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Things to Do On and Off the Pepperdine University Campus
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Things to Do On and Off the Pepperdine University Campus

From Malibu's finest, to chill museum and park leisure, here are some of the best things to do on and off the Pepperdine University campus.

Roubina Al Abashian

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5 min read

October 25, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

Pepperdine University is a private Christian University located in the Santa Monica Mountains. Thanks to its strategic, uphill location, the university boasts beautiful sceneries of Malibu and the Pacific, making it one of the most beautiful college campuses in California. Even though catching the 360-degree nature views can easily keep students occupied, there’s much more to do in and around Pepperdine University than just basking in the beauty — after all, we’re in Malibu, and the best of LA’s beaches, restaurants, and leisure activities are right here. 

Whether you’re a Pepperdine student who wants to explore the area’s great outdoors, visit the 'Bu with your boo, or in town for a family vacation, you’re going to find a long list of fun things to do in Malibu. Pack all your beach essentials, prepare your taste buds for heavenly bites, and get ready for an unforgettable weekend around Pepperdine University. Oh, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for celebrities, you never know who might be lying on the towel next to you. 

Fun Things to Do Around the Pepperdine University Campus

Making the hike along the ‘Pepperdine University to Cross’ trail is a "must" before students graduate.

1. Hike Toward the Cross

Pepperdine University is famous for two things:  its top-notch education and its gorgeous campus. To take advantage of the first, you need to get enrolled at the university, but to enjoy the second, all you need to do is hike the ‘Pepperdine University to Cross’ trail. The journey towards the cross starts from across the School of Law building and continues uphill. In order to make it to the top, you’ll have to hike all of the three-mile, out-and-back trail, which happens to be pretty steep. If you’re brave enough to spend around two hours walking up the hill towards the cross, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean. 

2. Surf at Surfrider Beach 

When in Malibu, you ride the waves at Surfrider Beach — how good or bad you are is a secondary thought. The iconic beach is a top L.A. surfing destination, and is famous for providing the opportunity to experience three different breaks along its shore. If you’re a beginner though, you’ll want to stick to the third point, leaving the first two to the more experienced surfers. Its perfect waves, awesome volleyball courts, and close proximity to the best Malibu restaurants make Surfrider Beach one of the best beaches in Southern California.

Did you know that Adamson House is famous for its extensive usage of locally manufactured Malibu tiles?

3. Let the Mosaics Inspire You at Adamson House 

On the coast of Malibu Lagoon State Beach Park, sits the gorgeous Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum. The house was built in 1929 by the Adamson family, who owned a tile factory and still remains untouched and in its original glory. Layers of colorful tilework, frescoes, and unique lightwork decorate the house. During your visit to Pepperdine, Malibu, stop by the house, admire its beauty, and enjoy the breathtaking gardens surrounding it.

4. Have a Romantic Dinner at Ollo

As a Pepperdine University student, it’s normal to have most of your meals at the university, but when you feel like dining out, you’ll find the best of Malibu’s restaurants just a few minutes away. A top option is Ollo Restaurant and Bar at Malibu Colony Plaza. The restaurant serves the best farm-to-table, California-sourced, Mediterranean-style food - and their crab cakes are to die for.

Don’t forget to take the 40-minute architectural tour of the Getty Villa to admire the beauty of this first-century Roman country house.

5. Enjoy the Art at The Getty Villa 

Did you know that one of California’s top art galleries is located a short distance from Pepperdine University? The Getty Villa doesn’t need much introduction, as it’s one of the most Instagrammable places in California thanks to its beautifully groomed gardens and picture-perfect courtyard. Here, oil magnate Paul J. Getty kept his rich art collection - some of which date all the way back to 6500 BC. After you visit Pepperdine, stop by this Malibu attraction and admire almost 1,200 artifacts and over 44,000 Greek and Roman antiquities.

Things to Do Near Pepperdine University Campus With Kids

6. Walk the Length of the Malibu Pier

There’s a good reason why Malibu Pier is a tourist hotspot - everything fun happens here. Built in 1905 for purely commercial purposes, the landmark soon became one of the main tourist attractions in the coastal city. The pier is perfect for an outing with your little ones, offering many beachfront diners, souvenir shops, and kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. It is also a good spot to bask in the beauty of the Pacific, watch dolphins pass by, and teach your kids how to fish. Pepperdine tours aren’t complete if not extended to the Malibu Pier.

Zuma Beach is one of the cleanest beaches and therefore attracts everyone; but you can also find secluded corners like Duma Cove too.

7. Build a Sandcastle at Zuma Beach

Malibu is home to some of the best beaches in southern California and Zuma Beach is a local favorite. It happens to be one of the best beaches for kids, too. Just a few minutes drive away from Pepperdine University, the beach is a haven for all kinds of groups, bonfire seekers and friends and family searching for some fun in the sun. Sandcastles, surfing, and getting a nice tan are some of the staple activities you'll find many indulging in. Zuma Beach also has a reputation for being one of the cleanest beaches in California, so it's defintely a good choice for a day-trip from Pepperdine. 

8. Spend the Night at Malibu Beach RV Park

Yes, Malibu is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the Golden State, and while many love to pamper themselves in them, some prefer vacationing in the wilderness. For all the nature lovers out there, Malibu has the perfect answer for you. Not too far from Pepperdine University in Malibu, you can find the only RV park in the city, Malibu Beach RV Park; also known as one of the best RV camping spots in Southern California. You can choose between spots with ocean or mountain views, or you can even go for tent campgrounds. No matter what spot you choose, you’ll be spoiled by the beauty of the Malibu nature around you. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy Mother Nature all through the night.

Malibu Creek State Park has over 15 miles of streamside trails, ready for your explorations.

9. Navigate the streamside trails of Malibu Creek State Park

One of the best state parks near L.A. is a short drive away from Pepperdine, Malibu. The 8,000-acre Malibu Creek State Park is where beauty meets adventure. Snaking through its grounds are miles of scenic hiking trails, suitable for all types of hikers. Malibu Creek State Park is also home to one of the top swimming holes in Southern California, Rock Pool. The pool is a sight to behold and you can reach it through a short 3-mile hike. Adventures don’t stop at hiking though; bike through the park’s dense forests, get acquainted with the wildlife and enjoy stargazing at night. For the love of nature and adventures, head to this awesome state park and create the best memories.

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