Malibu, a breathtaking coastal city that needs no introduction, invites you to embark on a journey of exploration. With its stunning beaches, luxurious homes, and vibrant community, Malibu offers a captivating experience for locals and tourists alike. Discover the hidden gems and immerse yourself in the beauty of this idyllic destination. From the iconic Malibu Pier to the scenic hiking trails, this article will take you on an adventure through the wonders of Malibu. So grab your sunscreen, put on your explorer hat, and get ready to uncover the magic of this coastal paradise!
1. Overview of Malibu
Welcome to Malibu, a stunning coastal city located in Los Angeles County, California. Known for its picturesque beaches, breathtaking mountain views, and celebrity homes, Malibu offers a one-of-a-kind experience for residents and visitors alike. This article will provide you with a comprehensive overview of Malibu, including its history, geography and climate, population and demographics, top attractions, outdoor activities, dining and shopping options, famous residents and celebrity culture, cultural and art scene, natural beauty and wildlife, Malibu wine country, local events and festivals, as well as sustainable living and eco-tourism initiatives.
1.1 History of Malibu
Malibu has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by the Chumash Native Americans, who recognized the beauty and natural resources of the region. In the early 1800s, Spanish settlers arrived and established the Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit, a large land grant that covered a significant portion of present-day Malibu. Over the years, the land changed hands multiple times until it was eventually developed into the iconic city we know today. From being a ranching and farming community to becoming a popular beach destination, Malibu has evolved into a vibrant and unique city with a fascinating history.
1.2 Geography and Climate
Situated along a 21-mile stretch of coastline, Malibu boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, including its famous sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs. The Santa Monica Mountains form a natural barrier, providing a scenic backdrop for the city. The Mediterranean climate of Malibu is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. With an average of over 280 days of sunshine per year, Malibu is a paradise for those who love outdoor activities and beach life.
1.3 Population and Demographics
As of the latest census data, Malibu has a population of around 13,000 residents. Known for its affluent community, Malibu attracts celebrities, business executives, and individuals seeking a luxurious coastal lifestyle. The city’s population is diverse, with a mix of ethnicities and backgrounds contributing to its vibrant culture. Whether you’re a long-time local or a first-time visitor, you’ll find that the people of Malibu are friendly and welcoming, making it a delightful place to explore.
2. Top Attractions
Malibu offers a plethora of attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. From pristine beaches to cultural landmarks, here are some of the top attractions that you won’t want to miss during your visit:
2.1 Malibu State Beach
Malibu State Beach is a must-visit destination for beach enthusiasts. With its golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and iconic lifeguard towers, this beach offers the perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking. It also provides opportunities for surfing, snorkeling, and even camping, making it an ideal spot for a fun-filled day with family and friends.
2.2 Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum
For a glimpse into Malibu’s history and architecture, make sure to visit the Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum. Located near Surfrider Beach, this historic Spanish Colonial Revival-style home showcases the craftsmanship of the early 20th century. Explore the beautifully preserved rooms, admire the tilework, and learn about the influential Adamson family who played a significant role in Malibu’s development. The Malibu Lagoon Museum, housed in a charming cottage, provides a deeper understanding of the city’s natural and cultural heritage.
2.3 Getty Villa
Art and history enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Getty Villa, a stunning museum dedicated to the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Set amidst lush gardens and modeled after an ancient Roman country house, the Getty Villa houses an impressive collection of antiquities. Take a leisurely stroll through the galleries, marvel at the intricate sculptures and artwork, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of this cultural gem.
2.4 Point Dume State Beach and Preserve
Point Dume State Beach and Preserve offers breathtaking views of the coastline and is a popular spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, and whale watching. The towering cliffs and rocky shoreline provide a picturesque backdrop for nature lovers and photographers. Be sure to hike up to Point Dume Overlook for panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean and keep an eye out for dolphins and gray whales from December to April.
