21 Best Things to Do in Malibu, California

surfers walking along beach at sunrise things to do in Malibu

Are you looking for the best things to do in Malibu, California? This guide has everything you need to know!

Malibu, California has long established itself as a place filled with sand, surf, and sunshine. While the beaches are of course one of the best things to do in Malibu, there are many other fantastic activities that you can do in this oceanfront California town. Climb towering sand dunes, devour a delicious acai bowl, and perhaps spot a celebrity or two!

Weigh in on the Breakfast Burrito Rivalry

That’s right. There’s a breakfast burrito rivalry in Malibu, and anyone who’s spent a good amount of time in Malibu will have their opinion on it. The two competitors are The Country Kitchen and Lily’s Malibu.

The Country Kitchen is located just off of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and serves up breakfast burritos filled with eggs, cheese, potatoes, and a breakfast meat of your choice. It’s served up nice and warm with a side of salsa.

Lily’s Malibu is located further north in Point Dume Village. These hearty burritos are filled with eggs, cheese, beans, and a breakfast meat of your choice. Just like The Country Kitchen, it’s served piping hot. But instead of a typical red salsa, Lily’s Malibu’s burritos are served with a spicy yellow hot sauce that you’ll want to buy by the jar once you taste it. (And yes, you can buy it by the jar.)

*Pro Tip: If you go to Lily’s Malibu, consider placing your order in advance (either by phone or online). If you order in person, you’ll likely end up waiting 20-30 minutes for your burritos.

surfer catching a wave things to do in Malibu

Relax at Zuma

One of the most popular things to do in Malibu is head to Zuma Beach. This nearly two-mile stretch of beach is packed with great spots to surf, swim, and suntan. Basically, Zuma is the perfect beach for your Malibu beach day.

*Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for the dolphins who like to make an appearance at Zuma Beach every now and then!

Get the Best Acai Bowl at Sunlife

I’ve tried many, many acai bowls in my life. And I have to say that Sunlife Organics in Malibu is the best. I always opt for the Hawaiian bowl, and between the ice cream-like acai to the perfectly flavored granola to the fresh flavorful fruit, there’s really nothing more I could ask for.

Sunlife Organics has a couple of different locations in Malibu, including at Malibu Country Mart and Point Dume Village. They also have a slew of locations elsewhere in Southern California.

Hike in the Santa Monica Mountains

While the Pacific Ocean flanks one side of Malibu, the Santa Monica mountains flank the other. This mountain range is filled with hikes for all experience levels. For beginners, check out the path at the Point Dume State Beach and Preserve. For waterfall lovers, try Escondido Falls (although, make sure it has rained recently). For more experienced hikers, tackle the eleven scenic miles of the La Jolla Canyon Loop or Solstice Canyon.

people walking between rock formations along beach during golden hour things to do in Malibu

Surf at El Matador

While there are a bunch of surfers at Zuma Beach, many will tell you that one of the real surfing hotspots in Malibu is El Matador Beach. Officially known as El Matador State Beach, this beach is home to awesome surf breaks, soft sand, and stunning rock formations.

Do know that in recent years, El Matador has become very popular. Expect at least a handful of photoshoots to be going on when you visit, especially if it’s around sunset. If you’re set on avoiding the crowds, consider visiting for sunrise instead of sunset.

Take Pictures at the Adamson House

The Adamson House is a historic house along the Pacific Coast Highway. This Spanish-style home was built in the 1930s and has since become a popular place for photos for both visitors and Malibu locals alike.

black statue of man sitting on a rock in front of roman style building getty villa things to do in Malibu

Pay a Visit to the Getty Villa

While Malibu may seem like it’s all oriented to the typical surfer lifestyle, there are some things to do in Malibu that may surprise you. One of these unanticipated attractions is the Getty Villa.

The stunning Getty Villa property is filled with ancient artifacts from Greece and Rome. As a matter of fact, the villa itself is modeled after an ancient Roman country house. So peruse the hundreds of historical artifacts, take in the wondrous architecture, and wander around the stunning gardens.

If you enjoy the Getty Villa, consider visiting the more extensive Getty Museum in downtown LA.

Venture Down to the Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most well-known attractions in all of California. Filled with thrilling rides, stunning views, and tons of people, the Santa Monica Pier is always a must-see stop for visitors.

two white buildings of Malibu pier

Catch the Sunset on the Malibu Pier

But you don’t have to go all the way to Santa Monica to enjoy a pier along the Pacific Ocean. Malibu has a pier of its own! While the Santa Monica pier is packed with people and buzzing with noise, the Malibu Pier has a quiet calm to it. Grab a bite to eat at Malibu Farm or Malibu Farm Pier Café and just watch the colorful sun dip below the horizon.

Find the Hidden Pirates Cove Beach

Most California beaches stretch on for miles and miles and have hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors every day. And while that’s great for some days, there are other days where you’re just looking for a hidden little nook of a beach to escape the world. That’s what Pirates Cove Beach is.

