There’s a reason so many celebrities chose to live in Malibu. The main one—admittedly, based on no factual knowledge—is for the gorgeous beaches. Whether you’re with the kids, your pup or your crew, there is a stretch of shoreline in Malibu calling your name. There are so many incredible spots along this 21-mile span of the PCH that we couldn’t narrow it down to just one place. That’s why we’ve rounded up the 11 best beaches in Malibu, covering the uber popular spots and the hidden gems.
The 11 Best Beaches in Malibu (Because You Deserve a Getaway)
1. Pirates Cove (at Point Dume)
- Where to Find It: Park at the lot for Point Dume/Westward Beach at 7103 Westward Beach Rd, Malibu, CA 90265
If you like your privacy (maybe you’re hiding from the paparazzi), this beach is hidden behind the more popular Point Dume. Access isn’t super easy and obvious—hey, being incognito isn’t always easy! Head out on a mini adventure and be rewarded with some peace and quiet in a breathtaking setting. Access the beach from the southern end of Westward Beach. At the end of Westward Beach is a high rock wall. The cove is behind it. We suggest taking the path behind the boulders that climbs up and over to Pirates Cove. Pro tip: Look up the tides in advance and save this beach for a day when they’re low.
2. Westward Beach
- Where to Find It: 7103 Westward Beach Road, Malibu, CA 90265
You can spy this beautiful beach from the lookout at Point Dume Nature Preserve, but drive on down and take advantage of the free parking (there is also a pay area if all the free parking is taken). This beach is great for the whole family; kids can enjoy the waves and parents will enjoy the ability to clean their kids off in the nearby outdoor showers. Stay for one of the best sunsets and enjoy cocktails at The Sunset Restaurant, which is tucked away at the corner of Westward Beach Road and Birdview Avenue.
3. Staircase Beach
- Where to Find It: 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
This lesser-known beach is on the North end of Leo Carillo State Beach. Ironically, there is no staircase to get to this beach. You can walk down a beachy path to this narrow-ish strip of beach. This is a favored spot for locals, but all are welcome. Relax while taking in the eye-candy of surfers out on the waves.
4. Leo Carillo State Beach
- Where to Find It: 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
This state beach is more than just a gorgeous stretch of coastline. Here, you can sunbathe and then take advantage of the many beach and hiking trails. Explore the tide pools, reefs and rock coves. And if you’re the adventurous type, there are campgrounds where you can spend the night! Fun fact: if the beach looks familiar, it may be because some of your favorite movies were shot there ,including Grease, The Craft and The Karate Kid. Oh, and dog lovers, rejoice—you can bring your pups along for the day at the dog-friendly North part of the beach (north of lifeguard tower three). There is a large parking lot across the street from the beach, but you can also look for street parking along the PCH.
5. El Matador Beach
- Where to Find It: 32350 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
This stunning beach will remind travelers of far off places like Australia and Thailand, but it’s the closest thing to an exotic escape without getting on a flight! There are large rock formations that stunningly frame the coastline. You can see some of the best sunsets here. Influencers and wanna-be influencers will find this is the perfect backdrop for a beachy photo shoot. There is a small paid parking lot but if you’re heading there on a weekend at prime time, you’re better suited to first look along the PCH.
6. Zuma Beach
- Where to Find It: 30000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Zuma is one of Malibu's more popular beaches, and for good reason. There is ample space to spread out and enjoy a day at the beach. With restrooms, lifeguard stands, showers, volleyball nets, and eight parking lots, you can see why it’s a hot spot. If you're a nature fan, depending on the time of the year, you may just spot some dolphins or whales out at sea.
7. Paradise Cove
- Where to Find It: 28128 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265-3928
This private beach is home to the Paradise Cove Beachfront Cafe, which is an iconic restaurant in Malibu where you can sip a cocktail with your feet in the sand. It gives you those resort feels, with the option to book chaise lounges and umbrellas, complete with towels included. Save money on parking when you eat at the restaurant, which, if you’re visiting Paradise Cove, is a must-do. If you like to BYOB, pack a cooler; since it’s a private beach, it’s one of the few where you can drink on sand.
8. Dan Blocker Beach
- Where to Find It: 26000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
You can admire some of the gorgeous beach-front properties as you walk along this narrow beach. This spot is best for water sports enthusiasts: surfers, divers, swimmers,and fishers. If the name Dan Blocker doesn’t ring a bell, let us refresh your memory (or introduce you to a local icon): Dan Blocker played the character “Hoss” on the show Bonanza, and two of his co-stars bought this piece of land and donated it to LA County in his honor. Make a day of it by starting with a hike at Solstice Canyon, and after a day at the beach, enjoy some seafood at nearby Malibu Seafood.
9. Malibu “surfrider” Beach
- Where to Find It: 23050 & 23200 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90265
If Blue Crush was your favorite movie, then you’ll love watching surfers interact IRL at this beach, steps from the Malibu Pier. You can take the stairs down to the beach and sit and enjoy the show. This is not a beach for wading in the ocean but rather great for people watching from the sidelines. Head up to the Pier for lunch and enjoy Malibu Farm Cafe.
10. Broad Beach
- Where to Find It: 31200 Broad Beach Road Malibu, CA 90265 (There is an access gate next to the addresses 31344 and 31200 Broad Beach Road.)
If you’re a fan of shows like Million Dollar Listing and Selling Sunset, you’ll enjoy the backside views of several multi-million dollar homes that line Broad Beach. Head to this beach in the summer (in the winter, it’s often high tides with little to no sand) to go for a nice beach walk. Psst: If you can't find parking near the access gate—and you don't mind a bit of a walk—you can also park in the northern parking spots of Zuma (30000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265).
11. Nicholas Canyon Beach
- Where to Find It: 33850 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Just past Leo Carillo is this often-quieter stretch of beach. You’ll likely catch some surfers who enjoy the waves that break at the rock formation where Nicholas Canyon meets the shore. It’s perfect for some fresh air and tranquility off-season. There is a lifeguard on duty during the summer and likely some food trucks during more popular times. You’ll also find a parking lot with parking machines and picnic tables if you prefer to eat your sandwich from Vintage Grocers sans sand.