Venture just west of the concrete jungle of Los Angeles and you find Malibu, perched on rugged bluffs above the turquoise Pacific Ocean. Combine some of the most stunning coastal scenery to be found anywhere in southern California with a small-town feel, and it's no surprise that Hollywood movie stars flock to this laid-back beach city. From pristine surfing beaches and mountain hiking trails to acclaimed wineries and art museums, there are a variety of things to do in Malibu for those seeking to explore outside the LA metropolis. Whether you're craving outdoor activities or a glimpse of how the rich and famous live, the Malibu coast is well worth a visit.
Malibu is best known for the golden beaches that sprawl along its 21 miles (34 km) of spectacular coastline. Head up into the hills, though, and you uncover more spots that showcase the area's stunning beauty.
Surfers come from all over the world to ride the swells at the legendary Surfrider Beach. If surfing isn't your thing, stroll along the Malibu Pier, or delve into Malibu's heritage at the historic Adamson House.
If you're in the mood for an idyllic beach day, head to Zuma Beach to feel like a local. Perfect for peaceful swimming and sunbathing, this vast beach is the place to find ultimate relaxation.
Marked by steep cliffs and unique rock formations, El Matador State Beach stands out with its rugged beauty. The steep staircase down to shore requires a bit of hiking, but the natural arch at the water's edge offers incredible photo ops.
Nestled in the Malibu hills, Pepperdine University is considered one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States. As you stroll the grounds, the vistas overlooking the Pacific Ocean promise to astound.
Malibu is a hiking paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, and Solstice Canyon boasts trails for all skill levels. While soaking up the grandeur of the Santa Monica Mountains, trek to the ruins of the Keller House, a 19th-century hunting lodge.
The Pacific Coast scenery takes center stage in Malibu, and there are plenty of ways to admire the spectacular mix of mountains, canyons, and ocean. Soar high above the landscape on a breathtaking helicopter tour, or opt for a guided tour of the luxury mansions inhabited by Hollywood's A-list stars. Or, for a slice of culture and the arts, immerse yourself in the collection of ancient Greek, Roman, and Etruscan masterpieces housed at the Getty Villa, the sister property to the Getty Center.
Whether you're looking for adventure or a chance to indulge your sophisticated tastes, Malibu offers activities to please all types of travelers. During a day on the beach, head out into the blue Pacific Ocean waters with surfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding rentals, which you can snag from conveniently located spots such as the Malibu Surf Shack. If you're in need of retail therapy, make a trip to Malibu Country Mart, an outdoor shopping destination where stars come to browse an impressive offering of designer brands and upscale boutiques. Fewer travelers know that Malibu boasts a wealth of world-class wineries, whose grapes thrive in the warm Mediterranean climate. Consider a private wine tour to sip your way around several of the area's most prestigious cellars and vineyards. And when it comes to good eats, Malibu delivers—you'll find a wealth of fine dining and casual dining options known for delicious seafood and fresh California cuisine.