Living in southern California, it’s forever an endless summer. If you’re looking for an L.A. beach spot for sunbathing, swimming or surfing, look no further than Malibu. Here’s the guide to three breathtaking Malibu beaches that are worth a drive down Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
El Matador State Beach
It’s easy to pass the small sign on PCH that points towards El Matador. Make sure to keep your eyes open between Broad Beach Road and Decker Canyon. This is one beach where locals can hide away from tourists, but even on the weekends it gets crowded. There’s a tiny dirt parking lot that can hold about 60 cars and it was completely full by the time we arrived around 2 p.m.
The views from the top of El Matador is breathtaking. You’re looking down on the blue waters filed with kelp forests, natural cave tunnels where the ocean crashes into and large boulder rocks.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes because after you park, be prepared to hike down a 150-foot dirt bluff. Half-way down the mountain side trail, there’s a narrow staircase that leads to the beach.
The steep hike down the bluff is definitely worth the sweat. El Matador’s rocks and caves are prime sceneries for photographers.Once you step on the beach, you’re surrounded by beautiful sea caves and rock formations. There’s plenty of room for sunbathers, but be careful when in the water because there’s scattered rocks.
There’s no entrance fee, and portable toilets and picnic tables are located next to the parking lot. During summer season the beach is watched by a lifeguard. El Matador is open to the public from 8 a.m. to sunset.
This is known as one of the most popular and largest beaches in the L.A. County. Zuma has a four mile expanse of beach sand with volleyball courts, a food cafe, restrooms and plenty of waves for surfers.
Free parking is located along the side of PCH, but spots are limited. Entrance to the Zuma parking lots are off PCH at the south end of Zuma. The lots are $3 all day on weekdays, $8 on winter weekends and $10 during the summer season. It also features handicap parking and cold showers.
Zuma Beach Cafe is located steps away from the parking lots. The restaurant serves a variety of food from $5 smoothies and $6 nachos, to a $8 hamburger. Having the cafe located close to the beach is ideal during a day-long trip.
The beach welcomes surfers, windsurfers, bodyboarders, swimmers, boogie boarders and fishers. This beach is heaven for people with an active lifestyle and those who enjoy water sports. It has a breathtaking backdrop overlooking miles of Malibu’s shores and waves. There’s plenty of shoreline to explore. This is the perfect beach to lay out your towel and relax all day in the southern California weather.
Zuma is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and lifeguards watch the beach during the day.
Westward is south of Zuma, and is less crowded and quieter than it’s neighboring beach. It runs along the side of huge sea cliffs and features coastal headlands, rocky coves and beautiful views of Malibu.
Westward Beach has been used in number of television shows, advertisements and films. The 1968 science fiction film “Planet of the Apes’s” final scene was filmed near Westward Beach.
There’s a boardwalk overlooking the State Preserve that is a wonderful place to whale watch. Scuba divers, fishers, surfers and swimmers can take advantage of the waves at Westward.
The parking cost is the same as Zuma, however, there’s free parking on Westward Beach Road ,along the edge of the sand. The parking is at level to the beach and easily accessible. Westward is open from sunrise to sunset. Restrooms and outdoor showers are located near the parking lot.
The Sunset Restaurant is located before the beach entrance on Westward Beach Road. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch, dinner and has a happy hour menu. The lunch menu is a little pricy, from a $14 baby artichoke salad and $15 beef burger, to $17 fish and chips. However, there’s always the option to pack a lunch and save a few bucks.