Tucked away down a road past Point Dume, Pirates Cove Beach is a hidden haven. There are typically just a dozen people laying on the sunny sand, so you’ll have a good chunk of beach all to yourself. (That is, of course, if there isn’t a camera crew shooting something, but that’s pretty cool in its own way.) 

Find the Even More Hidden Pirates Cove Hike

One of my favorite things to do in Malibu is tackle the hidden Pirates Cove hike. This easy hike only takes about twenty minutes, and it is such a hidden gem!

To find the start of the trail, head to the end of the parking area for Pirates Cove. From there, you should see a small sandy path climbing up into the greenery. Follow the path that stays closer to the shoreline until you reach a wooden balcony. While you can stay there, you can also venture slightly down and to the right. From there, you’ll be able to see a whole bunch of sea lions lounging below!

multi-colored macarons

Wander Around the Malibu Country Mart

Filled with high-end boutique stores, Malibu Country Mart is where many of Malibu’s celebrities do their shopping. While many of us can’t afford the steep price tags of these shops, there is still a lot to do at this picturesque shopping area that won’t break the bank.

Do a little window shopping or enjoy a delicious meal from Sunlife Organics, John’s Garden, Café Habana, or Marmalade Café. If you have little kids, there is also an exciting playground that they can enjoy.

Spend Some Time at Leo Carrillo State Park

Leo Carrillo State Park may be the most diverse out of all of the Malibu beaches, making it one of the coolest things to do in Malibu. While you can, of course, do all of the typical beach activities, including swimming, suntanning, and surfing, there are a bunch of other things that you can do at Leo Carrillo State Park. You can also go windsurfing, try your hand at fishing, explore oceanfront caves, and peer into shallow tidepools.

Spot a Celebrity or Two

Everyone thinks that they’ll spot a celebrity in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. That’s pretty unlikely. While many celebrities may work in downtown LA, they actually hang out in Malibu.

The Kardashians and contestants of The Bachelor are known for dining at Nobu. Harry Styles is often spotted at Café Habana. And if you happen to be in town for the Malibu fair at the beginning of September, that event is a goldmine for celebrity spotting (and it also happens to be one of the coolest things to do in Malibu at night).

waffle with whipped cream and berries on top

Splurge on a Fancy Restaurant

Considering the number of celebrities that live in the Malibu area, the large number of fancy restaurants in the area is to be expected. Dine on high quality sushi at Nobu, enjoy an oceanfront dining experience at Malibu Farm Café, savor delightful fusion food at Duke’s, or devour delicious modern American cuisine at Ollo. There are so many great dining options in Malibu, you can’t really go wrong.

See a Giraffe on a Malibu Wine Safari

One of the most unique things to do in Malibu is go on a Malibu Wine Safari. As the name implies, this isn’t your usual wine tasting. In addition to tasting a wide array of Malibu wines, you’ll also be able to go on a safari of sorts, during which you’ll see giraffes, zebras, and camels!

Book Here: Malibu Wine Safari Giraffe Tour

Take a Drive Along Pacific Coast Highway

If you do any amount of exploring in Malibu, there’s a good chance that you’ll drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. But this oceanfront speedway has stunning views, making a dedicated drive along this famed road one of the best things to do in Malibu.

Explore Malibu Creek State Park

Once upon a time, Malibu Creek State Park was owned by 20th Century Fox Studios. In other words, the wondrous landscapes found at Malibu Creek State Park can also be found in many TV shows and movies! While there, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing.

hundreds of american flags on alumni park at Pepperdine for 9/11

Breathe in the Fresh Air at Alumni Park

While there are many places in Malibu where you can escape the hustle and bustle of Southern California life, Alumni Park is one of the most overlooked places. Situated on Pepperdine University’s gorgeous campus, Alumni Park is open to the public. So have a picnic, climb a tree, or simply enjoy the shining sun.

Relax at the Malibu Lagoon State Beach

One of the most underrated things to do in Malibu is pay a visit to the Malibu Lagoon State Beach. This beautiful piece of land is situated between the Malibu Creek and the Pacific Ocean, making it quite a special spot. While here, you can swim in the cool ocean water, spot a few different types of seabirds, or stare in awe at gorgeous sea cliffs.

Climb the Sand Dunes near Point Mugu

Situated near Point Mugu along PCH, there are amazing sand dunes! Rumor has it that these sand dunes were created when strong winds dragged the sand particles up from the beach. Most people simply climb to the top of the sand dunes and enjoy the views of Point Mugu below. It’s especially beautiful at sunset.

Do know that it takes quite a bit of effort to reach the top of the sand dunes. As you climb, step in front of rocks to keep yourself from sliding down and negating your progress. Don’t worry though! Going down the sand dunes is much easier than making your way up!

Are there any other things to do in Malibu that you think should belong on this list? Let me know in the comments!

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