2.5 Malibu Pier and Surfrider Beach
A visit to the Malibu Pier and Surfrider Beach is a must for surfers and beachgoers. Watch the local surfers ride the waves, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the pier, or grab a bite to eat at the restaurants that line the beach. Surfrider Beach is famous for its consistent waves, making it a prime spot for surfers of all skill levels. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a beginner eager to take a lesson, this beach offers the perfect setting to catch some waves.
2.6 El Matador State Beach
If you’re looking for a more secluded and romantic beach experience, head to El Matador State Beach. Nestled below towering cliffs, this hidden gem boasts pristine sands, fascinating rock formations, and stunning sunsets. Take a leisurely walk along the beach, explore the hidden caves, and capture Instagram-worthy photos of this breathtaking coastal oasis.
2.7 Zuma Beach
For a quintessential Southern California beach experience, look no further than Zuma Beach. This expansive sandy beach offers ample space for sunbathing, volleyball, and beach games. With lifeguard towers, ample parking, and picnic areas, Zuma Beach is a favorite spot for families and groups. Prepare a picnic basket, grab your beach gear, and spend a day enjoying the sun, surf, and sand.
2.8 Malibu Creek State Park
Outdoor enthusiasts will find paradise at Malibu Creek State Park. This expansive park provides opportunities for hiking, camping, rock climbing, horseback riding, and even swimming in the iconic Rock Pool. The park’s diverse landscapes, including oak woodlands, rolling hills, and a meandering creek, offer a picturesque backdrop for adventure and exploration. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the park’s natural beauty.
2.9 Pepperdine University
Nestled in the hills of Malibu, Pepperdine University is a respected educational institution with a stunning campus that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Take a stroll around the grounds, admire the Spanish Mission architectural style, and soak in the collegiate atmosphere. The university’s Smothers Theatre hosts a variety of cultural events, including concerts, theater performances, and lectures.
2.10 The Malibu Country Mart
For a unique shopping and dining experience, head to The Malibu Country Mart. This upscale outdoor shopping center is home to a diverse mix of boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Browse through the trendy fashion and lifestyle stores, discover local artisan creations, and indulge in delectable cuisine. The Malibu Country Mart is a vibrant hub where residents and visitors can unwind and enjoy the relaxed Malibu lifestyle.
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3. Outdoor Activities
Malibu’s natural beauty and idyllic location make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer a leisurely stroll, Malibu offers a range of outdoor activities to suit every interest:
3.1 Surfing and Beach Activities
With its world-renowned surf breaks and miles of pristine coastline, Malibu is a surfer’s paradise. Surfrider Beach, Zuma Beach, and many other local spots attract surfers from around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, there are plenty of surf schools and rental shops to cater to your needs. If surfing isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy various beach activities such as swimming, beach volleyball, and building sandcastles.
3.2 Hiking and Trail Exploration
Malibu’s stunning natural landscapes provide countless opportunities for hiking and trail exploration. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a journey through the Santa Monica Mountains, where you’ll discover a network of trails that cater to all fitness levels. From the scenic Solstice Canyon Trail to the challenging Backbone Trail, there’s a trail for everyone. As you hike, keep an eye out for native wildlife, admire panoramic vistas, and reconnect with nature.
3.3 Horseback Riding
Explore Malibu’s scenic vistas on horseback and experience the natural beauty from a different perspective. Several equestrian centers in the area offer guided trail rides that take you through rolling hills, canyons, and along the coastline. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a first-time equestrian, horseback riding in Malibu is a unique and memorable experience.
3.4 Whale Watching
Malibu’s coastal location provides an excellent vantage point for whale watching. From December to April, thousands of gray whales migrate along the California coast, offering a spectacle that you won’t want to miss. Join a whale-watching excursion and enjoy the thrill of spotting these majestic creatures as they make their way along their migratory route. Dolphins, seals, and sea lions are also commonly seen during these tours.
