Best Malibu Guide – California’s Surfing Capital

Malibu Beach

Vibrant and colorful surf culture, stunning ocean views and numerous hiking trails will greet you at one of the most affluent and luxurious Californian cities – Malibu. Due to its close proximity to Los Angeles, Malibu has become the home of numerous Hollywood celebrities. Despite the expensive and sophisticated residential houses, the city has a lot more to offer. It can be easily explored on just a day trip from Los Angeles – California, however, if you want to try immerse yourself into the unique charm of Malibu it is worth visiting for an entire weekend getaway. Plan a fantastic filled with experiences and adventures trip and visit Malibu – California’s surfing capital.

 Location of Malibu

The coastal city of Malibu is situated just 30 miles away from Los Angeles Downtown area. It is the combination of the town’s location, the fantastical Mediterranean climate and the 21 miles of stunning beaches that has made Malibu one of the most popular Californian cities.  

Malibu sunset

Getting to Malibu 

Visitors traveling to Malibu from another state or even country, should know that the nearest airport to Malibu is Los Angeles Airport. Check out the best flight deals.

Despite the fact that it is not as close and not so convenient, San Diego is also situated approximately 130 miles away from the city. You might be surprised, but reaching Malibu from Los Angeles is possible even just by public transport!

At the metro center station in Los Angeles you can get the tram to Santa Monica Downtown Station. From there, you would need to get bus line 534 and you will reach the downtown area of Malibu in just 30 minutes. The entire journey is around 2 hours, but it is also extremely cost-effective as you will spend just $5 by using the public transport. Getting a taxi is not advisable, as the rates are extremely high and you would need to pay at least $150. 

For those traveling by car, you can prepare to take the entire route in around 30 minutes. Depending where are you traveling from, you will probably need to take the main highway 10. You will first pass by Santa Monica, and will then spend the rest of the journey to Malibu driving along the extremely scenic Pacific Coast drive.  

As getting to Malibu is an experience in itself , it is worth stopping by and admiring the endless crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. 

When to Visit 

Known for its Mediterranean climate and continuously warm temperatures, Malibu is worth visiting any time of the year. Temperatures do not vary much, and the summer are generally a bit shorter with the hottest months being August and September. If you still want to enjoy the warm weather, experience the annual festivals taking place, but also try to skip the most popular touristy season, it is best to head to Malibu in June. 


Often referred to as “the Bu”, Malibu is a favorite spot among surfers. With 21 miles of stunning coast, it is no surprise that the main reason, why tourists visit the city is to enjoy the beautiful beaches and try some water sports. There is an endless list of beaches, that are waiting to be explored in Malibu and we have covered the ones that are totally worth visiting. 

Zuma Beach 

The 2-mile long Zuma Beach is one of the most popular and well-known among surfers. Thanks to its clean waters it has also been ranked as one of the healthiest beaches in the Los Angeles area. If you are visiting Malibu for the surfing, you should certainly stop by the Zuma Beach as the waves can get extremely big. Visitors will find numerous facilities such as beach volleyball courts, picnic areas, restrooms and paid parking lot. There are also numerous rental stands, from which you can get a surf, kayak, kite-board, etc. Despite being a life-guarded beach, always be cautious with the rip currents  when swimming. 

Zuma Beach

Surfrider Beach 

As part of the massive Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Surfrider Beach is by far the most popular place to visit in the city. As you can guess by its name, it is also the best spot to enjoy some water sports with its fantastic surfing waves. The beach is often visited by family with kids, so you will not only find a number of lifeguard stands, but the swimming and the surfing area are carefully divided to make different sections. Visitors can also find beach volleyball courts and a number of bars and restaurants along the Malibu Pier. If you want to fully experience Malibu as California’s surfing capital you need to head to Surfrider Beach. 

Point Dume Beach 

Known for the white sandy beach nested beneath the steep cliffs, Point Dume Beach is a perfect spot for swimming, surfing and scuba diving. Accessing the cove-shaped beach is via a steep staircase, however, do not get discourages as it is totally worth the hike down. Despite being extremely popular for water sports, the beach does not provide any faculties and you should keep in mind that there are no lifeguards on duty. On top of the cliffs, visitors can also find a boardwalk with a viewing platform that is perfect to admire the stunning ocean views from. If you are visiting between December and April you might also get the chance to witness the migrating gray whales. 

El Matador State Beach 

One of the most beautiful, yet a bit more secluded places that you can visit in Malibu is the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. The site is comprised of 3 coves, the most popular of which is the El Matador State Beach. There is a parking lot on top of the cliffs, and a short and narrow descending trail that takes you straight to the beach. Similar to other Malibu beaches, the area is great for water sport activities, but visitors will also be impressed by the beautiful rock formations and cliff caves. El Matador State Beach is a great place if you want to enjoy a long romantic walk at sunset. 

