Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach, California: Activities, Restaurants, Nightlife, Shopping and Parking

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Imagine the gentle waves lapping at your feet as you stroll along the golden sands of Malibu Beach, a coastal haven where adventure and relaxation blend seamlessly. This blog post will guide you through the best experiences in Malibu Beach, California, from sun-soaked activities and delectable dining options to vibrant nightlife and eclectic shopping spots.

Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach
Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach

Whether you’re planning to catch some waves, indulge in fresh seafood, or explore unique boutiques, Malibu offers something for every traveler. Plus, we’ll share handy tips for finding convenient parking spots near the main attractions. Dive into our comprehensive guide to discover all the essential stops for your next visit to this iconic beach destination.

See also: Best Things to Do at La Jolla Cove Beach, San Diego

Beach Activities in Malibu


When it comes to surfing in Malibu, you’re in for a treat. This place is a surfer’s paradise, boasting some of the best waves and scenic spots in California.

Popular Spots: If you’re looking to catch the best waves, head over to Point Dume, Zuma Beach, or Surfrider Beach. Point Dume is perfect for seasoned surfers with its challenging waves and stunning views. Zuma Beach offers consistent waves suitable for all levels, making it a favorite for both beginners and experts. Surfrider Beach, known for its iconic long right-hand break, is ideal for those who love a classic Malibu surfing experience.

Zuma Beach - Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach
Zuma Beach

Surf Schools: New to surfing? No problem. Malibu has plenty of surf schools ready to help you ride your first wave. Malibu Makos Surf Club and Learn to Surf LA are top picks. Both offer personalized lessons and experienced instructors to get you standing on that board in no time.

Best Times: Wondering when to go? The best time for surfing in Malibu is from late summer to early fall, particularly between August and October. During these months, the water is warmer, and the swells are just right for all skill levels.

Sunbathing and Swimming

For those who prefer lounging on the sand or taking a dip in the ocean, Malibu’s beaches are perfect.

Top Beaches: Zuma Beach and El Matador Beach are your go-to spots. Zuma Beach is one of the largest and most popular beaches in Malibu, known for its clean sands and great facilities. It’s perfect for a family day out. El Matador Beach, with its dramatic cliffs and secluded coves, offers a more intimate sunbathing experience. It’s a great spot for swimming and soaking up the sun away from the crowds.

El Matador Beach - Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach
El Matador Beach

Safety Tips: Safety first, always! Both beaches have lifeguards on duty during peak times, ensuring you can swim safely. Remember to check for riptide warnings and always swim near lifeguard stations. It’s also wise to bring along sunscreen and stay hydrated, especially on hot summer days.

Beach Volleyball

If you’re into beach volleyball, Malibu has got you covered.

Locations: Head over to Malibu Lagoon State Beach or Zuma Beach. Malibu Lagoon offers a more relaxed atmosphere, great for a casual game with friends. Zuma Beach, on the other hand, has multiple courts and is often bustling with both locals and tourists.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach - Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach
Malibu Lagoon State Beach

Local Tournaments: Interested in seeing some competitive action or joining in yourself? Malibu hosts various beach volleyball tournaments throughout the year. Zuma Beach is known for its lively tournaments where you can either watch the pros play or sign up and show off your skills.

See also: Best Things to Do in Laguna Beach, California

Outdoor Adventures in Malibu


Malibu is a hiker’s dream, with trails that offer breathtaking views, stunning waterfalls, and encounters with wildlife.

Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park

Popular Trails:

  • Solstice Canyon: This trail is perfect for hikers of all levels. It features lush vegetation, the ruins of the Roberts Ranch House, and a seasonal waterfall. The trailhead is located at the end of Corral Canyon Road, with parking available for a small fee.
  • Escondido Falls: Known for its impressive waterfall, this trail takes you through some of Malibu’s most luxurious neighborhoods before leading you into a canyon. The falls themselves are divided into the lower and upper sections, with the upper falls offering a more challenging climb but a rewarding view.
  • Malibu Creek State Park: With over 8,000 acres of scenic beauty, this park offers multiple trails, including the popular Rock Pool and Century Lake Trail. This park is known for its dramatic landscapes and was even a filming location for the TV show “MAS*H”. The park is open from 8 AM to 10 PM, with a parking fee of $12 per day or $3 per hour​.

