Things to Do in Malibu: Sustainable Travel Guide

Image 7 – Malibu pier at sunset – Eco-travel guide to Malibu

Malibu is a legendary stretch of beach along which Hollywood Stars, elite athletes, and wealthy entrepreneurs all make their homes, but there is plenty to attract the discerning tourist as well! This is true whether you are a conventional tourist or if you, like many others, are joining the growing movement calling for sustainable travel. This article will help you find awesome things to do in Malibu in a sustainable way.

It’s no secret that our planet is in jeopardy and everyone needs to come together to take steps to heal and preserve it.

Travel, relying as heavily as it does on the use of fossil fuels to ferry people across the globe, has a long way to go to achieve truly green status, but there are things every eco-conscious traveler can do to make their trip more sustainable

Sustainable travel rests upon three pillars: the environmental, the social, and the economic.

Environmentally, we want to reduce our carbon footprint, do no harm to native species, and conserve and clean the water supply.

Socially, we want to make sure we’re supporting local cultures and businesses, engaging with community tourism projects, and being aware of the work of local charities.

Economically, we want to direct our money towards supporting the local economy.

Getting There: Sustainably

Malibu is located in sunny Southern California, just West of Los Angeles. There are excellent transport links in the region and options for travel include air, bus, car, and more!

The options we list below will cover each option as well as include information on the sustainable choices you can make as an eco-conscious tourist.

Arriving by air: 

The closest airport is in Los Angeles, colloquially known as LAX. LAX is about 24 miles from Malibu. Other options include Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport (29 miles away or Long Beach Municipal Airport (40 miles away).

LAX is the recommended option, both in terms of flight choices and in terms of proximity (which helps reduce carbon footprint).

For sustainable travelers looking to offset the carbon impact of flying, the best options are to fly direct, book economy, pack as lightly as you can, and investigate if your airline offers a carbon offset option (be warned this last one can increase your financial outlay for the trip).

Arriving by bus: 

The simplest solution for arriving by bus is to take the Greyhound to Los Angeles.

Once you’ve arrived you have the option to take a taxi (more expensive and less environmentally friendly) or use the tram and local bus route 534 to get to Malibu. The tram and bus combination is recommended for eco-conscious travelers. 

Arriving by car: 

The best way to reach Malibu is via the Pacific Coast Highway. In addition to being the most efficient drive, it is also one of the most beautiful. 

To reduce your carbon footprint when traveling via car, consider renting an electric vehicle or traveling with multiple people all heading to the same holiday destination. The more people who travel in a single-vehicle the more efficient it is. 

Keeping Your Stay Sustainable

Once you’ve arrived there are a number of things you can do to make sure your stay is as sustainable as it is pleasant! We suggest you begin by searching for locally owned and operated hotels, motels, B&Bs, etc. From that shortlist you can check the green qualifications of each and decide where to stay.

We always recommend contacting the accommodation you are interested in to ask them directly about their green and sustainability policies. 

Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club is a local guest resort and spa with stunning beach access. A part of local history, the premises are built on family ranch land and are very much a part of the local community and economy. 

The Calamigos Guest Ranch is situated on 250 acres and boasts access to nearby wine country and a section of private beach available exclusively for guest use and an on-site spa. Each of the rooms and suites is decorated in a cozy, California ranch chic style. 

Best Things To Do In Malibu

Malibu is a stunning beachfront community with a wide variety of nightlife and natural beauty to enjoy. Here are some of our favorite sustainable attractions to enjoy on your holiday!

Remember, whoever you go be sure to clean up after yourself and be careful to leave no trace of your presence.

Point Dume State Beach and Preserve

Point Dume is the quintessential Malibu beach and is not to be missed by anyone visiting the area, whether they have a deep love of natural beauty or not! This stretch of coastline offers breathtaking views and all manner of opportunities for fun in the sun.

Whether you enjoy fishing, swimming, diving, surfing, sunbathing, hiking or exploring, there is something for you at Point Dume. It’s even possible to spot pods of whales migrating past the beach at certain times of the year. 

