Despite the fact that it is cold and rainy in Chicago – in Los Angeles, it’s a bright and sunny day. The wind tickles my face as I drive down PCH into Pacific Palisades and continue onto Malibu, famous for being the home to many movie stars and others of the rich and famous class. Signs around proclaim 27 miles of scenic beauty and it very much is.
While you can take a bus tour of Malibu, the celebrity homes are usually secluded (unlike in Beverly Hills) but you might see some stars at the Malibu Civic Center.
Pacific Coast Highway or PCH as its affectionately called, or State Route 1, stretches down the coast from Dana Point in Orange County up through San Francisco. Officially designated as a scenic highway, probably one it’s most well known sections of road occurs in the glamorous city of Malibu. Great for cyclists, who enjoy the vistas, it’s also dangerous, as well, since cars will often speed along without noticing.
There are several ways to get to this sun-drenched city by the ocean. You can meet it by taking the 10 free way west and merging into PCH in Santa Monica or you can take the canyons. I chose the latter, taking the 101 freeway west and going over the magnificent Topanga Canyon Road, which dips and curves through the mountains. It is at Topanga Canyon that Malibu officially exists and when the road ends at PCH, you’re just north of Gladstones 4 Fish, a great place to eat while you’re watching the seagulls and the waves. On a clear day, you can see Santa Catalina Island (another great place to visit.)
West of Malibu Lagoon State Beach and east of Malibu Bluffs Park, you’ll pass Malibu Colony, one of the first areas inhabited after Malibu was opened to the public in 1929 and one of Malibu’s most famous districts. Of course, there’s famed Malibu Inn and many other fine restaurants.
Another choice for coming into Malibu might be to continue on the 101 freeway to Las Virgines Road, which becomes Malibu Canyon Road. If you take this scenic drive, you might want to stop by the Malibu Canyon State Park, a popular place for campers and you’ll come out on PCH near the expansive Pepperdine University, a privately owned Christian college. You would go south to get to Malibu Colony.
Originally owned by the Chumash Indians, who named it Humaliwo meaning “the surf sounds loudly,” it has been, since the settling of California, a haven for surfers and sun seekers. Because of the mountainous areas surrounding Malibu, most residents lives within a few hundred yards of PCH, while some claim their privacy living up the narrow, still unincorporated areas, of the canyons.
Besides stars, Malibu is famous for their beaches. My favorites are Zuma Beach, Leo Carillo State Beach and Park and Point Dume Beach. Point Dume is a perfect place to watch for California gray whales during the December to mid April migration period. The long waves of Surfrider Beach, adjacent to the Adamson’s House, a small historical museum, which used to be the home of the owners of the 19th century Malibu and Malibu Lagoon, draw a steady beach and surfer crowd. Note that alcohol is strictly forbidden on the beaches and they will cite you.
Because of its relative seclusion, Pirate’s Cove was previously used as a nude beach, but since nudity is now illegal on all beaches in Los Angeles. Many of the largest beaches are easily accessible, but you will have to pay for parking as parking along PCH is limited. Getting to the smaller beaches are harder and some are privately owned.
Numerous parks abound like the Malibu Creek State Park and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area which offer hiking trails and horseback riding.
There are several great little shopping centers in the Malibu Civic Center area including the Malibu Country Mart. If you’re a coffee aficionado, one of the best places for coffee is Cafecito Orgango at the Point Dune Plaza.
On Saturday, July 13, 2013, from 11-4 pm enjoy Rockin Truck Grub at Malibu Bluffs Park (24250 PCH.) Free to the public, there will be live music, children’s activities, and food trucks and on July 19, you’ll enjoy the Wild & Scenic Film Festival with special events and workshops. Also if you’re in town on August 24, you might want to visit Malibu Bluffs Park where at 4 pm they’ll celebrate Malipalooza with live bands, games, food, children’s play zone and the movie “Back To the Future.” Be sure you bring blankets and/or chair.
Other events include the Malibu Film Festival, The Malibu Chili Cookoff held every Labor Day, The Polar Plunge held each year at Zuma Beach to raise money for the special Olympics and the Malibu International Marathon held every November
For more information about this and other events in Malibu, call 310. 317. 1364 or go to www.malibucity.org