Cave Exploring, Photography, Sunbathing, Snorkeling
Picnic Tables, Bathrooms
Free to visit
$10 parking fee in beach lot; free street parking nearby
Bolsa Chica State Beach
El Matador Beach is easily one of the best Malibu beaches. Its large rocks, sea caves, and high bluffs create a beautiful scene that beachgoers love. In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about this incredible Southern California seaside destination!
About El Matador
El Matador State Beach is one of three pocket beaches that makes up Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. Although La Piedra and El Pescador beaches are beautiful in their own right, El Matador is the most renowned of the three.
Beachgoers appreciate seeing stunning cliffs, dramatic rock formations, and the gorgeous sunset at El Matador State Beach. Most people also enjoy getting to explore sea caves and tidepools. The sparkling blue beach is particularly a photographer's dream, especially at golden hour.
With nearby Zuma Beach being a popular spot, El Matador gets to stay under the radar. This small beach is almost never crowded, making for one of the best spots for visitors seeking peace and quiet.
El Matador Beach is located at 32200 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. There's only one sign for the beach, so it's one you have to keep an eye out for.
Once you arrive, there's a small parking lot with limited capacity. It's $10 to park in the lot, but there's also free street parking. From the parking lot, head to the dirt path above the bluffs. This trail leads to steps that'll take you to the beach. The short hike is well worth it!
You can also access the beach on foot via Lechuza Beach, located about a mile south. This route offers picture-perfect views of the Pacific Ocean and beautiful homes perched on the bluffs. If you choose to go this way, you'll have to go during low tides.
El Matador Beach Review
It's easy to love El Matador State Beach! It's breathtaking and has a little something for almost everyone.
While the parking lot is small and there's a short trek to the beach, what you'll find at the bottom of the steps is something special. The waters are blue, and there's so much to see.
It's a fun place to sunbathe, explore, snorkel, and take photos. The massive rocks are one-of-a-kind, and the little arches are cool for walking through.
With steps to get to the beach and large rocks, we don't suggest El Matador State Beach for families with small children.
We definitely recommend visiting during low tide to take advantage of the tidepools. Sticking around for the sunset is also well worth it!
It's also nice to take a break or end your beach day with a picnic, as there are several picnic tables in the parking area overlooking the ocean.
We especially love El Matador State Beach because many Malibu and Santa Monica beaches are overrun with tourists. El Matador is a local's favorite giving an authentic vibe but also welcomes travelers.
Overall, El Matador Beach is a beautiful spot to spend the day (or a couple of hours). It's quiet and a bit off the beaten path. Best of all, you might even get the beach to yourself if you visit during the off-season.
Where to Stay
El Matador State Beach is a great vacation destination as there are many nearby attractions and accommodations.
If you're looking to stay right next to the beach, you'll want to book a vacation rental. Otherwise, you can find several hotels more inland on the Venture Freeway or about 20 miles east in Santa Monica.
Leo Carillo State Park Campground is just 3.5 miles west of El Matador if you're interested in camping. You can find various campsites for tents and RVs.