Top 17 Beaches in Malibu You Ought to Visit

Malibu is famous for celebrity homes, off-the-beaten-path destinations, and beaches, dozens of them.

Last updated: May 14, 2024

Top 20 Beaches in Malibu, City Breaks in Southern California - Roads and Destinations
Top 20 beaches in Malibu you should check out

Why You Should Visit Malibu

Time Square in New York City, the Colosseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London… Malibu, however, doesn’t have a space for man-made attractions. Instead, the natural beauty of dozens of beaches in the City of Malibu steals the show and urges you to get outside.

From small, secluded coves to favorite summer destinations, the iconic Southern California city satisfies all possible needs and preferences. 27 miles of the scenic coast divided into a good number of spectacular beaches – some private, others public – Malibu is every summer lover’s dream destination. To start you off on the right path, here are 20 Malibu beaches you should explore.


1. Topanga Beach

Topanga Beach in the eastern Malibu coast is one of the closest beaches to Los Angeles. Easy access, daytime lifeguards, and availability of restrooms and showers make it one of the most popular spots in the area when the summer arrives. For Malibu surfers, big waves wrapped around the sandy point of the beach create the right break throughout the year.

2. Carbon Beach

Access to Carbon Beach, a narrow sandy stretch in the eastern corner of Malibu, has been a controversial topic for many years. You should thank lavish beachfront homes of wealthy residents for such inconvenience.

At one point, the rich house owners tried to prevent the public from entering Carbon Beach in every way possible. Alas, their endeavors failed to the delight of regular beachgoers. Yet the location and not lastly the “efforts” of the rich locals were enough to nickname the beach “Billionaire’s Beach”.

One of the most talked-about beaches in Malibu, Carbon Beach is mostly flat and is great for walking and sunbathing.

Top beaches in Malibu | Roads and Destinations
Malibu Surfrider Beach | Top beaches in Malibu

3. Malibu Lagoon State Beach

Malibu Lagoon State Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the city. Visit this stretch along the coast to enjoy glorious colors at sunset or go for a short hike along a dirt trail that wraps around wetlands. The path is virtually flat with hardly any changes in elevation.

4. Malibu Surfrider Beach

The coastal area between Malibu Lagoon State Beach and the Malibu Pier is known as Malibu Surfrider Beach. As the name suggests, this sandy spot provides good waves for surfing. The nearby pier attracts fishermen and those beachgoers that prefer to relax on its many benches while enjoying beautiful ocean views.

5. Dan Blocker County Beach – One of a Few Malibu Beaches Known Mostly to Locals

Formerly known as Corral State Beach, Dan Blocker County Beach is a long narrow stretch with a few cottages for rent behind it. Pretty secluded, the place is one of the favorite beaches in Malibu for surfing and stand-up paddle boarding.

6. Paradise Cove Beach

Paradise Cove Beach is one of several beaches in Malibu favored by Hollywood. To find this public cove head to the privately-owned Paradise Cove Beach Café. Behind it, the beach lies in its full glory.

Paradise Cove is one of the best places in Malibu to take a long walk by the ocean and master your surfboarding skills. There is no entrance fee. Yet, parking at the café’s parking lot is not free.

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Point Dume State Beach | Top beaches in Malibu

7. Point Dume State Beach and Natural Preserve – One of the Secret Beaches in Malibu

Point Dume State Beach consists of two secluded beaches in Malibu. Crescent-shaped Big Dume Beach or Dume Cove Beach is the main site. To access the place, you need to go down a long staircase nestled near the Poppy Trailhead. (Old stairs that were hazardous to say the least sat farther up and now are removed.) Little Dume Beach is located east of Big Dume Beach.

Point Dume State Beach and Natural Preserve boast beautiful tide pools. Additionally, due to its high vantage point, this Malibu area offers great opportunities to watch California marine wildlife, including gray whales during their migration from Alaska to Mexico and back to the Last Frontier.

8. Westward Beach

Westward Beach is a three-mile long sandy stretch on the western side of Point Dume State Beach. It’s by far one of the largest and popular beaches in Malibu. Along with regular beach activities, its visitors enjoy surging, kite-boarding, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and body boarding.

TIP: The area has a large paid parking lot that easily accommodates visitors of Westward Beach and Point Dume.

9. Pirates Cove Beach

Adventurous beachgoers often extend their Westward Beach trip and venture to Pirates Cove Beach. This hidden sandy beach can be accessed from the southern end of Westward Beach.