The stretch of sandy beach is as beautiful to look at as it is warm and inviting. Regular cliffs, headlands, and other overhangs provide opportunities for stunning photography and daring cliff diving. Some of these cliffs are home to caves, carved from the rock by the tides, and offer opportunities for exploration and photography. 

The main hiking trail is relatively short but takes you to a viewing platform that features sights of Santa Monica Bay, the Santa Monica Mountains, and, on a clear day, even Catalina Island. In addition from here, you can find several other hiking trails leading to lesser-known beaches whose isolation might be welcome to the weary tourist. 

To get to this Malibu gem use the address Cliffside Drive & Birdview Avenue, Malibu, California, 90265!

Leo Carrillo State Park

Leo Carrillo State Park is named for actor and conservationist Leo Carrillo and is home to a massive stretch of beach as well as backcountry campgrounds, hiking trails, coastal caves, and interpretive displays. And it’s dog friendly! 

Carrillo is perhaps best known for his role as Pancho in The Cisco Kid but it was his role serving on the California Beach and Parks Commission that might have had the biggest impact. Carrillo was a member and served for 18 years. 

The park named Carrillo features a mile and a half of beach for those interested in swimming, surfing, and exploring tide pools. Beachcombing and windsurfing are also popular activities along this stretch of ocean. But the beach is not the only attraction this park plays host to.

The rugged California coastlands nearby are prime locations for camping, hiking, and other outdoor pursuits. There are coastal caves to explore if you are careful, and while the area is popular, it is large enough that it rarely feels crowded or overrun with people.

When visiting, as when exploring any area of natural significance, we recommend you bring everything you need to carefully clean up after yourself and leave nature as pristine (or even more so) than you found it!

35000 Pacific Coast Highway is the address to use to find this stretch of natural paradise and grab some rays or enjoy a long walk along the beach.

The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa is a stunning example of architectural achievement, includes exquisitely maintained and manicured grounds, and is home to a museum featuring antiquities from around the world. Best of all, it’s free to visit (though you must book a slot in advance).

The Villa was the ambition of oil magnate J Paul Getty who ordered the building of the premises in the 1970s. The design was based on the famous Villa die Papiri ruins in Herculaneum. When it was first completed the Villa was home to Getty and a place to display his extensive collection of Mediterranean antiquities. 

Since 2006, however, the building has been refurbished and reopened as a dedicated museum, playing host to over 1200 items of artistic and historical significance. Most of these date between 6500 B.C. and 500 B.C. 

Home to the University of California’s Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation program, the Villa also boasts regular temporary exhibitions, seminar rooms, conservation laboratories, and research libraries.

Permanent exhibitions are built around subjects such as The Trojan War or Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Mediterranean. 

The Villa grounds house some beautiful examples of statuary in the Roman style within gardens filled with English Ivy and roses. 

To find this gem of art and culture take the Pacific Coast Highway and follow it to the address at 17985!

Malibu Pier

Malibu Pier was originally built back in 1905. At that time it was a working pier receiving shipments and loading out goods. Now, however, it’s a fantastic scene for a walk to enjoy the stunning coastal views and for dedicated anglers to fish off. 

Come to watch the sunrise or sunset or to watch the surfers catching some waves at the nearby Surfrider Beach. At 780 feet in length the pier allows you to get right out over the water, where you can feel the ocean breeze on your face and enjoy uninterrupted v Jews of the surrounding coastline.

If you’ve had a busy holiday so far and want some true moments of tranquillity, this might be just the place for you!

Use the address 23000 CA-1, Malibu, CA, 90265 to find this gem! 

Solstice Canyon

Solstice Canyon is home to areas of great natural beauty as well as sites of historical significance, making a trip here is a wonderfully efficient way to edify both body and mind. Flanked on either end by tall, cascading waterfalls, Solstice Canyon has a lot to offer.

For those tourists hoping for some physical activity, there are two hike options that are standard for this locale.

There is an easier two-mile hike that is sufficient to bring you to most areas of interest at a minimum of effort.

Then there is also a six-mile hike for those looking for a greater degree of physical activity. There are many other stunning trails in Malibu if you are a fan of hiking. 

