The Grand-daddy of all public beaches in Malibu, is by far, Zuma Beach. Some might argue that Surfrider is “ The ” Beach……if you want to surf, watch surfers, get a date with a surfer, or watch a surfer undress on PCH, then ok, You got me…..
However if you are a normal person hoping to park, have a restroom, and a concession stand while enjoying the sand and surf there is no contest.…. Its Zuma Beach.
Now I used to live above this beach and I can say without any bias that the sunsets here are better than any where else on earth. Seriously. Well the best in Malibu anyway. The sheer size of the parking lot alone makes it worthy of bragging rights. I mean, how can you enjoy a beach if you can’t get to it? I love surf rider, don’t get me wrong, but my god, the parking is a nightmare there….Don’t get me started.
So make the drive up the coast beyond Surf Rider beach and Paradise Cove and get ready for the show. I have friends who are actually blessed enough to live on the bluff above Zuma, unobstrauced views of the Pacific…and they refer to the daily sunset as “ The Show ”.They post their amazing sunsets photos on Facebook all the time.I hate them. Its miles and miles of uninterrupted glory. Besides having a team of Surf and Paddle boarding instructors here you can also whale watch here. Its amazing for whale watching and on “ bad ” days, dolphin watch. One day I was watching a baby whale while she watched me.For what seemed like hours… Sooooo cool. I personally feel the area just in front of The Sunset Restaurant is prime real estate for whale sightings and I am never disappointed. Besides a spattering of surfers, who have obviously lost their way from Surfrider Beach, bronzed beach babes in the sand, parents and kids playing whiffle ball and people walking dogs on the street, you WILL SEE WHALES( during their migration season of course) I mean I can help you with the location but I’m not God!
So, if you walk south down from The Sunset Restaurant at Westward Beach , you will come to the Point of Point Dume. Its a gorgeous view from the top of the point. I see many whales from there( again with the whales…) There is a natural reserve with many areas roped off to simply admire the flora and fauna which is really worth the small hike up the hill! Once you get there , there is a little hike around the point, through sand, flowers, railroad ties, you name it. Very fun easy hike and its a perfect compliment to the beach walk from Zuma, to Westward then on to the point.There is also a beach here that is very hard to get to ( Pirates Cove) which used to be a nude beach back in the 70’s. It’s freaky to sometimes find some time traveler who still think its there and you can see them searching, walking along in a speedo with their can of “ Tab”, zinc oxide and baby oil…
I mentioned dogs before so I’ll elaborate on that. There are no dogs officially allowed on any of our L A County beaches but here at Zuma you are in luck because there is a long walkway where they are allowed and there is also a street that runs along side the beach ( Westward Beach Rd.) and its a great dog walking area. You can enjoy the beach, sunsets, visit with locals and never even get sand between your toes. That’s cheating if you ask me.
I saved the best for last, the main reason you should come to Zuma Beach….The Water is CLEAN HERE! Being north of Point Dume and just outside the Santa Monica Bay, its clean, clean, clean! Now , God evened the scales here, kinda like he did with France….You know, he made France so amazingly beautiful to the point where everyone wanted to live there, so he had to invent the French People to keep them from wanting to. I know I butchered that analogy…So, back to The super clean water….to even the score the waves are huge. If you are nervous in the water, be careful.The waves are really big here but if you follow the patterns of the waves you can time your entrances and exits. It helps to always swim next to one of the 1000’s of lifeguard stations.(Really) Besides, there is always shade underneath them and on hot days , when the skin is melting off your feet, go on over and try and make polite conversation with a lifeguard and catch some shade.
If you come to Malibu and do not visit Zuma Beach you are getting cheated. In this world of $6.00 lattes, $5 dollar a gallon gasoline ( damn, I need newer references here) and 39.00 vodka..its refreshing to find something that is totally free. The beach is free. Always has been always will be. So , park on the street if you must, pack a picnic , and enjoy the sound of the waves, but leave the 39.00 vodka at home . Come see “ The Show”