Are you a SoCal native looking for a new sandy beach to explore? Are you an avid surfer interested in finding your next surf destination? No matter your goal, this article is guaranteed to lead you to the best beaches in Malibu, California.
There are countless beaches to choose from when you visit Malibu, and we’re gonna save you the searching time. From hiking to surfing to chilling out and enjoying some good, old-fashioned people-watching, a sunny paradise awaits you.
Keep on reading to learn all about the five best beaches in the area. But first, throw on your Andie Swim Malibu One Piece. Ok, now you are ready for a glorious day in the sun in Malibu. Oh, and while you’re in The ‘Bu, check out our flagship store on Cross Creek Road.
1. El Matador State Beach
Explore one of the best state beaches in Southern California at El Matador Beach. This beach has a bit of everything: from gorgeous sightseeing opportunities to catching some waves to kicking back on the sand and soaking up the sun, there is something for everyone here.
You cannot talk about El Matador without mentioning the incredible views. This beach is every photographer and nature lover’s dream come true. The natural rock formations and sea caves are a wonder to see. It’s a wonderful opportunity to take a hike around the area and check out the natural beauty of El Matador up close and personal. Be sure to stick around for the sunset to catch an even more spectacular sight.
Aside from aesthetics, this beach is also great for beachy activities. If you’re an avid surfer, be sure to hit the waves. Venture out into the hiking trails and get your steps in by strolling around the caves or the sand. Or, hang with friends and enjoy a picnic and some SPF-safe sunbathing.
Note: Parking spots are pay-only, but other amenities like picnic tables and public restrooms make up for it.
2. Carbon Beach
Malibu has a reputation for being a bit bougie, and Carbon Beach, nicknamed Billionaire’s Beach, is a testament to that. The beach earned its namesake due to the vast amount of beachfront mansions and gorgeous oceanfront houses, but it’s open to the public and well worth the trip.
It’s about 25 minutes from Santa Monica … usually (*shrugs in LA traffic*). At least if there’s unspeakable traffic, driving down the PCH by the Santa Monica Mountains is hardly the worst place to be stuck.
There are two entry access points, making it very accessible to anyone who wants to explore.
Putting glamor aside, Carbon Beach is a lovely, calm area to spend a sunny afternoon in SoCal. Unlike many of the other Malibu beaches, there are very few rocks, and the waves are fairly calm, making it a five-star` spot to swim.
The vibes at Carbon Beach are excellent. It is quiet, laidback, and perfect for a relaxed day out in the sunshine. Throw on your favorite Andie Swim bathing suit, apply a generous amount of sunscreen, and soak up the luxurious atmosphere of Billionaire’s Beach.
3. Malibu Lagoon State Beach
This beachy area is yet another spot that has it all. Malibu Lagoon State Beach is filled with history, surfing spots, delicious restaurants, fishing hotspots, and so much more. This is the spot!
Surfing is a must at this state beach. In fact, you might even want to look into Surfrider Beach, a section of the Lagoon State Beach that is a dedicated spot for surfing. Fun fact: Malibu Surfrider Beach was actually the first official World Surfing Reserve, so if surfing is your sport of choice, rest assured that in this area, you’ll find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals with a mutual love of surfing.
Since this is where Malibu Creek meets the ocean, you can get a glimpse of the unique wetlands environment.
This isn’t only a beautiful beach — it’s also a peek into the oceanic ecosystem. Wait until low tide, and what was once a stretch of sand will expand, revealing incredible tide pools. Turn your beach walk into a scavenger hunt, looking for sea stars, sea anemones, sea cucumbers, and more fascinating marine organisms. Just make sure to make your way back before high tide rolls in.
Are you a history buff? Check out the Adamson House, which is the home to loads of Malibu historical artifacts and is close to Malibu Pier.
This state beach has something for everyone. Need a family-friendly spot? This state beach is for you. If you like to frolic on the beach with pals and play beach volleyball, this is your spot. If you like to fish, this is your spot.
Best of all? There’s free parking! You can even enjoy a relaxing picnic day at this public beach. If you enjoy getting active by hitting the hiking trails, jogging the coastline, or going for a surf, you will feel right at home at this beach. Conversely, you can keep it low-key and lounge around with pals.
4. Zuma Beach
Looking for a spacious beach location? Zuma Beach in Los Angeles County is the place for you.
Zuma Beach is vast. The beach extends very far, so if you run into a large crowd, you can easily find a more secluded area. The vastness of this beach makes it a great spot for every kind of beach lover. Some spots are more fun and rambunctious, while others have more of a zen vibe.
The parking lot is a paid one, and the prices vary based on the season. There is free beach access if you park alongside the Pacific Coast Highway, but be safe: This isn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill chill beach road.
Be sure to check out the boardwalk for a lovely, quaint stroll. It is the perfect place for a calm day out with your kids or a relaxing, romantic walk with your partner. The boardwalk is a prime sunrise and/or sunset viewing point, so definitely seek that out whenever you visit.
Like virtually any Malibu beach, the Zuma is a top-notch destination to catch some gnarly waves; however, it can be a bit rough depending on the weather, so it might not be the best place if you’re a beginner. However, it’s a fantastic beach spot for swimming and body surfing if you stay close to the shore.
This beach is also renowned for its amazing whale-watching opportunities! In the winter, as gray whales migrate, be sure to check out this stunning beach and see them in person. You might also luck out in the summertime and spot some dolphins swimming around in the Pacific Ocean.
Whatever your vibe is, you’ll have a blast at this beach — a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.
5. Paradise Cove Beach
Paradise Cove Beach has rightfully made our list of the best Malibu beaches. The name says it all: paradise!
This beach is quite small and quaint compared to other beaches on this list, but that being said, it’s a destination that is small but mighty. It might not compare in vastness to beaches like Zuma, but it is stunning, is attached to an iconic restaurant, and has a taste of luxury thanks to the glamorous stars and houses on the bluffs that surround it.
Attached to this beach is the famous Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. This restaurant is known for good eats and even more incredible views. Eat some delicious American cuisine while looking out at the shore. If you are lucky enough, you might even be able to secure a seat on the sand directly beside the ocean.
Despite being relatively small, this beach is well known for its surfing opportunities. If you like to gear up and hit the waves, be sure to check out Paradise Cove Beach. It will be a beautiful, memorable surf. Or, if you simply want to put on a classic Andie Swim bathing suit and enjoy a quick dip in the ocean, this beach will be the spot for you.
This beach usually has quite a few lifeguards on duty and is a five-star windsurfing local.
Malibu is filled with beaches worth visiting. Though we covered the five best beaches above, we do want to be sure to list some other spots that are worthy of a visit if you can’t make it to any of the above-mentioned:
- Topanga Beach
- Point Dume State Beach (note that Little Dume Beach is a private beach)
- Leo Carrillo State Beach (North Beach)
- Dan Blocker Beach (great for scuba diving)
Soak Up the Sun
Our hope is that with this list, you can visit our five favorite beaches in Malibu and find the perfect sport for whatever your needs are. Whether you enjoy getting your surf on or just want a family-friendly afternoon with picnicking spots, our list has you covered.
Malibu is a beautiful area of Southern California, and any of the above beaches will leave you satisfied with your visit!