A Guide to Malibu’s Fabulous Beaches
The beach community in Malibu is legendary – made famous in part by scores of movies and television shows that have been filmed here over the years. It’s no wonder that many celebrities call this area home; their cliffside mansions can be as breathtaking as the views of the ocean.
Located less than a half-hour’s drive up the coast from the Santa Monica Pier up the Pacific Coast Highway (the PCH), there are over 20 miles of beaches, making this the perfect day trip from Los Angeles. Here is the ultimate guide to all of the best beaches in Malibu.
These beaches are in order from south to north, and ready for you to emerge from your Los Angeles Airbnb to explore! But if you’re coming from the north, just reverse the list.
Topanga State Beach. Another place where surfers strut their stuff, but not so great for swimming. But there is plenty of parking, so grab your space of sand and get ready for a lazy day of sunbathing. This is also a top beach for windsurfing, fishing, and scuba diving.
Las Tunas Beach. This beach is great for fishing and scuba diving, but not so great for otherwise hanging out at, as its rocky shoreline is eroding. Officials however are taking measures to protect it from further erosion and is still a gorgeous place to snap a few photos.
Carbon Beach. Known fondly as ‘Billionaires Beach’ by the locals, numerous mansions are lined up above the shoreline. This beach is narrow, so check the tide conditions before you head there. At low tide, this is a great beach to hang out at, and the vibe embodies quintessential Malibu.
Malibu Lagoon State Beach. A unique beach in that Malibu Creek meets the ocean, forming a lagoon when the creek pools up, and has views for days. It’s great for birdwatching, and in the winter, tidal streams form, making for a very picturesque scene. This beach is perfect for long walks. The neighboring beach is Malibu Surfrider Beach, in which the lagoon divides the two beaches. And yes, the surfers flock to this beach! There is paid parking, after which you follow a trail to the beach. Dogs are not allowed.
Dan Blocker Beach. To the locals, this is also known as Corral Beach and is perfect for kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, or just walking along the shore. Facilities include restrooms, picnic tables, and a parking lot. A great beach for hanging out and sunbathing with amazing views.
Paradise Cove. The setting for many Hollywood movies, there is also a restaurant here by the same name, if you wish to partake. Enjoy a beach walk and survey the glorious mansions along the beach’s edge.
Westward Beach. This is a big one, encompassing three miles with wide stretches of sand. Surfers come here in droves, making for some great entertainment as you sun yourself on the beach (that is, unless you’re a surfer yourself, then this is the perfect spot to conquer some waves). Family-friendly, there are plenty of amenities, including lifeguards, shops, restaurants, and beach volleyball.
Zuma Beach. Many Californians will insist that Zuma is the best beach in the state. With its clean sand, gentle waves, food stands, and abundant parking, they may be right. But we’ll let you decide! This spot is popular in the summer months for swimming, and in the winter for wildlife viewing. It takes up 1.8 miles of wide stretches of sand and is easy access from the parking lot. Many scenes from Baywatch (remember that show with David Hasselhoff and Pam Anderson?) were filmed here. Lifeguards (real ones) are on duty, as this beach has its share of strong rip currents. You may also see some volleyball going on. Restrooms and food stands are available, but no dogs are allowed. Parking is free.
Broad Beach. Long and narrow, this beach offers picture-perfect rock piles and bulkheads that protect the surrounding mansions from encroaching erosion. Surfers and bodyboarders love this beach for its favorable waters, and along the north end, you can explore tide pools. Be sure to come at low tide to fully access Broad Beach.
Lechuza Beach. Just north of Broad Beach, the awesome-looking rocks make for great photographic opportunities when the waves crash into them and a stark contrast to the white sand. Parking here is free, but take note there are no restroom facilities.
El Matador State Beach. Here’s an insider’s secret. Get to this amazing beach early, as the parking lot at the top of the bluff is small and tends to fill up quickly. A short but steep walk down a hill brings you to the beach, where you will find sea caves and massive rocks; stunning and perfect for picture taking, and even better for exploring every nook and cranny! If you are short on time and can only make it to one Malibu beach, make this the one, as the views from up top of the bluff are simply jaw-dropping. This is a well-known photographer’s backdrop, especially at sunset. No dogs are allowed at this beach. There is paid parking and picnic tables.
La Piedra Beach. For the best beach offering peace and quiet, this one’s for you. You can find it in the middle shorefront in Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, not far from El Pescador Beach. Explore the tide pools, then simply six back and relax in your beach chair. Direct access can be found via a small hiking trail from the PCH, but it’s a bit steep, so be careful.
El Pescador State Beach. This is the least crowded of three beaches that make up Robert Meyer Memorial State Beach – the other two are El Matador and La Piedra State Beach. There is private parking for visitors, and the walk to the sand is short, but beautiful, passing through a cove and along with tidal pools. Bring a picnic lunch, as there are no food options nearby.
Nicholas Canyon Beach. This is ‘point zero’ for surfers because of the perfect point breaks. As one of the least busy beaches in Malibu, Nicholas Canyon is great for quiet relaxation. A nearby outdoor Native American village is good for wandering through when you’ve had your fill of the sand.
Leo Carrillo State Park and Beach. Named after the actor and naturalist Leo Carrillo, this is a family and dog-friendly beach (leashed dogs are welcome in certain areas). Explore the caves, rock formations, tidal pools at low tide, and there is a trail that leads you to neighboring Staircase Beach to the north. Numerous TV shows have been filmed here, such as Grease, the Karate Kid, and The Craft. There is paid parking at this beach.
Sycamore Cove Beach. Located inside Point Magu State Park, for those who like to camp, this is a good beach to frequent, as there’s a huge campground nearby. At the beach, there are picnic tables and barbecues to enjoy along with the sand and surf.
If you're looking for a vacation home nearby, always remember that Don Pio Estate is only a 20 minutes drive from Malibu Beach. While crossing the beautiful Topanga Canyon, enjoy a stunning ride with a gorgeous view for 20 minutes straight until you get to the center of Malibu Beach. The Don Pio Estate was rented as the best vacation home in Woodland Hills, a vacation home in Topanga Canyon, and a vacation home in the Malibu Beach area.