Day Trip to Malibu: 18 Best Places to Eat & Explore

If you’re looking to kick back and relax, then a day trip to Malibu is the perfect way to do just that.

Known for its stunning scenery and laid-back lifestyle, coastal Malibu is easily one of the most popular tourist destinations in California.

From leisurely hikes and historic sites, to luxurious beachfront properties and exclusive restaurants, Malibu has it all.

Pack your bags, grab your shades, and let’s start the journey – here are 18 amazing things you don’t want to miss if you find yourself in this sun-kissed paradise!

1. El Matador Beach

El Matador Beach is a stunning destination worthy of all the Instagram likes.

Wear proper shoes (you’ll thank us for this later) and don’t over-pack; it’s best to just carry what you need, as the trail down is a steep path, down from a pay parking lot.

This Malibu beach isn’t just a great spot to top up your tan, but also explore its unique seascapes and find endless adventure in its rock formations and sea caves.

However, don’t wait until it’s too late or you might just miss out on that perfect towel spot; high tide takes away a lot of prime sand!

Be sure to bring your camera, as sunrise and sunset here are guaranteed to take your breath away.

Malibu Stars Homes and Beach Tour
Malibu Stars Homes and Beach Tour Photo by Viator

2. Go on a Celebrity Tour

Take a jaunt down the coast and see the glamorous side of Malibu with this intriguing guided tour.

Hop aboard an open-air van and get ready to be dazzled as you drive along Malibu’s star-studded shores, passing Dr. Dre’s mansion here and Cher’s chateau there!

Enjoy a dose of history too as you explore iconic sites such as the colorful Adamson House in all its seaside splendor.

So go ahead and take a glimpse into Hollywood with this dazzling tour — it’s sure to leave you starry-eyed!

3. Malibu Farm Pier Cafe

Malibu Farm Pier Cafe is the best place for you to start your day in Malibu.

Wake up early, take a stroll by the pier, and grab a seat at this gem of a restaurant.

We love the farm-to-table menu items and being able to sit outside with endless views of the Pacific is a huge plus in our books!

Take your pick from Swedish pancakes, waffles, and eggy sandwiches – yum!

Don’t forget to take plenty of photos because you’ll want to remember this breakfast spot forever!

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4. Go on a Wine Hike

Ready to explore the Malibu hills and sample some wine? A guided wine hike is the perfect excursion for adventurers and oenophiles alike.

Enjoy a 2.5-mile loop with beautiful views of majestic mountains and low valleys, followed by a peek into history with ancient Chumash cave paintings waiting to be discovered.

After climbing up around 300 feet, take a break at the vineyard’s organic garden before being rewarded with a complimentary bottle of wine!

Malibu Wine Hike
Malibu Wine Hike Photo by Viator

5. Drive Along the Pacific Coast

Embarking on an adventure to Malibu? Take the party on the road with a Pacific Coast drive down the 27 miles of coastline.

Experience the vibrancy of city life through local surf hotspots and take in the tranquil peacefulness of small neighborhoods.

Even better, this journey peaks with beautiful views of rocky cliffs. Now that’s a nice introduction to Malibu if we even needed one!

6. Malibu Country Mart

Malibu Country Mart is the epicenter of high-end shopping and dining. It’s the place where locals casually go after a surf sesh and celebrities barely cover their faces trying to stay incognito.

Designer jeans here? Sure! $100 T-Shirts? You betcha!

Afterwards, drool over all the deliciousness at Broad Street Oyster Co. across the street; it’s got the best lobster roll around.

7. Go Surfing

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, Malibu’s waves are the perfect spot for conquering the ocean.

Pick up on the basics with the help of a local surfer with this private surfing lesson; they’ll help you get your paddling and standing technique on lock in no time.

Don’t let gnarly waves put you off – it’s never too late to learn how to hang loose!

Private Surf Lessons Malibu California
Private Surf Lessons Photo by Viator

8. Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park is a remarkable destination that features dramatic gorges and jagged peaks, guaranteeing spectacular views on many of its hiking trails.

The Mesa Peak Trail shows off a 4.8-mile out-and-back trail with a steady incline throughout, making it moderately difficult yet totally worth it.

Not only that, this iconic park actually holds some famous remnants and locations from classic films such as M*A*S*H and Planet of the Apes.

So if you’re looking for a combination of ultimate beauty and movie history, throw away your script and enjoy the show at Malibu Creek State Park!

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9. Zuma Beach

Nothing can compare to a day spent at the idyllic Zuma Beach. Over 1.8 miles ofgolden sands and endless activities, this beach is the perfect summer day out!

