15 Best Beaches in Malibu for a Beach Day
Malibu is a beautiful beachside city in Los Angeles County. Known for its year-round mild climate and pristine beaches, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern California.
With more than 15 beaches to explore, there is something for everyone. Whether you want to relax on the sand with a good book or enjoy an adventure with your family, Malibu has everything you need for a great day at the beach!
A Day At The Beach In Malibu
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern California, Malibu is known for its year-round mild climate and stunning beaches. With 15 beaches to explore, there’s something for everyone. Whether you want to relax on the sand with a good book or enjoy an adventure with your family, Malibu has everything you need for a great day at the beach!
Malibu offers two main types of beaches: sandy and rocky. The best option really depends on what you’re looking for! If you are looking to get some sun, get your toes wet, or even surf, make your way down to one of the sandy beaches. If you are up for more of an adventure, head to one of the rocky shores.
No matter which type you prefer, make sure not to forget sunscreen! And don’t forget that if it looks like rain no matter where you are on the coast then it probably will rain everywhere!
15 Best Beaches In Malibu
Malibu Pier isn’t one of California’s longest piers, but it does have one of the best sites. When the tide isn’t too high, you can walk for many miles west of the pier.
You’ll pass by Carbon Beach, La Costa Beach, and Las Flores Beach on your route there (the latter two are not easily visited from Pacific Coast Highway).
Longboard surfers and stand-up paddleboarders enjoy the modest rolling break at Surfrider Beach, which is located east of Malibu Pier.
At the end of the pier, the Malibu Farm Cafe and Restaurant serves healthful meals to hungry tourists. There are also eateries such as Nobu and others nearby.
El Matador State Beach
El Matador is referred to as a “pocket” beach since it is a short expanse of sand nestled between two headlands. The Matador’s pocket is known for its spectacular vistas, which include towering arches and rock formations, making it a favourite location for photographers and picture shoots.
Indeed, you’ll almost certainly run across at least one group photographing weddings, graduations, or family photographs.
If you’re at the beach at low tide, head to the north end of El Matador to explore the caverns that are only accessible when the water is low.
Because it’s a small beach with limited parking, you’ll have to get there early on hot weekend days to grab a place. Weekdays are simpler, but even they can be challenging during summer vacation.
El Matador, along with the adjoining coves of El Pescador and La Piedra, is part of Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. Look for the exit off Highway 1 that leads to the El Matador parking area, which is a paying lot with direct access to the beach stairs.
Carbon Beach is the actual name, but the nickname “Billionaire’s Beach” gives you an idea of what you might expect to discover on this stretch of beach.
While visiting the beach is free, the entire beachfront is surrounded with houses that will leave your mouth on the floor as you imagine what it must be like to have the Pacific Ocean as your backyard.
While it may appear that the dream mansions along Roadway 1 entirely block access to the beach, keep a look out for entry spots just off the highway.
There are two routes to access into Carbon Beach: a West Access point and an East Access point, and you may park for free just off the highway.
The beach is mainly, if not entirely, submerged at high tide. To prevent being pushed off the beach by rising sea levels, use a tide table to time your visit.
If you want to live on Billionaire’s Beach but don’t have the funds for a down payment, the Malibu Beach Inn is located on the water and allows tourists pretend to be one of the wealthy residents for a night.
Leo Carrillo State Park
Leo Carrillo State Beach is one of the last beaches you’ll see in Malibu if you’re travelling north from Los Angeles. Sequit Point juts out into the ocean, dividing the beach into two sections: North Beach and South Beach, with the former being the larger of the two.
Pet owners flock to Leo Carrillo because it is one of the few beaches in the area that accepts dogs as long as they stay on the North Beach part. If you’re travelling with your four-legged friend or simply want to socialise with other dog owners, Leo Carrillo is the beach for you.
Leo Carrillo State Park features campgrounds where you may pitch a tent or park your RV within walking distance of the beach for a low-cost stay near the water. Campgrounds fill up quickly, so make your reservation as soon as possible.
There is a paid parking lot with direct access to North Beach and plenty of parking spaces, however it can get busy on weekends and holidays. You can stroll from North Beach to South Beach or hunt for parking along Highway 1 if you want to get there. Just keep in mind that if you park in the North Beach lot and walk down the sand to South Beach, the high tide in the evening may prevent you from returning.
Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Since the water is part of a lagoon rather than the Pacific Ocean, Malibu Lagoon State Beach isn’t your standard Malibu beach. Malibu Lagoon, a massive 22-acre wetland region where Malibu Creek meets the ocean, is a home for more than 200 species of migratory and local birds.
If you appreciate design and home decor, pay a visit to the Adamson House, which is located right on the lagoon’s edge. The best examples of ornamental ceramic tile produced by Malibu Potteries in the 1920s and 1930s can be seen in this Spanish Revival.
The Malibu Lagoon Museum, which is linked to the Adamson House, provides an overview of the area’s history, from the indigenous Chumash tribes to its current status as a surfing hotspot.
At the intersection of Cross Creek Road and Highway 1, there is a dedicated paid parking lot for Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Surfrider Beach is directly next door if you want a more traditional Malibu beach experience.
Point Dume State Beach
It’s easy to forget that you’re only a few miles from the bustling Los Angeles metro area while you’re at Point Dume State Beach.
That’s because you’ll be admiring the magnificent headlands, rocky coves, and offshore rock formations while relaxing on the more than a mile of sandy beach at the base of the high cliffs. You might be able to see Catalina Island or the Channel Islands across Santa Monica Bay on a clear day.
Point Dume is a beach with everything. Active beachgoers can explore the different hiking paths that overlook the ocean before going for a swim, but there’s nothing wrong with simply lying on the sand for the day.
Scuba divers can explore the underwater area known as the Pinnacles, which is one of the state’s most popular diving locations. Grey whales can often be seen right from the coast during their annual migration from December to March.
It’s not just one of Malibu’s largest beaches, but it’s also divided into Big Dume Beach and Little Dume Beach, so you can generally find a spot even on crowded weekends or holidays. On weekdays, though, the park is pleasantly empty, making it the ideal urban retreat.
The little parking lot nearest to the entrance only has 10 places and fills up quickly, but at the end of Westward Beach Road is a much bigger paid parking lot. It’s only a 5-minute hike over Point Dume to the stairs that leads down to the lake from there.
Malibu Surfrider Beach
If you picture Sandra Dee as Gidget frolicking in a polka-dot bikini on a Malibu beach, you’re probably thinking about Surfrider Beach on the east end of Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Surfers love Surfrider’s incredibly long right-hand break, but the water is typically so crowded that there’s little room for swimmers.
The Malibu Pier, located at the beach’s northeast end, is a popular hangout for anglers who come to enjoy the surroundings while angling. You can eat at the Malibu Farm Cafe, which specialises in California cuisine and farm-to-table foods, if you don’t want to catch something yourself.
Although Surfrider Beach is part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach, the parking lot is on the lagoon side rather than the ocean side. There’s a separate parking area near the Adamson House that’s perfect for getting to Surfrider Beach, or you can always locate a place on the side of Highway 1 if you’re lucky.
Topanga State Park
Topanga Beach was Malibu’s first official beach. It covers more than 21 acres of land and boasts a mile of beachfront.
This is one of Malibu’s top surfing beaches, although it’s not ideal for swimming. Sunbathers will enjoy the vistas, and there is ample of parking — it is also handicapped accessible. This beach is ideal for scuba diving, windsurfing, and fishing, in addition to surfing.
Temescal Canyon Road Beach
Because of the perfect point breaks, the locals refer to Temescal Canyon Beach as ‘Point Zero.’ This is one of Malibu’s less crowded beaches, and it’s perfect for relaxing.
If lounging all day isn’t your thing, try surfing, body boarding, wind sailing, or swimming. With 23 acres of beach, there is plenty of room for the whole family.
Most of the beaches in Malibu require people to walk down the cliffs because the town is built on bluffs. If the beach becomes too much for you, there is also a wonderful outdoor Native American town to see.
To seem like a local, leave off the “beach” and just call it Zuma, a popular hangout for locals and visitors alike. Zuma’s 1.8 miles of beach frontage are just around the corner from Point Dume State Beach, allowing easy access to the state park’s hiking trails. On summer weekends, this south-facing beach receives a large number of people, but it is quite quiet during the week.