3.5 Kayaking and Paddleboarding
For a closer look at Malibu’s coastline and marine life, try kayaking or paddleboarding. With calm waters and beautiful surroundings, kayaking and paddleboarding provide a peaceful and scenic experience. You can rent equipment from local outfitters and explore the sea caves, paddle along the shoreline, or venture out to the nearby kelp forests. Don’t forget your waterproof camera to capture the breathtaking views and encounters with marine life.
3.6 Fishing and Boating
Malibu’s ocean and nearby lakes offer ample opportunities for fishing and boating. Cast your line and try your luck at catching a variety of fish species, including halibut, mackerel, and bass. You can fish from the shore, rent a boat, or join a fishing charter for a guided experience. Boating enthusiasts can explore the coastline, island-hop to Catalina Island, or simply enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Pacific Ocean.
4. Dining and Shopping
Malibu is not only known for its natural beauty but also its diverse dining and shopping options. Whether you’re looking to indulge in world-class cuisine or shop for unique treasures, Malibu’s dining and shopping scene won’t disappoint:
4.1 Malibu Farms Restaurant and Cafe
Located at the iconic Malibu Pier, Malibu Farms Restaurant and Cafe offers farm-to-table dining with a focus on organic, locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy mouthwatering dishes, such as avocado toast, fresh salads, and sustainable seafood, all while taking in the breathtaking ocean views. The cafe, located at the end of the pier, offers grab-and-go options, including freshly squeezed juices and delicious pastries.
4.2 Nobu Malibu
For an upscale dining experience, head to Nobu Malibu, a world-renowned restaurant known for its innovative Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. With its prime location overlooking the ocean, Nobu Malibu provides a stunning backdrop for a memorable meal. Indulge in signature dishes like black cod miso, rock shrimp tempura, and specialty sushi rolls, all expertly crafted with the finest ingredients.
4.3 Geoffrey’s Malibu
Situated on a cliffside above the Pacific Ocean, Geoffrey’s Malibu offers panoramic views and a menu that highlights California cuisine with a Mediterranean influence. The restaurant’s elegant ambiance and top-notch service make it a popular choice for special occasions and romantic dinners. Enjoy fresh seafood, prime steaks, and an extensive wine list while savoring the breathtaking coastal vistas.
4.4 Malibu Country Mart
The Malibu Country Mart is not only a shopping destination but also a culinary hub. Browse through a curated selection of high-end boutiques, including fashion, jewelry, and home decor stores, as well as art galleries showcasing local artists. After a shopping spree, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants and cafes offering a variety of cuisines, from Italian to Mexican.
4.5 Malibu Lumber Yard
Founded on the principles of sustainability and community, the Malibu Lumber Yard is a unique shopping destination that combines luxury retail with eco-consciousness. Explore upscale boutiques, enjoy spa treatments, and discover specialty shops that offer eco-friendly products. From trendy fashion to organic skincare, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye at the Malibu Lumber Yard.
4.6 Vintage Grocers
For those looking for local and organic produce, specialty ingredients, and gourmet treats, Vintage Grocers is a must-visit. This charming grocery store emphasizes sustainability and supporting local producers. Browse through a wide selection of fresh produce, artisanal products, and grab-and-go meals. Whether you’re stocking up on ingredients for a picnic or looking for a unique gift, Vintage Grocers has you covered.
4.7 Malibu Village
Situated in the heart of Malibu, Malibu Village offers a mix of high-end fashion boutiques, beauty salons, and fitness studios. This outdoor shopping center provides a relaxed and enjoyable environment for strolling and shopping. Discover the latest fashion trends, indulge in beauty treatments, or pamper yourself at one of the wellness centers. Afterward, grab a cup of coffee or enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the casual dining options.
4.8 Malibu Wine Safaris
For wine enthusiasts, a visit to Malibu Wine Safaris is a must. Located in the picturesque vineyards of Saddlerock Ranch, this unique experience combines wine tasting with an up-close encounter with exotic animals. Hop on a safari-style vehicle and embark on a guided tour of the estate, where you’ll visit the vineyards, meet the resident giraffes and other animals, and enjoy wine tastings along the way. Raise a glass to an unforgettable experience in the heart of Malibu wine country.
