trails, historical landmarks, boutique hotels, and hole-in-the-wall seafood joints. It’s no wonder then that some of Malibu’s districts make the list of the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles. 

While the town is small in size, it’s easy to spend a weekend exploring its natural wonders and experiencing its laid-back trendiness. Whether you plan on surfing the epic waves, savoring farm-fresh fare beside the beach, lounging on the shores, or indulging in some retail therapy, Malibu is a must-see when in Southern California. So, turn up the radio and take a drive down the palm-fringed PCH to revel in the salt-kissed air and warm sun rays. Here’s a glimpse into the oceanside town that awaits you at the end of your journey.

The name Malibu rings out around the country, known for its natural beauty and elegance.

How Far is Malibu From Los Angeles? 

Malibu is about 33 miles drive away if you use the quickest route. For those planning to drive to Malibu from Los Angeles, take Interstate 10 and head west until you reach California Route 1. Then, continue onto California Route 1 and head north for around 18 miles. With no traffic, you can make this trip in half an hour, but with traffic, this trip takes an hour and a half. 

Getting to Malibu 

Unfortunately, there are no direct mass transit connections between Los Angeles and Malibu, California. If you do not have a car and do not want to take an Uber, using the most direct mass transit routes will get you to downtown Malibu, CA in about two hours. To get to Malibu without using a car, take the Metro E Line train towards Downtown Santa Monica and ride it to the last stop. Then, catch the 134 Bus to Malibu at 5th/Colorado and get off at Cross Creek/Malibu Theatre to arrive right in downtown Malibu.  

Getting Around Malibu 

If you’re coming for a weekend getaway, a car is going to be the best way to get around the city of Malibu, California. Although there isn’t much bicycle-friendly infrastructure around the city there are plenty of great trails around Malibu that mountain bikers will love, so you should bring a bicycle for that. The Malibu pier and the area around this landmark is the most walkable part of the city.   

Malibu Pier is a must-visit location when in the area.

Things to Do in Malibu, California

Visit Malibu Pier

The main Malibu attraction is of course the seaside, so it’s no surprise that the Malibu Pier takes center stage. Visiting the pier is one of the most fun things to do in Malibu, CA, because you can take in the beautiful views of the Pacific, and dine at a selection of premium quality on-site restaurants. For dinner, we recommend checking out Malibu Farm, a charming high-class dining experience perched right at the end of the pier. 

Make a reservation online, and you’ll be in for a wonderful dinner complete with innovative interpretations of American comfort food such as SoCal cauliflower steak, spaghetti squash lasagna, and their famous salsa verde eggwich. If you’d rather do lunch or brunch, Malibu Farm also has a cafe where you can enjoy classics such as a deluxe breakfast burrito with chicken sausage, cheese, and peppers, or something light like a yogurt and granola bowl. Before you head out, stop by the One Gun Ranch shop to check out their unique selection of bespoke clothing, toys, headphones, and other premium merch. 

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

Downtown Malibu, CA

A glance at the Malibu, California map is enough to tell you that downtown is relatively small. However, downtown Malibu, CA is filled with some enticing highlights for out-of-towners that make it a place worth exploring. One of the best things to do in Malibu is to go shopping at the local boutique mall, the Malibu Country Mart. Located right in the heart of this cozy beach town where you can find everything from luxury couture shops to a shop that restores vintage motorcycles. We also recommend stopping by the nearby Malibu Farmers Market, the best place for all-natural veggies, eggs, nuts, honey and so much more.   

Beaches in Malibu are iconic, well-maintained, and the perfect places to have a fun day.

Hang Out at Malibu’s Beaches 

Point Dume State Beach and Preserve 

Much like Los Angeles, Malibu is known for it’s wonderful beaches. The quintessential Malibu beach is Point Dume State Beach and Preserve, a pristine sandy beach that is adorned with a striking overhang of rocky cliffs. You’d almost think you’re on the English seaside, that is until you remember the great California weather. This beach has all sorts of facilities and it’s perfect for whatever you wanna do. Whether you want to lounge out in the sun, go fishing, diving, hiking, or just take a swim, there’s a lot to do at this Malibu Beach. 

Zuma Beach 

Alternatively, try Zuma Beach, the other great Malibu Beach in California that’s on the East Pacific Coast Highway. Zuma Beach is the biggest beach in this beach city, and that means it’s a number one Malibu attraction for Californians and out-of-staters alike. Don’t worry about crowding though cause this Malibu beach has everything; spacious parking, 1.8 miles of glorious beachfront, accessible facilities, and endless opportunities for some seaside fun. 

Leo Carrillo State Park

If you’ve brought Fido along on your Malibu vacation, this is the place for you. Leo Carillo State Park is a pet-friendly Malibu Beach that has a lot to offer in natural beauty and sightseeing opportunities. It is named after Leo Carrillo, who you might know from his role as Pancho in the classic Western flick “The Cisco Kid.” Carillo was not just a talented actor but also an avid conservationist, and this Malibu beach was named after him in recognition of his service to California’s conservation efforts. 

The beach spans 1.5 miles and offers a range of exciting activities the whole family can enjoy, including windsurfing, surfing, and plenty of cozy swimming coves. We recommend exploring this beach, too, because you can find a lot of cool natural landmarks such as tide pools, beach camping grounds, coastal caves, and even some backcountry trails. 

For the outdoorsy among us, Escondido Falls offers excellent hiking opportunities.

Escondido Falls 

For the ultimate hike mere minutes from the city of Malibu, it doesn’t get much better than this. A short drive up to Central Malibu brings you to the start of this 3.8-mile trail to the lower falls. You’ll have to hop over a few streams and clamber over some rocks to get there, but it’s all well worth it to see the raging tower of falling water that is this two-tiered 150 feet-high monument to mother nature. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can also trek up to the top of the falls. The climb is steep and you’ll need some rope to make it up, but the views from the very top are unimaginably beautiful.    

Dine in Luxury

What better way to cap off a day at the beach than with a sumptuous feast at one of Malibu’s many fine dining establishments? Once you’ve tried it, we’re sure you agree there’s nothing quite like enjoying a juicy Filet mignon cooked in Carbenet sauce and served with perfectly grilled asparagus by the seaside during a California sunset. If that sounds like you’re kind of evening, head on over to Geoffrey’s, the city of Malibu’s definitive spot for the best in gourmet Californian cuisine right on the seaside. 

If world-famous California seafood is more you’re thing, head on over to Dukes, another Malibu household name that’s right on the oceanfront. Named after a famous local surfer, this is the best place for delectable seafood classics, including generous fish tacos, glorious Ahi steaks, and even exotic items such as South Indian banana leaf steamed fish and shrimp.   

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

Enter Your Zip Code

Enter Your Zip Code

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We're committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that's just the beginning…
Purpose section
Purpose section