14 Things to Do in Malibu for a Perfect Day by the Beach
Luxurious, romantic, and incredibly beautiful, Malibu is one of those unique beach towns with a vibe all its own. The rich and famous know this, and many have made their home here, thanks to the breathtaking Malibu coastline. Many mansions can be found high up on the bluff overlooking miles of fine sand beaches and an unbeatable view of the Pacific. Malibu vacation rentals are some of the best in California, and many are very affordable.
Malibu is well-known as a surfer’s paradise, but there is also the iconic fishing pier and amazing shopping. And that’s just the beginning. Here are 14 reasons why you need to emerge from your Malibu luxury rental and make a day of it by the beach in Malibu.
1. The Getty Villa. Paul Getty designed his former residence to mimic that of a 1st century Italian Villa, and what an incredible job he did. Today, it is an educational center and museum that houses his collection of more than 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan artifacts. About 1,200 works in the permanent collection are on view in 23 galleries, while five more are dedicated to visiting exhibits. The property is surrounded by lush, beautiful gardens filled with English Ivy and roses, with Roman statues expertly dispersed among the greenery.
2. Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum. This is a lovely Spanish Colonial Revival-style house with stunning views of Surfrider Beach built in 1929 for the prestigious Rindge family. Set amongst lush grounds, the house is ensconced in gorgeous tiles in rich blues, yellows, greens, and oranges created in the well-known Malibu Potteries. Located on the beach, it is surrounded by high fencing, but guided tours are available so you can see the way of life and history of Malibu at the start of the 20th century.
3. Malibu Country Mart. Ever wonder where the rich and famous shop for groceries? Not all of them have servants that do that, and many of them do their own shopping right here in the Malibu Civic Center. It is a unique mix of high-end shopping, playing, and dining, in 6-acres of retail space. Here you can get your car fixed, shop for that gala gown, have a fancy lunch, check out a gallery show, and yes, get those groceries.
4. Point Dume State Beach and Preserve. One of the more beautiful sandy beaches in Malibu, it is shadowed by overhanging cliffs, with picture-worthy rocky coves ripe for exploring, while the waters are great for swimming, scuba diving, surfing, and fishing. This is also a top spot for sightings of the grey whale migration between December and April. Take the hiking trail to the coastal bluff sand dunes, offering wonderful views of the Santa Monica Bay and Mountains. On a clear day, you can spot Catalina Island several miles offshore.
5. Malibu Pier. You may have seen this famous pier in any of thousands of photographic images over the years. Now is the time to visit the real thing! A 780-foot-long fishing pier, it is located right next to Surfrider Beach and the festive heart of oceanside Malibu. Made famous for its three-point break creating waves up to 300 yards, the pier is a great way to watch surfers rides the waves. This pier is perfect for a sunset stroll.
6. Malibu Divers. If you are a scuba diver or want to be one, this is the place to be. It is a one-stop-shop for diving enthusiasts in the area. They offer diving courses that cater to everyone from beginners to experts (yes, even the pros could learn more about this water sport). They offer guided trips to nine popular SoCal islands and reefs, and can also help organize charters for specialized trips in the waters off the coast. In the store, you can pick up equipment, manuals, dive logs, and more.
7. Nicholas Flat Trail. This nearly 7-mile-long trail runs through Carrillo State Park in Malibu. It is considered ‘difficult’ as it ascends 1,664 feet in elevation with some rocky and steep terrain. But for those who want the challenge, it is well worth the effort, with beautiful plant life, views of local grassland, and of course, the majestic Pacific. Spots along the trail have secluded beaches and quiet campgrounds.
8. Hidden Malibu Wine Country Tours. While not exactly by the beach, it’s a bit of a secret that Malibu has some great wine-making estates producing unique varietals and superb vintages. The tour takes you to some of the best vineyards in the area, with luxury transport ranging from SUVs up to luxury buses for larger groups. Each tour is private and customizable, with knowledgeable guides offering wine tastings and food pairings.
9. Nobu, Malibu. When you want to indulge in fine cuisine with your views of the ocean, head to Nobu. Celebrated Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has a new location just off the PCH with floor-to-ceiling windows, a deck with endless ocean views, and an exterior upstairs lounge. Sample his signature dishes, such as Black Cod Miso and Tiradito. Executive Chef Gregorio Stephenson whips up his own treats, such as Ribeye with Truffle Butter Sauce. Be sure to book reservations early, up to a month in advance.
10. Duke’s Malibu. Don’t have time to hop the ocean to Hawaii? Then come to Duke’s and savor the flavor of the islands. It is so close to the ocean near Malibu Point that you may actually get splashed. The restaurant is dedicated to Duke Kahanamoku, the famous surfing ambassador of Hawaii, who popularized the sport all over the world. Enjoy Hawaiian specialties with tasty cocktails in a relaxed, laid-back ‘aloha’ atmosphere.
11. Malibu Wine Hike. It’s the perfect excursion for wine lovers who also want to explore the surrounding landscape on foot. Saddlerock Ranch’s family-run operation displays exotic animals such as zebras, alpacas, and giraffes, and an expert guide leads guests on an easy 2-mile hike that features a Chumash Indian archaeological site dating back to the 1700s. The tour ends with a flight of five different wine tastings.
12. Take an epic hike through Malibu State Park. With dramatic gorges, open fields, hidden pools, and jagged peaks, there is nothing boring about this hike. Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains, it is filled with scenic trails with a bit of film history; visit remnants of the M*A*S*H set and dip into the rock pool in which scenes from Planet of the Apes was filmed.
13. Get your fish fix at Neptune’s Net. If your culinary cravings desire something a bit more affordable, Neptune’s Net does not disappoint. Their deep-fried seafood offerings are mighty tasty and are worth a visit with its picture-perfect location. The décor harkens back to the 1950s with its striking front porch, and its spot across the road from County Line Beach entices motorists journeying along the PCH.
14. Malibu Hindu Temple. While technically located in Calabasas and tucked serenely in the Santa Monica Mountains, this temple dedicated to the god Venkateswara is a white-washed beauty in a breathtaking space. The temple holds regular services and other events throughout the year. If you’re feeling peckish, their kitchen serves tasty vegetarian fare on the weekends.
You might be interested in reading: A Guide to Malibu’s Fabulous Beaches
If you're looking for a beautiful vacation home rental in Malibu and near Malibu Beach check out our Woodland Hills vacation home