If you’re looking for a new surf spot, a hike with views of LA, time at an art museum or a delicious meal by the ocean, head to Malibu for the day. Located just past Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades on the Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu offers a beachy escape from the busyness of Los Angeles. Plan to leave campus early to give your group more time by the coast and to avoid the daunting morning traffic.
If you want to begin your day with some exercise, drive through the winding roads of the Santa Monica Mountains to find the Mishe Mokwa Trail. The trailhead is well labeled and offers a parking lot and restrooms. You can choose between a four or six mile hike, both leading to Sandstone Peak. Considered one of the most beautiful hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Mishe Mokwa Trail offers views of the ocean and of the LA Valley. Be aware that you might lose cell phone service in this area (you can post your Instagram photos later).
Don’t feel like a hike? Head to one of Malibu’s many beaches. Zuma Beach is one of the most popular spots with good waves and volleyball courts. It’s also one of the busier beaches on sunny days. Other options include the quieter and more isolated Point Dume State Beach, known for its many dolphin sightings. Further down the PCH you’ll find El Matador State Beach, a great place to watch the sunset or explore the tide pools.
Want to catch some waves? Rent a board from the Malibu Surf Shack by the pier, or sign up for a group lesson at Zuma Surf & Swim Training.
Go to the Getty Villa to take in some ancient art and architecture, including sculptures, paintings, photographs and manuscripts. Although admission is free, the museum requires an advanced timed-entry ticket. Note that parking is $15 and that the museum is closed on Tuesday.
Once you are inside the museum, you can choose to attend an architecture tour, a garden tour, a culinary garden tour, an exhibition tour or a spotlight talk, focusing on one of the Museum’s major works. You can also explore the museum on your own by entering the TimeScape Room, featuring interactive exhibits that illustrate the arts of the ancient Mediterranean or picking up a GettyGuide.
If you’re looking for brunch or lunch, be sure to check out Malibu Farm at the end of the Malibu Pier. The café style restaurant features rustic décor and outdoor seating options that overlook the ocean. Try the quinoa oatmeal or the fried egg sandwich for breakfast and pair it with one of the many fresh squeezed juices. For lunch, order the burger or the grilled cheese panini. If you’re looking for something lighter, the kale salad and the burrata and fruit salad are both great options.
Malibu also has some great dinner choices, depending on what you want to eat. For pub style fare and incredible mac n’ cheese, go to Ollie’s Duck & Dive. If you crave seafood and ocean views, head to Gladstone’s or Duke’s. Finally, if you’re looking for a California style restaurant that will satisfy the vegetarians in your group, try Plate for dinner and enjoy the emphasis on eating local.