4.9 Gourmet Food Trucks
If you’re craving a casual and eclectic dining experience, be sure to check out the gourmet food trucks that frequent Malibu. From Mexican street food to artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches, these mobile eateries serve up a variety of delicious dishes. Follow local social media accounts to stay updated on the latest food truck schedules and locations. Grab a meal to-go and find a scenic spot to enjoy your culinary delights.
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5. Famous Residents and Celebrity Culture
Malibu is renowned for its large population of celebrities and high-profile residents. From Hollywood actors to musicians, the city attracts an array of talent and is synonymous with celebrity culture. Here are some insights into Malibu’s famous residents and the celebrity culture that thrives:
5.1 Celebrity Homes and Neighborhoods
Malibu is home to some of the most lavish and extravagant celebrity residences in the world. From sprawling beachfront estates to secluded hillside mansions, the city’s neighborhoods are dotted with the homes of A-list celebrities. Take a drive along Pacific Coast Highway and keep your eyes peeled for the iconic houses that grace the coastline. Although these residences are private properties and not open to public visits, seeing them from afar gives you a glimpse into the luxury that defines Malibu living.
5.2 Malibu Celebrity Hotspots and Hangouts
As a popular destination for the rich and famous, Malibu is filled with celebrity hotspots and hangouts. From upscale restaurants to trendy boutiques, these establishments attract celebrities and offer a chance for visitors to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars. The Malibu Country Mart, Nobu Malibu, and Geoffrey’s Malibu are just a few spots where celebrities are known to dine and socialize. While respecting their privacy, you may be lucky enough to spot a familiar face during your time in Malibu.
5.3 Malibu Film and TV Productions
Malibu has provided a stunning backdrop for numerous film and TV productions throughout the years. From iconic classic films like “Beach Blanket Bingo” to modern TV series like “Baywatch” and “90210,” Malibu’s scenic beauty has captivated audiences worldwide. Productions often take advantage of the city’s beaches, cliffs, and picturesque streets to create breathtaking visuals and capture the essence of the Malibu lifestyle.
5.4 Local Haunts of Famous Residents
While many famous residents seek privacy, some celebrities have embraced their status as Malibu locals and enjoy partaking in the city’s offerings. You might spot them grabbing a coffee at a local cafe, shopping at the Malibu Country Mart, or attending community events. Keep your eyes open and embrace the possibility of a memorable encounter during your time in Malibu.
6. Cultural and Art Scene
Malibu’s vibrant cultural and art scene adds depth and character to the city. From theater productions to art exhibitions, here are some of the venues and organizations that contribute to Malibu’s cultural fabric:
6.1 Malibu Playhouse
Built in 1931, the Malibu Playhouse is a historical landmark that has been a cornerstone of the city’s cultural scene. This intimate theater showcases a variety of performances, including plays, musicals, and intimate concerts. Enjoy top-notch productions featuring talented local actors and visiting artists, and immerse yourself in the captivating world of live theater.
6.2 Malibu Art Association
The Malibu Art Association is a community of artists dedicated to promoting and supporting the visual arts in Malibu. The association hosts regular exhibits, art shows, and workshops that showcase the diverse artistic talent in the area. Visit their gallery to admire a wide range of artistic styles and mediums, or attend one of their events to connect with local artists and learn more about their creative processes.
6.3 Malibu Film Society
Film buffs will appreciate the offerings of the Malibu Film Society. This organization screens independent and foreign films, hosts discussions with filmmakers, and hosts special events that celebrate the art of cinema. Whether you’re a cinephile or simply interested in exploring thought-provoking films, the Malibu Film Society provides unique opportunities to engage with the world of cinema.
6.4 Malibu Historical Society
For those interested in delving into Malibu’s past, the Malibu Historical Society offers a wealth of information and resources. The society preserves and shares the city’s history through exhibits, educational programs, and events. Learn about the fascinating stories and milestones that have shaped Malibu into the community it is today, and gain insight into the city’s cultural heritage.
