If you’re looking for amazing beaches in southern California, you’re in the right place! Just west of the bustling Los Angeles County is Malibu, where you can find about 20 miles of stunning coastline. With a few dozen beautiful Malibu beaches, there are several amazing options! The list below shares the best beaches in Malibu.
Just off the Pacific Coast Highway in eastern Malibu are about 3 dozen beaches. Each one boasts beautiful white sand, sought-after surf breaks, and tide pools.
While you really can’t go wrong with any of these waterfront destinations in Malibu, we’ve gathered the top ones for you. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly beach, a quiet destination, or an energetic spot by the water – there’s something for everyone!
Best Beaches in Malibu
Both locals and visitors love the following 15 beaches, and we’re sure you will too!
1. Carbon Beach
Carbon Beach, or ‘Billionaire’s Beach’ as the locals call it, is a hub for celebrity watching. While this mansion-lined beach has an upscale vibe and some locals would prefer it to be a private beach, it’s a free public beach for all.
At Carbon Beach, you can find about a mile of sandy beach with a pier at one end. The beach is backed by the mountains offering picture-perfect scenery.
Many beachgoers enjoy visiting Carbon Beach to sunbathe, take a stroll by the water, and see the beautiful beachfront homes. It’s also the perfect place to catch magical sunset views.
Tip: Be sure to check the tides before visiting Carbon Beach. During high tide, much of the beach is submerged underwater.
2. El Matador State Beach
El Matador State Beach is one of the first places that comes to mind when you think of a scenic location in California. It’s one of the most popular state beaches for photography sessions. You can find large rock formations, sea caves, and high bluffs at El Matador.
To get to the beach, you’ll take a short but well worth it hike. From the parking lot, head to the dirt trail atop the bluffs. The path will lead to some steps which lead down the hill. At the end of the trail, you’ll come across a stunning view from the clifftop.
When you arrive on El Matador State Beach, you’ll see stunning blue water, a lush forest, and maybe even some migrating whales. One of the most fun activities at the beach is exploring sea caves around the north beach area during low tide.
Along with a beautiful sandy beach and nature trails, you can also find amentities like drinking water and restrooms at El Matador State Beach.
3. Zuma Beach
Zuma Beach is considered one of the most family-friendly beaches in Malibu, CA. You’ll find 1.8 miles of sandy shores along the coast, with plenty of space to spread out. The beach features views of California hills, gentle waves, and lifeguards on duty.
At Zuma Beach, you can relax, watch for seals and bottlenose dolphins, and swim. The beach is also a great place to learn to bodyboard. The spacious sands also offer opportunities for beach volleyball and sandcastle building.
It’s easy to spend a day on Zuma Beach! You can also find amentities like outdoor showers, restrooms, and various food stands.
4. Leo Carrillo State Park
If you’re looking for a beach destination in Malibu that welcomes pets, Leo Carrillo State Park and Beach is the perfect spot! This beautiful waterside park is conveniently located right off the Pacific Coast Highway, just below the Santa Monica Mountains.
There are actually two separate beaches in Leo Carrillo: South Beach and North Beach. South Beach is a sandy spot that’s fun to explore. The northern side is also known as Staircase Beach. There aren’t actually stairs at Staircase Beach, but there are a few rocks to navigate. This is where pets are allowed, and many surfers also enjoy this stretch of beach.
Leo Carrillo State Park features towering bluffs, a sprawling reef just right off the shore, and coastal caves. When the tide begins to go down at Leo Carrillo State Beach, you can also spot small tide pools with sea creatures like crabs, anemones, and fish.
The shore is ideal for beachcombing and getting up-close views of marine life. The calm waves are also perfect for enjoying water activities, including windsurfing, swimming, paddle boarding, and surfing.
If you’re looking to spend a few days in the area, there’s also a campground at the park.
5. Point Dume State Beach
Point Dume Beach is a unique rocky beach that juts out onto the Pacific. It’s one of the best beaches in Malibu for rock climbing. It also offers spectacular views!
Adventurous beachgoers love heading to Point Dum to spend time exploring hiking trails that overlook the ocean. The beach is also perfect for swimming and scuba diving.
Be sure to visit at sunset for one of the best views in all of Malibu. With pristine ocean waters, a sandy shore, rocky coves, and bluffs, Point Dume State Beach looks like a postcard!