Staying Overnight at Malibu 

Keep in mind that Malibu is known as the home to some of the most popular celebrities. What is more it is regularly ranked as one of the richest places in the United States. So if you decide to head to Malibu, you need to be aware that you will be visiting one of the most affluent and luxurious cities in California. It is completely possible to visit Malibu just on a day trip from Los Angeles, however, if you want to fully experience its vibe and night life it is worth staying overnight. 

If you have decided to completely immerse yourself into the deluxe, sophisticated Malibu atmosphere, you can choose Malibu Beach Inn, Nobu Ryokan Malibu or The Surfrider Hotel

Those, who like being surrounded by nature and prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the Malibu downtown area, can check the Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club and Wellfit Malibu hotels.

Last but not least, if you are planning a road trip across California with an RV, it is best to head to the Malibu Beach RV Park. Besides having an RV and tent campgrounds, there are a number of beach cottages that you can choose from. Operational year-round, this is a really convenient option, however, you will need to book well in advance. 

Things to Do

Besides the endless list of stunning beaches that visitors can explore in Malibu, there are a number of other interesting places that are also worth visiting while in the city. 

Malibu Pier 

The Malibu Pier is probably the most iconic tourist sight in the town. The 780 feet long pier is situated at the heart of Malibu’s surf culture, next to the Surfrider Beach. Despite the fact that the pier is mainly used by the local fisherman, it is certainly worth visiting for a sunset walk. You can also grab some fresh seafood for dinner at one of the numerous restaurants along the pier and admire the breathtaking views as the sun kisses the ocean goodnight. 

Malibu Farm

Malibu Country Mart 

If you have spent the morning hitting the waves, and you are looking for a spot to enjoy a relaxing afternoon, you should head to the Malibu Country Mart. Situated at the heart of the city, this is a large outdoor boutique mall offering the opportunity for a fantastic shopping spree. On a territory of 6 acres, visitors can find more than 60 stores offering luxurious fashion brand products. The area is also extremely popular due to its fusion of architectural styles. You will get to see numerous buildings in a an-old rustic style Mediterranean and Spanish design, as well as more modern and contemporary styled constructions. 

Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum 

Take a step back in time and visit the 19th century Adamson House. With its Mediterranean Revival architectural design and beautiful ceramic decorations, the house has been named the “Taj Mahal of Tile”. What was once the prestige residence of the rich and popular Rindge family, is now a museum with a large collection of photographs and artifacts demonstrating the history of Malibu. It is worth taking a house tour and getting to explore the original furniture and decorations across the large rooms. Make sure to also spend some time to admire the outside area as the museum is situated on the beach and offers beautiful ocean views. 

The Getty Villa 

Another museum situated on the Malibu coast, that deserves to be visited is the Getty Villa. Despite the fact that the house dates back to the 1950s, you will quickly notice its resemble to the Italian villas of the 1st Century. Back in the times, it was Paul Getty’s official residence, however, it is now used as a education center and museum. Visitors will find a massive collection of antiques and artifacts from 6500 BC to 400 AD. There are approximately 23 permanent exhibits of the Greek, Roman and Etruscan cultures. There are also a number of galleries dedicated to visiting collections and they are regularly altered. Besides exploring the museum, taking a stroll along the large and beautiful gardens is a must. You will see different Roman statues situated within water fountains. Make sure to also stop for a break on one of the benches snuggled among the rose bushes. 

Malibu Wine Safaries

One of the most unusual things to do in Malibu is booking a wine safari. If you enjoy sipping on  delicious Californian wines, however, this is a must-do. An open-air vehicle will take you on a tour across the 1,000 acres of the Saddlerock Ranch. Being able to see animals such as zebras, bison, giraffes, alpacas and others you will certainly feel like you are on a safari somewhere in the desert. Together with that, however, you will also get to taste delicious local wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. 


Very few places across America offer both fantastic beaches and great hiking options at the same time. Malibu, however, is such a spot. The city is in close proximity to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area home to numerous fantastic hiking and biking trails. Another spot if you want to be surrounded by beautiful nature is the Malibu Creek State Park, which offers a few miles of hiking paths, as well as some great spots for the rock climbing enthusiasts. 


As California’s surfing capital, Malibu is one of the most popular spots among water sport enthusiasts. Combined with the fabulous hiking options and the vibrant and colorful atmosphere, Malibu is a great spot to visit any time of the year. Did you get inspired to visit Malibu? Are you ready to pack your bags and head there immediately? What is the first thing that you would do? Would you hit the waves, or would you immerse yourself into the beautiful nature surroundings? 


Want to never miss an update?

Subscribe for your Newsletter