Travel Guide: Malibu, California

Accommodations

  • Stay at The Malibu Beach Inn. It is located right on the beach and next to the Malibu pier. It’s also about a five-minute walk to the Malibu Country Mart. This is a pretty expensive place to stay, but I can assure you that you will not be disappointed here. It’s a pretty small hotel, with a homey feel and friendly staff. This is also a perfect spot for a romantic weekend getaway. My parents have actually gone here quite a bit for their anniversary and they really go out of their way to make your stay special. Obviously, if you are planning a trip to Malibu you can expect some higher expenses.
  • If you can’t afford to stay here, you can always stay at a hotel just outside of Malibu in Agoura Hills or Westlake Village. Even still, it is going to be hard to find a very cheap place to stay, since the surrounding areas are all pretty nice. 
  • There is also the option to camp at Leo Carrillo State Park.

Food

  • Malibu Farm Café – This is one of my favorite spots to eat. It is located at the end of the Malibu pier, so the view is spectacular. I highly suggest the breakfast sandwich and their watermelon juice (served in a mason jar). This is a very trendy, popular brunch spot.
  • Malibu Country Mart – Pretty much all of the food here is amazing. My favorite is hands down the tuna melt from the country mart deli (located next to the Starbucks, by the movie theatre). Tom’s Garden is also a great choice if you’re looking for something fresh and healthy. Tra Da Noi is the Italian restaurant that has amazing pizza and pasta. Their pasta with vodka sauce is to die for! Sunlife Organics just recently opened there and they offer acai bowls that are amazing, as well. I normally get my food to go and eat at one of the tables around the park, for some good people watching. If you would rather enjoy your meal in a restaurant, there is delicious Greek food at Traverna Tony’s, as well as pretty diverse menu at Marmalade. Honestly, it just depends what kind of food you’re in the mood for because all of the food options are pretty impressive.
  • Lily’s – The ultimate Malibu local spot. If you want a tasty burrito this is where you should go. They’re located right by Zuma Beach, so you can either eat there or grab it to go and take it to the beach! Everyone loves their fish burrito, as well as their chicken burrito. I’m a big fan of their breakfast burrito. Also, get an orange jarrito to drink. It’s like a Mexican orange soda. Straight sugar, but so good! Call in your order though or you’ll have to wait about 25 minutes for it to be ready.
  • D’Amores Pizza – Located in the same center as Lilly’s (right by Zuma Beach). They also have another location on PCH closer to the pier. Their thin crust pizza is definitely my favorite in the area. I don’t even eat ranch dressing with their pizza….which says a lot. The plain cheese is totally satisfying, but you should try their pizza bianco if you’re open to try something new. Not feeling pizza? Their baked ziti is the best you will ever have.
  • Nobu – Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of this popular place. Good for lunch, dinner, or happy hour. They have some really unique cocktails to choose from. My favorite includes pomegranate seeds is a pretty pink color! Their portions are very small here, so expect to order more than just one plate. If you like sushi and fish, this is definitely the place to get it. For dessert, get their spring rolls! It sounds kind of weird, but I promise you they are mind-blowing. 
  • Plate – Smaller portions and a great place for dinner if you’re looking for a fresh and healthy meal.
  • Grom – this is a gourmet gelato spot located by the movie theatre and country mart deli.

What To Do

  • The Beach (obviously) – Zuma is the go-to beach in Malibu. You don’t need to pay for parking (unless you go during an extremely busy time), just park on the street for free. Make sure to read the signs though, so you don’t park in a tow area. You can also park at Malibu High School for free if you’re up for a little walk. Point Dume is another spot that is popular with the locals, specifically the teens.
  • Surfing – If you want to see a lot of surfers, go to the beach right next to the Malibu pier. Across the street they offer rentals and lessons. Paddle boarding is also really fun!
  • Malibu Country Mart – Not only is it filled with good food, but it’s also filled with the best people watching in Malibu (in my opinion). This is where people go to “be seen.” It’s expected to see celebrities here, as they even have a paparazzi free zone. If you’re looking for some seriously good shopping, this is definitely the place. Don’t expect cheap prices though, that’s for sure! A fun store to look in is Kitson, which is located in The Lumberyard section. There is also a great park here if you’re looking to entertain kids! 
  • Hiking – As you can imagine, there are some beautiful hikes in Malibu that lead to some breathtaking views. Point Dume: starts at the beach and ends at Paradise Cove. This is a 4-mile hike that takes about 2 hours. This is a pretty moderate hike, as far as difficulty goes. It’s also a popular spot for proposals! Escondido Canyon and Falls is another hike known as the “hidden gem” of the Santa Monica Mountains. This is also a 4-mile hike and if you’re looking for some Instagram worthy pictures, you will not be disappointed here! You will be leaded to the stunning 150 foot Escondido waterfall.
  • Paradise Cove – Great spot for lunch and to hang at the beach!
  • Wine Tasting - Malibu Wines is a trendy, outdoor tasting room and my personal favorite. They have picnic benches to sit at, but they are mostly always packed. Bring a large blanket to sit on and a picnic if you'd like to eat while you drink. I suggest a "make your own cheese plate" type of picnic, but I am also not against bringing a box of pizza. Across from Malibu Wines is Malibu Family Wines (Both owned by the same family, but technically under separate ownership within the family. They also both serve the same wine which is produced at Malibu Family Wines. Side note - I interned there, so I got the inside scoop!) Malibu Family Wines offers beautiful vineyards, events like weddings and parties, and a gorgeous barn filled with horses and other wild animals. You can actually take a safari tour there that will take you around the property while you sip your wine!
  • Leo Carrillo State Park – Camping spot and one of the only dog friendly beaches in the area.