On a gloomy Sunday, I decided it was time to go on a day trip adventure. No matter where you live, sometimes it is the best idea to explore a local spot – you know, just be a tourist for a day in a nearby city. It had been years since I visited Malibu, and traffic was actually light [that NEVER happens!], so I made my way towards the coast from LA.
Lush green + golden hills to one side and gorgeous oceans views to the other, ummm…why don’t I come here daily?!
Here are my must see stops and eat & drinks for a day trip to Malibu. 21 miles of scenic beauty is an understatement. Welcome to the BU! 😉
The Malibu Pier
A bit on the simple side compared to the nearby Santa Monica pier, but gorgeous views from every angle. Malibu Farms and Malibu Cafe are both super-tasty dining options. My new seagull friend invited himself to grab some of my snacks after our lil’ photo shoot.
A quick attire tip for you: the weather was oh so fickle in Malibu! I changed in a porta potty [which are everywhere BTW and often in place of real beach-side restaurant restrooms], busted out my emergency flip flops and instantly it began raining again!! I swear I rotated clothing layers so many times throughout the day. Make sure to bring layers regardless of the season.
Malibu Canyon + Malibu State Park
There are a lot of hidden gems throughout the canyon hills – hiking trails, vineyards, and wine tasting to name a few. The main highways that connect highway 101 to the 1 [Pacific Coast Highway] are the 27 and the 23. There is also Malibu Canyon Road and Kanan Dume Road…all 4 of these are a gorgeous drive.
Hiking was ruled out due to weather during my visit, but I would love to explore the state parks and glorious ocean views from the hills more. Have any hiking suggestions for me next time? Please let me know in the comments at the end of the post.
Cruisin’ The Pacific Coast Highway
I mean if you MUST sit in traffic, why can’t it always be gorgeous PCH traffic? #theonlytrafficilike
Springtime in Malibu is even more lovely with flowers in bloom and lots of lush, green plant life.
I love to ask locals where their favorite spots are. Thankfully, they told me about Matador Beach and Point Mugu. I definitely recommend a stop at each [and of course, the drive to each on PCH is also gorgeous].
Please note that all beaches have parking meters like this [and most likely porta potty options] and thankfully they accept credit cards. The parking not the toilet LOL.
EAT + DRINK
Clearly, instead of hiking my way through this city – I ate my way instead. Did you notice that I blamed weather for that decision? Teehee. But tasting all of the local cuisine IS a part of the adventure right?! Oh, and R&D (research & development) too?!? 😉
Located smack dab on PCH, this seafood heaven is a must stop. One side of the building is for dining and the other is very convenient take away, perfect for beach picnic grub on the go. Check out their full menu here.
Talk about prime real estate, Malibu Farm has 2 spots right on the pier. At the start of the pier, you will find the cafe with counter service and fresh juice. And at the end of the pier you will find the Malibu Farm Restaurant with yummy [rather pricey] selections of food + cocktails.
Please note that during my visit the main restaurant was under construction, therefore both were operating out of the cafe section. I’m not certain how long construction is anticipated.
Cafe Habana is just as delicious, but a bit less ‘fru fru’ Malibu style than other dining options [that is a technical term meaning a little too fancy than necessary haha]. Pricing was a bit more on point and atmosphere more comfy than some of the fancy local spots.
Apparently, there are multiple locations throughout New York too! I can’t recommend the jalapeño margarita enough [and any food here will be delish!]
Saddle Peak Lodge
Hidden within the canyon, is a gem of a restaurant called Saddle Peak Lodge. Definitely on the very pricey end, but worth the splurge for sure! We’re talkin’ New American style with wild game options where if you only have the snack potato chips while drinking at the bar, they will be some of the best chips you’ve ever had!
BUT, it is like an old lodge [decor wise], with rooms of death as a common theme [hunter style/taxidermy critters, but I call them rooms of death like Ace Venture because I am not a fan]. Despite this, you gotta check it out [they are event friendly as well].
SIP & Malibu Cafe
Vineyards in Malibu?!? Who knew?? I didn’t and I totally thought I was in the know on where all the wineries are in So Cal teehee. Come to find out, here is why I didn’t…you can grow grapes in Los Angeles county BUT you cannot bottle [aka the making of wine] in the county.
Soooo, you will see beautiful vineyards in the canyons but each one transports their grapes [prior to crushing or bottling] to Ventura County (or further north) hence why all of the wine labels note cities other than Malibu. Crazy right? It’s like a very old law just never got changed and I’m not certain who is benefitting from it.
Regardless, there are some awesome places, throughout Malibu Canyon, where you can sip on these ‘local’ wines. SIP was a super cute place to do exactly that [they even have some craft beer and snack options with a small market next door].
Another must-stop spot is Malibu Cafe – County Kitchen + Bar [not to be confused with the Malibu Farm Cafe that is on the pier]. This awesome property hidden in the canyon has a sit down restaurant, lake, outdoor games, BBQ, picnic-friendly food stand, a couple more bars for a super fun day with yummy food + drinks!
Cornell Old Place & Winery
The adorably rustic tasting room and shop at Cornell Winery was a fun surprise to stumble upon. Friendly service, large wine selection, live music, and a shop full of cute things that are very dangerous after wine tasting [for me at least, tipsy Amy likes to buy cute things].
It was an extra bonus to find a little restaurant called the Old Place. Much like the winery, you feel like you stepped back in time but with much yummier food, I presume. The wood burning grill pumps delicious flavors through the air as you walk sideways down the narrow walk way…trust me you want to eat here [please note they are closed Mon-Wed].
And as if the Cornell property couldn’t get any cuter, they have peacocks – wandering around, making noise and flashing those colorful feathers of theirs! *swoon*