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7. Natural Beauty and Wildlife
Malibu’s natural beauty and diverse ecosystems make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers alike. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes and discover the city’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage:
7.1 Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Malibu Lagoon State Beach is not only a popular beach destination but also a nature reserve that provides vital habitat for a variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. Birdwatchers will be enchanted by the numerous species that call the lagoon home, including great blue herons, snowy egrets, and ospreys. Take a leisurely stroll along the trails, learn about the area’s ecology, and appreciate the delicate balance between nature and urban development.
7.2 Solstice Canyon
Solstice Canyon offers a tranquil escape into nature just a short distance from the bustling city. This picturesque canyon is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, making it a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Follow the trails that wind through oak woodlands, alongside gentle streams, and past striking waterfalls. Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as deer, coyotes, and a variety of bird species. Don’t forget to visit the historic ruins of the Keller House and the tropical Tranquility Garden.
7.3 Escondido Falls
Escondido Falls is a hidden gem that showcases the beauty of cascading waterfalls nestled within a lush canyon setting. The trail to the falls takes you through a peaceful landscape of towering trees, babbling streams, and vibrant wildflowers. Although the trail can be challenging at times, the reward of reaching the majestic falls is well worth the effort. Take a refreshing dip in the pool at the base of the falls, or simply admire the natural beauty of this enchanting spot.
7.4 Santa Monica Mountains
The Santa Monica Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to Malibu and offer countless opportunities for exploration and outdoor activities. From hiking to mountain biking, horseback riding to rock climbing, the mountains cater to all adventure-seekers. With numerous trails, scenic viewpoints, and diverse ecosystems, you can immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region. Be sure to visit the Backbone Trail, a 67-mile trail that winds through the mountains and offers panoramic vistas of the coastline.
7.5 Wildlife and Conservation Efforts
Malibu’s commitment to protecting its natural beauty is evident in the numerous conservation efforts and wildlife protection initiatives in place. From protecting native habitats to conserving endangered species, the city takes pride in preserving its biodiversity for future generations to enjoy. Participate in local clean-up events, support conservation organizations, and practice responsible and sustainable tourism to contribute to the city’s efforts in maintaining its natural beauty.
8. Malibu Wine Country
Malibu’s climate and fertile soil make it an ideal region for wine production. Explore the city’s flourishing wine industry and indulge in the following experiences:
8.1 Wine Tasting at Malibu Wineries
Embark on a wine tasting journey at the numerous wineries that dot Malibu’s hillsides. Enjoy samplings of exceptional wines, ranging from rich reds to crisp whites, while learning about the region’s unique microclimate and viticultural practices. Many wineries offer stunning views of the surrounding vineyards and coastline, providing the perfect ambiance to savor the flavors of Malibu wine country.
8.2 Wine Tours and Events
To enhance your wine country experience, consider joining a guided wine tour or attending a wine-themed event. These curated experiences provide a deeper understanding of the winemaking process, allow you to meet passionate vintners, and provide opportunities to sample limited-production wines. From educational tours to harvest festivals, there’s always a wine-focused event happening in Malibu.
8.3 Wine Clubs and Vineyard Experiences
For wine enthusiasts looking to indulge in Malibu’s wine culture on a regular basis, consider joining a wine club or booking a vineyard experience. Wine clubs provide access to exclusive wines from local producers, invitations to member-only events, and the convenience of home delivery. Vineyard experiences offer the opportunity to wander through vineyards, learn about winemaking firsthand, and even participate in harvest activities. Immerse yourself in the world of Malibu wines and develop a deep appreciation for the craftsmanship behind every bottle.
