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Malibu Lagoon State Beach


While many beaches line the shore of Los Angeles County, those at Malibu are gilded, with a reputation preceding all others. El Matador, Pescadero, and Zuma are all great choices for a day trip, but the crown jewel is arguably Malibu Lagoon and environs. Spend a day exploring here, and you’ll see surfers, the stereotypical “beautiful people” from the Colony, a protected bird species, and an historical monument. Whether or not it’s warm enough to swim, you’ll enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the beach area. Depending on your proclivities, you’ll come home with photographs, sketches, or a finished novel; you’ll also have a happy belly, possibly some new treasures, and a soul thanking you for a peaceful and happy day.

Unless you’re starting from the Santa Monica area, it makes more sense to avoid the crowds on Pacific Coast Highway and arrive from the east. From the 101 north, exit at Las Virgenes Road, take a left, and stay on Las Virgenes, which will eventually change its name to Malibu Canyon Road. As you pass Pepperdine University, prepare to make a left turn on PCH. The park will be on your right a mile and a half later, at the intersection of PCH and Cross Creek Boulevard. Unless you’re lucky enough to find a spot on PCH (which will require extra walking), be prepared to fork over the parking fee; it’s nine dollars for three hours, twelve dollars for the entire day.

Once you park, you’ll walk down a boardwalk through the saltwater marsh to the beach itself. Take your time here; this is a prime area for bird watching, sketching, or photography, and the tang in the air will immediately begin the relaxation process. When you get to the beach, you’ll have to go left, as the area to the right is private property; no matter, as there’s a lot of public beach to enjoy!

In the spring, be prepared for different beach areas to be roped off. Malibu Lagoon is the nesting ground for two endangered birds, the California Least Tern and the Western Snowy Plover. (When you spot nests, be sure to remain at a distance so as not to agitate the beleaguered mothers sitting on eggs; you don’t want to be the reason she abandons the nest!) Another endangered species can be found in the water: steelhead trout are finally returning for the first time in decades! You will be sharing the area with precious creatures, so let that fact be part of your gratitude.

And you will be grateful as you settle yourself in your beach chair, under your umbrella (the sun is strong in these parts) – the air is crisp, the sand is comfortable, and the surfer show is ready for your watching pleasure. This is a perfect spot to “beach it” for a few hours or even the entire day. Time slows down here, and you will finally be able to read that book, sketch that wave, or nap in the sun.

History buffs will enjoy wandering through the adjacent Adamson House, built in 1929. The décor here is named “Spanish Colonial Revival,” and it is beautiful. For a fee of seven dollars, you can wander through the rooms, enjoy the incredible tilework, and learn about Malibu in the first half of the twentieth century. There’s also a gift shop here.

You won’t need to bring a lunch with you if you decide to visit Malibu Country Mart right across PCH. You will find ultimate in chichi shopping and people watching, with designer stores, juice bars, restaurants, and all the other trappings needed by the rich and beautiful. If you see a celebrity, remember – you are in his or her hometown. Be respectful, and pretend to not recognize them. You’ll still have bragging rights later on!

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated Malibu Country Mart or Malibu Lagoon State Beach, and have paid for my parking and shopping with my own funds.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Pacific Coast Highway at Cross Creek Road, Malibu

Adamson House, 23200 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

Malibu Country Mart, 3835 Cross Creek Road, Malibu


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Content copyright © 2015 by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . All rights reserved.
This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.

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