Easy, Breezy Living: 10 Best Things To Do In Malibu, California

things to do in malibu california

Mention Malibu, California and many conjure images of blue skies, sandy beaches and lavish Hollywood stars’ homes. And they’re right, Malibu is that, and so much more. Located 47 miles (76 kilometers) west of Los Angeles, and with a population of just under 13,000 people, this tiny coastal town is unmatched in its comfortable vibe and easy-going attitude. Spend any amount of time in Malibu and you’ll get a glimpse into the perfect California lifestyle. Read on, to discover the 10 best things to do in Malibu California.

1. The ultimate beach scene; Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach View From Point Dume - panoramio
Source: Photo by user tmastro used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Known the world over, Zuma Beach is one of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County. With flawless, white sand stretching as far as the eye can see, and crystal blue ocean waves, no wonder Zuma Beach has achieved legendary status. Zuma Beach has a gradually sloping shore, ideal for strolling in the surf. Volleyball courts, picnic areas, restrooms, and concession stands can be found at various spots along the beach. Zuma Beach even has beach wheelchairs available. Though Zuma Beach is very alluring, waves can be dangerous, breaking close to the shore, and rip currents are prevalent. Even with many lifeguards on duty, swimmers should exercise caution. Sunbathe, swim, surf, fish, windsurf, even watch grey whales make their winter migration, from December to late April, at Zuma Beach!

Zuma Beach

Address: 34.0218° N, 118.8312° W

Website: Zuma Beach

2. A Spanish beauty in a glorious setting; Adamson House

Adamson House, Malibu
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Los Angeles used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Adamson House is a historic house and museum complete with Old World charm. The 1929 Spanish Colonial Revival-style home is truly phenomenal in its style; with fresco ceilings, ironwork railings, and elaborately-designed and colorful tiles throughout. The beauty of Adamson House is seen in every direction you look. And make sure to look closely because elegance is even in the details; with baseboard skirting composed of tiny individual tiles, and a Persian-style tile “carpet” in one area that can easily be mistaken for an actual rug! The “carpet” is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and is comprised of 670 tiles. Adamson House is a fascinating blend of Spanish and Moorish influences and has to been seen to be believed. A real jewel that adds tremendously to the already breathtaking Malibu landscape.

Adamson House

Address: 23200 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Website: Adamson House

3. Stroll the picture perfect Malibu Pier!

Malibu pier
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Emustonen used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Though not as flashy as Santa Monica Pier, if you’re looking for a relaxing and more subdued seaside experience, then Malibu Pier is the right way to go. Built in 1905, Malibu Pier is an easy stroll. To the end of the wharf and back it’s only 780 feet (238 meters) in length, which is short by California pier standards. Malibu Pier offers two charming restaurants, one at either end of the dock. Malibu Farm Cafe is situated at the end of the pier and Malibu Pier Restaurant sits at the front. Both restaurants provide a fresh and delicious menu for its health-conscious clientele, with plenty of fish dishes and locally-grown produce. Out and about, on the pier, you’ll find a gift shop, an observation deck, and many fisherman casting their lines. You can also watch the surfing action from nearby Surfrider Beach. For a nice, quiet time, Malibu Pier offers the quintessential mellow California experience.

Malibu Pier

Address: 23000 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90265

Hours: Monday-Friday 6.00am to 10.00pm

Website: Malibu Pier

4. Malibu Country Mart; enjoy the sea breeze while you shop

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Koss Real Estate

Nestled between magnificent mountains and beautiful beaches is Malibu County Mart. Located in the center of Malibu, this chic outdoor mall encompasses 6 acres (2 hectares) of some of the finest upscale retail shops around Malibu. Surrounded by first-rate gardens, rare sculptures, outdoor dining and picnic areas, and a much-loved children’s playground, Malibu Country Mart is the heartbeat of Malibu. But, Malibu Country Mart offers more than just shopping and eating. Malibu Country Mart hosts many public events and gatherings as well, like Adopt A Pet programs and various educational and fun art exhibits.

Malibu Country Mart

Address: 3835 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

Website: Malibu Country Mart

5. The Getty Villa; for fans of Greek and Roman artifacts!

Source: Photo by user Bobak Ha'Eri used under CC BY 3.0

The Getty Villa is a former tycoon’s residence that is now an amazing museum. Modeled after a first-century Italian villa, with Greek and Roman antiquities, The Getty Villa is a beautiful and opulent manor located in Pacific Palisades, about a 30 minute drive from Malibu. The Getty Villa’s four garden areas feature tranquil settings with sparkling fountains, rich green arbors, reflecting ponds, and plant species known from the ancient Mediterranean. The permanent and rotating art exhibits showcase works that go back 7,000 years, from the Stone Age to the Roman Empire!

