The Ultimate Malibu Summer Bucket List
If you’re wondering what to do in Malibu, look no further. Located along the scenic and winding Pacific Coast Highway, there’s so much to do and see within Malibu’s 27-mile stretch — especially in the summer. From its cliffside shorelines and vast beaches to its museums, refined boutiques, and farmers markets, this tranquil coastal oasis truly shines under the mid-year sun.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a blissful combination of both, read on for our ultimate summer bucket list in Malibu.
Malibu is home to dozens of beautiful and renowned beaches, including Zuma Beach (famous for surfing), Point Dume, Topanga Beach, and more. Watch the surfers ride the waves or enjoy lounging on the beach (and perhaps even wade into the water yourself).
For the more adventurous spirits, simply watching surfers on Zuma Beach might not be enough. Try your hand at it by booking a private lesson with Malibu Surf Coach, one of the premier surf schools in all of Malibu. Your coach, Stingray, brings more than 30 years of experience and will teach you the ropes.
Malibu Country Mart
Malibu’s chicest shopping is found at Malibu Country Mart, home to both local and designer stores, healthy California fare, and workout spots (such as 5 Point Yoga). If you’re lucky, you might even rub shoulders with a celebrity shopping at Los Angeles favorites Ron Herman, Vince, or Oliver Peoples.
Take a Hike
Some of the best hiking in all of Southern California can be found here. Don’t miss Solstice Canyon in Santa Monica Mountains National Park, where you’ll wander among shaded paths to reach a breathtaking waterfall. Escondido Canyon Park is another popular wooded trail for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding, which leads to the 150-foot Escondido Falls.
The Getty Villa
Transport yourself to ancient Greece with an educational and cultural trip to the beautiful Getty Villa. Surrounded by gardens, this beautiful estate is dedicated to the study of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. The villa features architecture from these ancient cultures and mesmerizing landscapes.
The Malibu Pier is the ultimate place to enjoy the ocean. The pier features shops, restaurants, fishing, and people-watching, and you might even see a dolphin or two during your trip. We suggest stopping by Malibu Farm for the freshest farm-to-table meal with sublime views over the water.
Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum
This circa-1929 Spanish colonial-style home is a beautiful historic museum once home to the Chumash Indians who lived there until the late 18th century. The Adamson House, which is also a National Historic Site, evokes an old-world California feel and is filled with hand-painted frescoes, molded ceilings, cast ironwork, lead-framed bottle-glass windows, and more.
It’s not uncommon to see fruit vendors along the Pacific Coast Highway selling tasty fresh produce, but if you’re looking for a more organized day trip, check out the Malibu Farmers Market, open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There you’ll meet local farmers, craftspeople, and chefs.
The joys of this ocean-side paradise can be experienced from the comfort of your car. There are several scenic drives in Malibu, including Point Dume to Point Mugu Rock; Topanga Canyon Boulevard to Mulholland Highway; and Encinal Canyon Road, to name a few.
Malibu Wine Hikes
Wine lovers and hiking enthusiasts alike will delight in Malibu Wine Hikes, a 1,000-acre vineyard that offers a 2.5-mile guided hike, Vintage VW bus tours, and 4×4 private vineyard adventures. Here, wander among the vines, feel the sun on your shoulders, and experience quintessential California. There is no wine tasting during the hike, but you’ll receive a bottle of wine to-go at the end. Wine tastings and a cheeseboard are offered during the 2-hour 4×4 private adventure tours. If you really want to go big, book the 3-hour Vintage VW bus tour which takes you on a ride around Malibu, stopping for wine tastings at local vineyards. Did we mention they have live music? Check out one of their acoustic concerts with Flight of Voices.
Get Your Zen On
Find out how the locals get so relaxed with a visit to Salvaje Malibu, a wellness company that offers outdoor yoga, sound baths, and meditation experiences in the Santa Monica Mountains. Classes are hosted on the beautiful Saddlerock Ranch, and you’ll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. You can even relax on the beach at Malibu Beach Inn to further connect with nature.
There are so many incredible brunch restaurants to choose from, from Malibu Beach Inn’s Carbon Beach Club Restaurant to Ollo, Lily’s Malibu, and Marmalade Café. Hint: Malibu is home to some of the best breakfast burritos in all of Southern California.
Want to see where movies are filmed via horseback? Malibu Riders offers guided trail rides for both beginners and advanced riders throughout various locations in Malibu and Paramount Ranch, a famed location where many movies and TV shows have taken place.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Malibu Coastal Adventures offers whale and dolphin watching from one of its boats, as well as stand-up paddleboarding on the ocean. You can also go fishing, cave diving, and snorkeling.
Scuba diving is the perfect activity for adventurous families. Malibu Divers will train everyone how to scuba dive before exploring the unique underwater world off the Malibu coast. The expert guides, with more than 40 years of experience, will make diving your new favorite hobby!
You’re in Malibu, so why not splurge a little? There are several upscale dining restaurants that are absolutely worth a visit. Not only are they celebrity-approved, but each offers a beautiful (and scrumptious) experience. We recommend Nobu for fresh Japanese fare and Geoffrey’s for incredible Mediterranean-inspired food. And, of course, CBC Restaurant offers fresh, healthy, and local fare in a beautiful setting.
There’s no shortage of fish here, so it’s no wonder sport fishing is an incredibly popular pastime. Try it yourself from Malibu Pier with a rod rental from Ranch at the Pier to spend an hour or an entire afternoon trying your luck.
If the summer sun is making you crave something indulgent, the area has several ice cream and candy shops for those with a sweet tooth. We love candy boutique K Chocolatier by Diane Kron, famous for its endless variety of chocolate. Malibu Yogurt and Ice Cream is also a local favorite.
Picnic on the Beach
You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced a picnic on the beach in Malibu. Allow Malibu Beach Inn to curate an intimate beachside picnic, courtesy of CBC chef Ryan Caldwell and designed by the Picnic Collective. Perfect for a special occasion, it’s a meal you won’t soon forget.
Get a bird’s eye view of Malibu and parts of Los Angeles through a helicopter tour with OrbicAir. You can land atop a mountain to appreciate Southern California from a vantage point you’ve never seen before. It’s a thrilling and exhilarating way to spend an afternoon.