If you want to play beach volleyball, bring a ball with you because there are nets set up along the beach for informal games with friends.
Most of the time, the shallow water and gently sloping sand make it a wonderful spot for swimming and body surfing, but keep an eye out for posted flags indicating safe swimming zones. Although lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer months to monitor conditions, Zuma is known for its occasional dangerous riptides and rough surf.
There are eight paid parking lots in the Zuma Beach area with almost 2,000 parking spaces, but you can park for free along Highway 1 if you find an open place.
Paradise Cove Marina and Pier
This little beach, just north of Malibu and off Highway 1, is surrounded by hills and overlooks the ocean. If it looks familiar, don’t be surprised. “The OC,” “Baywatch,” and “The Rockford Files,” as well as the films “American Pie 2” and “Beach Blanket Bingo,” were all filmed here.
The Paradise Cove Beach Cafe extends onto the beach and offers a variety of amenities for hire, including lounge chairs and private terraces.
The restaurant owns a parking lot where you can park for up to four hours for free if you eat at the Beach Cafe, but all-day parking necessitates paying the full parking price. You can also park for free farther up the road at the Pacific Coast Highway and stroll to the beach without paying at the Cafe.
It’s best to make a reservation if you wish to eat at the restaurant and park in the adjoining lot, especially on busy summer weekends.
Westward Look Resort and Marina
Westward Beach, which stretches all the way to Point Dume, is actually the southernmost segment of Zuma Beach. It’s noted for its clear water and for being one of the best surf places in surf-obsessed Malibu, staging a number of elite contests throughout the year. Bottlenose dolphin pods are reported to come on occasion, sometimes so near to the coast that you’ll feel like you’re swimming with them.
If you forget to bring a lunch or become thirsty, The Sunset restaurant, located just at the beach entrance, has a wide selection of fresh products to choose from. The patio area overlooks Westward Beach and the Pacific Ocean, making it a great spot for a sundown drink after a day of sunbathing.
Despite the fact that Westward Beach is officially part of Zuma Beach, the Zuma parking lots are further north, and you’ll have to walk across the entire beach to get there. The nearest parking lot is a paid lot at the end of Westward Beach Road, which is also the entrance to Point Dume State Beach.
Las Tunas Beach
Las Tunas Beach is Malibu’s southernmost beach. It has a lower population density and is easier to reach than some of its neighbours.
Fishermen and scuba divers are more likely to visit this beach. Swimming, surf fishing, and surfing are all popular sports in this area.
This beach is located beneath the bluffs and is narrow. Even while it is more secluded than other beaches, the proximity of the road can make it fairly noisy.
Restrooms are accessible, as well as street parking. The beach is rocky in parts and sandy in others.
Lechuza Beach is a public beach located at the north end of Broad Beach, beneath the villas.
The formations of the rocks at Lechuza Beach provide some remarkable contrasts between the thundering waves and the white dunes, making it a photographer’s dream.
There are no facilities, despite the fact that parking is free.
Pack a lunch, bring a cooler full of drinks, and spend the day sunbathing and admiring the beautiful Malibu scenery.
Dan Blocker Beach
Locals refer to Dan Blocker Beach as Corral Beach. It was once owned by the cast of the Bonanza television show.
Kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, and walking are all popular activities on the beach.
The city of Los Angeles conducted major modifications to the neighbourhood in 2014. Restrooms, ocean-facing benches, a parking lot, and picnic tables were installed.
Another picturesque beach, this one is ideal for photographers or simply spending the day sunning and admiring the scenery. Other activities that draw visitors to the area include fishing and surfing.
How To Get To Malibu
The easiest way to get to Malibu is by car. Simply plug your starting point and destination into Google Maps and you’ll be on your way! Another popular option for those who don’t have a vehicle or would like to explore more beaches with less driving time, is the Malibu Breeze bus. Breeze buses depart from the corner of Las Tunas Drive and Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu (near Beachside).
So, you’re ready to go!
For those of you who have never been to Malibu, it can be a bit confusing as to which beach to visit. To help you decide, we’ve put together a list of our 12 favorite beaches in Malibu. Be prepared to have a day of fun at the beach.