Whether you want to lounge by the shore with a good book or take on some intense volleyball, Zuma Beach is your go-to spot for that much-needed dose of Vitamin C.

So don’t hesitate and zip up your beach bag; discover why this beach has been dubbed one of the best beaches in Southern California!

10. Malibu Hindu Temple

If you thought you would have to fly across the world to see a majestic Hindu temple, think again!

During your day trip to Malibu, prepare yourself for an unexpected culture shock.

Nestled inland is a pure white temple with gold accents that invite visitors from near and far.

The architectural details will blow your mind, while the sounds of bells ringing in the wind make it as peaceful as can be.

Remember to be respectful and take off your shoes outside, just like the sign requests.

Electric Bike Tour Malibu
Electric Bike Tour Malibu

11. Cruise Around on an Electric Bike

Can’t decide if you want a relaxing vacation or an active one? Why not have both!

Hop on board an electric mountain bike and explore the trails of Malibu – a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation.

Let your guide take charge as they adjust their route depending on your experience level, allowing you to make every ride as relaxed or challenging as you’d like.

12. Escondido Falls

Don’t miss out on Escondido Falls – a two-tiered, 150-foot gusher of green moss hidden away in the depths of Southern California.

This easy-peasy 3.7-mile out-and-back trail is worth the trek for one of nature’s most vibrant theatrics.

If you’re lucky enough to have a few days of rain before visiting, you’ll be in for an unforgettable show.

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13. Adamson House

If you’re looking for an awe-inspiring way to learn about Malibu’s storied heritage, check out the Adamson House Museum.

Sitting in Malibu Lagoon State Park and built in 1929, this grandiose Spanish-style residence was once home to Rhoda Rindge Adamson and Merritt Huntley Adamson.

Those two were quite the power couple – not only renowned for their civic duties but also for running one of the largest dairies in the country!

Visiting their former home is like a trip down memory lane, with stunning ceramic tiling that adorns every room and treasure troves of artifacts to uncover within.

So don your research cap & take a trip here – you won’t be disappointed!

Adamson House Malibu California
Adamson House Malibu Photo by Viator

14. Leo Carrillo State Park

Exploring Malibu for the day doesn’t get more refreshing than Leo Carrillo State Park.

With sprawling stretches of sand offering ultimate seclusion and panoramic views, you won’t have to travel miles away to find your zen.

Gaze out onto the ocean from the north tip of Malibu and take some jumps in the waves – it’s calmer than you’d expect from such a popular destination.

The waves rarely go higher than the chest, so even beginners can enjoy a mellow ride in safety.

But if you’d rather get up close and personal with nature, dive into the tide pools on the rocky coast or explore the trails nearby.

And don’t worry, this is one of the rare beaches where your pup can come along too (as long as they’re leashed).

15. Duke’s Malibu

A day trip to Malibu wouldn’t be complete without some oceanfront dining.

If you’re familiar with Duke’s in Hawaii, then you already know what to expect – delicious seafood, tacos and salads coupled with must-have cocktails.

Not only will your plate taste like a work of art, but you’ll also get front-row seats to some of the most stunning views imaginable – perfect for grabbing those much-needed Instagram shots.

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16. Malibu Pier

With the charming Malibu Pier front and center, it’s the perfect place to take in those exquisite coastal views, get your shopping fix and even take a bite at Malibu Farm Pier Cafe.

Unlike the bustling Santa Monica Pier, here it’s all about a serene stroll, with just enough shops and eateries spread out along the pier.

Malibu pier on a clear day
Malibu pier on a clear day

17. Nobu Malibu

Situated directly on Carbon Beach, grab a bite to eat at Nobu Malibu, an exclusive sushi restaurant with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.

Here, Iron Chef Nobu Matsuhisa offers an impressive menu of Japanese dishes with a hint of fusion, as well as California favorites.

Forget takeout – feast on King Crab Tempura or Chilean Sea Bass with Dry Miso. If shellfish is your thing, delve into the Maine Lobster with Spicy Garlic or Wasabi.

No matter your craving, you’ll find a succulent dish crafted with finesse.

18. Visiting The Getty Villa

If you ever find yourself in Malibu, don’t miss a chance to take a trip to the Getty Villa.

It’s like stepping into a time machine – you’ll be surrounded by tributes to Greek, Roman, and Etruscan civilizations, making it one of the most unique attractions in town.

The sheer beauty and artistry of the works is enough to overwhelm any visitor – don’t miss this must-see museum on your travels!