Ohhhhh Malibu. This is one of my true favorites in the US and writing about it now has brought back so many fantastic memories. Malibu is such an amazing place. If you’re looking for a domestic destination that offers easy access, beaches, wineries, shopping, dining and potential people watching this is the perfect long weekend for you! This is also a great trip to combine with others if you want to spend more time cruising up or down the PCH! Luke and I went a year before we moved to Chile and our favorites below have managed to fare well with all the latest wildfires so please enjoy! 

malibu

WHERE WE STAYED

the surfrider malibu

If a relaxing weekend at a cozy, chic, private 250 acre ranch set 15 minutes off the coast sounds like what you’re looking for then look no further. This hotel offers the best of both worlds in terms of its location. It’s set in Malibu’s majestic mountains and also close enough to the beach you can easily come and go during the day without wasting time (they even have an exclusive beachfront beach club for guests, where they can set you up with paddle board lessons or some chairs/loungers on the beach to relax). In terms of accommodations, Calamigos has private cottages, bungalows, and estate rooms. These are well equipped but there is so much to do and see at this hotel and in the surrounding area you might not find yourself in your room too much. Don’t miss their spa packages and know in advance that they have some great workout space if that’s how you prefer to start your day. Dining and great drinks are also offered at the hotel - breakfast daily, in room service, poolside service, The Beach Club, The Malibu Cafe, Leo’s Lodge Bar. 

This is my beachside pick in Malibu (vs. the Malibu Beach Inn below). This hotel is all over instagram so you’ve probably seen it. The interiors are DROOL WORTHY. INSTA WORTHY. GOALS. Whatever you want to call it… but it’s GOOD. Don’t miss the guest-only roof deck bar and restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Malibu Pier. The hotel is not on the water side of the highway but they have easy access to a beach club so don’t worry about that. The hotel will also set you up with surf boards or paddle boards and all beach amenities like umbrellas and beach towels.

other recommendations

hotels

calamigos guest ranch + beach club

malibu beach inn

Another beachside haven with 47 rooms and suites and breathtaking ocean views (literally a five minute walk from Surfrider). The hotel style and design won’t match the two hotels above but it is literally on Malibu’s coastline and a Malibu classic. Located on the ocean side of the highway, you cannot beat this location and ease of access if you want to feel like you’re right on the beach the entire weekend. Choose to spend your day at the Carbon Beach Club for easy and convenient access to food, drinks and activities all day. Note that the hotel does not offer self-parking so be prepared to pay valet prices. 

the ranch malibu

If you have a LOT of money… and I mean A LOT…and you’re looking for an ultimate wellness retreat, check this place out. From the research I’ve done, this looks like a magical experience for those that need a recharge. This is an ultra-luxury retreat with immersive week long programs designed to create a sacred and safe place for personal growth physically, mentally, and spiritually. Focused on exercise, health, and nutrition. Your chance to fully disconnect from technology, alcohol, caffeine and everything else we should probably be stepping back from. 

nobu ryokan

Looking to splurge? Traveling without kids? Have a bit of money to blow? This is the spot for you. 16 luxurious rooms and a hotel full of your architectural dreams located right on the beach. Imagine the quality and prices of the Nobu restaurants, put that in Malibu and make it a hotel and that’s what you have in this hotel. So expensive and exclusive you cannot book online – you have to Get in Touch using a form on their website and they quote minimum nightly rates of US $2,000 with a two-night minimum.  

WHERE WE ate

the malibu cafe

You can’t go to Malibu without going to Nobu. Even if you’ve tried it elsewhere in the US, this one is special. It’s located right on the water and is a great place for celebrity spotting if you’re into that. If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s a Japanese restaurant with classics like yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and black cod.  

A great spot to hang for a Sunday-funday kind of day. Located at Calamigos Ranch, relax on the massive lawn which serves as an outdoor wonderland. Whether you’re with your family, your partner or celebrating a birthday with a big group, don’t miss this spot for a fun afternoon! This is where good food, good company and nature come together.

ollo

mastro's ocean club

duke's malibu

restaurants

nobu

other recommendations

malibu farm restaurant

Farm to table food, full service restaurant with full bar, at the start of the pier, accepts dinner reservations.

malibu farm cafe

Counter service cafe with beer and wine at the end of the pier, walk-ins only.

Geoffrey's malibu

WHERE WE ATE

NOBU

You can’t go to Malibu without going to Nobu. Even if you’ve tried it elsewhere in the US, this one is special. It’s located right on the water and is a great place for celebrity spotting if you’re into that. If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s a Japanese restaurant with classics like yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and black cod.  

A great spot to hang for a Sunday-funday kind of day. Located at Calamigos Ranch, relax on the massive lawn which serves as an outdoor wonderland. Whether you’re with your family, your partner or celebrating a birthday with a big group, don’t miss this spot for a fun afternoon! This is where good food, good company and nature come together.

ollo

mastro's ocean club

duke's malibu

other recommendations

restaurants

the malibu cafe

geoffrey's malibu

Farm to table food, full service restaurant with full bar, at the start of the pier, accepts dinner reservations.

malibu farm restaurant

Counter service cafe with beer and wine at the end of the pier, walk-ins only.

malibu farm cafe

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly into LAX. I would suggest you rent a car for easy access to all the great spots throughout the weekend but you should be able to get by if you would prefer to Uber or simply get to your hotel and spend a quiet weekend there. 


travel

beach, of course!

