The diamond of Southern California is undoubtedly the beautiful and glamorous Malibu. If you’re thinking of visiting, a trip there wouldn’t be complete without a visit to some of the best beaches in Malibu, California.
Stretching along the Pacific Coast Highway between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains, these stunning stretches of rocky coastline are home to some of SoCal’s most beautiful beaches. Hiking trails, famous surf spots, and world-class dining are just some of the activities that you can enjoy on a trip to Malibu.
If you’re ready to experience some of the most amazing beaches in California, pack your beach bag and your surfboard and check out this guide to the best Malibu beaches.
Top-rated Malibu beaches
For the quintessential Southern Californian beach experience head to Zuma Beach. With 1.8 miles of stunning coastline and 105 acres of property, there’s plenty of space to spread out on the pristine white sands.
Zuma Beach is popular for swimming, bodysurfing, windsurfing, and surfing. The riptides and waves can be pretty intense, so keep that in mind when you go for a swim, although lifeguards are on duty just in case.
Amenities at Zuma Beach include restrooms, showers, and beach wheelchairs. You can enjoy a game of beach volleyball on the courts, or enjoy one of the many restaurants or food stands.
There’s a bus stop right on the beach if you choose to use public transportation to get to Zuma Beach, or if you have your own wheels there are eight parking lots to choose from that have nearby beach access.
Nicknamed “Billionaire Beach.” Carbon Beach is in one of the most wealthy areas of Malibu. It’s lined with multi-million dollar beachfront estates but remains open to the public despite years of local homeowners attempting to block public access. If you’re looking for the best views, a beautiful beach, and the chance to view some of the most incredible homes in Malibu, this is the spot.
With a one-mile stretch of sandy beach, Carbon Beach is an awesome place to spend the afternoon in the sun or take a long walk to admire the incredible beach homes of Malibu’s elite.
Across the water, you can spot Catalina Island, Queen’s Necklace, and the Malibu Pier. With the mountains emerging in the background, you can see why Carbon Beach has the most expensive real estate on the entire Pacific Coast Highway.
There are plenty of shopping and dining options nearby including the beloved Malibu Country Mart, housing a variety of upscale boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.
El Matador Beach
El Matador Beach is one of Malibu’s secret treasures. Escape the crowds of some of the more popular Malibu beach spots and revel in the pure and unspoiled natural beauty of El Matador State Beach.
The small parking lot located just off of the Pacific Coast Highway only has 20 spots, so try to arrive early. If you can snag a spot, you’ll be glad they limit parking, as you’ll feel like you have the entire place to yourself. Be aware that parking costs eight dollars.
After a steep hike down to the beach, you’ll be overwhelmed with stunning views of the rugged coastline. Explore the sea caves and take photographs of the towering rocks before strolling along the sand.
If time allows, stay for sunset. El Matador Beach is one of the best places to go in Malibu to see the sun sinking down into the horizon.
Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Where Malibu Creek meets the Pacific Ocean you’ll find the beautiful Malibu Lagoon State Beach. It’s surrounded by iconic Malibu landmarks like the Malibu Pier and features amenities like picnic tables and bathrooms.
Nature lovers will enjoy the hiking trails and bird watching opportunities, along with the chance to view the tidal wetland ecosystem. Along the trails, you’ll see all kinds of interesting sculptures and art projects, as well as informational signage designed to teach visitors about the lagoon and wetlands. Parking costs $12 for the entire day.
There’s plenty of space to spread out on the wide sandy shores of Westward Beach. Located to the west of Zuma Beach, Westward Beach stretches for three miles and features beautiful white sand, making it easy to spread out a beach blanket and claim a spot for yourself.
Lifeguards are on duty and there are plenty of restrooms. Feeling hungry? Right in the middle of Westward Beach you’ll find the popular fine dining restaurant, The Sunset. It’s open for lunch and dinner and is the perfect place to enjoy an amazing meal after a day enjoying Westward Beach.
A secluded beach in Malibu might seem like an unattainable dream, but take a trip to Paradise Cove and you’ll find just that. This public beach is located just in front of a restaurant that goes by the same name. The restaurant is covered in surfboards and has a cool outdoor seating area with thatch umbrellas and wooden lounge chairs.
You can enjoy drinks and tasty food right on the beach. There’s also super cheap parking nearby so you can easily head down to the beach for a day of swimming, body surfing, or sunbathing.
There are lifeguards on duty as well as a private pier that stretches out into the water. It’s also a great place to take a wander along the beach to check out some of Malibu’s fabulous beach mansions.
Surfrider Beach is an iconic landmark in Southern Californian surf culture. Here you can experience the very heart and soul of Malibu and the origins of surfing’s popularity in the US during the 60s. The classic location is immortalized in a variety of surf movies including Beach Blanket Bingo and was once the home of the famous surfer, Gidget.
It’s attached to Malibu Lagoon State Beach and the Malibu Pier but out of the many beaches in Malibu, Surfrider is known for having THE wave. The break at Surfrider is legendary, and those who enjoy the sport cannot skip attempting to ride one while they’re in Malibu.