Trail Highlights: These trails not only offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Mountains but also provide a chance to spot local wildlife such as deer and various bird species. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beautiful waterfalls at Escondido Falls and the historical ruins at Solstice Canyon.

See also: Best Things to Do in Malibu Creek State Park: Camping and Hiking Trails


For those who prefer two wheels over two feet, Malibu has fantastic biking opportunities.

Malibu Bluffs Park - Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach
Malibu Bluffs Park

Bike Paths:

  • Pacific Coast Highway: This iconic route offers cyclists stunning ocean views as they pedal along the coast. It’s a bit challenging due to the traffic, but the scenery is worth it.
  • Malibu Bluffs Park: Located off the Pacific Coast Highway, this park offers bike paths with breathtaking ocean views and less traffic. It’s a great spot for a more relaxed biking experience​.

Bike Rentals: There are several local shops where you can rent bikes. Malibu Bike Rentals offers a variety of bikes for different levels, from casual riders to serious cyclists. Guided bike tours are also available for those who want to explore Malibu with an expert guide.

Kayaking and Paddleboarding

For water enthusiasts, kayaking and paddleboarding in Malibu are must-try activities.

Best Spots:

  • Malibu Lagoon: This is a great spot for both beginners and experienced paddlers. The calm waters of the lagoon make it perfect for a leisurely paddle.
  • Paradise Cove: Known for its picturesque setting, this spot offers calm waters and beautiful views of the cliffs and shoreline. It’s a fantastic place to spend a sunny afternoon on the water​.

Rental Services: You can rent kayaks and paddleboards from Malibu Surf Shack and Malibu Kayaks. These shops provide all the gear you need and offer lessons for beginners. Malibu Surf Shack is conveniently located near Surfrider Beach, making it easy to get started on your adventure.

See also: Best Things to Do in Carmel Beach California

Cultural and Historical Attractions in Malibu

Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum

Historical Significance: The Adamson House, often referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Tile,” is a historical gem located at the meeting point of Malibu Creek and the Pacific Ocean. This Spanish Colonial Revival-style home, built in 1929, was the dream house of Rhoda Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson.

The house is adorned with exquisite decorative tiles from Malibu Potteries, showcasing an array of vibrant colors and intricate designs. The Adamson family played a crucial role in Malibu’s development, owning extensive lands and battling to preserve the region’s beauty.

Visitor Information:

  • Opening Hours: The Adamson House is open for guided tours Wednesday through Saturday, from 11 AM to 2 PM. Tours are first-come, first-served and typically last about 45 minutes. Garden tours are available at 10 AM every Friday.
  • Admission Fees: Entrance to the house and garden tours costs $7 for adults and $2 for children aged 6-17. Kids under 5 can enter for free. The Malibu Lagoon Museum, located next to the house, is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 AM to 3 PM and is free of charge.
  • Parking: Paid parking is available at nearby lots, including the Malibu Lagoon Lot at Cross Creek. On-site parking is not permitted, but drop-offs are allowed at the front of the house​.

Getty Villa

Art Collections: The Getty Villa is an impressive museum dedicated to ancient art and cultures of Greece, Rome, and Etruria. The museum’s design is inspired by the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, offering a unique and immersive experience. Inside, you can explore over 44,000 artifacts, including sculptures, paintings, and pottery that date back to 6,500 BC to 400 AD. Noteworthy pieces include the Lansdowne Herakles and the Victorious Youth.

Visitor Tips:

  • Best Times to Visit: To avoid crowds, visit the Getty Villa early in the morning or later in the afternoon on weekdays.
  • Special Exhibits: Check their website for rotating exhibitions that delve into specific themes or periods, providing deeper insights into ancient civilizations.
  • Practical Info: The Getty Villa is open Wednesday to Monday, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is free, but parking costs $20 per car, or $15 after 3 PM. Timed-entry tickets are required and can be reserved online​.

Malibu Pier

Activities: Malibu Pier is more than just a spot for a stroll; it’s a hub of activity. Enjoy fishing off the pier with local bait and tackle shops ready to supply your needs. For dining, Malibu Farm offers fresh, organic meals with stunning ocean views. The pier also has quaint shops where you can find unique souvenirs and beachwear.