+ El Matador State Beach - massive rocks, perfect for beach pictures and a favorite for photographers, exquisite sunset 
+ Surfrider Beach 
+ Zuma Beach 
+ Carbon Beach - also known as Billionaires Beach because of the amazing mansions that line the beach.  
+ Surf lessons, SUP, etc. 

excursions

wineries

+ Malibu Wine Safari - wine and animals? Yes please. at Saddlerock Ranch, 1,000 acre estate with zebras, bison, giraffe, alpaca, water buffalo, and the famous Stanley the Giraffe. You can also opt to explore on foot with the Malibu Wine Hike. Check their schedule, always hosting fun entertainment like yoga and mimosas, trivia nights, and more.  
+ The Rosenthal Malibu Winery
+ Cornell Winery
+ Cielo Winery

horseback riding

Malibu Riders - offer guided tours and have three different trails available. We took a tour through the famous Paramount Ranch where they filmed movies and shows (think Westworld).

shopping

I’ve got to be honest, shopping is not my thing while traveling. It’s actually the last thing I’d want to do while on vacation unless it's raining. But it is Malibu so of course there’s some great shopping.  

hiking

+ Chamlee Wilderness Park - located halfway between Calamigos Ranch and El Matador State beach, this park is perfect for a short, easy hike with the family. Just 15 minutes into your hike you’ll be at a fantastic vista overlooking the Pacific.  
+ Escondio Falls - great hike with two waterfalls – the first is easy to get to but the second will take some effort! 
+ Zuma Canyon - 11 mile loop for those of you looking for something a bit more challenging (also great for bird watching). 
+ Malibu Wine hike - if you’re looking for a guided, easy to moderate two mile hike (2-3 hours) where you can drink wine throughout, this one is for you! 
+ Mishe Mokwa Trail - is a ~6 mile loop which takes you to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica mountains (3,100 ft). Fantastic views from the top!

how to get there

Fly into LAX. I would suggest you rent a car for easy access to all the great spots throughout the weekend but you should be able to get by if you would prefer to Uber or simply get to your hotel and spend a quiet weekend there. 

travel

beach, OF COURSE!

excursions

wineries

horseback riding

Malibu Riders - offer guided tours and have three different trails available. We took a tour through the famous Paramount Ranch where they filmed movies and shows (think Westworld).

shopping

I’ve got to be honest, shopping is not my thing while traveling. It’s actually the last thing I’d want to do while on vacation unless it's raining. But it is Malibu so of course there’s some great shopping.  

hiking

+ Chamlee Wilderness Park - located halfway between Calamigos Ranch and El Matador State beach, this park is perfect for a short, easy hike with the family. Just 15 minutes into your hike you’ll be at a fantastic vista overlooking the Pacific.  
+ Escondio Falls - great hike with two waterfalls – the first is easy to get to but the second will take some effort! 
+ Zuma Canyon - 11 mile loop for those of you looking for something a bit more challenging (also great for bird watching). 
+ Malibu Wine hike - if you’re looking for a guided, easy to moderate two mile hike (2-3 hours) where you can drink wine throughout, this one is for you! 
+ Mishe Mokwa Trail - is a ~6 mile loop which takes you to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica mountains (3,100 ft). Fantastic views from the top!

+ El Matador State Beach - massive rocks, perfect for beach pictures and a favorite for photographers, exquisite sunset 
+ Surfrider Beach 
+ Zuma Beach 
+ Carbon Beach - also known as Billionaires Beach because of the amazing mansions that line the beach.  
+ Surf lessons, SUP, etc. 

+ Malibu Wine Safari - wine and animals? Yes please. at Saddlerock Ranch, 1,000 acre estate with zebras, bison, giraffe, alpaca, water buffalo, and the famous Stanley the Giraffe. You can also opt to explore on foot with the Malibu Wine Hike. Check their schedule, always hosting fun entertainment like yoga and mimosas, trivia nights, and more.  
+ The Rosenthal Malibu Winery
+ Cornell Winery
+ Cielo Winery

weather + when to go

It’s Malibu… it’s California… there’s no bad time to go! The weather is unbelievably pleasant at all times making this the perfect yearround destination. 

If you’re looking to visit during the warmest months, think July, August, and September. Of course, summer months will be the busiest, priciest in terms of flights and hotels, and festival season will be in full swing so those are all things to consider. We visited in January and although it was a bit too chilly for the beach, it was absolute bliss exploring around with a light jacket!

info

weather + when to go

It’s Malibu… it’s California… there’s no bad time to go! The weather is unbelievably pleasant at all times making this the perfect yearround destination. 

If you’re looking to visit during the warmest months, think July, August, and September. Of course, summer months will be the busiest, priciest in terms of flights and hotels, and festival season will be in full swing so those are all things to consider. We visited in January and although it was a bit too chilly for the beach, it was absolute bliss exploring around with a light jacket!

info

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