Romantic, luxurious and spectacularly beautiful, Malibu is a unique beach town that so many rich and famous call home. With homes high up on the bluff overlooking miles of fine sand beaches and spectacular views of the Pacific, Malibu is known for its fantastic surfing waves, iconic fishing pier and great shopping at the Malibu Country Mart. Visitors can enjoy diverse restaurants, Malibu beaches, as well as unique activities like kayaking, hiking, photography and tide pool exploring.

1. The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa
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The Getty Villa is the former residence of Paul Getty, and is designed to resemble a 1stcentury Italian villa. It serves today as an educational center and museum that houses the J. Paul Getty Museum's collection of more than 44,000 Roman, Greek and Etruscan artifacts.

The Villa serves as a campus for the UCLA/Getty Master's Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation. The permanent collection of 1,200 works is on view in 23 galleries, while five more galleries show changing or visiting exhibits.

Good to know: The Villa is surrounded by a large, beautiful formal garden filled with roses and trailing English ivy, with a number of Roman statues snuggled among the greenery.

Pro tip: Dine at great restaurants in Malibu on vacation.

17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, Phone: 310-440-7300

2. Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach
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As you drive along the East Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu, you will not be able to resist stopping for a while and stepping onto the fine sands of Zuma beach. The largest, most beautiful and most popular beach in Malibu, this wide stretch of golden sand is perfect for swimming, building sand castles, playing beach volleyball, surfing and even fishing.

There are lifeguards on duty and the beach has consistently received a high rating for its quality.

Where to eat: There are several good restaurants nearby, from casual eateries to more gourmet meals.

Good to know: In the winter you can enjoy the view while hiking the ridge above the beach and watching the seals and dolphins.

Do this: Browse our California weekend getaways guide for more ideas.

30000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

3. Westward Beach

Westward Beach
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Much quieter than Zuma Beach, Malibu's Westward Beach is a three-mile-long sandy stretch of beach below the west side of Point Dume, with fine blond sand and clear blue waters. Sea cliffs sticking out into the ocean shadow the beach below, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, surfing and fishing. There are showers, restrooms and picnic tables, as well as the popular restaurant The Sunset.

What's nearby? There are several hiking trails leading from the beach up to Point Dume Natural Preserve. Nearby Pirates Cove Beach is hidden behind the high cliff wall.

Local travel tip: Westward Beach is also great for spotting sea lions, seals and dolphins who like to visit the area.

Westward Beach Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

More ideas: Beaches in California

4. Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum

Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum
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Adamson House is a Spanish Colonial Revival-style house with spectacular views of Surfrider Beach and lush landscaped grounds, built in 1929 for the affluent Rindge family. The house is covered with beautiful tiles in rich blues, greens, yellows and oranges created in the renowned Malibu Potteries, and is located on the beach and surrounded by a high chain-link fence for privacy.

Guided tours of the house provide a rare opportunity to see the way of life and the history of Malibu at the beginning of the 20th century.

Where to find it: The Malibu Lagoon Museum is located next to the Adamson House and contains a rich collection of artifacts, photographs and rare documents telling the story of the colorful Malibu history.

Good to know: The museum covers the periods from the era of early Chumash Indians to the times of Spanish California.

23200 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, Phone: 310-456-8432, (website link)

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5. Malibu Country Mart

Malibu Country Mart
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Did you ever wonder where the rich and famous who call Malibu home shop for their groceries? The answer is: In Malibu Country Mart, right in the Malibu Civic Center. The Country Mart is a 6 acre unique mix of high-end shopping, playing and dining, where you can get pampered, fix your car, get a designer gown for tonight's party, have a fancy meal or check out the latest show at the gallery.

This 'boutique mall' or 'lifestyle center' has a range of buildings of mixed Spanish, modern, Mediterranean and rustic styles.

Good to know: The buildings are surrounded by beautiful gardens dotted with original sculptures, picnic areas, kids' playgrounds and outdoor restaurants.

Where to find it: Malibu Country Mart, 3835 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 310-456-7300

More ideas: California Day Trips

6. Point Dume State Beach and Preserve

Point Dume State Beach and Preserve
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Point Dume State Beach is a beautiful sandy beach shadowed by overhanging headlands and cliffs, with romantic rocky coves and vast expanses of soft white sand. It is perfect for swimming, scuba diving, surfing and fishing.

Where can I see whales in California? Point Dume State Beach and Preserve is a popular spot to look for California gray whales during their migration period between December and April.

A mild ascending hiking trail takes hikers to a unique accumulation of coastal bluff sand dunes.

