Adventures in Malibu – My First California Beach Day

So I’ve now lived in Los Angeles since May 2013, and this past weekend I had my first west coast beach day! I know, I know – “Three years and you’ve never been to the beach??” I should clarify. I technically have been to the beach in California…sorta.

The first time was mine and my boyfriend Ryan’s either 2nd or 3rd date. He took me to Santa Monica, and we walked along the 3rd St. Promenade, down along a path complete with coastal view, and of course on the the Pier! We even got the wrist bands that let us enjoy the rides they had at the end of the pier. I’ve been back there a couple times, mostly to take people visiting from out of town, but never actually putting on a swimsuit and enjoying the sun.

The second trip I took to a California beach was up in beautiful Santa Barbara! My best friend from North Carolina was visiting her brothers family who was stationed fairly close by. So I drove up and met her for a lovely day, exploring the downtown area of Santa Barbara, and we even checked out the zoo there! It was a little small, but still very nice, clean, and an easy enjoyable day.

Since, my boyfriend and I were celebrating our 3 year anniversary at the end of August, we decided it was finally time I actually stepped into the Pacific Ocean! After much research about which of the many, many, MANY beaches there are within driving distance to LA, we settled on Zuma Beach up in Malibu, California.

zuma beach map

After reading reviews on Yelp which were mostly positive (you can never make everyone happy) it seemed like the perfect easy trip. We prepped by making sure we packed our supplies properly and had the basic necessities:

  • Sunscreen
  • Beach Blanket
  • Umbrella
  • Towels
  • Water Bottles
  • and of course, FOOD

I didn’t fancy the idea of having to splurge at a local restaurant, since money is a little tight for us right now, so we went the route of bringing crackers and sandwiches. Can’t go wrong, right? We didn’t need to buy too much to prep for this. I needed new plastic flip-flops, because the ones I had since freshman year of college finally died. What a surprise. So we made the obligatory Target run and I managed to find a cheap pair for $3, and I even treated myself to a cute simple sunhat. I’ve been wanting one for a long time, and since it’s nearing the end of summer, Target had a bunch of their summer stuff on sale. Here’s the hat I ended up getting:

tan sun hat

If you’re interested in getting it for yourself Click Here. There was also a black one that was on clearance, but it didn’t look as good on me. The link to that black one is here, but I would recommend checking out a store near you to see if you can find it on the sale rack instead. I wasn’t a big fan of the sparkly sequins sewn-in, but it was actually perfect, and gave me a perfect amount of shading! Personally, I think I looked adorable.


Finally, it was time to head up. The trip itself was a little less than an hour driving time. We ended up arriving a little before 10am to make sure we enjoyed the most out of the day we could. The website had said parking was anywhere from $3-$14 depending on the season. I was erring on the side of higher, it being the weekend before Labor Day weekend and all. Most Yelp reviews said it was about $9. When we got there it was a whopping $14, so we tried our luck at alternative parking. We were lucky and found street parking off of the Pacific Coast Hwy on Westward Beach Road, right near the Zuma Lagoon. It was a no parking zone between midnight and 5am, so we were golden! If we hadn’t managed to find that rockstar parking, we probably would have gotten back on the PCH. If you get there earlier enough in the day, it seems to be the most popular choice for parking.

Before we set up our spot, we scouted the area and were delighted to find not many people were there yet. A few surfers, a mom with some toddlers, and a few other couples and singles. Delighted, we walked down the beach. I pointed out to my boyfriend the Point Dume which is, “rocky promontory that juts out into the Pacific Ocean” at the far end of the beach. Apparently, its a very popular spot to climb and take in an amazing view of the ocean and surrounding area. It was a little bit of a walk down, so we decided to play it by ear.

We set up and enjoyed the day. It was pretty perfect actually. The weather cooperated: not a cloud in the sky, high of about 75 degrees F, and the occasional breeze. The beach itself, was lovely as well. Wide stretch of sand before the water, there was a bathroom facility with outdoor showers to use to rinse off after, and enough lifeguard towers that you could feel safe if you happened to have children with you.


Around midday, we dipped our legs in the water, but not for long, because it was FREEZING! People have always told me water was colder on the west coast than the east coast, and I believed them since I learned all about the current circulations in Earth Science class in High School, but it was shockingly cold. But we had some laughs, before retreating back to our spot and warming up again.

The only issue (not a big one) with the day, was the number of helicopters that would fly by. Seriously, there must have been at least 5 separate ones fly by within two hours. Like I said, not a big deal, as I only looked up from my book for a moment before returning to my story.

Overall, Zuma Beach was great! Pretty clean, wide sands, the waves seemed to be pretty good for surfing depending on the day, and there were even a couple food trucks parking along the access road. It’s a spot I’m keeping in mind the next time I have a friend or family member visit from out of town.

Thank-you so much for checking out my first blog post! At the bottom I’ve included a few links of interest. Keep an eye out for my next Attempt at Adventure coming soon 🙂


2 thoughts on “Adventures in Malibu – My First California Beach Day

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