Last year, National Parks actually saw record numbers of visitors. Most national parks are at…
Immortalized in the surf movies of the 60s, Malibu embodies that California beach vibe like nowhere else.
In a city as big, busy and sprawling as LA, this 21-mile stretch along the Pacific is truly a beachside oasis. Surrounded by hills on one side and the ocean on the other, it’s a bit remote—the perfect way to catch a breather from that LA hustle. Here’s some not-to-miss Malibu highlights.
Where to Stay
It’s a bit of splurge, but this property delivers—it’s located on Carbon Beach. As in that almost unsettlingly close, on top of the ocean way the Malibu beach is known for! Pretend you’re a bona-fide A-lister and indulge in onsite yoga, massage and facials, then drink a green juice while overlooking the water rightfully dubbed Billionaire’s Beach.
Live the mid-century surfer’s paradise life at the Surfrider. The original 1950s-era motel underwent a renovation that overhauled the vintage property into contemporary boutique hotel. Luckily, it somehow managed to retain some of that original charm while embracing a modern, luxe vibe. One of the hotel’s greatest assets is its location—directly across from the Malibu Pier, close proximity to great dining and more.
The Native Hotel
Originally built in 1947, the recently remodeled Native Hotel boasts a modern new look inspired by old paradise charm. Thirteen individually curated king-size rooms make up this mid-century modernist retreat. Surrounded by acres of lush greenery and perched on the Pacific Coast Highway, you’re just steps from some of the most idyllic beaches in the world, including Zuma Beach and Point Dume.
Malibu M Hotel
‘Malibu’ and ‘budget-friendly’ typically don’t exist in the same sentence. At the M Malibu, you can book a room that’s both stylish and affordable. It’s not right on the ocean, but offers beautiful oceans views. You’re directly across from a great beach and near dining and shopping, too.
Explore Point Dume
Hike, explore tide pools and soak up incredible vistas at this iconic beachside park. Parking at is very limited, and the surrounding neighborhood prohibits street parking close to the beach. Be patient and drive a few blocks inland—you’ll find a place to park on the street eventually, and the homes along the walk (or at least what you can see of them) are fun to check out.
Stroll Zuma Beach
It’s one of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County. Unlike many of the narrow, rocky beaches in Malibu, this one is known for its long, wide sands and excellent surf.
Learn to Surf
Gidget catapulted Malibu’s surf culture into the mainstream. Why not channel those 1960s beach flicks and take a surfing lesson? Radfish Malibu offers surf, paddleboard and kite surfing lessons. Who cares if you look foolish at first? Even Duke Kahanamoku, aka The Big Kahuna, had to start somewhere.
Hike Solstice Canyon
Malibu isn’t just about the beach. Don your best athleisure attire and hit up Solstice Canyon. For something more relaxed, enjoy a shady stroll along the Solstice Canyon Trail. This will take you past a waterfall, the remains of the Keller House (a stone hunting cabin built over one hundred years ago, and significantly damaged by fire in 2007) and the brick ruins of The Robert’s Ranch house. For something a little more strenuous, climb up the Rising Sun Trail. You’ll still get to experience aforementioned historical highlights while also breaking a sweat and soaking up spectacular ocean views.
Where to Shop
Malibu Country Mart
Throughout Malibu, you’ll notice many a business with a distinctly rural moniker. Pick up the bare necessities at Malibu Country Mart, a shopping center featuring Ted Baker, L’Occtaine, and John Varvatos. Okay, okay… it’s a fancy outdoor mall, and a lovely one at that. There’s plenty of outdoor dining, a playground and maybe even a celebrity sighting or two.
File this one under places too weird to not check out: Located in Topanga Canyon, Hidden Treasures is a one-of-a-kind vintage shop that feels a little like, I dunno, a 1960s acid trip. Shop for vintage rugs, high-waisted Levi’s (I hear those are back in style?), costume jewelry and taxidermy. Worth the trip, even if you leave with nothing but stories.
Where to eat
It’s a bit north of town, but a trip to Neptune’s Net is a must. This super casual order at the counter seafood and burger joint is a favorite amongst surfers, bikers and bicyclists. Order the fried fish tacos, crab cakes, delicious tuna melts or clam chowder served in a bread bowl. There’s plenty of canned and bottled beers, too. Then a seat on the covered patio overlooking the ocean and dig in.
V’s Restaurant + Bar
Located in the Heart of Malibu along the Pacific Coast Highway, this local favorite looks a bit like a diner on the outside. Inside, it’s an elegant oasis serving Italian-inspired fare. Great wine list, fresh pasta dishes and shareable pizzas make this the perfect spot for date night.
Locals and tourists alike queue up daily for the Malibu Seafood’s offerings. Founded in 1972, you’ll find incredible fresh fish from around the globe. Buy fish to cook at home, or order prepared seafood, like hand battered Alaskan cod and tartar sauce, to eat on the spot. Better yet, take your order to go, head across the street and eat it on the beach.
What are your favorite spots in Malibu? Share in the comments!
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