Located in the west of Los Angeles, California, Malibu is known for its celebrity homes and beaches, including sandy and wide Zumba Beach. On the east side is the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, which is widely known as the Surfrider Beach for its waves. Inland, trails were weaved through grassland, waterfalls, and canyons in the Santa Monica Mountains. Other interesting places to explore are Malibu’s stunning beaches, luxury restaurants, boutique hotels, and Malibu vacation rentals. Here’s a guide to your next Malibu getaway packed with helpful travel tips.
Hike to the Top of Point Dume
Hiking to the top of Point Dume is one of the best things to do in Malibu. It’s an easy hike from the beach to the top of the cliff and it’s beginner-friendly so everyone can try it. At the side of the cliff, you’ll get to see rock climbers working their way up. And during winter season you’ll witness whales migrating to other direction.
- From the parking lot, go towards Point Dume. At the end of the lot, you’ll find the entrance to the trail. It’s a bit sandy, but easy. Just be careful because there are plenty of cactus plants along the trail.
- Go towards the cliff and you’ll see some ropes hanging on the edge. This Oceanside of the cliff is very popular among rock climbers, so don’t be surprised if someone pops up on the edge.
- Between months of December to April, you might be able to see whales. These whales migrate south for the winter season.
- Bring only the things that you’ll use such as water, snacks, proper swimming attire, slippers, sunblock, sunglass, and camera.
Hike to Escondido Falls
Enjoy this 200-feet tiered waterfall! Escondido falls is partially paved, well-worn 3.8-mile out and back hike and a very easy to use trail. Don’t forget to bring your camera and shoot a few keepers of this stunning falls.
The first mile on Winding Way is paved, leading you to Escondido Canyon Trail. It’s safest to stay on the dirt side of the road. You’ll take this road up around 200 feet to reach the Escondido Canyon Park.
After that 1.75 shaded miles in the park, you’ll now at the lower Escondido Falls. The 50-foot waterfall is your reward for those miles that you’ve hiked going to the falls. If you still have the energy, you can actually head up to the upper Escondido Falls which is a 150-foot fall. You’ll find the route to the right of the lower falls, it will help you make it to the upper falls.
- Going to the top of the falls is a bit of a scramble so be prepared.
- Make sure you’re wearing proper shoes for hiking.
- For the packing list, bring only necessary things such as hiking shoes, water, snacks, sunscreen, hat, and camera.
Surf Zuma Beach
Zuma is a 3-mile stretch of beach in Malibu. This is a great place for fun with family or friends. Zuma beach is known for being the cleanest beach in Los Angeles. Surfing is one of the top activities to do in Zuma Beach.
- Paid parking on the beach side is ranging from $8 to $12, but you can get a free parking across the street.
- For the packing list, bring things like food, surfboard, and beach supplies. Also ensure to choose the right backpack.
Hike the Rising Sun Trail, Solstice Canyon
If you’re up for a good workout, one of the best things to do in Malibu is hike along a small stream to a waterfall. Close to the waterfall is the ruins of the Tropical Terrance House which was designed by architect Paul Revere Williams.
To reach the trail, head up the stairs from the parking lot. Turn right after crossing a paved road. The easier route is to take Solstice Canyon Trail, a mix of paved road, and fire road. But, this trail is more likely to have more people than Rising Sun.
For the packing list, hiking shoes, snacks, water, and sun protection are the things to bring.
Explore El Matador Beach
El Matador is home to amazing rock formations and caves with stunning sunrises and sunsets. This beach is also a great place to try photography skills with different lenses, exposures, and action shots. There is something unique about this strip of beach and it’s best during sunsets. Boasts beautiful rock formations and caves, there are endless opportunities for finding unique shots and new compositions. El Matador Beach is also one of the most favorite places for photographers and wedding photos.
It would be better to utilize the free parking on the PCH than pay for it for $8. PCH is located on the opposite side of the road from the beach. Walk past the state beach parking area to the dirt trail and it will lead you down the beach. Upon reaching the beach, it’s best to first explore the rock formations and caves and soak in the natural beauty of the beach. Aside from great shooting spot, El Matador is also a great place for picnic lunch, a quiet spot to read books, lying out in the sun with families or friends, and of course to relax.
- It’s always better to shoot during the 10-15 minutes after the sun slips over the horizon because the colours in the sky are different and really pop during that time. The lighting after sunset is great for capturing silhouettes and for long exposure photography.
For the packing list tips, bring necessary things such as your camera, sunscreen, towels, blankets, flashlight, snacks, and water.
Hike to Newton and Zuma Canyon Falls
This great adventure will take you to three amazing waterfalls in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area.
The trailhead starts on Kanan Dume road, where the backbone trail meets also. Trail for about 2 miles until you reach the unmarked junction. Then, for another 2 miles, take the trail to the left and it will lead you to a vertical 25-foot hidden waterfall. Once you reach the base of the falls, enjoy the scenery and get a few shots.
For the packing list, bring only your hiking boots/water shoes, backpack, camera/tripod, food, water, long pants, shirt, and hat.