The Getty Villa

Address: 17985 Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Price: FREE, but an advance, timed-entry ticket is required

Website: The Getty Villa

6. Point Dume; prime vantage point on the West Coast!

Cliffs At Point Dume, Malibu, CA - panoramio
Source: Photo by user tmastro used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Point Duma is a spectacular headland on the coast of Malibu that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. Point Dume is surrounded by Point Dume State Beach that provides excellent scuba diving, swimming, beach combing, surfing and tide pooling. Point Dume itself is another great spot to view grey whales from a different vantage point, as they make their way south. Movie buffs will recognize Point Dume from the final scene in the original 1968 ‘Planet of the Apes’ film. Many other movies and television shows have been shot along this area, including the popular 90s TV show 'Baywatch’ and several surfer flicks from the 1960s.

Point Dume

Address: 34.0012° N, 118.8064° W

Website: Point Dume

7. A hike, then a flight at Malibu Countryside Wine Hike (from 35 USD)

The Countryside in Malibu, CA
Source: Photo by Flickr user vxla used under CC BY 2.0

Malibu Countryside Wine Hike is the perfect excursion for wine enthusiasts who also want to explore the Malibu landscape and its Saddlerock Ranch vineyard. Malibu Countryside Wine Hike’s star of the tour is not just the Malbecs and Cabernets. Saddlerock Ranch’s family-run operation also displays several exotic animals, such as zebras, alpacas, water buffalo and giraffes. An expert guide will lead guests on an easy to manage hike that features an archaeological site of the Chumash Indian pictographs that dates back to the 1700s! The journey ends with a complimentary flight of wine with five tastings of different wines. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Malibu Countryside Wine Hike

Price: from 35 USD

Duration: approx. 2 hours 30 minutes


8. Leo Carrillo State Park; more than just a walk in the surf!

Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, United States (Unsplash)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user camadams used under CC0

Leo Carrillo State Park is a beautiful 1.5 mile (2.4 kilometer) coastline that features reefs, dramatic caves, rocky cliffs, and tide pools. Named after actor and conservationist Leo Carrillo, best known as Pancho from the TV Western ‘The Cisco Kid’, Leo Carrillo State Park provides many of the typical beach activities, like swimming, surfing, and windsurfing. However, the real highlight of Leo Carrillo State Park is exploring the coastal caves, reefs, and tide pools that offer a water wonderland of sea creatures, like sea stars, crabs, and even a baby octopus on occasion. Leo Carrillo State Park also has access to excellent hiking trails with breathtaking views!

Leo Carrillo State Park

Address: 35000 W Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Website: Leo Carrillo State Park

9. Explore Solstice Canyon; ideal for novice hikers!

Solstice Canyon
Source: Photo by Flickr user National Park Ser... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, Solstice Canyon offers a wonderful 2.6 mile (4.2 kilometer) round-trip hike alongside a flowing creek in a wide and wonderfully scenic canyon. With a well-preserved and fairly level trail, it’s a great place for family hikes and amateur hikers. Picnic tables are scattered around the beginning section of the trail and various sycamores and oak trees shade the Solstice Canyon trail at certain areas. Points of interest at Solstice Canyon are a small, sparkling waterfall, the site of the oldest stone structure in Malibu, and the remains of a burned-down mansion.

Solstice Canyon

Address: 3455 Solstice Canyon Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

Website: Solstice Canyon

10. Want to hang-ten like a pro? Take a Malibu Private Surf Lesson! (from USD 283.0)

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to ride the waves, well Malibu is the perfect place. Malibu Private Surf Lesson affords the opportunity to bask in the thrill of surfing. Malibu Private Surf Lesson offers expert instruction to people four years and up. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or just want to hone your skills, Malibu Private Surf Lesson welcomes every skill level and matches you with an instructor that fits your abilities. And just because it’s a private lesson doesn’t mean it has to be solo. Malibu Private Surf Lesson encourages groups, like families, friends and couples. Malibu Private Surf Lesson provides the surf board and wetsuit, all you have to bring is yourself and a desire to have fun.

Malibu Surf Lesson, 2-Hour, Private, All-Ages and Year-Round

Duration: 2 hours

Malibu...a heavenly coastal escape

Malibu is 27 miles (43 kilometers) of unmistakable scenic beauty. With nearly three dozen glorious beaches, majestic mountains and beautiful hiking trails lying within that distance, there’s no denying Malibu is a picture perfect getaway destination. Anyone traveling to the Los Angeles area will not regret making the pleasant beach town of Malibu part of their Southern California adventure.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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As a child, Catherine's family took a trip to the World's Fair New Orleans and her mom asked what she wanted to see. She exclaimed, "Everything!" She's been working on that endeavor ever since.

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