There’s something both magical and mysterious about Malibu… Maybe it’s the sandy beaches, the cotton candy sunsets, the million dollar real-estate and all the luxury cars zooming past you on the Pacific Coast Highway. Truly, Malibu is heaven on earth and it’s no wonder so many celebrities call this place home!
Although seeing a celebrity is unlikely, especially at the touristy spots, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel like one for a day while you cruise along the coast.
This guide will take you north along the PCH from Santa Monica to the heart of Malibu. You, and your camera roll, aren’t ready for this……
The Getty Villa
Start your day at this Italian-inspired iconic estate! The Getty Villa (not to be confused with the Getty Museum) used to belong to the family of billionaire oil tycoons — but is now a leisurely work of art open for the public to peruse. The best part is that you don’t have to be an art or architecture junkie to appreciate the vibe, views and vino. Plus, the food is much better than you’d expect for a typical museum! Depending on what time you arrive, you can enjoy a morning espresso and croissant, or share a basket of fries and bottle of wine at the upstairs restaurant. Take your time walking the gardens, explore old world artifacts, and definitely don’t miss a photo op by the pool.
Pro tip: For capacity reasons, guests have to order tickets and parking in advance. Or, ditch the drive and curate boujee vibes with a classy ride share like Alto.
Work your way up the Pacific Coast Highway to the most Instagrammable spot ever — The Malibu Pier! Just like everything in Malibu, the parking, drinks and food are a taaad pricey here. Be sure to stop for lunch at Malibu Farm (try to call ahead for a res), or have a casual bike at the bakery and deli at the end of the pier. If you’re feeling extra fancy, enjoy beachfront dining at Nobu Malibu for sushi or Moonshadow’s for coastal American cuisine.
Pro tip: Need to make a quick pit stop for a bathroom break, new swim suit, car snack or second cup of coffee? Be sure to check out The Malibu Country Mart shopping center or Vintage Grocer’s as you cruise up the PCH.
You’ll feel instantly transported to the rolling hills of Tuscany when you experience a Malibu wine tour. There’s a vintage, taste and price point for everyone — whether you’re looking for a rowdy Malibu Wine Safari with friends, chilled vibe (and chilled bev) at Rosenthal Wine Bar & Patio, or an intimate wine tasting room at Cielo Farms, there’s something for everyone!
Pro tip: The coastal breezes can sometimes feel chilly, but as you venture inland (toward wine country in the hills of the Santa Monica mountains) it definitely gets much warmer! Don’t forget to pack some SPF and dress in layers.
Point Dume, Zuma, El Matador or Will Rodger’s Beaches
It depends how far north you’re willing to drive — but all of these spots offer picturesque photo ops and breath-taking sunsets. At Point Dume, Zuma and El Matador beaches you’ll see steep cliffside meet the sand and boulders jutting out of gorgeous blue water. No wonder this beach is frequented for engagement and graduation photo shoots!
At Will Rodger’s State Beach, located closer to Santa Monica, you’ll have a bit more real estate to sprawl out on a picnic blanket or pick up a game of beach volleyball. You can’t go wrong with any of these spots, especially if a you catch a pink and purple sunset!
Pro tip: Beware of what you leave in your car at these beaches! Make sure to take any valuables with you as these touristy areas can be prone to window smashers.
If you opt for Will Rodger’s, bring or rent beach cruisers and head south along the boardwalk toward the Santa Monica pier and Venice Beach. Watch the boardwalk come to life at dusk and see the city lights and amusement park illuminate your evening. Just make sure to get back to your car in time before the parking lot gates close!