Malibu Travel Guide
Hey everyone! As you may know, the Martins call Malibu, California home. Jacob moved here in the summer of 2016 and I followed him a year later. It has been a stark contrast of scenery, culture, and livelihood from our tiny Texas town we once called home. It is glamorous yet rustic, urban but rural, close to the city but far away, and so many other contradictions. People come here for the scenery and the hopes of spotting a Hollywood movie star. Which happens quite a bit if you live here.
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY LONG AND BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
I have fallen in love. Truly. And I want to share it with you. So, if you are ever in the area and want to know our favorite things to do, pick any of these things on the list and go for it!
**Keep in mind, I tried to pick places that aren’t easy to find when you google must do’s and are within a smaller budget than the Malibu-standard.
Where to Stay
This hotel just recently opened across from the famous Malibu Pier and Surfrider beach. It has beautiful design elements (very Instagramable) throughout the rooms and rooftop bar.
This hotel is set in an interesting place near Point Dume. It’s got a true Malibu vibe to it. Very serene and quiet.
A little more on the pricey side, Calamigos Guest Ranch is in the wine country off of Kanan Canyon road. There’s plenty to do there and they feature some very posh and luxurious rooms.
I’m all for living like a local when I’m somewhere new and I find that Airbnb is the best way to do that. I tagged one that I thought would be a good price and a nice place to stay to get a true Malibu experience.
Local Tip: If you haven’t noticed, everything in Malibu is *stupid* expensive. If you don’t want to fork out $200 a night to stay in town I suggest finding something through the canyon closer to Agoura Hills, Westlake, or Calabasas. Prices instantly drop in all of these places. Our families tend to find cheap Airbnb’s or stay in Agoura Hills which is only about a twenty-minute scenic drive away from the Bu.
Where to Eat
The most instagrammed spot in Malibu because of their beach-y aesthetic and yummy locally grown grub. There is $5 parking (per 30 minutes) which is the easiest thing to do or you can *try* to get a spot on PCH somewhere. I’ve even heard some people say they park at the Country Mart and walk down to the pier. I suggest any of their breakfast foods. We’ve tried almost everything on the breakfast menu and it has never disappointed.
Oh Sunlife, how good you are for my mind, my body, and my taste buds. How bad you are to my bank account.
During the first four weeks of our marriage, Jacob and I somehow spent over $300 on smoothies, acai bowls, wellness shots, and juice. I don’t regret it for a single second though. My favorite smoothie is the Wolverine! They also have bone broth if you’re feeling a little under the weather.
Also, they sale our dear friends raw vegan desserts (Freedom Farms) in their cold cases. Everything is good. Especially the cookie dough bites.
The Loco Burrito, best breakfast burrito ever made. And I’m from Texas so I would know.
Just trust me and start out your morning with one of these. Or Lunch. Or snack. You probably won’t even need to eat again the rest of the day. It is located at Point Dume.
FYI. It’s not healthy. But do it anyway.
Vintage has a great hot food bar that’s perfect for grubbing down after a long surf. They also make a mean bulletproof coffee at their coffee bar.
*local tip* After 8 pm all their sushi and their poke bar is half off!
Oh man. The aesthetics of this place gets me every time. I loveeeee the design. But anyway, the burger bowls are pretty good too. If you’re not feeling a burger, I suggest their vegan mac n cheese balls. So yummy.
Where to Play
Zuma has the most sand of any of the beaches in Malibu so it’s perfect for sunbathing and letting your kids run around. It can be quite crowded but I suggest going towards the South end of it near the Sunset Restaurant. Also, I never pay for beach parking and don’t see why anyone would, but to each his own. There’s usually plenty of room for parking right off the road.
I could do a whole post about Malibu hikes. There are so many great ones. Solstice Canyon is a great one to dip your toes in for the first time. It has waterfalls, ocean views, an abandoned historic home, and lots more.
Malibu Creek State Park could be a weekend camping adventure in itself. There’s tons of hiking, swimming holes, and even some filming locations from M*A*S*H you can explore.
Do I really need to say anything to convince you that this is fun? I didn’t think so…
Where to See
Ahh, Point Dume. The first place I went when I visited Malibu for the first time. Where we got married. Where I saw my first celebrity in real life. *cough* Owen Wilson *cough* Before I had a job I would walk to the point every morning. It’s just so refreshing to be able to sit out there and watch the surfers or check in on the new baby seals.
Keep in mind, if you do come here there are only seven parking spots that are pretty much always full. Especially in the summer. If you can’t get one of those spots you can legally park a few streets over (I’ll keep it a secret because people don’t really like it..but if you can figure it out it’s yours.)
There’s almost no denying that this place is always packed. Proposals, weddings, modeling shoots, and family portraits are *always* going on. But with good reason, because it is GORGEOUS. Click the link to see the local Instagram feed and I don’t need to say anything else.
Driving north up the PCH is always a good idea. Always. When we first moved out neither of us had been more north than the famous El Matador State Beach. One day we were going to the Lululemon Outlet (yes, you heard me correctly) in Camarillo and our GPS took us straight up highway 1. The farther you get away from Malibu, the more beautiful it gets. I wasn’t sure that was possible.
Anyway, when you go about 20 minutes North of Vintage Grocers you’ll come upon this huge sand dune on the side of the mountain. The only thing that separates it from the ocean is the highway. You’ll find people climbing up for an incredible view, sledding down it, or running up and down to get in a workout.
When you’re done exploring, I suggest you keep going up until the road pulls away from the ocean. The views are worth every second and every $4.00 gallon of gas.
Where to Shop
The Malibu Country Mart is an upscale shopping center where you can usually spot some celeb or insta influencer. They have some really beautifully designed shops. Burro goods is a fun one where you can get quirky gifts and cards. There’s also a Sephora, Urban Outfitters, Planet Blue, and Soul Cycle.
This is the same shopping center that has Vintage Grocers in. There are some surf, clothing, and homeware shops here that are worth visiting. Very Malibu.
*Local Tip* on the first Sunday of every month there is a non-advertised car show that starts in the morning. Jay Leno and other big celebs frequently attend.
Where to Drink
Malibu Wines is a fun place to have drinks with a group of friends. It’s in Malibu’s gorgeous wine country. Quirky and Eclectic, you sit under the stars on a blanket or a sofa and sip their wines. They have plenty of fun themed nights and events so check out their schedule before you go!
This is a neighborhood bar that has a great happy hour. Close to lots of other shops like Cafe De La Plage, Sunlife, and Malibu Beach Yoga.
Bar and Restaurant that sits right on Zuma Beach (Point Dume side). Great views for a cozy drink at sunset.
If you’ve done any of these or have any suggestions, let me know in the comments below!