by Andrea Rocca-Capano
Summer 2020: Malibu during a pandemic
Stretching across 21 miles of mountainous terrains and breath-taking beaches, Malibu is the perfect summer destination.
But this summer is unlike anything we experienced before and there are still numerous restrictions in place to help keep locals and visitors safe and healthy. Restaurants, parks, beaches and Malibu businesses are taking the proper precautions to mitigate the spread of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Public locations like Malibu Creek, State Park are implementing strict guidelines and restricting access to several areas. While restaurants like Neptune’s Net are open for business, several dining establishments are only offering drive-through and pick-up services. All remaining restaurants and businesses are operating with limited seating and strictly enforcing social distancing. Face masks are also required to enter.
Still, after months of self-isolation, it is still important to live in the moment. That means soaking up the sun’s rays in sunny Malibu, exploring the local businesses, and taking everything this friendly city has to offer!
Whether you’re spending a night at the iconic Surfrider Hotel or taking in the ocean views from your beachfront Airbnb, be sure to experience the city the local’s way! Here are 8 must-visit destinations that capture the true essence of this charming beach town.
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise. Zuma beach is 1.8 miles of pristine white sand and dazzling ocean views to match. It’s no surprise that this is the most popular beach in Southern California and offers an extensive list of amenities such as restaurants, shops, and volleyball nets that attract tourists and locals alike!
Take in Malibu’s rich history from the iconic Malibu Pier. Whether you’ve previously visited Malibu or you’re a first-timer, you’ll be sure to recognize this historic landmark from some of your favorite shows and films. Enter the 90s cult favorite Baywatch: Panic at Malibu Pier. Located by Surfrider Beach, this famous landmark attracts surfers from all over the world.
Tuna Canyon Park
Malibu’s beauty doesn’t stop at beaches. This beach city also offers some great hiking trails. Take the Tuna Canyon Park, for example. Sitting just 1,500 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Tuna Canyon trails provide some of the most exceptional ocean views in all of Malibu. Tuna Canyon Park is barely marked, making the 1,255-acre park widely under-visited! Devoid of traitorous rocks and pathways, this trail is excellent for even the most inexperienced hiker. This dog-friendly trail is located between Malibu and Topanga and offers plenty of shaded spots that are great for picnicking with the whole family.
Malibu Creek State Park
Are you a lover of the trails? If so, you’ll love visiting Malibu Creek State Park. Located just 25 miles from downtown LA, Malibu Creek is your one-stop-shop for mountain biking, rock-climbing, fishing, and hiking. This beautiful state park also provides scenic pools and unmatched views of Malibu Canyon.
This park gets its name from the 14-mile creek that runs from the mountains of Santa Monica and ends at the beautiful Malibu Lagoon. Upon visiting the state park, some sections may look oddly familiar. No, it’s not Deja Vu, you may have seen Malibu Creek State Park used as the backdrop for several movies and television series. Its famous roping-wall can be seen in the original Planet of the Apes film as well as the 1972 sitcom M*A*S*H!
Experience Malibu Indoors
Glamifornia Style Lounge
Welcome to what locals affectionately call the GSL, located in the historic building that once served as Malibu’s first Courthouse. Built in 1932, this landmark once included a Sheriff’s office (holding cell and all) and once jailed the notorious American gangster, Bugsy Siegel. Some even speculate that the Manson family may have spent some time here.
Today, the only way to see the inside of the holding cell is by appointment. In true Malibu fashion, Glamifornia Style Lounge offers an elevated salon experience that will make you feel like a celebrity. After all, no visit to Malibu is complete without a blowout and a Mani-Pedi to sport on the beach or to a night on the town.
When it comes to dining, always trust the locals!
Lilly’s Malibu is the local’s best-kept secret. For locals, no beach day is complete without an order from Lilly’s. This is where you’ll find some of Malibu’s best burritos. At Lilly’s, every dish is packed with the bold Spanish flavors you expect from a Latin Restaurant. What makes this food joint the talk of the town? It’s simple, fantastic food at an even better price point. Next time you’re visiting Zuma beach, take a closer look. We guarantee you’ll find a few Malibu natives sinking their teeth into one of Lilly’s delicious burritos.
Pro Tip: Get the specialty sauce. Trust us.
This catchily named restaurant has been feeding Malibu for over half a century. Neptune’s Net was created by none other than NASA aerodynamicist, Eastman Jacobs (hence the restaurant’s name). The restaurant has not one but two kitchens, so you’ll be sure to find something you love! Looking for a quick bite? The “Restaurant Side” offers an endless array of fried dishes and cold beverages. Of course, seafood is a staple in this colorful beach town, so the “Seafood Side” provides both fresh and live seafood and, of course, draft beer.
Conveniently located next to Glamifornia Style Lounge, The Cliffdiver brings the Malibu beach vibes directly to you. Located on PHC, this laid back Mexican joint is the perfect pre and post-beach, hangout spot. The Cliffdiver offers delicious margarita pitchers and some of the best lobster tacos you’ve ever tasted! At Cliffdiver, the drinks are strong and the atmosphere is better with a spacious patio and great games to pass the time until your meal arrives.
End your Malibu vacation with a visit to the great Malibu Seafood! This restaurant and seafood market is dedicated to bringing you fresh and high-quality seafood from around the globe. Opened since 1972, Malibu Seafood offers fresh fillets and shellfish, as well as their famous hand-battered Alaskan Cod and tartar sauce. At Malibu Seafood, the food is excellent, and so are the views. Enjoy your favorite fresh fish with direct views of the ocean! How’s that for a Malibu experience?