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12 of the Best Things to Do in Malibu

Also see: 5 of the Best Lunches in Malibu & 5 Great Breakfast Spots!

Welcome to Malibu, where sun-drenched beaches, rugged mountains, and a laid-back coastal charm converge to create a haven for both locals and visitors alike. Whether you're exploring the iconic Malibu Pier, indulging in world-class dining, embarking on scenic hikes, or relaxing by the pristine shores, Malibu offers a wealth of unforgettable experiences. Dive into our guide to discover 12 of the best activities and attractions that showcase the essence of this vibrant Southern California gem.

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1. Visit to the Malibu Pier

The historic Malibu Pier

The Malibu Pier is one of the most, if not the most iconic landmark that Malibu has to offer. Built in 1905, the pier has gone through a number of renovations throughout the years, however it still looks fairly similar to its original construction.

The main activities on the pier include sightseeing, grabbing a bite to eat, taking photos, and fishing.

The Malibu Pier also features one of Malibu’s most popular places to eat, Malibu Farm. Malibu Farm has two locations on the Pier, one at the end (the cafe) and one at the base of the pier (the restaurant). Both serve delicious food, however feature different menus. Take your pick, you can’t go wrong with either.  

As seen in Malibu Farm Secret Menu!

2. Eat at one of the Iconic Malibu Restaurants


Malibu, just like other small cities, has a few local restaurants that have become part of the fabric of the city. Some of these restaurants have been here for ages, some are just incredibly popular, and some are both. Here are just three that we recommend you try out when you visit.

Malibu Seafood – This seafood joint located across from Dan Blocker Beach has become a Pacific Coast Highway landmark for its unmistakable square sign featuring a large red lobster. On any given sunny beach day the line for this place will be so long it often floods onto the should of the highway. Definitely worth the wait if the line is long! BYOB as well :). As seen in 5 Great Lunches!

Paradise Cove Beach Cafe – This restaurant sits right on the beach at Paradise Cove Beach Club and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This restaurant is popular with locals and tourists alike. The menu boasts a large selection of options to chose from with portions ranging on the large size.  Perhaps the best part about this restaurant is that seating is available outside on their patio overlooking the ocean. There aren’t many better settings to enjoy a meal! As seen in 5 Great Breakfasts!

Lily’s Cafe – If you’re looking for a great burrito, look no further. Lily’s has become incredibly popular over the years for its signature breakfast burrito. By no means is this restaurant a one trick pony. It is hard to miss with anything on the menu, it's all DELICIOUS! If you can, make sure to call ahead with your order. During the busy hours the wait can be up to 40 minutes plus. As seen in 5 Great Breakfasts!

3. Do a Malibu Wine Safari

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If you enjoy any of the following things the Malibu Wine Safari is for you: wine, beautiful vineyards, mountain scenery, exotic animals (including Stanley the Giraffe), good times with friends...

It is really hard to miss with this one. The Wine Safari takes you on a tour through the beautiful vineyards of Saddle Rock Ranch . Along the tour you are drinking wines from locally grown grapes, visiting exotic animals, and enjoying the beautiful surrounding scenery.  There are plenty of great places for photo ops that will surely make your friends jealous!

For more information check out our blog post about the Malibu Wine Safari HERE and purchase tickets HERE.

4. Go on a Hike

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Hiking is one of Malibu’s most popular activities. Hiking enthusiasts travel far and wide to experience the beautiful trails and ocean views that Malibu has to offer.  There are many great hikes in Malibu and you can see a list of them by clicking HERE.

One hike that we specifically recommend is it the Solstice Canyon Hike. This is a great hike to bring along the family and dog (if he or she is on a leash) to enjoy some of Malibu’s scenery. What makes this particular hike unique are the ruins of two homes that were victims of wildfires, one in 1982 and one in 2007.

5. Go to the Beach (Duh!)

Is a visit to Malibu really complete without a trip to the beach? We think not.

Zuma Beach can handle of all of your essential beach needs from sand castles to boogie boarding.  Zuma is by far the largest beach around so it rarely feels like the beach is crowded. This beach also has plenty of parking as well as public bathrooms and showers.

6. Go Shopping in Malibu Country Mart or the Malibu Lumber Yard


If you are looking to get some shopping done in Malibu two of the best places to do so are The Country Mart and the Lumber Yard. These shopping centers feature plenty of stores, many of which are locally owned small businesses! These two shopping centers are adjacent to each other, easily within walking distance making it easy to visit as many stores as you want.