For those who choose to visit in the winter, you’ll have the chance to spot whales from the cliffs. The California gray whale migrates from December to the middle of April. They can be seen in packs coming up for air in the water in this particular area. If you want to whale watch, Point Dume Beach is undoubtedly one of the best places for it in Malibu.
6. Paradise Cove
Paradise Cove is so beautiful that it’s been the setting for several tv shows and movies, including Baywatch and Indecent Proposal. You can find towering palm trees lining the shore, along with a laid-back vibe.
The local beach cafe, Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, extends onto the shore serving food and drinks for you to enjoy while you relax seaside. In fact, Paradise Cove is one of the only Malibu beaches that permits alcoholic beverages (beer and wine) on the beach.
At the beach, you can rent private terraces, lounge chairs, and umbrellas to enjoy a full day of beach fun.
7. Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Malibu Lagoon State Beach is a part of Malibu Creek, where the creek meets the Pacific Ocean. It’s actually the only beach in the area with lagoon waters. Many people know of Malibu Lagoon as Surfrider Beach, which is also located here.
Malibu Lagoon is near the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Many trails surrounding the lagoon offer opportunities to birdwatch and explore the wetlands.
On the beach, there are tons of activities to enjoy. It’s an iconic surfing spot that’s also great for sportfishing, sunbathing, and tidepool exploration. Be sure to also visit the iconic Malibu Pier, where you can find restaurants, shops, and gorgeous views.
If you love the outdoors, you’re sure to love the experience offered at Malibu Lagoon State Beach!
8. Topanga State Beach
Topanga State Beach is a sandy oceanfront stretch that expands more than 20 acres. It’s near the wealthy Pacific Palisades neighborhood, and it’s the closest Malibu beach to Los Angeles County.
If you’re looking to surf, Topanga Beach is an excellent place for it. It’s also great for fishing, windsurfing, and scuba diving. With that said, it’s not the best place for swimming due to the sharp cobblestones and coral reefs along the seafloor.
Topanga State Park is nearby and is also well worth a visit. The park boasts 14,000 acres of wilderness to explore, with campsites and hiking trails.
Close to the beach, you can also find an amazing fine-dining restaurant that Kim Kardashian frequents – Maestro’s Ocean Club.
9. Nicholas Canyon Beach
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Nicholas Canyon Beach is one of the quieter beaches in Malibu. The beach offers a mile of shoreline, and it’s a go-to spot for surfers and families alike.
Surfers also refer to Nicholas Canyon Beach as ‘Zeros’ because of how the waves break over the rocks. Other activities you enjoy are bodyboarding, wind sailing, body surfing, scuba diving, and swimming.
This beach is very family-friendly due to its spaciousness. You can also find multiple picnic tables, convenient parking, restrooms, beach games, and more.
Closeby is a unique educational experience at the Wishtoyo Chumash Village. This historical site offers cultural insight for visitors who want to experience the Chumash culture and learn what a typical day looks like. You can explore replicas of canoes, homes, tools, celebrations, ceremonies, and crafts.
10. Surfrider Beach
We mentioned the amazing Malibu Lagoon State Beach above, which is where you can find Surfrider Beach as well. It’s a somewhat small seaside destination, but there’s no shortage of beachgoers checking out this spot. Surfers especially frequent it due to the ideal waves.
Amongst the world’s smoothest break waves, this beach is best for advanced surfers. With that said, those that are just learning can come to enjoy the show, get tips and pointers, but use caution when going out onto the water.
Surfrider Beach is also an excellent location for sea combing and sunbathing.
Just next to Surfrider Beach one of the most popular attractions in Malibu, the Malibu Pier. You will see no shortage of Instagram photos at this iconic location, plus there are dozens of cool shops and restaurants.
For other things to do in Malibu, we highly recommend checking out the Adamson House Museum near the edge of the Malibu Lagoon. It shows a fascinating depiction of life in Malibu around the early 1900s.
11. Escondido Beach
Escondido Beach is a quiet, small stretch of beach with an access gate where the sands travel up to the Pacific Coast Highway. It can be a bit hard to find because there are a lot of trees that hang low over the gate, but you should be able to find it if you keep an eye out for it. From there, you’re just steps away from a tranquil seaside oasis.
If you’re looking for a no-frills place to relax, Escondido is the perfect place for it. The beach is pretty simple, with no amenities.