Stop for the photos: The bluff offers spectacular views of the Santa Monica Bay, Malibu Coast, Santa Monica Mountains and Catalina Island on a clear day.

Pro tip: There is a boardwalk near the summit with a viewing platform and a stairway on the east side that leads to some small isolated beaches and occasional tidepools.

What's nearby? Plan a weekend getaway from Los Angeles.

Where to find it: Point Dume State Beach and Preserve, Cliff Drive, Malibu, California, Phone: 805-488-1827

7. Malibu Pier

Malibu Pier
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Malibu Pier is a 780 foot long fishing pier located next to Malibu's Surfrider Beach, the center of surf culture in California, a cheerful, festive heart of Malibu oceanside. The pier is a favorite spot for watching surfers ride the waves, cheering them on and fearing for them when they fall.

What is the beach famous for? The beach is famous for its natural three-point break that creates waves of up to 300 yards.

Is there fishing in Malibu?: The Malibu Pier is dotted with the brackets for fishing rods and reels and there is always someone patiently waiting for a fish to bite.

Pro tip: The pier is also a pleasant place for a stroll, especially just before the sunset.

Where to eat: There are several restaurants on the pier, offering fish and seafood, wine, cocktails and great views.

More ideas: Hot Springs in California

8. Things to Do in Malibu: Geoffrey's

Things to Do in Malibu: Geoffrey's
© Geoffrey's

What started in 1948 as the old Geoffrey's, the destination for stars such asFrank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley MacLaine and Lana Turner, designed by the famous architect Richard Neutra, grew into a modern, chic California restaurant that continues to be a popular spot in Malibu for special occasions.

Spectacular views of the ocean from the outside terrace and the elegant indoor dining room compete with the artistry that comes from the Executive Chef Bijan Shokatfard's kitchen. The menu is heavily focused on seafood and is paired with a superb wine selection.

Pro tip: If you come for brunch, be sure to try the heavenly Ahi Tuna Tartar with avocado, ginger, scallions, Tobiko caviar and Wonton crisps.

Where to find it: Geoffrey's, 27400 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 310-457-1519

More ideas: Places to visit in California

9. Malibu Coastal Adventures

Malibu Coastal Adventures
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With vast ocean all around you, having an adventure on the water while visiting Malibu is a must. Malibu Coastal Adventures can organize an exciting day for everyone, which could include a boat trip, surfing lessons, paddle boarding lessons, fishing trips, scuba diving explorations, whale watching or just a pleasant cruise along the beautiful Malibu coastline.

You can learn to paddleboard or surf, catch the biggest fish of your life, see the elusive whales or frolicking dolphins and get a unique view of the exclusive expensive properties of the rich and famous.

Good to know: You will be in the safe hands of Captain Dave Ogle, a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Certified Captain and his team of surfing, paddle boarding and kitesurfing instructors.

Malibu Pier, Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 310-701-1996

More ideas: Beaches in Los Angeles

10. Good2Go Adventure Tours

Good2Go Adventure Tours
© Good2Go Adventure Tours

Of course you can go hiking, biking or sightseeing on your own while in Malibu, but what are the chances that you will see just the right spots or discover all the interesting landmarks and hidden treasures? Why not let the knowledgeable and passionate local guides show you the most interesting neighborhoods and take you on exclusive visits to some of the best wineries.

Good2Go Adventure Tour team will organize the transport, book the visit, create the fun itinerary and tell you all about the neighborhoods you are passing through.

What is popular in Malibu? The most popular tour, The Malibu Vino Run, includes a visit to three wineries and tasting rooms, a terrific picnic lunch, a stop for some live music off the Pacific Coastal Highway and a lovely scenic drive with stops for the best views.

Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 888-978-9229

More ideas: Day Trips from Los Angeles

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11. Things to Do in Malibu: Leo Carrillo State Park

Things to Do in Malibu: Leo Carrillo State Park
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This beautiful state Park is a coastal area named after the actor, preservationist and conservationist Leo Carrillo. Known best for playing Pancho in the TV series Cisco Kid, Carrillo went on to serve on the California Beach and Parks Commission for 18 years. His namesake park consists of a 1.5-mile-long stretch of beach that is perfect for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, and beachcombing.

Local travel tip: Tide pools and coastal caves are hidden along the picturesque coastline.

Good to know: The area also contains shady campgrounds, a large network of backcountry trails, and a collection of interpretive displays.