Events: Throughout the year, Malibu Pier hosts various seasonal events. From summer concerts to holiday celebrations, there’s always something happening. The pier is particularly lively during summer months and holidays, offering a perfect blend of local culture and festive activities.

See also: Best Things to Do in Hermosa Beach California

Dining and Nightlife in Malibu

Seafood Restaurants

Top Picks:

  • Malibu Farm: Located on the Malibu Pier, Malibu Farm is a favorite for its farm-to-table approach. The Grilled Salmon and Fish Tacos are must-tries, offering fresh flavors with a stunning ocean view. Open daily from 9 AM to 9 PM, it’s perfect for any meal of the day.
  • Neptune’s Net: This iconic seafood diner, famous for its appearances in movies like Fast and Furious, offers a laid-back vibe with a retro feel. The clam chowder and deep-fried seafood are highly recommended. Neptune’s Net is open from 10:30 AM to 8:00 PM on weekdays and 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM on weekends.
  • Nobu Malibu: For a luxurious dining experience, Nobu Malibu is unbeatable. Enjoy dishes like Black Cod Miso and Yellowtail Jalapeño while taking in the beautiful oceanfront setting. Reservations are essential due to its popularity​.

Cafes and Breakfast Spots

Popular Spots:

  • Malibu Kitchen: This charming spot in Malibu Country Mart is ideal for breakfast or brunch. The Egg Sandwiches and Blueberry Muffins are crowd favorites. It’s a cozy place to start your day with specialty coffees and a laid-back atmosphere.
  • Malibu Country Mart: Apart from Malibu Kitchen, this upscale shopping center features various cafes and eateries perfect for a morning bite. Try Alfred Coffee for a perfect latte or enjoy brunch at John’s Garden with their famous Acai Bowls and fresh salads​.


Bars and Lounges:

  • Moonshadows Malibu: This oceanfront bar offers stunning sunset views and a vibrant nightlife scene. Known for its signature cocktails and seafood dishes, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the evening. Happy hour runs from 3 PM to 6 PM on weekdays, making it a perfect spot for early evening drinks​.
  • The Sunset Restaurant: Located right on Zuma Beach, The Sunset offers a mix of fine dining and casual beach bar vibes. Enjoy the Lobster Tacos or the Tuna Tartare while watching the waves roll in. It’s also popular for its lively weekend atmosphere and happy hour specials​.

Live Music:

  • Casa Escobar Malibu Beach: This venue is known for its vibrant atmosphere and live music on weekends. They offer a variety of performances from local bands, making it a perfect spot for a fun night out.
  • The Malibu Inn: Another local favorite, The Malibu Inn frequently hosts live bands and DJs. With a lively crowd and excellent drinks, it’s a great place to enjoy Malibu’s nightlife.

See also: Best Things to Do in Big Sur Pfeiffer Beach California

Shopping and Local Markets in Malibu

Malibu Country Mart

Shops: Malibu Country Mart is the ultimate shopping destination in Malibu, offering a blend of high-end boutiques and unique stores. Located in the heart of Malibu’s Civic Center, it spans six acres and features a variety of shops that cater to all tastes. You can explore trendy fashion boutiques like Madison, known for its contemporary clothing and accessories, or visit Bleusalt, which offers luxurious, seasonless basics made sustainably in the USA. For home goods, CB2 provides an edited collection of fine objects and bespoke services. Additionally, Oliver Peoples and 9026-Eyes offer chic eyewear options, while John Varvatos showcases stylish men’s clothing.

Services: Beyond shopping, Malibu Country Mart provides several top-notch services. Pamper yourself at Cie Salon or indulge in a relaxing session at Ambience Skin & Body. For health and wellness enthusiasts, 5 Point Yoga offers various yoga classes, and Daily Calm Wellness provides holistic treatments. You can also find practical services like Malibu Car Wash and Malibu Grooming Co., ensuring your car and pet are well taken care of while you shop​.

Farmers Markets

Locations and Times: Malibu boasts vibrant farmers markets that are perfect for picking up fresh, local produce and artisanal goods. The Malibu Farmers Market, held every Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM, is a must-visit. Located at 23555 Civic Center Way, it offers a wide variety of organic fruits, vegetables, flowers, and handmade crafts. The Cornucopia Foundation, which runs the market, emphasizes sustainable and eco-friendly practices​.

