What do you think of when someone mentions what to do in Malibu? It’s not just flashy celebrity lifestyles with star-studded beachfront properties. There’s a reason why the Hollywood celebs make their way to Malibu along with millions of visitors from across the globe. With more than 30 miles of coastal beaches along Highway One, Malibu boasts a haven for surfers and beach-goers alike to witness those beautiful West Coast sunsets.
If you’re visiting LA or live here full -time, you might wonder what to do in Malibu on a day trip. A quick road trip from LA to Malibu takes a little over an hour, depending on the traffic and when you go. This makes it the perfect option to take a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of The City of Angels. Whether you’re looking for restaurants on the beach or want to lay on the sandy beaches, Malibu won’t disappoint!
Here are the top Malibu beaches, restaurants, and activities you have to check out before you plan your day trip, decide what to bring to the beach, and ask yourself what to do in Malibu.
Beautiful Beaches Malibu
You don’t need a VIP celebrity pass to enjoy the beaches in Malibu. Although it might seem exclusive, there are plenty of beaches to go around for everyone!
The name says it all. This beach is perfect for catching waves right off the Malibu Pier. This area was popularized by surf movies in the 50s and 60s and was named the first World Surfing Reserve. Surfrider Beach will be your go-to spot if you’re looking for the quintessential Southern California surfing experience (skip this one if you’re looking to swim, as swimming areas are limited).
This beach has nearly 2 miles of sandy coastline with plenty of amenities for locals and tourists to have a day trip to play beach volleyball, soak up the sun, or take a dip in the ocean. Although this beach is popular for swimming, the water tends to be a bit colder here than other LA beaches. Grab that wetsuit for some surfing and windsurfing action too!
Point Dume State Beach
If you head toward Malibu’s north end, you’ll find vast coastal beaches with headlands, cliffs, and rocky coves. Visitors enjoy swimming, surfing, and scuba diving at this Malibu beach. This beach and nature preserve is the ideal location to spot migrating gray whales from December to mid-April. Take the trail along Westward Beach Road to explore the coastal bluff sand dune and take in the views.
Beautiful Beaches Malibu
After all that beach time, you’ll probably work up a hefty appetite. Explore the Malibu restaurants on the beach for a delicious meal with a seaside view.
Malibu Farm Restaurant
Right on the beach next to the Malibu pier is an organic café and restaurant that serves farm-to-table New American fare and local wine. This rustic-chic bistro with an oceanfront deck is a popular spot for locals and visitors looking for healthy and locally sourced food.
You can’t get closer to the shore than this modern beachfront restaurant. Enjoy Japanese cuisine prepared by Iron Chef Nobu Matsuhisa plus California fare at this Malibu hotspot. If you haven’t already spotted a celebrity on your trip to Malibu, you’re likely to change that with a reservation here.
Unique Experiences and Activities
When planning what to do in Malibu, beyond getting your tan on or indulging at the restaurants on the beach, add some excursions and sightseeing to your list. From landmarks to local shopping, find it all in Malibu!
Spot the iconic dual white towers as you walk onto the Malibu pier boardwalk for unbeatable coastline views at Malibu’s most famous landmark. Dating back to 1905, the Pier offers shopping and dining as you watch the surfers along the beach.
The Getty Villa
This is the original home of the Getty Museum at the east end of Malibu’s coast. Admire Greek and Roman art housed in a re-created Roman seaside home in the Pacific Palisades. Admission is free, but you have to make a reservation ahead of time if you plan to visit.
Payson Library Surfboard Room
If you’re a surfer or history buff, make a stop at Pepperdine University’s library to check out the 30 surfboards on display, dating from the 1980s to the 1910s. Each board has a digital collection to reveal the craftsmanship and passion that goes into building these boards.
Malibu Shopping Centers
Done with the beach and ready to have some retail therapy? Visit the shops at the Malibu Country Mart and Malibu Lumber Yard, two upscale retail centers right next to each other. Whether you want to browse for souvenirs or spot celebs, these locations are ideal for both.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
After you’ve had plenty of sand and ocean time, head inland for a different vibe and Malibu landscape. Here you’ll find hiking trails along hills and canyons, waterfalls, and wildflowers to become one with nature. You could also try mountain biking or horseback riding if you're feeling extra adventurous.
Saddlerock Ranch and Vineyard
If you’re looking for a unique experience, take a guided two-hour Malibu Wine Hike with rolling landscapes. You’ll get to see local caves that are still covered in pictographs by the Chumash Indians dating back to 1769! After getting your steps in while enjoying the views, end your hike with a wine tasting straight from the vineyard (cheers to that!).
Now that you know what to do in Malibu for a memorable day trip, be one of the first to hear about a special surprise I have coming soon. Follow me on Instagram @anastasiak.extensions for the latest updates!