35000 West Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 800-444-7275, (website link)

More ideas: California resorts

12. Malibu Divers

Malibu Divers
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Malibu Divers is the one-stop shop for diving enthusiasts in the Malibu area. The company offers diving courses that cater to beginners as well as experts. Guided dive trips to nine popular Southern California islands and reefs are also available through Malibu Divers, and the company can help divers organize charters for special trips in the waters off of Southern California.

Many of the trips are package deals that include food, lodging (if applicable), and transportation. Lastly, Malibu Divers has resources and training for free divers, rescue divers, and children who are just getting into the sport.

Pro tip: At the on-site store, divers can pick up equipment, manuals, dive logs, and more.

21231 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 310-456-2396

More ideas: Weekend Getaways from San Diego

13. Things to Do in Malibu: Nicholas Flat Trail

Things to Do in Malibu: Nicholas Flat Trail
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This 6.9-mile-long trail runs through Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu, California. The trail is considered 'difficult' since it includes 1,664 feet of elevation gain and some rocky, steep terrain. The highlights of the hike include the beautiful plant life, views of the local grasslands and the Pacific Ocean, and a seasonal pond located off of the trail.

There are spots along the trail where hikers can access secluded beaches and quiet campgrounds. For guests who want to turn the hike into an overnight trip, the area contains more than 130 campsites for groups of all sizes.

Where can I find picnic tables in Malibu? Picnic tables, barbecues, restrooms, and coin-operated showers are available at each trailside campground.

More ideas: San Diego Beaches

14. Nicholas Canyon Beach

Nicholas Canyon Beach
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Known as Point Zero among local surfers, Nicholas Canyon Beach is a popular hangout spot in western Malibu. The idyllic setting is an ideal place for surfing, swimming, wading, scuba diving, windsurfing, and beachcombing. Aside from a small parking fee, the beach is free to the public.

There are picnic tables, restrooms, showers, and spaces for sitting.

Good to know: During the summer there are lifeguards on duty and food trucks that park in the area for beachgoers.

Pro tip: The main parking lot for Nicholas Canyon Beach is easily accessible from the Pacific Coast Highway. (website link)

More ideas: Day Trips From San Diego

15. The Malibu Cafe

The Malibu Cafe
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Crystal chandeliers hanging from the huge old trees, fine linens on the beautifully set dining tables on the lush green lawn, combined with the sweet smell of barbecued meats and lively chatter of happy people – that is the Malibu Café. It is a day-long fiesta on the old Calamigos Ranch started by the Gerson family 50 years ago that has evolved into what the new team calls "nouveau barbecue."

You might come for the famous brunch to try some of their delicious Huevos Rancheros or Eggs Benedict, but you may end up playing shuffleboard with total strangers or throwing a frisbee to someone's dog. It is a classic old-fashioned California Cowboy and Cowgirl country party you do not want to leave. No wonder they have so many weddings here.

327 Latigo Californianyon Rd, Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 818-540-2400

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16. Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach

Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach
© NPS photo

Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach is situated between Leo Carrillo and Point Dume State Beaches. The site is comprised of coves known as pocket beaches with names like El Pescador, El Matador, and La Piedra. All of the picturesque beaches are suitable for surfing, beachcombing, relaxing, and bird watching.

Local travel tip: About 10 miles away from Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway, the three pocket beaches draw crowds during the summer but tend to be quiet in the off-season.

What about parking? There are designated parking areas as well as paths that guide visitors to each beach.

More ideas: Things to do in Beverly Hills, CA

17. Things to Do in Malibu: Circle X Ranch

Things to Do in Malibu: Circle X Ranch
© NPS photo

Located about 50 miles away from downtown Los Angeles, Circle X Ranch is a popular hiking destination for locals and visitors alike. The ranch used to serve as a Boy Scout camp, but it is now open to the public. Its main attraction is Sandstone Peak; the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Is there a good spot for travel photos in Malibu? On clear days, hikers can spot Anacapa Island, the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz Island, and Mount Baldy.

Do this: Trails running through the ranch also provide hikers with the chance to see the unique plant and wildlife that inhabit the coastal area.

Pro tip: There are spots within Circle X Ranch for camping and picnics, as well.

More ideas: Things to do in San Marcos

18. Zuma and Trancas Canyons

Zuma and Trancas Canyons
© NPS photo

Filled with rich history, the Zuma and Trancas Canyons are home to an interesting assortment of plant and animal life. Deer, rabbits, and coyote all roam among the flowing streams and dramatic peaks that surround the area. The canyons once belonged to Frederick and May Rindge, a couple who christened the area Rancho Malibu and turned the land into private property.

