While some might think of this city as just a postcard picture, there are so many things to do in Malibu.
What kind of vacation do you want? Choose from scenic hikes, beach days, wine tasting, and more. Cruise down Pacific Coast Highway and scope out a stretch of sand to call your own for the day. Sure the streets are a little crowded (hey, it’s So Cal) but the beaches offer private coves and peaceful mornings. Grab a cup of joe from a local roaster and you’re ready to get started. Today, we’re going to forget about the glitz of Beverly Hills and heyday of downtown Los Angeles and all of its beaches. We’re going to explore the best things to do in Malibu. Are you ready? Alright, let’s go!
Here Are Our Picks for the Best Things to Do in Malibu
1. Sneak Away to El Matador State Beach
The most memorable times in Malibu are no doubt sunrise or sunset. So whether you come out early in the am or stay after every soul has gone, you’ll love El Matador State Beach.This little place is a treasure trove of rocky outposts and secret coves. Pick a good spot to spread out your towel; you’re not going to want to go anywhere else anytime soon. Just watch out for high tide; it’s a safe bet to store your gear high up on the rocks.
Unlike the crowded beaches of Orange County or a lot of places in LA, you can enjoy a little peace and quiet here. Coupled with El Pascador and La Piedra, it makes up the Robert H. Meyer Memorial Beaches.
2. Hop, Skip over to Zuma Beach and Point Dume
Cruise on past Will Rogers State Beach and you’ll find these lovely little spots. While Zuma is definitely a main beach in Malibu, it’s a great spot to bring the family. Plus, you won’t have to struggle with parallel parking along PCH (you know who you are). This beach offers plenty of accommodations for crowds with on-site pay parking and lifeguards on duty. Stretch out. Bring your chairs, boogie boards, and the whole shebang.
Just down to the south, you’ll find Point Dume. If you’re feeling like doing more than just lounging, this is the perfect place to go. Both hikers and cliffside repellers seek out this spot for a little adrenaline rush. You’re not going to find a better view from the top either. Just saying. Visiting Zuma Beach and Pointe Dume are among the best things to do in Malibu.
3. Take Advantage of the On-Site Camping (and Everything Else) at Leo Carrillo State Park
If you’ve grown up in southern California, you know this is the state park your dad takes you to when he wants to reflect on the good ol days. Back in the 1970s before tourists discovered it, this state park was the place to go for perfect surf and empty sand. While it’s crowded in the summers today, it’s still a blast. If you ask us, hanging out at Leo Carrillo is one of the best things to do in Malibu. Longboarders paddle out to catch mellow waves while nature lovers explore tide pools and hunt for sand crabs.
Are you traveling with friends? If so, you should definitely take advantage of the on-site camping grounds, picnic area, and RV lot. Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to bring your dog! This is one of the rare beaches where leashed pets are allowed to roam and have a little fun of their own. If that doesn’t give it extra points, we don’t know what does. Dogs make life better.
4. Check out the Adamson House
Have you ever heard of the Adamson House? Well, it’s about time that you did. This 1929 marvel of Spanish architecture can be found within the Malibu Lagoon State Park. A major attraction, travelers come from all around to take in its beauty. You’ll be hard pressed to find something quite as beautiful as these mosaic tiles catching the light in golden hour. Guided tours allow travelers to gain access to a lot of the property.
5. Catch a Wave at Surfrider Beach
Would this even be a list about the best things to do in Malibu if we didn’t let you in on all the best beaches? Have you been scoping out a great spot to catch the waves? Well, lucky you. You’ve found it. While this beach isn’t as quiet as say, El Matador, spending your day here is easily one of the best things to do in Malibu.
This is the famed spot of the World Surfing League? It’s also known for being the spot where the kitschy 1960s sitcom Gidget was filmed. P.S. If any of you actually know what that show is, you’ll score some extra points in our book. All in all, Surfrider Beach is simply one of those iconic Malibu locales you just have to visit.
You can see why. It’s prime location for people watching. Post up with a cup of coffee and watch the day unfold. The best places to park can be found along Adamson-House, the Country Mart, and Pier. From there, you’ll make your way past the lagoon and down to the warm sand.
6. Check Off Your Iconic Rite of Passage at Malibu Wines and Malibu Wine Safari
LA locales know this spot well. When you’re looking for a relaxing weekend activity (with a twist), check out Malibu Wines. Whether you’ve lived in the area for years, months, or are just stopping by, you’ve probably heard about it at some point. This place is simply lovely. Think sprawling vineyards, plenty of space for a picnic, and fun themed events. Yes, this is the place of bachelorette dreams.
Some of the events listed are Friday night karaoke, Sunday yoga and mimosas, and Thursday movie screenings. Here, conversation and laughter flows just as easily as the wine itself. Varieties from Semler and Saddlerock grace the bar. So why not sample a few flights on a Sunday afternoon? If you think this sounds great, just wait. It gets even better. Have you heard of the Malibu Wine Safari? Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like it is.
This little adventure combines the fun of a zoo and winery with a two-hour tour out and about in nature. Here, you’ll get to feed animals while stopping to taste test various blends offered by Saddlerock Ranch. Go ahead and make some memories. We’ve got to say spending the day here is one of the best things to do in Malibu.
7. Soak up Some Culture at the Getty Villa
Come see the Getty Villa. It’s one of the best things to do in Malibu – hands down. Back in 1974, J. Paul Getty, an oil magnate, opened a museum in his posh villa overlooking Pacific Palisades. While skepticism from the local art community ensued, so did word of his incredible collection. Despite the initial adversity, the Getty grew to become a well-respected local attraction. Back in 1997, the arts and paintings were transferred to the Getty Center and the villa, converted into a museum for his collection of Mediterranean pieces, specifically.
After the Getty reopened in 2006, the press went a bit easier on him. Today, you’ll find roughly 1,200 artifacts on display at a given time. They span an incredible timeline, dating from 6,500 B.C. to 500 A.D. If you’re a novice when it comes to art and history, don’t sweat it. We know just the place for you to start. Begin your exploration over in the Timescape Room. Here, you will find a mounted frieze of maps. This is a simple way to gain a general understanding of the civilizations you are learning about and the art they created.
While it’s easy to lose yourself for hours in the galleries, there are a few exhibits that stand out the most to us. In room 101, you will find fascinating collections of items pointing back to Greek mythology of the gods, one of which is a 2,500 year old limestone and marble statue of Aphrodite. Several rooms down in 108, you will find a jaw-dropping 1,900 year old statue of Hercules, the iconic figure who inspired Getty to construct his Romanesque villa.
Plan Your Trip and Check off the Best Things to Do in Malibu from Your List
From museums to beaches, epic hikes, and wine safaris, there is no shortage of things to do in Malibu. If you’re visiting with family, spending a day at one of the many beaches is great, cheap entertainment. But if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous or hoping to soak up some culture, there are plenty of options for you as well. Overall, these were just a few of the unique things to do in Malibu to look forward to. Now, it’s time to start planning your special getaway. Let us know where you want to go the most. We’re all ears.
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