The beaches in Malibu are a beach lover’s paradise. Malibu’s slogan is “27 miles of breathtaking splendor,” and Malibu is nearly interchangeable with “sandy beaches, mild sunshine, and the magnificent Pacific Ocean.” Malibu is a city located in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles County, California, along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Along the Pacific coasts, the city of Malibu is home to magnificent white-sand beaches and captivating surfing. Let’s take a look at some of Malibu, California’s nicest beaches.
1. 10 Best Malibu Beaches
1.1. Carbon Beach
Carbon beach stretches to one mile of the coastlines east of the Malibu pier and Carbon Canyon road. Almost the entire beachfront is lined with luxury mansions of celebrities so it is nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach”.
Carbon beach, among other Malibu beaches, is a beautiful beach with a sloping shorefront and is great for beach walking and sunbathing. Beware of the tides and use a tide table to time your visit because at high tides the beach is mostly underwater.
You can stay and experience luxury at the Malibu Beach Inn located on the coast of Carbon beach. Only free parking is available on the Pacific coast highway.
There are 3 entry points to get onto carbon beach.
- West access
- East access point and,
- A central part of the beach. It is also called La costa beach access since it leads to La costa beach. It is the newest access between Carbon beach and Duke’s Malibu restaurant.
1.2. Zuma Beach
Zuma beach is a Los Angeles County beach. It is a massive 2-mile-long beach next to the Pacific coast highway and west of Point Dume State beach. This beautiful sandy beach is a favorite among people and a popular beach in Malibu.
Since there are no buildings on its shore, it is open and offers various activities like fishing, beach volleyball, surfing, windsurfing, bodysurfing, bodyboarding, scuba diving, and swimming. Zuma beach among Malibu beaches is a gradually sloping beach with shallow water, great for walking in the surf. Be aware of the strong rip currents at Zuma Beach.
Paid parking lots and free parking are available on the Pacific coast highway. There are facilities like lifeguards, restrooms, showers, volleyball courts, a kid’s play area, a snack bar, and picnic tables provided here.
1.3. Westward Beach
Westward Beach is a long, wide, clear water, sandy beach with cliffs around it. It is at the southernmost end of Zuma County beach and is one of the top surf spots in Southern California. Several premium tournaments are hosted here at Westward beach among other Malibu beaches.
You can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and fishing at this beach. You can also spot dolphins sometimes. The Sunset restaurant located at the center of the beach is best for sunset drinks. You can go walking on hiking trails towards Point Dume State Preserve and can also get to see the hidden Pirate cove beach atop the boulders. Facilities like restrooms, showers, lifeguards, restaurants, and picnic tables are available here.
1.4. Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Malibu Lagoon state beach is located at the end of the Malibu creek where the creek pools up to form Malibu lagoon. Malibu Lagoon state beach is a huge 22-acre wetland area that is a paradise for numerous migrating and local birds, unlike other Malibu Beaches. Dirt trails wrapping around the wetlands are good for walking, birdwatching, and spotting wildlife.
Explore tidal pools here at the lagoon. You can relax on the sand while taking sunbath and enjoy swimming, and surfing in the water. Malibu Lagoon state beach also houses the historic Adamson House, hence pay a visit here to acknowledge the grandeur of the building.
It has a separate parking area at the cross Malibu creek and the Pacific coast highway intersection. There are facilities like lifeguards, picnic tables, and tide pools available here.
1.5. Surfrider Beach
Surfrider beach is a part of Malibu Lagoon state beach and is located between the Malibu pier and Malibu lagoon. Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu Beaches is tagged as the first World Surfing Reserve. This popular sandy beach is a favorite surfing spot because of the super long right-hand break where tides are formed hence called Surfrider beach. It has a separate swimming and surfing designated area. Do scuba diving or play volleyball here.
On the northeast side of the famous Surfrider beach, there is the Malibu pier where you can enjoy fishing. You can have tasty meals at Malibu Farm restaurant and cafe which serves farm-to-table dishes at Malibu pier. Facilities like a fishing pier, lifeguard, surf shops, showers, restrooms, and a volleyball court are there for your convenience.
