8 Best Things to Do in Malibu

04/08/2024 | by Fieldtrip Staff Writer | Malibu

Southern California’s dreamy ‘coastalscape’ awaits you during your stay in Malibu.

Plan your retreat to this iconic waterfront just a short drive outside of Los Angeles and discover exciting things to do in Malibu to truly feel like you belong.

Socialize in venues known for attracting the ‘who’s who’ of Hollywood. Dine and shop where A-Listers frequent. And bask in the endless ocean views as the perfect backdrop to every moment.

Turn Malibu into your playground and explore some of the exciting things to fill up a getaway itinerary. From beach fun to wine tasting and tons of photo opportunities, you’ll have plenty to keep busy this trip.

These are our top 15 things to do in Malibu that you won’t want to miss.


1. Explore the Best Beaches in Malibu

Malibu Dunes Private Beach

A beach day during your Malibu group trip is a must-do. With 21 miles of scenic sandy shores, Malibu is home to some of the best beaches near Los Angeles. Spend the day beachcombing and soaking up the sand at these popular Malibu beaches.

Stroll Along Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach is always at the top of the list for anyone visiting Malibu. At 1.8 miles long, you’ll find plenty of room to lay out your beach towel and settle in for a fun day at the beach—and a large parking lot!

It’s one of the few without any beach houses lining the shore, so it’s just you and the stunning ocean views. Cool off from the mid-day sun with surfing, windsurfing, and body surfing.

This is a good beach for families and has lifeguards on duty. So, listen up for the ice cream truck driving by for a refreshing beach snack.

Grab Your Board and Head to Surfrider Beach

Surf’s up, dude! Hang out with the locals at one of the best surfing spots in Los Angeles County. Surfrider Beach is a go-to beach for surfers from beginners to experts, thanks to the multiple surf breaks. There are several shops nearby for surfboard rentals and other water gear.

Surfrider Beach’s popularity dates back to the ’50s, and the consistent waves are still rolling in. Pick out a spot on the different breaks to test your skills, or sign up for surf lessons here and get your first experience of wave-riding thrill.

While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the 708-foot-long Malibu Pier. Enjoy the ocean views, chat with friendly anglers, or grab a bite to eat at the Malibu Farm Cafe.

Explore the Rock Formations at El Matador State Beach

The dramatic rock formations at El Matador State Beach make this one of the most scenic beaches around Malibu. You’ll have plenty to gawk at, from the towering cliffs to natural arches.

El Matador State Beach, part of the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, is a small beach at the foot of Malibu’s coastal cliffs. While swimming isn’t as popular here due to the rocks, it’s instead appreciated for its vistas. It’s one of the best photo spots in Malibu, and photoshoots are always happening here. Visit during low tide to explore the local sea caves and limbo beneath natural arches. It’s also an excellent spot for bird-watching.

Hang and Eat at Paradise Cove Beach

Stepping onto Paradise Cove Beach feels like stepping right into a Beach Boys album cover—quite literally. It’s one of the many claims to fame for this beach spot. So, quit your ‘California Dreamin” and make paradise a reality.

The Paradise Cove Beach Cafe sits right on the beach. Stop by for lunch and cocktails, then enjoy the serene beachscape. This is the perfect spot to rent beach beds or a cabana from the cafe. Watch the waves washing beneath the Paradise Cove Pier.

Pro Tip: You can avoid high parking rates at the cafe by parking on the shoulder of the Pacific Coast Highway and walking.

Splash Around Point Dume State Beach

Point Dume State Beach will be right up your alley for those who love being active. From water to land activities, you’ll have plenty to choose from—and something for everyone!

The turquoise waters aren’t just for looking at. Splash around in them with swimming and surfing. Explore the marine life along the rocky cliffs with scuba diving. Conquer the cliffs by rock climbing or exploring the depths of the coastal caves. Hike to the top of the rocky bluffs for one of the best whale-watching locations in Malibu.

Relax at Leo Carrillo State Park Beach

See the landscape transform as Leo Carrillo State Park extends from the Santa Monica Mountains to 1.5 miles of the Malibu coastline. It is best known for the beach, which is nearly adjacent to El Matador Beach.

Nature purists will love the rugged appearance of this beach. It’s a more natural setting to immerse yourself in the idyllic coast. Windy days are perfect for kicking up the waves and going surfing and windsurfing. This is a great spot to venture into sea caves, which are celebrated for their irregular keyhole entrances and interesting sea creatures that call the tide pools home.


2. Hit the Trails

Photo by shutterstock.com/Andy Konieczny

Enjoying the outdoors is one of the best things to do in Malibu. Whether you’re here to escape the bustle of Los Angeles or for a leisurely SoCal getaway, there are plenty of places to stop and take in a fresh breath of ocean-scented air.

Hike, Bike, or Horseback Ride in Malibu Creek State Park

Pack your hiking boots because there are tons of exciting trails to explore in Malibu Creek State Park. Trailheads lead you into the diverse landscape of the Santa Monica Mountains, enter the Malibu Creek Canyon, and discover points of interest.

Some of the best hiking trails in Malibu Creek State Park are:

Explore on foot, gear up for a wild mountain bike ride, or saddle up for the horseback riding adventure of a lifetime.

Bonus: Check out the famous Malibu Hindu Temple, just a few minute’s drive from the park in Calabasas.

