In my humble opinion, Malibu, California is one of the most beautiful places on earth. There are numerous different beaches (including the beaches from the Sandra Dee and Elvis Presley movies) to visit along the Pacific Coast Highway, or you can just enjoy the ride and the beautiful, uber-expensive houses hanging off cliffs and tucked into the crevices of the Santa Monica Mountains.
If you’re on Interstate 10 going west from Los Angeles, you will come to the Santa Monica Pier and the beginning of Highway 1 north (the PCH). There is a short tunnel and then, beauty-licious ocean for miles. Once around the bend, you begin to see the most fascinating home entry doors decorated in all types of contemporary art designs that probably cost as much as a luxury car. Truly original and creative, you will have to leave early in the morning to take your time and pull over occasionally to get a good look.
Surviving Malibu Traffic:
Often the traffic is so bad from around 11:00a.m.until sunset that the highway becomes a parking lot for 27 miles. You can get a good look then, too. There are plenty of parking spaces along the ocean going south on the Pacific Coast Highway, but not so many going in the opposite direction. You have to cross this dangerous highway to get to the ocean from the northbound side. Surprisingly, further up the road, closer to Port Hueneme, you can sprint across the road to ocean access or climb the mountains that are right up against you, sandwiching you in. The surfers are running across the street all the time, however, I don’t suggest this for parents with small children. It’s better if you turn your car around facing southward and park.
Culture in LA! Who Knew?
The J. Paul Getty Museum is on the northward side tucked carefully into the mountains. Make sure to call and make a reservation as this is a must see. This will take several hours or more, depending on your love of art. There are many unique art pieces and loads of Greek statues. Take a break and sip a soda at their cafe that looks out onto a reflection pool.
Food and Drink:
On the way up the highway, you will inevitably pass Gladstone’s Seafood Restaurant on the ocean side of the road. My advice, don’t pass it. Instead stop, get a mojito and sit outside taking in the ocean view. This place is always swamped for dinner, so try to do lunch, which is also busy most weekends. Come early, the dinner crowd may include a celebrity or two. Keep in mind there is only valet parking here, which will set you back a few more bucks, plus tip. A little further down the road is Moonshadows, made world famous by a Mel Gibson debacle several years ago. It’s a happening place for young people and many entertainers alike.
Legal Stimulants and Higher Education:
Malibu has its own little strip mall with a movie theater and high-end grocery store. It’s not your average strip mall though, with designer clothing stores and specialty shops galore. There is another grocery store not to far up the road called Howe’s Market, on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Trancas Canyon Rd. There’s also a Starbucks next door, where my daughter stood in line forty-five minutes behind a motorcycle club to get a cup of coffee.
Before you get to this point, however, Pepperdine University is on the right side perched high into the Santa Monica Mountains. I am willing to bet this is THE most beautiful college campus on the planet! This view is not for those afraid of heights. It is quite dizzying to look down the mountain and out over the water from here.
The Edge of the World:
Within the 27 miles are Thai restaurants, more seafood restaurants, Private clubs and oh yeah, wait, a McDonald’s and a KFC for those really on a budget! Try to go as far as what I call the split rock, the one you see in many films about California and definitely about Malibu. Many car commercials use this scenic view, also. If you park at the rock you can no longer see The Santa Monica Pier or houses. All you see is the coastal shape of the west coast and the bending and turning of the mountains against the ocean. AMAZING! You really feel like you are at the end of the continental United States. The Malibu Creek State Park Campground is on the ocean side and is ideal for campers and backpackers. There is nowhere to go but Hawaii and Japan from here! If you are on a budget or not, pack a lunch and save your money just make sure you head for The Santa Monica Pier, which you have to stop at on your way back to Los Angeles. If not for anything other than to catch your breath, wow!