When you think of Malibu, you may imagine million-dollar mansions, private clubs, celebrities and beautiful landscapes. Well, you’re not far off.
Malibu is a city west of L.A. and seven miles north of Santa Monica along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Once you hit the ‘Malibu’ sign, you will start the 27 miles of scenic landscapes – basically all pictorial beaches from one end to the other.
Malibu is mentioned in many song lyrics, and movies are often set here because of the picturesque surroundings.
It’s known as the ritzy place to escape to or enjoy for a day.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to be rich to go there and enjoy the beauty; there are many public beaches to hang out at and places for everyone to kick back, relax and have a fun-filled day.
1. El Matador State Beach
Residents call El Matador State Beach their best-kept secret.
Unfortunately, we have let the cat out of the bag.
Parking can be tricky if you arrive in the middle of the day because the parking area is rather small – get there early to find a spot.
The sea caves and massive rocks are stunning and make this the perfect beach for pictures.
Be prepared to walk down a steep hill to reach the beach; it’s short but steep and definitely worth the trip.
If you need to use the bathroom, it is located at the trailhead.
2. Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Malibu Lagoon State beach starts where Malibu creek meets the ocean – the lagoon is formed when the creek pools up.
During winter, the beach parts to allow tidal streams to form.
This disconnects Surfrider beach from the lagoon beach.
Surfrider beach starts at the lagoon and continues to Malibu pier.
There are many trails around the lagoon which are great for bird watching and exploring the wetlands.
This beach is unique and differs from other beaches in Malibu due to the lagoon and tidal streams.
3. Westward Beach
Westward Beach is three miles long with wide stretches of sand.
It’s one of the best places to surf in LA. This beach is by far one of the largest and most admired beaches in LA. Westward Beach continues to be one of the cleanest and healthiest beaches due to the pristine water.
People flock to this beach for surfing, kite-boarding, snorkeling, paddle boarding and body boarding.
Always keep an eye out for rip currents.
The area of Westward is very family friendly, with more than 10 lifeguards on duty, shops, restaurants, beach volleyball games and many other fun attractions.
4. Paradise Cove
Paradise Cove is a public beach with the same name as a privately-owned restaurant located in front of the beach.
Depending on whether you eat at the restaurant or not, the parking varies.
The food is great and worth a bit of a splurge while you are in the area.
This site has been the setting for many Hollywood movies.
You can enjoy beach walks down the coast and marvel at the enormous mansions.
If you keep walking, you will come to the steep sandstone cliffs close to Little Dume Beach.
5. Topanga State Beach
Topanga State Beach was the first legit beach in Malibu.
It has over 21 acres of land and one mile of oceanfront.
This is one of the best surfing beaches in Malibu, but not the best for swimming.
The views are appealing for sunbathers and there is plenty of parking – it’s also wheelchair accessible.
Aside from surfing, this beach is great for scuba diving, windsurfing, and fishing.
6. Surfrider Beach
Surfrider Beach is part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach and we recommend visiting both at the same time.
The name perfectly captures the nature of the beach; Surfrider beach is great for surfing due to the long right-hand break.
The Malibu pier is perfect for taking in the views and watching all the action on shore.
If you are feeling energetic, you can partake in beach volleyball or take a leisurely stroll on one of the many trails surrounding the area.
Regardless of what you choose to do here, it is a comfortable spot to hang out with friends and family.
7. Leo Carrillo State Park and Beach
A dog-friendly and family-friendly place, Le Carrillo State Park and Beach is a great place to spend the day.
If you want to extend your beach time, you can camp at the campground for a few days.
There are special sections on the shoreline for dogs, so just look for the signage if you want to bring your four-legged friend along.
Whether you enjoy walking through caves or exploring the tidal pools at low tide, it’s a great day out.
You can follow the trail at North Beach and head north towards Staircase Beach.
Staircase beach is a narrow beach that is an ideal spot to watch surfers carve up the waves.
8. Zuma Beach
Many Californians will argue that Zuma Beach is the best beach in the entire state.
With clean sand, food stands, restrooms, gentle waves and an abundance of parking, this place is an all-time favorite.
Not only is Zumba beach popular in the summer for swimming, it is also well-frequented in the winter for wildlife spotting.
There are many accommodations in the area for those of you who can’t imagine going home after one day.
9. Carbon Beach
Carbon Beach is known as the ‘Billionaires Beach’ by locals, because of the enormous mansions that are tightly packed in above the shoreline.
There were some problems years back because homeowners did not want this beach to be public.
Luckily, they didn’t get their way.
There are three different entrances to the beach.
The shoreline is narrow, but it’s definitely a place you should explore when visiting Malibu.
Check the tide conditions before you head out; when high tide comes in, there’s not much sand to explore.
Carbon Beach is the definition of Malibu and you will get the real vibes of the California lifestyle here.
10. El Pescador State Beach
El Pescador State Beach is one of three beaches that makes up Robert Meyer Memorial State Beach.
The other two are El Matador State Beach and La Piedra State Beach.
This beach offers private parking to visitors.
The walk to the sand is short but beautiful; you pass through a cove, along cliffs, rocks and tidal pools.
This beach is less busy than the other two, which offers some reclusiveness.
Bring a picnic to El Pescador State Beach because there are no food stands or restaurants nearby.
Regardless, who doesn’t enjoy sandwiches on the beach?
11. Nicholas Canyon Beach
The locals refer to Nicholas Canyon Beach as ‘Point Zero,’ because of the perfect point breaks.
This beach is one of the least crowded beaches in Malibu and is great for relaxing.
If chilling out all day isn’t your style, try surfing, body boarding, wind sailing or swimming instead.
There’s plenty of room to bring the family, with 23 acres of beach.
Since Malibu is basically on the bluffs, most of the beaches require people to walk down the cliffs.
If the beach gets too much for you, there is also an outdoor Native American village that is fascinating to wander through.
12. Broad Beach
Another long, narrow beach in Malibu, Broad Beach features rock piles and bulkheads to protect the homes from erosion.
When the tide is high, there is no sand to walk on.
At the north end of the point, there are tide pools that separate Lechuza Beach from Broad Beach.
Since Broad Beach is the more favored beach, surfers and bodyboarders tend to gather here.
You can access the beach from in between the houses or from the north end at Zuma Beach.
13. Lechuza Beach
Lechuza Beach is a public beach below the mansions at the north end of Broad beach.
The rocks at Lechuza Beach make this place a hotspot for photographers, with their formations creating some striking contrasts between the crashing waves and white sands.
Although parking is free, there are no facilities.
You’ll need to pack a lunch, bring a cooler full of drinks, and enjoy the day sunbathing and taking in the stunning Malibu views.
14. Dan Blocker Beach
Dan Blocker Beach is known as Corral Beach to the locals.
Interestingly, it was previously owned by the stars of the Bonanza TV series.
The beach is great for kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, and walking.
In 2014, the county of LA completed numerous renovations to the area.
They put in restrooms, benches facing the ocean, a parking lot and picnic tables.
This is another pictorial beach, which is great for photographers or simply spending the day sunbathing and gazing out at the views.
Fishing and surfing are other attractions that bring tourists to the area.
15. Las Tunas Beach
Las Tunas Beach is a rocky beach in eastern Malibu.
It’s a great place for fishing and scuba diving, but not for pets.
Since the shoreline is eroding, they are taking protective measures to shield it from further degradation.
This beach is used for fishing more than swimming.
There is not enough sand to really sunbathe, but it is a pretty place to explore and snap a few pictures.