If you are more interested in items of historical significance, however, Solstice Canyon has you covered as well. Among the hills of the canyon are the ruins of a stone house dating back to 1865. Built by a man called Matthew Keller, it is believed to be the oldest stone building in California still standing.

Unfortunately one of the wildfires that regularly sweep the region finally destroyed the house properly, in 2007. However, in spite of that, the remnants of the structure remain and are a sight not to be missed if you are visiting Solstice Canyon.

To get there, take Corral Canyon Road off the Pacific Coast Highway, and follow it inland. 

Malibu Farm Restaurant

Malibu Farm is a must for eco-conscious tourists. Existing in two locations (as Malibu Farm Restaurant and Malibu Farm Café), Malibu Farm is dedicated to the use of healthy ingredients, locally and mindfully sourced, in all of their delectable food offerings.

Malibu Farm Restaurant provides sit-in service and is known for mouth-watering offerings such as cauliflower pizza, grass-fed burgers, and delightful rainbow mimosas. Malibu Farm Café, on the other hand, offers counter service only, though their food is equally delightful.

Not only does eating here ensure that your food is prepared with quality, local ingredients in a sustainable manner, but spending your tourist dollars here helps a small business and the local economy. 

Grab some easy-to-eat delicacies like burritos or BLTs and enjoy a walk along Malibu Pier. What a delicious way to spend the day!   

23000 Pacific Coast Highway is the address to use if you want to find your way to either of these two delicious eateries! Perhaps combine them with a trip to enjoy the historic Malibu Pier.

El Matador State Beach

El Matador State Beach is one of the smaller stretches of beach along the Pacific Coast Highway, but one that offers some of the most breathtaking sites. The beach is replete with picturesque outcroppings of rock, natural caverns, and other stone formations, all of which make for wonderful sights and beautiful photographs. 

As a beach, El Matador is smaller and much more laid back. There are no lifeguards on duty and no permanent facilities for swimming. What it lacks in oceanic fun, however, it more than makes up for in the visual allure of the area.

Be sure to time your visit to take advantage of the truly stunning vistas created at sunrise and at sunset.

Not far from Leo Carrillo State Park, El Matador State Beach combines well as part of a day trip, or a small leg of a more extended holiday exploring the natural wonders that can be found near Malibu. 

The official address used to navigate to the beach is 32350 Pacific Coast Highway. 

Escondido Falls

Escondido Falls is the highest natural waterfall in the Santa Monica mountains. Truly a wonder of nature, these breathtaking falls feature a cascade of water tumbling from over one hundred and fifty feet in height. The trip to view this natural wonder requires some effort, but be assured it is worth it!

The first set of falls you will reach is called the Lower Escondido Falls, still stunning though it is only a third of the height of the Upper Escondido Falls. Climbing aids are provided to help you make the trek from the Lower to the Upper Falls.

The falls are reached via an extended hike along a private road beginning at Winding Way East. It’s nearly four miles, so be prepared with proper footwear and snacks (as well as a way to carry your waste with you so as not to despoil the natural beauty of the place). Expect to hop streams and climb rocks along your way!

Before setting out, however, be sure to check recent weather patterns. California is prone to drought and extreme dry spells can turn off the falls entirely!

Malibu Contemporary Art Gallery

Malibu Contemporary Art Gallery exclusively displays artwork from artists who live and work in Southern California. This makes it a great option to support the local community and local arts scene in addition to providing some unique sights not to be seen anywhere else! 

In addition, a portion of all proceeds generated from the sale of the artworks on display is donated to charities that support the local community and economy. 

The gallery is located at 3939 Cross Creek Road in Malibu. This is extremely convenient for those driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, as it is just off the thoroughfare, not far from the Malibu Lagoon. 

What Are You Waiting For? 

Malibu is a beautiful beachfront town with a plethora of options for the eco-conscious traveler. Hiking, surfing, culture, and fine dining are all available and there are many eco-friendly versions of each. The natural beauty of the area is not to be missed!

Enjoy some California sun, beautiful beaches, and wonderful weather!

This article was written by Lorena, a traveler and blogger. Lorena loves spending time outdoors, she is passionate about sustainability in general and eco-friendly ways to travel. She shares her favorite travel destinations on her blog