Beachside Fun with the Kids in Malibu

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Celebrated the world over, Malibu is in its prime during the summer months. With so much to see and do in this sun-drenched area, we’ve created a well-curated list of the best beaches for families, with insider tips on how to navigate the waters of local hot spots with kids in tow.

Go: Now! Take advantage of the perfect temperatures and your free time before busy fall school schedules take over.

Approximate travel time: 30 minutes from the Westside, Santa Monica, and the Valley.

Zuma Beach and Point Dume State Beach:
30000 Pacific Coast Highway
From Santa Monica, follow Pacific Coast Highway 18-miles west to Point Dume Road and turn left. From the Valley, take the 101-Freeway north, exit at Kanan Road, and follow it south 12-miles to PCH, then turn right. Turn left at Point Dume Road.

What to See and Do: From Point Dume Road, you have two options: Zuma Beach is to the right, and Point Dume is to your left. Both are $10 to park. Zuma is expansive and open, with miles of pristine beach to play on. Point Dume is smaller and more tucked away along the bluffs.

Insider Tip: In between Zuma and Point Dume is a little slice of beach called Zuma Westward. If you arrive early enough, you can secure a free parking spot right on the little road that kisses the sand, which makes it easy for families toting all of the usual beach gear. It is also less crowded than Zuma Beach, and therefore quieter.

Paradise Cove:
28128 West Pacific Coast Highway
This idyllic cove lives up to its name. Sheltered among towering cliffs, it is a little nook in the coastline that boasts a casual beachside restaurant, pier, beach amenities, and blissfully clean bathrooms that make it perfect for families. Find your own spot on the sand or rent lounge chairs, beds, or private cabanas for $25 – $450. Prices are cheaper Monday through Thursday.

Insider Tip: Parking is a whopping $25, but if you spend $20 at the restaurant and get validation, you only pay $3.

Bonus: Beer, wine, and champagne are legal on this beach – so enjoy a sip at sundown.

Where to Eat & Shop:
Malibu Country Mart:
3835 Cross Creek Road
Touted as the “unofficial town square” of Malibu, head to this hotspot when tummies are grumbling or you’re ready to leave the sand and surf behind. Upscale shops and eateries surround a petit park-like common area that has a great little playground for the munchkins. We recommend eating at John’s Garden, where you can get fresh sandwiches and salads to take away for a picnic at the beach or to eat alfresco while the kids play. Toy Crazy is a fantastic toy store, bursting at the seams with treasures that you wont find elsewhere, and 98% Angel is a fabulous children’s clothing boutique that is known for its enchanting and eclectic style.

Malibu is such a family-friendly (not to mention, sunny!) spot. What beaches are your family’s favorite and where do you and your little ones like to grab a bite? Please let us know in the comment section below!

– Kameron DeWulf

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