Credit: Brecht Vant Hof

A Local’s Guide to Spending a Summer Day in Malibu

From Sunrise to Sunset in Southern California’s Most Magical Beach Town

Malibu might be synonymous with multimillion-dollar homes and celebrity sightings, but spanning “27 miles of scenic beauty” and home to one of the world’s “original perfect waves,” it has been a mecca for surfers since the 1950s. Just 25 minutes north of Los Angeles (the drive up Hwy 1 is just as iconic as The ‘Bu itself) leads to pretty hiking trails, boutique hotels, plus its unofficial heart—the historic Malibu Pier. Pack your beach bag and spend a sunny 24 hours in Malibu with us! Malibu Summer Itinerary


8 a.m. | Hike Into the Hills at Solstice Canyon 

Credit: Connar L’Ecuyer

This moderately challenging 3-mile, out-and-back trail winds its way into the hills through chaparral, coastal sage scrub and (depending on the season) lots of pretty wildflowers. A flowing creek following a primarily shaded path leads to a small waterfall at the trail’s end, which is where you’ll also find the ruins of former homestead Roberts Ranch House, otherwise known as the Tropical Terrace. Dogs are welcome, but make sure they’re leashed because the trail is close to Dan Blocker Beach, which gets busy on weekends.

Malibu Summer Itinerary 

11 a.m. | Grab Coffee and Brunch at Malibu Farm Pier Cafe

Credit: Adam Reeder

Helene Henderson’s pop-up for organic farm fare became a permanent fixture on the Malibu Pier back in 2013 (alongside its Scandi-chic sister concept, Malibu Farm Restaurant) and has been a major draw for tourists and locals ever since. Post-hike, pair your specialty coffee or glass of freshly squeezed juice and something delicious from the menu with a fresh sea breeze. The mini Swedish pancakes and Surfers Rancheros come highly recommended, as do the Pacific Ocean views, which are some of the best in Malibu. 



1 p.m. | Hang Ten (or Soak Up the Sun) at Surfrider Beach

Credit: Bertrand Bouchez / Unsplash

One of the world’s most iconic surf spots (and some say the birthplace of modern surf culture), right-hand break “Surfrider” is tucked between the Malibu Pier and the Lagoon. Its waves are often perfect for longboarding but are regularly packed with more experienced surfers. Swimming areas are limited, so if hanging ten isn’t what you’re looking to do, pop up an umbrella, sit back and watch the locals do their thing instead.

Malibu Summer Itinerary 

3:30 p.m. | Check in at the Surfrider Hotel (and Get Cocktails on the Rooftop)

Credit: Trevor Tondro, Stylist: Lawren Howell

For a low-key and design-forward stay, look no further than this 1950s motel-turned-boutique hotel, where there isn’t a bad view in the house. The second floor Surfrider Suite enjoys panoramic views, while the Malibu Suite packs major private beach house vibes. Freshen up with fully-stocked Grown Alchemist apothecary products provided in your bathroom, then head to the guests-only rooftop bar and restaurant for a coastal-inspired cocktail. Pro tip: channel Surfrider Hotel sounds after checkout, thanks to their public Spotify playlists.



5:30 p.m. | Retail Therapy Time at the Malibu Country Mart

Credit: Malibu Country Mart

This glossy yet low-key outdoor shopping center is a celebrity hotspot (think Cindy Crawford doing a coffee run with Rande to Keanu Reeves stopping by on his motorbike–because Malibu!), so you never know who you might bump into here. It’s also filled with 25 lovely stores, from homegrown boutiques like Sunroom (with one-of-a-kind finds from emerging designers) and Bleusalt (sustainable styles) to outposts for coveted Cali brands like Outerknown. For crystals and dreamcatchers, head to the metaphysical bookstore, Malibu Shaman.

Malibu Summer Itinerary

7 p.m. | Pop Over for Dinner at Taverna Tony

Photography Provided By: Malibu Country Mart

Whether you’re in The ‘Bu with your special someone or just the crew, legendary local hangout Taverna Tony is a chill spot for authentic Greek food, although it can get lively when the belly dancers perform their shows on the weekend. Make a beeline for the newly refreshed patio and feast on must-try menu picks like the saganaki flaming cheese, lamb souvlaki and classic moussaka paired with a bottle of Greek wine. To finish? Some baklava, of course, to top off a memorable day before you retreat back to the Surfrider Hotel for the evening. 

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Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle. Her work has been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Marie Claire, Matador Network and InsideHook, among other outlets and publications.




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