Enjoy sunbathing on golden sands and swimming in pristine, clear waters. Many visitors also enjoy taking their kayaks and paddleboards out to the water.
Since space is limited at Escondido, it may not be the best place for a family or a group of friends. However, it’s the perfect destination for solo beachgoers and couples looking for a peaceful experience.
12. Westward Beach
Head further south from Los Angeles County, and you’ll find some of the cleanest and most beautiful ocean water at Westward Beach. This location features multiple premier surfing tournaments each year. But, there’s so much more to also enjoy!
One of the coolest things about Westward Beach is that you can sometimes see bottlenose dolphins frolicking about. Sometimes, they even come close to the shore for you to say hello (from a distance, of course).
Westward Beach is a wonderful family-friendly beach. There are many lifeguards on duty, along with amentities. You can find restaurants, shops, and beach games.
We highly recommend checking out The Sunset on Westward Beach Road for fresh seafood and waterfront views.
13. Dan Blocker Beach
Once known as Corral State Beach, Dan Blocker County Beach is a long and narrow stretch of sandy fun just below the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s a prime spot to fish, surf, swim, and dive.
Fun fact: Dan Blocker Beach used to be owned by a few of the stars from the Bonanza series, and it was named in memory of their friend Dan Blocker.
During the summer, you can always find lifeguards on duty. Dan Blocker Beach is the perfect place to spend a day and enjoy various beach activities. And, if you can, you should definitely stick around for gorgeous sunset views!
At the beach, you can find convenient amentities, including restrooms, picnic tables, and beach-facing benches. This public beach also has plenty of parking spaces.
14. Lechuza Beach
Lechuza Beach is one of Malibu’s greatest hidden gems. If you’re searching for a calm, beautiful beach, this is definitely the place for you! You can enjoy privacy and spectacular views all in one.
The reason you can expect fewer crowds at Lechuza Beach is that it’s not the ideal beach for watersports. There are huge rock formations that jut out from the sand that can get in the way and be dangerous for participating in water activities.
People who visit Lechuza Beach appreciate sunbathing and gentle waves that are great for cooling light or swimming.
Although Lechuza Beach is a public beach, there aren’t any conveniences like restaurants, restrooms, and lifeguards. So, be sure to bring what you need for a nice, relaxing day at the beach!
15. Latigo Beach
Near the eastern side of Latigo Point, you’ll find Latigo Beach right below the homes in Eastern Malibu. You can find calm vibes and water here. This beach is conducive to hanging with friends, sunbathing, taking a stroll along the shore, and wading in the water.
Latigo Beach has great point breaks and is a lot less crowded than a beach like Surfrider, so it’s an excellent place for beginner surfers to test practice their skills. Veteran surfers who don’t mind the lack of surf buddies or a crowd watching can also get some practice on the long waves.
The golden sand on Latigo Beach is beautiful and makes for a fantastic place to have a picnic, sunbathe, and birdwatch. Latigo Points actually blocks off most of the wind, which also helps maintain the ambiance where you can comfortably settle in and hang out for the day.
Beaches in Malibu FAQ
As you plan your trip to an amazing Malibu beach, you may have a few more questions. And, we’re here to answer them!
What is the best beach to go to in Malibu?
This depends on what you’re looking for! Here are the best three beaches based on the kind of experience you may be interested in:
- Best family-friendly beach: Zuma Beach
- Best quiet beach: Lechuza Beach
- Best beach for activities: Dan Blocker Beach
What is the most beautiful beach in Malibu?
Malibu Lagoon State Beach is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Malibu. However, all the beaches on this list are incredibly stunning!
Are beaches in Malibu public?
Yes! Malibu offers almost 30 miles of picturesque public beaches.
What beach in Malibu do celebrities go to?
If you want to spot a celebrity, head to Carbon Beach! This is also a public beach, but many celebrities live and vacation here.
Enjoy the Best Beaches in Malibu
Malibu, CA, is a prime destination for beachgoers who enjoy surfing, swimming, and relaxing. With many incredible beaches in this part of Southern California, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the ocean and sunshine. You can expect to find the natural beauty of rocky shores and cliffs, ample hiking trails, and beautiful weather year-round. What more could you ask for!
We hope you’ve found a couple of Malibu beaches to check out and enjoy your next day by the ocean!