Top 5 Hidden Gems in and near Malibu

Longing for a different side of the coastal city? Check out these 5 hidden gems in and near Malibu.

Last updated: December 15, 2021

Hidden gems in and near Malibu - Roads and Destinations
Hidden gems in and near Malibu: Lake Shrine

5 of the Best Hidden Gems You Must Visit in the Malibu Area

Malibu, a 21-mile strip on the California Coast, is one of the most expensive beach cities in the USA. The city has gained its enormous popularity by virtue of Hollywood movie stars, top athletes, pop stars, and entertainment executives. The majority of them reside in oceanfront homes and enjoy beach activities from their own backyards.

Picturesque ocean views further contribute to Malibu’s reputation as the ultimate beach destination. Although it’s partially true, there are still a lot of places to explore in and around Malibu. Here is the list of the top 5 hidden gems in the City of Malibu and its surrounding areas.


1. El Matador State Beach

Address: 32350 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Long, narrow stretches of white sands, abundant sea caves, steep cliffs, rock formations, sea stacks, clear water… El Matador State Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Pacific Coast. Thanks to its astounding scenery, this Malibu beach entices all kinds of photographers and swimsuit models. During sunset, El Matador itself becomes the biggest muse and inspiration for outdoor and nature lovers.

Due to its remote location and small parking lot, the beach rarely gets overcrowded. Access to this hidden gem in Malibu, however, is not that easy. It starts with a narrow trail at the parking lot. The path eventually goes down until it meets steep stairs that take the beachgoers to the ocean.

El Matador State Beach – A Valuable Treasure in Malibu - Roads and Destinations,
Hidden Gems in and near Malibu: El Matador State Beach

2. Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple

Address: 17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is one of the finest hidden gems near the City of Malibu. In fact, even some of the oldest residents of Malibu don’t know about the existence of this place.

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine encompasses a main temple and a beautiful garden with a big lake. Like a magnet, the garden entices people to explore the place and enjoy its lush greenery. If you want to meditate, head to an old Dutch windmill that now serves as a Chapel for silent meditation.

Hidden Gems in Malibu - Roads and Destinations,
Hidden Gems in and near Malibu: Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

3. Malibu Hindu Temple

Address: 1600 Las Virgenes Canyon Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302

Even if you don’t have any connections with Asian religions, you can’t not acknowledge impeccable architecture of Malibu Hindu Temple. Although the name of the temple suggests that it belongs to the Malibu area, this hidden house of worship is part of Calabasas.

The temple complies with the finest South Indian architectural traditions. On top of that, it gathers devoters of many Hindu deities. It’s unusual, as in Hinduism each god deserves its own house or temple.

The walls of this secret spot on the outskirts of Malibu impress its visitors with engraved figures of Hindu gurus and other religious characters. An inner courtyard presents sculptural artwork in the form of the most significant Hindu deities. It’s by far one of the most extravagant hidden gems you can find near Malibu.

READ MORE: The 5 Most Beautiful Asian Temples in Los Angeles Region You Must See

Hindu Temple, Asian Destinations in Los Angeles  - Roads and Destinations
Hidden Gems in and near Malibu: Malibu Hindu Temple

4. King Gillette Ranch

Address: 26800 West Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302

King Gillette Ranch is one of the most secluded hidden gems near Malibu. The 588-acre property got its name from its former owner, razor-blade tycoon King Camp Gillette.

The ranch consists of a visitor center, an enormous Spanish Revival mansion, and a big park with a large pond. Although the building keeps its doors closed, the park invites the visitors of all walks of life. So there are plenty of picnic tables and benches for impromptu lunch.

While photographers find the beautiful scenery of this secluded spot irresistible, frequent visitors often get off the beaten path and enjoy a few short trails perfect to escape the beach culture of Malibu. Some of these hiking journeys can take you to Inspiration Point, a knoll with the gorgeous views of the surrounding area.

Hidden Gems in Malibu - Roads and Destinations,
Hidden Gems in and near Malibu: King Gillette Ranch

5. Paramount Ranch – One of the Unlucky Hidden Gems near Malibu

Address: 2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301

You should’ve heard the word “Paramount” at least once. Mostly, people associate this name with Paramount Pictures, a classic Hollywood studio. But wait, it’s not the only “Paramount”. Somewhere in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu, there is a secret cowboy town. Its name is Paramount Ranch. And this is yet another hidden gem near Malibu you can’t miss.

The working movie ranch served as a movie set for Hollywood movies, specifically Westerns, during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Such Hollywood classics as “Gunsmoke”, “American Sniper”, “Have Gun Will Travel” and many others came to life at the ranch.

After the era of the Western films ended, the hidden cowboy town also lost its popularity. Today Paramount Ranch with its Western-like buildings still remains one of the most interesting places near the City of Malibu.

Update: Unfortunately, the Malibu area almost entirely lost this secreted place in the Woolsey Fire in 2018. We found only a church and an old train station intact while visiting the place in 2019. The local community and national park services proposed to rebuilt four other structures. So one of the most engrossing hidden gems might still entertain the visitors in the near future.

Hidden Gems in Malibu - Roads and Destinations,
Hidden Gems in and near Malibu: Paramount Ranch

Final Thoughts on the Hidden Gems in and near Malibu

All of these 5 places are true hidden gems in and near Malibu that you should visit at least once. The beautiful locations, amazing scenery, historical values – they have everything to make your day in the area unforgettable.

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