(credit: Olivia Davamandi/City of Malibu)

Feel the summer sun shining along your shoulder blades as you prepare for a few months of laying in the sand. Southern California is studded with popular beaches and shorelines spanning miles and miles of the coast. Malibu is well known for its beauty, splendor and, of course, crashing waves over more than 20 miles up and down the coast. Here are five of the best beaches in Malibu.

(credit: rockcitynews.com)

El Matador State Beach is a smaller beach surrounded by rocks, caves and crags majestically jutting upward. It is actually one of three small beaches under the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach umbrella, which includes El Pescador and La Piedra. In order to get down to the water, keep in mind that you will have to take a slightly scary steep hike down to reach the final destination. The downside of this fact is that the beach is difficult to access for those with bodily injuries or handicaps. El Matador does not offer food or drink, so bring everything in a cooler for an afternoon waterside picnic. The beach is open to the public from 8:00 am to sundown, and you can park in the paid lot or attempt to scope out a free spot on the Pacific Coast Highway. Alcohol and pets are not allowed on the beach.

(credit: Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors)

Topanga State Beach comprises half of the Topanga State Park. Concession food stands are available, along with two paid parking lots that range from $3.00-$10.00 based on the season’s demand. Swimming, surfing, fishing and kayaking are popular during the summer time. On a clear day, kick back on your blanket and peek around for views of Santa Monica Bay and Catalina Island. In case you did not know, Topanga State Beach does not accept the Annual Day Use Pass. The beach is open daily from sun up to sundown, and like the rest, no fires are allowed on the beach.

(credit: Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors)

The original name of this beach was Malibu Lagoon State Beach, but the newly revised name of this beach says it all. It is a surfer’s dream, and for that reason, it’s probably the best place to ride the waves with experienced boarders. In 2010, this beach was designated the first World Surfing Reserve due to the waves and its status as the birthplace for surfing’s popularity. Take your board out into the water for a rock and roll time on the coast. If you are more in tune with watching the action, take a walk down to the pier for a bit of fishing or bird watching as the waves swell. Parking varies from $3.00-$10.00 based on the season. There are concession stands available for snacks, and a number of restaurants sit along the Pacific Coast Highway.

(credit: Olivia Davamandi/City of Malibu)

Los Angeles County’s largest beach is Zuma Beach with open hours of operation from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. It served as the background for many films and movies, including Baywatch and I Dream of Jeanie. Zuma is known as one of the cleanest beaches around with waves that are ideal for surfers and swimmers who enjoy a little challenge. Of course, you can bring your own food and snacks, but if you forget, there is a snack bar to keep you full. Take a break from eating and lounging by playing a bit of volleyball on the public courts, pushing your kids on the swing sets or allowing the wind to push your peddles as you bike along the beach’s paved path. Every year, the Malibu Nautica Triathalon takes over the beach bring a massive crowd of sports lovers and participants. Alcohol and pets are not allowed on the beach, so leave the beer and dogs at home. Parking ranges from $3.00-$10.00 based on the season. Zuma Beach is a bit of a distance, but the drive along the water is well worth it.

(credit: Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors)

Point Dume is a 63 acre spread of sand and water with half of the land labeled a State Natural Preserve. Trek up the highest point of this beach, and you can overlook the ocean. You may even catch a glimpse of seals and migrating whales during the peak season. If you’re quite adventurous, pack your gear, put on your sturdiest shoes and do a bit of rock climbing along the high walls. Although there may be a wildlife park nearby, dogs are not allowed in consideration of the animals living on the grounds. The beach is open from sun up to sundown, and free and paid parking are both available.

Chrystal Baker is a freelance food and events contributor. She is the co-editor of a recipe blog,
The Duo Dishes, and manages her own food and travel blog, Any and Everywhere.


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