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9. Malibu’s Local Events and Festivals
Throughout the year, Malibu hosts a variety of events and festivals that showcase the city’s vibrant community spirit and celebrate its unique culture. Whether you’re interested in chili cook-offs, art festivals, or film screenings, here are some of the local events that you can look forward to:
9.1 Malibu Chili Cook-Off and Carnival
The Malibu Chili Cook-Off and Carnival is a highly anticipated event that takes place annually over Labor Day weekend. This festive celebration brings together locals and visitors for a weekend of delicious chili tastings, thrilling rides, live music, and family-friendly attractions. Sample a variety of chili recipes, try your luck at winning carnival games, and enjoy the lively atmosphere that permeates the event.
9.2 Malibu Arts Festival
For art enthusiasts, the Malibu Arts Festival is a dream come true. This two-day event showcases the work of over 200 renowned artists, working in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, and ceramics. Explore the booths, meet the artists, and take home a unique piece of artwork that embodies the creativity and talent within the Malibu arts community.
9.3 Malibu International Film Festival
Cinema lovers won’t want to miss the Malibu International Film Festival. This annual event showcases a diverse selection of independent films, documentaries, and shorts from around the world. Attend screenings, participate in Q&A sessions with filmmakers, and celebrate the art of storytelling. Enjoy thought-provoking films that showcase a range of perspectives and capture the essence of the human experience.
9.4 Malibu Summer Concert Series
During the summer months, the Malibu Summer Concert Series offers free outdoor concerts that showcase a variety of musical genres. Set against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, these concerts provide a magical atmosphere for music lovers to enjoy live performances by talented local and national artists. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and let the music sweep you away as you dance under the stars.
10. Sustainable Living and Eco-tourism
Malibu’s strong commitment to sustainable living and preserving its natural environment is evident in the city’s various eco-friendly initiatives. Embrace the following opportunities to engage in sustainable practices and support conservation efforts:
10.1 Carbon Beach
Carbon Beach, also known as “Billionaire’s Beach,” showcases Malibu’s dedication to sustainable design and coastal preservation. Many of the homes along this stretch of coastline have implemented green building practices and utilized energy-efficient technologies. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach, appreciate the stunning architectural designs, and learn about sustainable building practices that minimize the environmental impact.
10.2 Sustainable Architecture
Malibu boasts numerous sustainable architecture projects that integrate seamlessly with the surrounding environment. From eco-friendly homes to LEED-certified buildings, these structures showcase innovative designs that prioritize energy efficiency, water conservation, and harmony with the natural landscape. Take a self-guided architecture tour or join a group tour to learn about the sustainable design principles behind these remarkable structures.
10.3 Farmer’s Markets
Support local farmers and embrace sustainable living practices by visiting one of Malibu’s farmer’s markets. These markets provide a platform for local farmers and artisans to showcase their organic produce, homemade goods, and sustainable products. Sample fresh fruits and vegetables, browse through handmade crafts, and learn about the importance of supporting local agriculture.
10.4 Eco-friendly Hotels and Resorts
When planning your stay in Malibu, consider choosing an eco-friendly hotel or resort that prioritizes sustainability and environmental stewardship. These establishments take measures to minimize their carbon footprint, conserve water and energy, and support local communities. By opting for eco-friendly accommodations, you contribute to the city’s sustainable tourism initiatives and minimize your impact on the environment.
10.5 Conservation Organizations and Volunteer Opportunities
Engage with Malibu’s conservation efforts by supporting local organizations dedicated to protecting its natural beauty. Join volunteer programs that focus on beach cleanup, trail maintenance, and wildlife preservation. These initiatives provide a hands-on experience and allow you to make a positive impact on the environment while exploring all that Malibu has to offer.
Malibu is a coastal paradise that captivates visitors with its natural beauty, vibrant culture, and unique amenities. Whether you’re seeking a relaxation by the beach, outdoor adventures, exquisite dining, celebrity sightings, or a deeper connection with nature, Malibu has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the city’s history, indulge in its dining and shopping scene, appreciate its cultural offerings, explore its natural wonders, and embrace sustainable living. From breathtaking sunsets to encounters with local wildlife, Malibu invites you to create lasting memories in one of California’s most beloved coastal destinations.
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