After a long struggle with the government, the couple had no choice but to allow the construction of the Pacific Coast Highway on their land. Even though Zuma and Trancas Canyons once hosted human inhabitants, they aren't highly developed.

Pro tip: Visitors can access the canyons by traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Good to know: In the canyons there are areas for hiking, biking, picnicking, horseback riding, and more.

More ideas: Things to Do in Palm Springs

19. Malibu Lagoon State Beach

Malibu Lagoon State Beach
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Malibu Lagoon State Beach, also known asSurfrider Beach, is located in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The 110-acre coastal area was designated as a state park in 1951. Today it is known as one of the best surfing beaches in the entire state.

One of its most well-known features is the Malibu Pier, which attracts scores of saltwater fishing enthusiasts every day. Other nearby attractions include the Adamson House, the Malibu Lagoon Museum, and the wetlands area.

Good to know: Guests can enjoy swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, wildlife viewing, or venturing along the hiking trails in the nearby hills.

More ideas: Things to Do in Los Olivos

20. Point Mugu State Park

Point Mugu State Park
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Point Mugu State Park, a five-mile-long stretch of beautiful coastline, is located within the Santa Monica Mountains. Rugged hills, pristine beaches, two large canyons, sand dunes, and lush valleys are some of the main attractions in the 40,000acre park. More than 70 miles of hiking trails zigzag across the interior and coastal parts of Point Mugu State Park, and there are spots for swimming and surfing.

Winter visitors occasionally will catch glimpses of migrating whales.

Stay here: The park has two designated campgrounds called Thornhill Broome and Sycamore Canyon that are open for tent camping as well as trailer camping. (website link)

More ideas: Orange County beaches

21. Nobu Malibu

Nobu Malibu
© Nobu Malibu

When you combine spectacular ocean views, sleek, modern decor and exquisite delicacies produced by celebrated 'Iron Chef' NobuMatsuhisa, you get near perfection. Nobu Malibu's new location just off Pacific Coast Highway has floor to ceiling windows and a spectacular deck with endless ocean views, an exterior upstairs lounge and a fourteen-seat bar.

Chef Nobu brought with him his signature dishes like Black Cod Miso and Tiradito. Executive Chef Gregorio Stephenson has his own treats on the menu such as Ribeye with Truffle Butter Sauce.

Pro tip: If you have a celebration coming, book right away as the restaurant is typically booked at least a month in advance.

22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 310-317-9140

More ideas: Things to do in Orange County

22. Topanga State Park

Topanga State Park
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Topanga State Park is comprised of picturesque cliffs and canyons in the Santa Monica Mountains. With 36 miles of trails that wind through grasslands and forests, the park is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. It is thought to be the world's largest wildland that sits within the limits of a major city.

Most of the main attractions in Topanga State Park are accessible through Trippet Ranch, a site that leads out to the Eagle Spring loop trail, Hub Junction, the Temescal fire road, and the Musch Trail.

Where to take the best vacation photos in Malibu: Some of the hiking paths provide stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged California coastline.

More ideas: Day Trips from Orange County

23. Things to Do in Malibu: Solstice Canyon

Things to Do in Malibu: Solstice Canyon
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Located in the Santa Monica mountains, Solstice Canyon is an intriguing historical site surrounded by tall waterfalls. Visitors can take an easy two-mile-long hike to access the site. A strenuous six-mile-long hike also leads into Solstice Canyon. The main attraction in the canyon is the shell of a stone house that dates back to 1865.

Built by Matthew Keller, the stone house is thought to be the oldest existing stone building in Malibu. The house withstood several major wildfires, but it was ruined by the 2007 Corral Fire. Some of the walls are still standing.

Pro tip: Visitors can also access the beach from Solstice Canyon, which makes it a popular spot for picnics and family outings. (website link)

More ideas: Hiking Trails in Orange County

24. Duke's Malibu

Duke's Malibu
© Duke's Malibu

Your slice of Hawaii in California, Duke's Malibu is so close to the ocean near Malibu Point that you can expect to be splashed occasionally. Duke's is dedicated to Duke Kahanamoku, famous swimmer, surfer and Hawaii's ambassador of Aloha, who popularized surfing in North America and the world.

Beautiful ocean vistas, colorful cocktails with umbrellas, a thatched roof and surfboard décor create a funky, laid-back atmosphere popular among locals and tourists alike. Hawaiian specialties are served in the large, bright dining room, and the more casual Barefoot Bar downstairs offers great maitais and tacos.

Pro tip: The cozy veranda with small, romantic tables is perfect for sunset watching and happy hour socializing.

21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, California 90265, Phone: 310-317-0777

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