1.6. Meyer Memorial State Beach
Meyer Memorial State Beach is located in Western Malibu. It has three pocket beaches in it, unlike other Malibu Beaches. They are as follows:
1.6.1. EL Matador State Beach
El Matador beach is one of the three pocket beaches of Robert H. Meyer memorial state beach. This beach has unique rock formations, towering arches, caves, secluded shores, and crashing waves, making it the most popular among the three-pocket beaches.
Parking is present at the bluff over the Pacific Ocean and stairs from there will lead you to the beach offering a beautiful view, a trail will lead you to the face of the bluff through unique eroding formations. Sea stacks, rocks, and caves are present on the beach and in the surf and are great to explore. Visit during low tides to discover such caves at El matador state beach.
This picturesque El Matador state beach is popular for photography. You can enjoy snorkeling, birdwatching, swimming, or just simply walking on the beach. Walking towards the north beach will lead you to La Piedra state beach. It has no other amenities, only toilets available here.
1.6.2. El Pescador State Beach
El Pescador state beach is the westernmost pocket beach of Meyer memorial state beach. It is a pleasant sandy beach with rocks and coves and tide pools at both ends. It is a less crowded, quiet beach, good for peaceful relaxation. Parking is there on the bluff and a hiking trail descends towards the beach.
You can spot wildlife and explore tidepools and discover barnacles, brittle stars, and hermit crabs. Enjoy birdwatching, using binoculars you can get a glimpse of birds like sandpipers, cormorants, California brown pelicans, and gulls. Walking west towards the rocks will discover the hidden county El Sol beach, in another direction you will discover La Piedra state beach and Point Dume State Beaches.
1.6.3. La Piedra State Beach
La Piedra beach is the middle one of the three beaches in Robert H Meyer memorial state beach. This is a quiet beach with a mix of rocks, sand, and tidepools. Steep hiking trails and steps are there from the bluff to the beach.
This beach is quite best for some peaceful relaxing time since it is less crowded. It has an amazing view and a spot below the bluff for photography. On the eastern side, you will get El Matador beach. Only washrooms are available here.
1.7. Leo Carrillo State Park
Leo Carrillo state park is located on the western Malibu outskirts. Leo Carrillo state park in Malibu beaches has large campgrounds, several hiking trails, and rock formations with wide-open scenic shorelines. The Sequin point (the Peninsula) juts out into the ocean and separates the beach into two parts that are north beach and the south beach. Leo Carrillo state park has three beaches in sections. They are as follows-
1.7.1. North Beach
North Beach at Leo Carrillo state park in western Malibu is a wide beach with more sand. It is a family-friendly and pet-friendly beach. A large day-use linear parking lot is there on the beach. To access the north beach, enter the main state park entrance and follow signs that lead under the Pacific coast highway to the parking lot.
In between the north beach and the south beach of Leo Carrillo state park, there is a rocky area named Sequit point, it has fun sea caves, and tide pools to explore. It is a great experience for kids to explore with their parents at low tides. You can do numerous activities here like swimming, surfing, scuba diving, and fishing in the water.
Have fun hiking, biking, and camping on the nearby ground area. Facilities like restrooms, showers, lifeguards, campgrounds, and picnic tables are provided here for your convenience.
1.7.2. South Beach
South Beach at Leo Carrillo state park is a sandy spot close to the mouth of a creek flowing from Arroyo Sequin. This dry wash drains some parts of the Santa Monica mountains in western Malibu. It is a family-friendly beach but pets are not allowed here.
The real highlight of this beach is several sea caves and tunnels in the rock walls at Sequit point. Some of them are only exposed at low tide and others are higher above the surf. At low tides, amazing tidepools are there to explore at the south beach.
