Daytrip from Los Angeles: Surfrider Beach & the Malibu Pier

Pier at the Malibu Surfrider Beach in California

There are many wonderful day trips you can take during your visit to Los Angeles, and at the top of the list would be Malibu’s Surfrider Beach. A twenty-minute drive up the famous Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica, it can be a great half-day or full-day trip.

The Pier separates the two areas of Malibu known as The Colony, to the north, and Carbon Beach, to the south. Here, you are welcome to walk the shoreline and sightsee–really, this is the best “star homes” tour in the city–and in addition to the surfers you’ll see the happy dogs running up and down the beach and neighbors visiting each other on the patios. The Pier itself is a beautiful place to walk, too; it can feel like you’re on top of the Pacific Ocean. Sport Fishing boats depart from here twice a day, taking visitors on a short boat trip to some of the best fishing grounds for sea bass, halibut, and rockfish. You can rent kayaks here, as well, and spend an hour or two on the ocean.

Next to the pier, you can tour the Adamson House. Built in the 1930s, it’s known for its decorative ceramic tiles, all created by Malibu Potteries.

Water fountain at the Adamson House in Malibu, CA

[Flickr/Gore Fiendus (Jerry Frausto)]

But the real show is in the water. Malibu has three points, all of which are surfers’ favorites. First Point is a perfect wave, very popular with longboarders and beginners, and it is closest to the Pier. (If you are thinking about learning to surf, you can get a lesson from Zuma Jay‘s across the street.) Second Point is the main wave for high performance surfing, and the most fun to watch. Third Point is where surfer’s from around the world come to surf. During the south swells of the summer, usually in late August and September, you’ll see surfers ride from Third Point to the pier, which is a long ride indeed—about three hundred yards.

For a picnic lunch, head to the Malibu Country Mart (3835 Cross Creek Road). John’s Garden is a local’s favorite for fresh sandwiches, made to order; be a real local and add avocado to your turkey or roast beef. Also, Howdy’s Taqueria makes fantastic burritos and you can always just grab a hot dog at Mutt’s. You can’t leave your car here, so you’ll have to drive the extremely short distance to the Pier and park for free on Pacific Coast Highway (this can be difficult to do on a Summer weekend, but it can be done).

About a 20 minute, scenic drive from The Georgian, Hotel Shangri La, Fairmont Miramar, Huntley and Oceana hotels.

– Lesley Bracker