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From Surfrider, you can round out your beach day with a little bit of history at the Adamson House. This is a classic example of Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture that’s now a museum, complete with extensive gardens. You’ll also find the Malibu Lagoon Museum nearby, capturing the local history and the spirit of Old California.
Leo Carrillo State Park
Travelers with pups in tow can now celebrate! Leo Carrillo State Park allows for fun with the whole family, including your four-legged friends.
There are so many beaches to explore within the state park including the secluded North Beach, South Beach, Staircase Beach, and Leo Carrillo State Beach.
Spend the day exploring the tide pools, hiking the trails, and admiring the rock arches. Want to stay longer? Find a spot at the large campground. Leo Carrillo State Park is well worth a visit.
Topanga Beach is the starting point for miles and miles of public beaches, covering over 21 acres. It’s a popular surfing spot, especially on the Western end near the canyon, but swimmers will want to be careful due to the big waves that break over cobblestones.
Located just off of the Pacific Coast Highway near the Pacific Palisades neighborhood, the public beach includes restrooms, picnic areas, and showers. If surfing isn’t your thing, you can still have an awesome time fishing or even scuba diving.
Point Dume State Beach
Rocky coves, towering cliffs, and a beautiful sandy beach: It doesn’t get much better than Pointe Dume State Beach in Malibu, California. Take in the stunning views of Santa Monica Bay and the north Malibu Coast as well as the Santa Monica Mountains. You can even spot Catalina Island from the cliffs.
The area’s many hiking trails are some of the best places to hike around Los Angeles, so get out and enjoy that famous SoCal sunshine.
To access Big Dume Beach, the main beach at Point Dume State Beach, you’ll begin at a trailhead across from the nature preserve and descend down a steep staircase towards the crescent-shaped beach.
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From there you can walk to other wonderful places like Little Dume Beach, where you can explore tidal pools at low tide. Whale watching is another popular activity at Point Dume State Beach. There’s so much to do that you’ll want to return again and again during your stay in Malibu. Make sure to designate at least a day!
Las Tunas Beach
Located at the southern tip of Malibu, Las Tunas Beach is less busy than other nearby beaches. It’s a popular spot for fishermen and scuba divers as well as a great swimming beach.
The narrow beach stretches beneath the towering bluffs and is scattered with rocks. There are still plenty of sandy spots to enjoy sunbathing and amenities include bathrooms and plenty of street parking.
Nicholas Canyon Beach
Surf enthusiasts call Nicholas Canyon Beach “Zeros” or “Point Zeros” because it has a perfect point break, one of the few left in the Malibu area. Even if you aren’t a surfer, you can still enjoy this great spot for activities like body surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, and even wind sailing.
Nicolas Canyon Beach stretches over a mile and the grounds are 23 acres, so there are plenty of spaces to picnic and park your car. After enjoying the beach, head to the Wishtoyo Foundation’s Chumash Village for a unique cultural experience that allows visitors to experience a working Native American village. There are replicas of Chumash homes, canoes, and tools to view and explore.
El Pescador State Beach
Sandy coves and rocky tidal pools make El Pescador State Beach a favorite for locals and visitors alike. It’s a short hike down the beach from the parking lot in Western Malibu. Once you’re on the beach you can walk to neighboring beaches like El Sol, a secret beach that doesn’t have its own access point yet.
The sand is soft, the beach is wide and it’s more secluded than other nearby spots, making El Pescador Beach a favorite for artists who want to paint the pristine seascape.
Sycamore Cove Beach
Located in Point Mugu State Park, Sycamore Cove Beach is popular for travelers due to the nearby campground and the amazing hiking trails. If you’re looking to get into nature, this is the perfect place.
With trails for every fitness level, Sycamore Cove is a great beach to swim at after you get nice and warm from a sunny hike. It’s a gateway to the Boney Mountain State Wilderness Area and one of the best spots in Malibu to enjoy the Santa Monica Mountains.
Lechuza Beach is another paradise for outdoorsy types. It’s owned by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority who maintain the pristine coastline.
It’s close to El Matador State Beach and features some of the same epic rock formations as well as kelp forests and exquisite views. Lechuza Beach features three public access points, along with parking lots and street parking.
Dan Blocker County Beach
A favorite of surfers and divers, Dan Blocker County Beach is a long narrow stretch of coastline between Latino Shores and Malibu Road. There’s access to the Solstice Canyon trails if you’re in the mood for a hike before swimming or lounging on the sand. You can easily walk to nearby Corral State Beach that’s great for activities like boating and whitewater paddling.
If you get hungry, enjoy the nearby restaurants, or pack a picnic and relax at the picnic tables near the parking lot.
The Pacific Coast Highway runs along the entire stretch of Dan Blocker County Beach and there is easy parking along the shoulder of the road as well as in a small public lot. Lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer.
Broad Beach is a narrow stretch of coastline and the perfect spot to check out some of Malibu’s most impressive homes. At the north end of the beach, visitors can enjoy viewing the tidal pools that separate Lechuza Beach from Broad Beach.
It’s walking distance from Zuma Beach and, when conditions are right, it’s frequented by surfers. One thing to keep in mind: During high tide, there isn’t much space to walk on the beach. Time your visit with low tide to get the best out of your journey.