Top Ten Things You Must Do in Malibu

Zen, sea, and sun in LA's most exclusive, laid-back beach town

Sunset at El Matador State Beach
El Matador State Beach  |  Photo:  Yuri Hasegawa

Back in the 1970s, Malibu was a refuge for all kinds of misfits—from surf bums, to hitchhiking teens, to affluent Baby Boomers from the "New Hollywood" who preferred its laid back, artsy, Bohemian vibe to the (much more square) Classic Hollywood lifestyle of Bel-Air or the Polo Lounge.

Those days are long gone, of course. Those countercultural Boomers of yore (including Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and many others) are now elder statesmen and women of American arts—and owning property in Malibu is but a dream to anyone outside of their rarefied tax bracket.

Still, Malibu's aura of relaxed chic and the majesty of its State Beaches can be enjoyed by any visitor, on any budget. So get ready for some relaxing fun in the sun in one of the most famous beach locales in the world and don't miss our Top Ten Things to do in Malibu.

Neptune's Net Sampler
Sampler, Neptune's Net | Photo: Ashley Corbett, Facebook

Neptune’s Net

There are few places that convey the pre-luxury charm of Malibu like Neptune's Net, a no-frills, old-school seafood joint that hat has been popular with bikers for decades. Located on the West/North half of Malibu, a ways further down from the most popular beaches, Neptune's Net offers two versions of the standard beach town fare: the "Restaurant Side," serving fried food and bottled and canned beverages, and the "Seafood Side," offering fresh and live seafood and draft beer.

Neptune's Net's picturesque Malibu charm has resulted in many movie and TV appearances, includingThe Fast and the FuriousGilmore Girls and the original Point Break, where it serves as the location where Keanu Reeves asks waitress Lori Petty to teach him how to surf.

Paradise Cove Malibu
Paradise Cove Malibu  |  Photo: Discover Los Angeles

Paradise Cove Beach Cafe

A perennial favorite of families and tourists, Paradise Cove Beach Cafe is the only restaurant that comes fully stocked with its own private beach and cove - this unique haunt is no stranger to fame. Its proximity to the sand has drawn many a director for capturing popular film and television scenes and commercials. Jazz nights and fresh lobster lure guests at dinnertime. Breakfast favorites include carrot cake waffles, double cheese omelets and French toast.

Point Dume Malibu
Point Dume, Malibu  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Point Dume State Beach

Located on the beautiful Malibu coastline, Point Dume State Beach offers swimming, fishing, diving, viewpoints, tidepools, whale watching (January - March), picnic tables, restrooms and showers. And of course, a world-class, legendary stage for surfers of all skills.

Malibu Country Mart | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
Malibu Country Mart | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Malibu Country Mart

Malibu Country Mart features unique and upscale boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and personal services set in an astoundingly beautiful atmosphere located in the heart of the Malibu Civic Center. Do not miss the ice cream at Grom, among the very best in Los Angeles.

Nobu Ryokan Malibu
Nobu Ryokan Malibu | Photo: Nobu Ryokan Malibu

Nobu Ryokan Malibu

Situated above the Pacific, the Nobu Ryokan Malibu is a triumph of architectural design and subdued hospitality. This intimate 16-room,adult-oriented retreat honors the traditional Japanese Ryokan, featuring teak soaking tubs, indoor/outdoor fireplaces, serene outdoor patios, timeless artwork and gracious accents. From the moment you arrive, the unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean and tranquil landscaping sets the tone for a private oasis. Exclusivity and privacy are foremost, with an emphasis on low-key comfort and high-end indulgence. A host of luxurious amenities awaits you, coupled with gracious service and Nobu comforts.

Duke's Malibu

Duke's Malibu

Don’t miss out on the beachside view of Malibu at the landmark Duke's Malibu. The food is unpretentious, but always well-prepared and a good value - the surfing memorabilia makes you want to paddle out yourself. Sip a cocktail in the sand at the Barefoot Bar and then enjoy the market-priced island seafood prepared to order in the casual dining room. Or, if you prefer a little turf with your surf, try the lobster prime sirloin combo. Make sure to leave room for the Hula Pie. Sunday brunch is a knockout.

Moonshadows Tuna Tartare
Tuna Tartare at Moonshadows | Photo: Chris Goldberg, Flickr


This romantic Malibu eatery Moonshadows pairs contemporary cuisine with spectacular ocean views. Seafood is the specialty as most would guess—everything from iced oysters on the half shell and surf-and-turf skewers to Southern California bouillabaisse and miso-glazed escolar. A cozy outdoor lounge area is perfect for catching the sunset, cocktail in hand, with a date. Make sure you get a designated driver or a ride-share, as local celebrity-filled nights can run long and festive at Moonshadows and its famous Blue Lounge.

Malibu Creek Park Rock Pool
Rock Pool at the Malibu Creek Park | Photo: losangelesswimmin, YouTube

Malibu Creek State Park

Considered by many the crown jewel of parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Creek State Park has over 7,000 acres of rolling tallgrass plains, oak savannahs and dramatic peaks. It's no wonder many call it "The Yosemite of Southern California." Do not miss the Rock Pool, seen in countless films and TV shows going all the way back to the 1910s (Mary Pickford's Daddy Long Legs, 1919), and famously including M*A*S*H.