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Things to do in Malibu California

Looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of LA? Look no further than, Malibu, LA’s closest neighbor to the north. Stretching 21 scenic miles along the Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu is the stuff California dreams are made of.

Malibu Fishing Pier

Malibu’s Mediterranean climate means warm dry summers and moderate winters.  You’ll find gorgeous beaches, world famous surf spots, hiking and plenty of dining, shopping, and museums to keep you occupied no matter the time of year. What’s not to love?

Malibu Country Mart

Malibu was settled by the Chumash Native Americans who lived along the southern coast of California for over 10,000 years. The name Malibu is derived from their word Humaliwo, which translates to “the surf sounds lovely.” I couldn’t agree more!

The Malibu Fishing Pier

Built in 1905 to support shipping operations from a nearby ranch the Malibu Fishing Pier opened to the public for charter and pier fishing in 1934.

Malibu Sport Fishing Pier

The current twin buildings at the end of the Pier were built after WWII and were originally intended as a daylight lookout for the US Coastguard. Considered historically important the State of California purchased the Pier in 1980. After heavy storm damage in the early 90s the pier was closed to the public until it was restored and reopened in 2008.

Malibu Fishing Pier

Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or a first timer the pier is a great place to enjoy a day of fishing. We’ve been a few different times and have had great luck even enjoying an evening meal with our catch of the day.

The Malibu Sport Fishing Pier is located at 23000 Pacific Coast Highway and is open daily from 6:30am to sunset. Some businesses may stay open later. Fishing Ppermits are not required and fishing rods, bait and tackle are available for rental at The Ranch at the Pier. 

Surfrider Beach & The Malibu Lagoon

Some of LA County’s most popular surf spots are located in Malibu including Surfrider Beach, also known as the Malibu Lagoon, which was made the first World Surfing Reserve in 2010. Surfrider has been a popular SoCal surfing spot since the 1960s and still is today. It’s excellent waves are considered a gold standard of surfing.

Surfrider Beach

Surfers honor their fallen with a memorial paddle out at Surfrider Beach. This beautiful ceremony is thought to have started with the famous Hawaiian surfer, Duke Kahanamoku. The ceremony includes paddling out and forming a circle, joining hands, throwing flowers into the air, and splashing the water, before heading out to surf.

View of the pier from Surfrider Beach

Rain or shine Surfrider Beach is a lovely place to spend an afternoon and one of our family’s favorite local escapes.

Malibu Fishing Pier

Malibu Lagoon

Surfrider beach is located at 23050 & 23200 Pacific Coast Highway.

Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach, located 10 miles up the PCH from Surfrider, is one of LA’s most popular beaches. The drive to Zuma is spectacular in itself, and when you get there you’ll find almost two miles of soft clean sand, a wide variety of beach activities, restaurants, public restrooms and plentiful parking. Need I say more?

Lifeguard huts waiting for summer

Zuma Beach is located at 30000 Pacific Coast Highway.

Leo Carrillo State Park

An entire glorious day could be spent at Leo Carrillo State Park where activities at the park are many and include, exploring the tide pools, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing, and beach combing. There are also caves and reefs for exploring, hiking trails, picnic tables and camping.

Leo Carrillo is located at 35000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu and is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. The entrance to the park is on the East side of the Pacific Coast Highway. There are bathrooms and pay showers on site. Camping is available via the Park’s online reservation system.

Parking Fees: All day – $12.00 per car, per day, 3 hours – $9.00 per car, 2 hours – $6.00 per car, 1 hour – $3.00 per car.


You might also be interested in: Tide Pools & More at Leo Carrillo State Park

Solstice Canyon

Located in the Santa Monica Mountains the hiking options in Solstice Canyon range from easy to difficult, making this a great destination for families and pets. There’s a waterfall, gorgeous views, and even an architectural landmark, all waiting to be discovered.

Solstice Canyon

Solstice Canyon is located at 3455 Solstice Canyon Road in the Santa Monica Mountains. Directions from Pacific Coast Highway turn inland on Corral Canyon Rd. Drive 0.25 mile to the park entrance on the left.