Adventure into Solstice Canyon

Natural and manmade sights await on the Solstice Canyon Trail. This 2-mile hike takes you through the canyon and to the summit for one of the most stunning views. And there’s plenty to see on the way!

Crunch along the gravel pathway to reach the ruins of the Keller House (burned in the 2007 Corral Fire) and the Roberts Family House Ruins, which belonged to the family who once owned this former Roberts Ranch. The canyon is also home to the 30-foot Roberts Ranch Falls (also called the Solstice Canyon Falls). It’s best after it rains. Hikers love re-energizing after the hike with snacks at the picnic tables.

Make your day at Solstice Canyon an entire family affair. Yes, even your four-legged fur babies are welcome.

Hike to Escondido Falls

You’ll find the majestic Escondido Falls hidden inside Escondido Canyon Park. However, it’s pretty hard to hide the tallest waterfall within the Santa Monica Mountains.

Escondido Falls is a two-tier waterfall with a 150-foot drop. One of the unique things about this waterfall is getting to stand right at the foot and bathe in the mist. After all, it’s a nearly four-mile round-trip hike, so the water will feel amazing when you finally arrive.

This hike is for all ages, and you’ll see everyone from little kids to your grandparents on the trail.


3. View Art at The Getty Villa

Photo by shutterstock.com/Joseph Sohm

Experience one of the most lavish residences at The Getty Villa. Located just East of Malibu in Pacific Palisades, it was once home to oil tycoon J Paul Getty. Today, it’s a museum open to the public to see an art collection spanning 4,000 years.

Treat the Getty Villa Museum like walking through your rich BFF’s house. The building is a work of art in itself, designed after an ancient Roman villa. Wander the main gallery, which showcases more than 44,000 objects, including statues and antiques from Ancient Greece and Rome.

Climb the stairs to the second level and see temporary curated exhibitions. You’re invited to explore the beauty of the Outer Peristyle garden, complete with a reflecting pool and views of the Pacific Ocean.


4. Admire Celebrity Homes

Malibu is home to some of the most stunning beach houses and villas you’ve ever seen. Check out our Malibu vacation homes to see which of these stunning properties you can call your home away from home.

As for the others you see lining the coasts and bluffs, you’ll be surprised what (and who) you’ll find inside!

There’s a reason why there are so many celebrity sightings on the beach, cafes, and shopping areas around Malibu. It’s because they live here! Malibu is known for being a playground for the rich and famous, and your neighbor just might be your favorite movie star.

Take a Malibu Celebrity Home Tour by Surf City Tours to cruise past the glamorous Keeping Up With The Kardashians house, Dr. Dre’s crib, Adam Sandler’s crash pad, and many more. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of the stars checking their mailbox.


5. Visit the Adamson House

Photo by shutterstock.com/Panas Wiwatpanachat

Do you ever welcome new guests to your home with a tour? Well, at the Adamson House, you’ll get the same warm hospitality, except instead of the owners, you’ll be met by docents leading daily tours to one of the most iconic homes in Malibu.

This home was built in 1929 for the heirs of a wealthy landowner and rancher. The guided tours let you see how the other side lived—see original period furniture and decorations while learning interesting tales about the family who lived here. A highlight is seeing the original Malibu Potteries tiles. You can even find replicas in the gift shop.

Pro Tip: Be sure to also check out the Malibu Lagoon Museum. It exhibits archived material on Malibu’s history dating from the Chumash Indians to the 20th century.


6. Taste International Cuisine

All that exploring sure does work up an appetite. Whether you’re a foodie or a wine lover, you’ll have a full plate of things to do in Malibu when you sprinkle these into your itinerary.

Malibu is a celebrated dining destination where you’ll find everything from fine dining to West Coast casual. These are a few of our favorites.

  • Taste the decadent Japanese cuisine inside the swanky Nobu Malibu.
  • Eat world-class European delicacies served with an oceanfront view at Moonshadows.
  • Taste authentic Greek and Mediterranean recipes at Taverna Tony’s.
  • Dig into Latin dishes packed with flavor at Cafe’ Habana.
  • Stop for fast casual eats at Irv’s Burgers on days you prefer to keep it simple with a burger.


7. Go on a Malibu Wine Tour

Photo by shutterstock.com/Lux Blue

A Malibu wine tour is a quintessential itinerary item for your getaway. Malibu Wine Hikes will help organize a private, customized tour of the best wineries in the region.

Join your hiking tour guide and explore the Saddlerock Ranch. You’ll learn about the vineyards, snap tons of photos in front of the scenic views, and, of course, sample flavors of their best wines.

Rev up the experience even more on a 4×4 off-roading tour of the ranch. You’ll have a designated driver, so feel free to indulge!


8. Shop at the Malibu Country Mart

One thing about Malibu is that it’s all about the lifestyle! Nothing will turn heads more than your group parading through the Malibu Country Mart, Malibu’s epicenter for lifestyle.

This outdoor complex features 60+ boutique shops, spa and wellness services, galleries, and trendy eateries. Pamper yourself with a group session at the luxurious Cie Salon. Grab healthy smoothies from SunLife Organics. Then, accessorize yourself with the latest collection at Chrome Hearts.


Plan Your Dream Malibu Escape

The Malibu Five

We’re more than happy to host you on a Malibu escape. It’s the perfect destination for your group to enjoy fun, sun, and something to do for everyone! Book your Malibu vacation home today!