I’ve been meaning to put together this travel guide for three years! Every time we visit our daughter who is attending Pepperdine, we get so many questions about Malibu. I’ve been answering you individually this will be much better for all of us! Here is everything you need to know about where to stay, what to do and where to eat.
I say this often but I feel like we won the jackpot on where to visit your child in college! Malibu, California is a beautiful, laid-back beach town. Yes, it is a celebrity escape, too, but you don’t really feel that when you are here. Everyone is super casual. We love to visit her and spend time in this relaxed environment. This Spring we were fortunate enough to spend a week there including Easter with our entire family. Here are all of our Malibu Favorites:
Where to stay
There are not many hotels in Malibu. Our favorite place to stay is the Malibu Beach Inn. We have stayed here many times over the years. Their staff is warm and welcoming and the Carbon Beach Club restaurant is our absolute favorite. It’s large outdoor deck that extends over the beach is the perfect place for fresh California cuisine, enjoying the sunset and listening to the crashing waves. The rooms are California cool. A mix of warm and modern clean lines. (Photo via Malibu Beach Inn)
Another one of our favorite places to stay is the Stay Awhile Villas. They are owned by the same people in the Malibu Beach Inn and we found them this Spring. This is where we stayed for a week in April. You can see a full walk-through of several Stay Awhile Villas Beach Suites (SA Beach Suites on their website) and a beachfront home on my Instagram Stories Highlights. Be sure to let me know I sent you!
The Surfrider Hotel is another popular place to stay. It’s a very small hotel. In fact it’s so popular and so small, we’ve actually never been able to stay there. It is across the PCH from the Malibu Beach Inn and Surfrider Beach.
Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club is another beautiful place to stay in the Malibu area. It is in the mountains and is also home to The Malibu Café. They have beautiful cottage suites. I love to stay by the water so we’ve not stayed here but I certainly plan to on one of our next visits. They have a gorgeous spa on the property as well. The Beach Club is a newer addition and provides a beachfront experience for the day. CR Beach Club is only for guests of Calamigos Ranch.
Where to eat
Our very favorite place is the Carbon Beach Club at the Malibu Beach Inn. I shared information about it above. Their breakfast is one of my very favorites and that lunch and dinner are really fabulous also. Do not miss the warm chocolate chip cookie dessert! It is heaven in an iron skillet!
Malibu Farm – This restaurant is one of our musts when we are in Malibu. Located on the Malibu Pier on to Surfrider Beach and next to Malibu Beach Inn, it is a beautiful outdoor restaurant with a fresh organic menu. They have a great gift shop at the end of the pier as well as Malibu Farm Cafe, a quick order restaurant, there as well. There is limited indoor seating but who wants to be indoors in Malibu!
Sun Life Organics – We always make a stop at Sun Life in the Malibu country Mart. This fresh juice bar is a great place to start your day or for an afternoon pick me up refresher after a great hike…sometimes both in one day!
Geoffrey’s Malibu – This is another favorite in Malibu. We love to come here for a special dinner. It is a Malibu institution. Wonderful menu, great service and beautiful views. Most of the restaurant is outdoors and so lovely!
Taverna Tony’s – Fabulous Greek restaurant. Ask to be seated on the terrace.
Tra Di Noi – Local Gem. Absolutely wonderful menu and service.
Malibu Seafood – This is another Malibu institution. Located near Point Dume, Malibu Seafood is a seafood shop and restaurant. Really good food! California beach rustic. All outdoor seating.
Café Havana – Really good California Cuban/Mexican menu serving really great Margaritas with Casa Amigos tequila, of course, as the owner is Randy Gerber.
Other favorite restaurants:
Lucky’s Steakhouse, Nobu, Malibu Kitchen – great for picking up a quick sandwich or pastries
What to do in Malibu
Malibu Country Mart and Malibu Lumber Yard are right off the PCH. They are right across the street from each other so you might think they are the same center. The Country Mart is on your right and Lumber Yard on the left. Park and walk to everything. Filled with everything from cute local shops to some of your favorites like Paige Denim, Faherty and California department store Fred Segal. This is the local outdoor shopping area. You never know who you might see! Sundays bring in pretty amazing cars for what seems like an impromptu car show.
There are so many wonderful hikes in Malibu. My very favorite is the hike to the cross at Pepperdine. It is takes you high above campus to a cross constructed by students. It’s not a difficult hike it takes you through beautiful fields of flowers with incredible views.
A popular hike that is super easy is Point Dume. You can access it from inside the Point Dume neighborhood or from Zuma Beach.
Other great hikes:
Solstice Canyon Loop, Tuna Canyon, Zuma Ridge Trail.
If you’re at the beginning surfer I recommend going to Zuma Jay’s or Malibu Surf Shack to rent a board and arrange a lesson.
Malibu is about 20 to 30 minutes depending on traffic from Santa Monica. It is also about an hour and a half from Santa Barbara. You could do day trips to either one of those beautiful places but we get here and never leave!
Let me know if you have any other questions about Malibu! I hope you go and love it as much as we do!
PS – For more Travel Guides and Packing Lists, be sure to visit my Travel Section!
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