The Getty Villa

Located on the border of Pacific Palisades and Malibu the Getty Villa is dedicated to the antiquities, and features 7000 years of ancient art. Even if antiquities aren’t your thing, The Villa itself is a site to see.

Getty Villa

Built in the early 1970s it was modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, a Roman country home that was located in Herculaneum, Italy, which along with Pompeii, was buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Tours of the art, architecture and gardens are complimentary.

The food in the cafe was excellent. Consider eating there while you enjoy beautiful views of the Villa and gardens from above.

The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway. Entry to the Getty Villa is free, but reservations, which can be made online, are required. There is a $15 fee for parking.


You might also be interested in: The J. Paul Getty Museums 

Dukes Malibu

Named for Surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku, Duke’s restaurant is a tribute not only to Duke, but to Malibu and surfing culture. Though it’s popular with tourists the food at Duke’s is far from touristy. Dining mere inches from crashing waves is a magical experience and one I never grow tired of. The Sunday brunch is legendary and reservations are highly recommended.

Dukes Malibu is located at 21150 Pacific Coast Highway. 

Malibu Farm Cafe

Stay cozy inside on a stormy day or eat out when the sun is shinning, either way the Malibu Farm Cafe is the perfect little spot. Our favorites are the Swedish pancakes with seasonal berries and the fried egg sandwich, but everything is delicious.

Malibu Farm Cafe Food Malibu California

The Malibu Farm Cafe is located at 23000 Pacific Coast Hwy at the end of the Malibu Sport Fishing Pier.

Neptune’s Net

I love the beach, but I don’t love eating in the sand, which makes Neptune’s Net, located just a few miles north of Leo Carrillo State Park, a great place to grab a bite to eat prior to hitting the beach.

Neptunes Net Malibu California

Since 1956 it’s been a favorite of motorcyclists, surfers, locals and anyone else looking for a delicious basket of golden fish and chips. Expect a crowd, especially on weekends.

Neptunes Net Fried Shrimp

Neptune’s Net is located at 42505 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. 

Cholada Thai

We recently discovered Cholada Thai and are now wondering what took us so long. Stopping at Wylie’s bait and tackle shop on our way to the Malibu Fishing Pier we were drawn in by the delicious smells coming from within. Thankfully we arrived early because before too long every table was filled. If you’re looking for something different consider Cholada Thai with friendly service and delicious food.

Cholada Thai Golden Pouch

Cholada Thai is located at 18763 Pacific Coast Highway.

Shopping on the Malibu Pier

Fishing, dining and swimming aren’t the only activities available on and near the Malibu Pier. We love poking around the shops too! Ranch at the Pier is located just next to the Malibu Farm Cafe and offers a wide selection of items from clothing and beauty to guitars, hats, skateboards and more.

Ranch at the Pier Shop Malibu California

The mini boutique on the land end of the pier is aesthetically pleasing with a pink and red theme.

Ranch at the Pier

Mini shops selling lotions, potions, and jewelry are located along the pier. This one had a fun little swing!

Malibu Fishing Pier

Aviator Nation

Aviator Nation’s 70s inspired clothing line seems to be the unofficial official loungewear of SoCal residents. I admit to jumping on the bandwagon as their marshmallowy soft clothing is both stylish and comfy. Their shops have a fun welcoming beachy vibe.

Malibu Country Mart

The Malibu Country Mart features high end shopping, a wonderful playground, delicious dining options, and it’s just a stones throw from the beach.

The Malibu Country Mart is located at 3835 Cross Creek Rd.

Trancas Country Market

The Trancas Country Market is located just north of Zuma Beach at the far end of Malibu.  You’ll find unique shops, restaurants and a grocery store as well as some fun interactive art. The Vintage Grocers is a great place to pick up supplies if you’re planning on a beach picnic.

Artist: bumblebbeelovesyou Trancas Country Market

The Trancas Country Market is located at 30745 Pacific Coast Highway.

This handy map will help you find our Malibu Favorites. Have you been to Malibu? What are your favorite places? Let me know in the comments!


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