There are also plenty of places to grab some food or drink including John's Garden, Tra Di Noi, Coffee Bean, Sunlife, and much more. If you bring the kids along, there is a great play area right in the middle of the Country Mart (pictured above).

7. Camping @ Leo Carrillo Campgrounds

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Leo Carrillo State Park is one of the best venues for camping in all of Los Angeles. This can be great for the whole family, a group of friends, or to bring a someone special!

The campgrounds are dog-friendly and can accommodate cars, tents, and RV’s. Coming in 2016 there will also be electrical and water hookups for RV’s.  The north part of the adjacent beach is one of the few dog-friendly beaches in Malibu.

Fun activities at Leo Carrillo include hiking (closest trail is Nicolas Flats), exploring the tide pools located just down the road from the campsite, snorkeling out past the surf, and other beach activities.

Reservation for camp spots can be made as early as 7 months in advance. We recommend that you make your reservations as early as you can because these spots fill up fast!

Camping starts at $45 a night and the additional water and electrical hookup spots will cost a bit more.

8. Spend the Day at Rosenthal Wines Tasting Room

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The Rosenthal Wine's Tasting Room is one of our favorite places to visit in Malibu.  They provide a beautiful indoor and outdoor setting to to enjoy different wines with great company!

The weekday vibe is more of a relaxed, low energy vibe.  Less energy does not mean worse energy by any means.  On the weekends, the crowds increase significantly from the weekdays (obviously) and the tasting room has similar energy to that of a day club.  The whole property is buzzing by the time the afternoon rolls around.  Adding to the lively weekend vibe, the outdoor patio area plays host to many popular Los Angeles food trucks as well as live music.  If you’re looking for more of a mellow vibe, visit the tasting room on a weekday.  If you want the higher energy day club vibe, visit the tasting room on the weekend.

For more information on Rosenthal Wines visit our blog on them here.

9. Visit the Serra Retreat Monastery

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The Serra Retreat Monastery is a Catholic retreat and conference center located just near central Malibu, right across from Surfrider Beach.  The Monastery provides a beautiful setting for peace, serenity, and reflection for all peoples, regardless of religious orientation. The center features breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and beautiful mountain views on the other, forming the perfect setting for peace and tranquility.

Visitation to the Serra Retreat Monastery is really easy!  You can do an unguided visit all days of the week.  Monday-Friday from 9am-4:30pm you do not need a reservation but weekend visits do require a reservation.  Make sure you call ahead to let them know you are coming!  The center offers a ton of other services like guided tours for groups, weddings, and much more. For information on more services visit their site here!

10. Do a Low Tide Beach Walk from County Line to Broad Beach

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It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that this walk is only accessible during a very low tide.  If the tide is too high, certain sections of the beach will not be accessible.  Trying to walk through the water or swimming across can be very dangerous so be very mindful of the tide.

What makes this walk so great is the fact that you pass through so many different beaches.  It is like you are getting a little taste of each of the best beaches on the west end of Malibu.  The notable beaches you pass through include County Line, Leo Carrillo, La Piedra, El Pescador, Nicholas Beach, and El Matador.

For more information about this walk including what tides make it accessible, click here.

11. Spend an Afternoon at the Historic Adamson House

Located right next to the Malibu Lagoon off of Pacific Coast Highway, The Adamson House is one of Malibu’s most historic, if not the most historic icon the city has to offer. The house was built in 1929 by husband and wife Merritt Adamson and Rhonda Rindge Adamson. This ocean front house was built on a section of land Rhonda’s father bought in 1889 for $10 an acre (can you imagine?). The house currently remains well kept and in tact as a national historic site, a California historical landmark, and as a California State Park. The house itself was constructed with Spanish and Moorish architecture influences in mind, featuring “dazzling displays of decorative tiles and one-of-a-kind craftsmanship including hand-carved doors, hand-painted frescoes, molded ceilings, distinctive cast ironwork and lead-framed bottle glass windows.”

12. Visit the Getty Villa  


The Getty Villa is one of the most popular attractions in the area not only due to its aesthetic beauty, but also because of the educational value of its art and culture.

The Getty Villa is an art museum showcasing three major ancient cultures of the Mediterranean world; The Greeks, The Etruscans, and The Romans.  The building itself is modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, a first century Roman country house in Herculaneum which was buried in the aftermath of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 a.d.  The building is not an exact replica, however.  Much of the original house remains unexcavated so many of the details of the building are modeled after elements taken from other ancient Roman homes.