41 mi / 66 km
Los Angeles Int. (LAX)
The Malibu Coast route traverses one of the coolest corners of shoreline in the United States. There will be salt in your hair and a minimal at your feet as you emerge from the dusty ridges of the Santa Monica Mountains and onto the sands that fringe the counties just north of LA. It's a land where the vibes are good, the waves are better, and there's money in the air – millionaire mansions and celebs make regular appearances.
There's a wild beginning to it all. Don the spurs and Stetson as you navigate the narrow canyons south out of Agoura Hills. Nope, you've not been dropped into a Clint Eastwood gunslinger. That's the Paramount Ranch on the side of the road – an semi-abandoned Wild West film set that's been used for major productions like Westworld and Open Range.
The road wiggles and winds for 20 minutes more through the Californian sierras before joining the renowned Pacific Coast Highway. Your first taste of the salty air will be on Malibu's own Carbon Beach. Nicknamed Billionaires Beach, it's the place to spy out the getaway homes of America's media moguls and whatnot. Hang on, is that Dave Chappelle in the water?
The iconic Malibu Pier juts out into the ocean to the west. Head there to taste farm foods at the pier café and watch the local fisherfolk bob their rods in the Pacific. One caveat: Surfers won't be able to linger much since the long, peeling right handers of Main Point, the surf break that put Malibu on the map back in the 60s is right next door.
During the Prohibition era in the 1920s, Malibu became a hub for illegal activities, particularly the smuggling and bootlegging of alcohol. Figures like Tony Cornero, known as the "King of Rumrunners," utilized the region's hidden coves and vast coastline to bring in contraband liquor from offshore suppliers.
The battles between rumrunners and law enforcement in the treacherous waters off Malibu were intense, making headlines across the country. The era of bootlegging eventually came to an end with the repeal of Prohibition, but the thrilling and controversial Rum Wars remain a captivating part of Malibu's history.
The finishing 12 miles of the drive skirts the base of the Santa Monica Mountains on the PCH. It's a way that'll have you sighing with awe at every bend and pull in. You'll stand atop Point Dume and survey the sweeping sands of Zuma Beach, one of the regular filming spots for a certain Baywatch.
Leaving memories of The Hoff in the tail mirror, you'll push on to the beautiful bluffs and dunes of Leo Carrillo Beach, a steady stream of to-die-for coast homes peppering the side of the highway as you go.
Allow the gentle ocean breeze to invigorate your senses, let the coastal landscapes leave you in awe, and embrace the sense of freedom as you navigate the twists and turns of the PCH. Whether you're a nature lover, adventure seeker, or simply seeking relaxation, a road trip along the Malibu coast promises memories that will last a lifetime.
So, grab your sunglasses, roll down the windows, and let the enchantment of Malibu unfold before you on this extraordinary coastal journey.
Got a tip for this route? Send us yours!Generally, the roads around Malibu are well-maintained and in good condition. View current warnings and alerts for Malibu.
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