Local Produce: At the Malibu Farmers Market, you’ll find an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables that showcase the best of California’s agriculture. From juicy strawberries in the summer to crisp apples in the fall, the market is a haven for fresh produce lovers. Additionally, local vendors offer artisanal products like homemade jams, fresh-baked bread, and unique crafts, making it a great spot to find one-of-a-kind items. Don’t miss the chance to chat with the farmers and artisans themselves, who are often more than happy to share stories about their products and offer tips on how to enjoy them​.

See also: Best Things to Do at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Family-Friendly Activities in Malibu

Malibu Lagoon State Beach

Educational Programs: Malibu Lagoon State Beach offers a variety of educational programs that are perfect for kids. Guided nature walks provide a fun and informative way to learn about the local ecosystem. Bird watching is particularly popular, with tours offered by the Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society every fourth Sunday of the month. These walks are free, and binoculars are provided, making it easy for families to join in and spot local wildlife​.

Kid-Friendly Areas: The beach itself is a great spot for families. There are safe swimming areas where kids can enjoy the water, as well as picnic areas perfect for a family lunch. The park’s facilities include outdoor showers and picnic tables, making it convenient for a day out. Remember to bring along beach toys and a picnic to make the most of your visit​.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Activities: The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a haven for outdoor activities. The Junior Ranger program is a hit with kids, offering activities that teach them about nature and conservation. Educational hikes led by park rangers provide a hands-on learning experience about the local flora and fauna. It’s a fantastic way to get kids involved in nature and spark their curiosity.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Visitor Centers: The visitor centers at the recreation area are equipped with resources for families, including maps, educational materials, and tips on the best trails for kids. The staff is always helpful and can provide information on upcoming programs and events specifically designed for younger visitors​.

Whale Watching

Best Seasons: Whale watching in Malibu is an unforgettable experience for families. The peak times to see gray whales are from December to April during their migration. Summer months are also good for spotting blue whales and humpback whales, making it a year-round activity depending on the species you want to see​.

Newport Landing Whale Watching - Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach
Newport Landing Whale Watching

Tours and Charters: Several local tour operators offer family-friendly whale watching excursions. Malibu Coastal Adventures and Newport Landing Whale Watching are popular choices. These tours provide educational commentary about the whales and their habits, ensuring that both kids and adults have a memorable and informative experience on the water​.

See also: 17 Best Things to Do in Santa Barbara

Final Thoughts on Best Things to Do in Malibu Beach, California

As the sun sets over the expansive Malibu coastline, it’s clear that this beachside paradise offers far more than just stunning views. From thrilling water sports and gourmet dining to lively evening entertainment and diverse shopping opportunities, Malibu Beach has something to captivate every visitor.

Remember, our guide on the best activities, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and parking options is designed to help you make the most of your visit. So, whether you’re seeking a serene getaway or an action-packed adventure, Malibu Beach promises an unforgettable experience.

Don’t just take our word for it; come and see for yourself what makes Malibu a must-visit destination on California’s scenic map.

FAQs Things to Do in Malibu Beach

What is so special about Malibu Beach?

Malibu Beach is renowned for its stunning oceanfront homes, often owned by Hollywood stars and top athletes, who enjoy a private and elegant lifestyle. The area offers breathtaking views, excellent surfing conditions, and unforgettable sunsets. Despite its exclusive reputation, visitors can also experience Malibu’s charm, making it a magical destination for all.

Why is Malibu so famous?

Malibu is famous for its Mediterranean climate, a 21-mile stretch of beautiful beaches along the Pacific Ocean, and its status as a residence for many affluent Hollywood celebrities and executives. This combination of natural beauty and glamorous living has made Malibu a well-known and desirable location.

Can anyone go to Malibu Beach?

Yes, anyone can visit Malibu Beach. The coastline features 27 miles of scenic public beaches that are just a short distance from Los Angeles. Visitors can enjoy a day in the sun on these beautiful, accessible beaches, ensuring a wonderful experience for all who come.

Is Malibu California expensive?

Yes, Malibu is one of the more expensive cities in the US, with a cost of living estimated to be 149.1% of the national average. It ranks 6th out of 273 cities in the country in terms of cost of living, reflecting its high desirability and affluent resident base.

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