When driving along PCH, it’s hard not to stare in awe of all the cliffs, sandy beaches and beautiful homes once you hit Malibu! This small beach town has some of the most incredible hiking trails and unique beaches in all of Southern California. Each time we come back, we find more and more hidden gems in the tight-knit community. It’s impossible to get to do all of the wonderful things Malibu has to offer in just one day, but we’ve narrowed down our favorite hotspots for anyone wanting to plan an impromptu day getaway! If that’s you, here’s how to spend one day in Malibu (queue Miley’s tune).
What to Do
For an excursion: Leo Leones Trail
To take an active, heart-pumping approach to your getaway, this hike is definitely our #1 choice! Weaving through this trail is beautiful in and of itself, as you make your way through all of the ivy covered trees. Ending at the Parker Mesa Overview in Malibu, this trail allows you to overlook the Santa Monica Bay, and on the clearest of days you can see as far as the San Bernardino Mountains.
Photo via Caffe Luxxe
For people watching: Caffe Luxxe
This quaint coffee spot is where northern Italy is brought to LA. Whether starting or ending your day here, it is the perfect European-inspired setting for people watching or catching up on your podcasts or light reading. Caffe Luxxe serves the finest coffee and quick bites that give you just the right caffeine kick to continue your day-cation!
For a Relaxing time: El Matador State Beach
This beach is where you come to picnic, but stay for the alluring sunsets. It’s a favorite amongst photographers, and it’s easy to tell why as you walk along the shore and see the giant rocks emerging from the sand. If you’re looking to get away from crowded beaches and the hustle and bustle in general, El Matador is the way to go! We love coming here with our favorite summer read and a wide selection of snacks to enjoy the peace and sound of the waves.
Photo via @oddwie
For a learning experience: The Getty Villa
Not only is this property a work of art in and of itself (inspired by the Villa of Papyri), The Getty Villa is a home to over 40,000 art pieces from ancient Greece and Rome. This is the perfect place to brush up on some fascinating history while admiring breathtaking views of and from the villa. Once you’re here, you’ll realize one cannot simply leave this exquisite museum without stopping to take photos around the entire estate and its beautiful gardens. Even better news…The Getty Villa offers free admission for all!
Where to Eat
Photo via @rachellaurenlucy
Malibu Farm takes dining with a view to a whole new level! Located on the Malibu Pier, this rustic farm-to-table restaurant serves the freshest of meals made with locally grown products. After making our way through the menu, we think the vegetable paella is a must-try! If you’re looking for something light, the Malibu Farm Cafe (an order and sit-down counter) is at the end of the pier along with their amazing shop that offers clothes, books, and tableware.
Photo via @andijwynter
If you don’t mind spending big bucks, Nobu is definitely the spot to go! Although this place attracts a big crowd, the food and lovely service truly lives up to all the hype. Offering some of the freshest seafood dishes and intricate cocktails, Nobu Malibu takes the cake as one of the best restaurants in the area. If you’re lucky to sit outside on the bluff in one of the chic lounges, you might even get to cross dolphin-watching off your day trip list!
Sometimes we need something a little hearty, which is why we were so happy when we found this burger joint that totally satisfies a craving! From classic beef burgers to pesto kale grilled cheese (drool!) to healthy build-your-own bowls, Malibu Burger Co. caters to every kind of appetite– vegans and carnivores alike! Day-trip Hack: if you happen to extend your Malibu trip and need a late-night bite, this place stays stays open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays!
Where to Stay
We think this day trip is just enough to clear your head and feel refreshed! But if you feel like you just can’t get enough and want to turn a day trip into a staycation we recommend:
This 1950s motel- turned boutique hotel- gives you the ultimate feel of coastal living. Located directly across from Surfrider Beach, this bright and airy beach house decked with hammocks will quickly feel like your home away from home. Each room, purposefully placed facing the ocean, is just enough to make you want to go off the grid for a bit and just enjoy the present. If you are looking for a moment to socialize however, this contemporary abode has an amazing rooftop deck and restaurant for all Surfrider guests to enjoy!
We always love coming back to this beautiful part of SoCal, so we are always in need of new places to check out! What are some hidden gems you’ve found in Malibu? And if you’re looking to spend some time in greater Los Angeles, check out some of our other favorite L.A. neighborhoods.