10. Zuma Beach – One of the Largest Beaches in Malibu

Zuma Beach is one of the biggest beaches in Malibu. Unlike the majority of other waterfront areas, this beach doesn’t have luxurious houses sitting right behind it. Instead, Zuma Beach with lifeguard stations on the shore focuses on creating a safe, fun, and unpretentious environment for all of its visitors.

Apart from long walks along the gradually sloping beach, surfing and paddle boarding are the two main activities to engage in here. Volleyball courts, picnic areas, and restrooms are also available.

El Matador State Beach - Roads and Destinations
El Matador State Beach | Top beaches in Malibu

11. El Matador State Beach – One of the Most Beautiful Beaches in Malibu

Malibu is all about summer every day, light, casual outfits, healthy food, and gorgeous beaches. All kinds of beaches… Yet if you need an escape from the traditional Malibu beach culture, head to El Matador State Beach. A secluded cove with big rocks, caves, and arches, the beach is loved for its beautiful natural silhouettes that gradually disappear as the sun goes down.

12. La Piedra State Beach

Less than a mile north of El Matador State Beach sits La Piedra State Beach, the second of three beaches in Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach in Malibu. (The other two are El Matador Beach and El Pescador Beach).

Access the beach through a narrow hiking trail with overgrown bushes and an installed steep ladder. At the bottom of the hike, La Piedra State Beach presents itself as a mix of rocks and sand with tide pools. Less crowded than some other beaches in Malibu, this secret stretch by the Pacific Ocean is better to be used for hiking than sunbathing.

13. El Pescador State Beach

El Pescador State Beach is another hard-to-reach beach in Malibu. As with La Piedra State Beach, hiking is required here. The trail is shorter, though. Yet expect some steepness and slipperiness. Despite the initial inconveniences, El Pescador surprises with a pleasant sandy area dotted with some rocky areas and tide pools and practically no crowds.

14. El Sol County Beach

If even a few visitors at El Pescador State Beach are too many for you, go to El Sol County Beach. One of the secret beaches of Malibu, it doesn’t have direct access. To get to El Sol Beach, you can either walk east from Nicholas Canyon County Beach or west from El Pescador State Beach. Both routes are quite rocky and difficult. It’s recommended to use them at low tides.

15. Nicholas Canyon Beach

Nicholas Canyon Beach is another perfect place to escape crowds of beachgoers typical for the majority of other beaches in Malibu. The beach is almost a mile long with several picnic tables, a pretty big parking lot, and restroom facilities.

The area is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, wind sailing, and scuba diving. Nicholas Canyon Beach, however, is most popular with surfers. For them the place, where big waves break on a boulder-strewn point, is simply “Point Zero” or “Zeros”.

El Carrillo State Beach | Roads and Destinations
El Carrillo State Beach | Top beaches in Malibu

16. Leo Carrillo State Park

Leo Carrillo State Park is located in western Malibu. One of the prettiest California state parks, the place offers more than just a nice spot to unwind in front of the ocean. This Malibu area includes a few diverse beaches, caves, rock arches, tide pools, hiking trails, and over a hundred campsites.

South Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park nestles behind the main park entrance. The narrow sandy stretch is especially beautiful at low tide with its tide pools exposed. The area between South Beach and North Beach, called Sequit Point, features several caves and tunnels to walk through.

North Beach is one of the widest beaches in Leo Carrillo State Park nestled along the coast of Malibu. It’s especially popular as a weekend family getaway. Dogs on leash are also welcomed.

North of North Beach sits Staircase Beach. This beach is narrower than the previous two and attracts mostly surfers.

Country Line Beach, the last of four beaches of Leo Carrillo State Park, also entices primarily local surfers from Malibu, Santa Monica, and even Venice Beach. Scuba divers and fishermen can also be often seen on the beach.

17. Sycamore Cove Beach – Family-Friendly Beaches Near Malibu

Nestled in Ventura County near the western corner of Malibu, Sycamore Cove Beach is a part of Point Mugu State Park. Guarded by scenic outcroppings on one end and a small tunnel that runs under the Pacific Coast Highway on the other, this sandy stretch of land looks like any other beaches you’ve seen in Malibu.

Add to these panoramic views several installed fire pits (available on first-come, first-served basis) and miles of hiking trails across the road, and you may call it the best family-friendly beach along the coast of Malibu.

Barbecue at Sycamore Cove Beach, Malibu - Roads and Destinations
Sycamore Cove Beach | Top beaches in Malibu
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Dan Blocker County Beach | Top beaches in Malibu

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