You can reach here by walking through a tunnel under the Pacific coast highway (highway 1) from the main parking lot just inside the toll booth entrance. A beach access trail goes under PCH to the south beach and another hiking trail starts from this parking lot and heads inwards into the state park and further to Nicholas flat natural preserve.
A large popular campground is present near the parking lot so that you can enjoy camping there. You can also discover Nicholas canyon beach in the southern part of this cove by walking at the beach during low tide. Facilities like restrooms, showers, lifeguards, campgrounds, and picnic tables are available here.
1.7.3. Staircase Beach
Staircase beach is a less popular area at the north end of the Leo Carrillo state beach in western Malibu. This is a narrow rocky beach than the north beach and south beach, there are no facilities at this beach. Mainly surfers came to staircase beach.
You can do surfing, fishing, and beach walking at this beach. You can reach here from the parking area next to the state park manager’s residence at 40000 Pacific coast highway, Malibu. A zig-zag trail descends the bluff front from the parking lot to the beach. Ironically, as per the name, there is no staircase. You can reach the staircase beach from the north beach parking lot by walking on the sand from the north beach.
1.8. Topanga Beach
Topanga Beach is located in far eastern Malibu, near Los Angeles, next to the pacific palisades. This beach is popular among tourists for surfing on Malibu beaches. The shape and orientation to the south make it perfect for surfing.
Topanga creek creates a continuous right break and waves are formed around this sandy point. Creek backs up behind the sandy beach to form a lagoon beach, where you can spot wildlife. This rocky beach is not good for swimming but you can do snorkeling, fishing, and scuba diving here.
Parking is there right off the PCH. Topanga state park, located in the Santa Monica mountains is nearby the beach so you can enjoy hiking and mountain biking here. Kill your hunger at the amazing Mastro’s Ocean Club. There are facilities like lifeguards, showers, and restrooms available here.
1.9. Point Dume State Beach
Point Dume state beach is one of the largest beaches in Malibu. It splits into Big Dume Beach and Little Dume beach.
The main beach of Point Dume State Beach is Big Dume beach (Dume cove beach) in Malibu Beach. This crescent-shaped beach faces southeast from the east of point Dume cove beach. This beach is full of rugged and scenic stretches of coastlines. There are rocky coves, scenic headlands, offshore rock formations, and a sandy beach at the foot of high cliffs.
You can enjoy it here by taking part in adventurous activities like hiking, scuba diving, surfing, or just relaxing on the sand and admiring the beauty. At low tides, you can explore tidepools. It is a popular whale-watching spot from February to April, which is the migration period of grey whales. The Pinnacles (one of the premier diving spots in the state) is the best underwater area for scuba divers to explore.
You can reach the beach via a trail across the blufftop natural preserve. It begins from the parking lot in the preserve, loops around the bluff, and ascends to the high point above point Dume (it also goes directly to big Dume beach).
There is also a long downward steep staircase to the beach. You can walk towards the east and get to little Dume beach (white sand place) and ahead to Paradise cove beach. On a clear day, you can get a glimpse of Catalina Island and the Channel Islands across Santa Monica Bay from here.
1.10. Paradise Cove Beach
Among other Malibu Beaches, Paradise Cove Beach is a public beach but in front of the private facility of the same name, located north of Malibu at Highway 1. Paradise cove beach is surrounded by bluffs and opens out into the ocean. Here the outside arrangement gives you a feel of Hawaii with surfboards all around, palm trees, wooden lounge chairs, and thatched umbrellas.
This is a stunning beach and hence used for shooting in many Hollywood movies like “American Pie 2” and “Beach blanket bingo” and television programs like “Baywatch”, and “The Rockford files”. Enjoy a long beach walk here because while walking towards the east, you will explore amazing mansions, private beaches, and Escondido beach. Towards the west through steep sand cliffs, you will explore Little Dume beach and Big Dume beach in Point Dume State beach.
Dine here at the Paradise cove beach Cafe extending to the beach, providing lounge chairs or an open terrace for rent. The restaurant has a parking lot, providing parking for four hours at a discounted rate if you eat at the beach cafe but full-day parking by paying full parking fees. Some forms of alcohol are allowed on this beach.
2. Some Other Malibu Beaches
In a coastal city full of picturesque beaches, it is difficult to sort out some best beaches in Malibu. So have a look at some other beaches in Malibu CA.
2.1. Pirates Cove Beach
On the west side of Point Dume State beach, in a small cave, a hidden sandy beach is there, that is pirates cove beach. To reach Pirates cove beach, turn off from the Pacific coast highway onto Westward beach road and drive to the last paid parking lot area.
You can access this beach from the southern end of Westward beach. At the end of Westward beach, there is an abrupt high rock wall having large boulders piled up at the surf’s terminus, and a small cove is hidden behind this wall where pirates cove beach is existing. During high tides, the water is deep and rugged to walk through, then take the rugged path behind the boulders and climb up to pirates cove.
This beach becomes popular because of the shooting location of the final scene of the 1968 movie “Planet of Apes”. Above the bluff, you can explore the nature preserve in Point Dume State Beach. You can reach here by hiking onto the ascending trail from the end of Westward Beach to the bluff top.
Get an amazing view of Pirates cove by walking through the trail or walking to an observation platform at the top of Point Dume. At the east side of the Point to Dume cove, a stairway descends and leads to another beach.
2.2. Nicholas Canyon Beach
Nicholas canyon beach is a long beach in western Malibu, run by Los Angeles county. It is also popularly called Point Zero or Zeros by the surfers as the waves break on the boulder-strewn point below the parking lot, where the San Nicolas canyon meets the shore.
It is more crowded during summer, and food trucks are available at peak times. A long paved path descends from the bluff to the center of the beach. The parking lot is off PCH about south of Leo Carrillo state park.
You can enjoy yourself here by surfing, fishing, swimming, beach walking, sunbathing, windsurfing, picnicking, scuba diving, and tide pooling. Facilities like lifeguards, restrooms, showers, benches, and picnic tables are available here.
2.3. Dan Blocker Beach
Dan blocker beach is a long narrow beach below the Pacific coast highway between Malibu lagoon state beach and point Dume beach. It is operated by Los Angeles County and was earlier knowns as Corral state beach. Dan blocker beach is a plane beach with a small public lot present at the west end of the Santa Monica mountain national recreational area.
Try out the Ahi tuna burger at Malibu seafood fresh fish market and Patio cafe. At the center of the beach, a few homes are grouped, where Solstice canyon hits the coast. Above these homes, a hiking trail is there. Activities like surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, swimming, sunbathing, beach walking, hiking, and tide pooling can be done at this beach.
2.4. Sycamore Cove Beach
Sycamore cove beach is a day-use shorefront in Point Mugu state park in Southern Ventura county. It is southwest facing sandy cove beach. The highlight of this spot is an adjacent campground with an extensive hiking trail network.
Trailheads of different trails run along Sycamore canyon road starting from PCH from the beach parking area. It is the gateway into the Boney mountain state wilderness area at the north end of the Santa Monica mountains. Facilities like campgrounds, lifeguards, restrooms, showers, nature centers, hiking area maps, and BBQs are provided here.
2.5. Broad Beach
Broad beach is a long narrow public beach in front of a beautiful Malibu beach house. This is a gradually sloping beach, excellent for walking barefoot in the surf during low tides. At higher tides or during winter, there is no dry sand.
It is a great place for surfers, bodyboarders, and windsurfers during favorable conditions. Tide pools at the north end separate Broad beach from Lechuza beach. You can reach this beach through public access stairs between homes next to addresses 31344 and 31200 on Broad beach road or by walking north from the parking space at Zuma Beach.
There are many Malibu beaches in the coastal city of Malibu, in Southern California. Other than beaches, celebrity mansions, historic villas, museums, and famous seafood joints are also there but Malibu beaches are the city’s highlights. You should visit and enjoy doing different things in Malibu.