Zuma beach is a beautiful long stretch of white sand in Malibu that is a great place to walk, see wildlife and relax by the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean. In summertime this is a popular beach, but in spring (March) when we visited it was pretty empty. We had a pleasant wander from Zuma Beach, along to Westward Beach and Point Dume.
Zuma Beach to Point Dume – the basics
Distance: 2.8 miles (4.6km) for our route.
Elevation gain/loss: Minimal
Time: 1 hour. Or a bit more if you sit and relax on the beach
Facilities: There is so much here! We saw washrooms with showers. It sounds like normally there are food stands, lifeguards and volleyball nets (although we didn’t see these in March.)
Dogs: No dogs on Zuma beach.
How hard is it? Super easy…it’s a walk along a beach.
Extra notes: This beach is looong – you could walk for miles and miles if you fancy it.
Zuma beach map: You don’t really need a map for this one, but I recorded half our walk on strava here.
Zuma Beach – getting started
This gorgeous beach is located right next to the Pacific Coast Highway Pacific Coast Highway, with an entrance at the south end of the beach. There is oodles of parking (space for 2000 cars spread over 12 parking lots!) You can catch a bus (#134) to Zuma Beach from Santa Monica, it’ll take around 1 hour 15 mins.
You can probably tell from my photos, but Zuma beach was not busy at all in March! The water was chilly, so despite the lovely warm weather, we had sections of the beach to ourselves.
We decided to walk south, towards Westward Beach and Point Dume. It’s a pretty area with large sandstone cliffs to one side and the giant Pacific Ocean to the other.
Wildlife on Zuma beach and Westward beach
There were so many birds! We saw hundreds of sanderlings hopping in and out of the waves and plenty of pelicans flying over us. There are some cliff-like sand banks close to the seashore, where the seagulls like to perch. We even saw a seal.
I loved seeing the pelicans flying above us. They dive into the water to catch fish. I found a cool fact that sometimes gulls perch on the pelican’s head and try to steal the fish right out of their pouches(!) I would kind of like to see that!
Cliffs of Westward Beach
It’s fun to look up to the fancy homes above the cliffs on Westward beach. I liked the way each building has built impressive stairways up the cliffs to give themselves easy beach access.
Or, if you look down at the dunes, there are some beautiful sea figs (or ice plants) growing in the sand.
Swimming at Zuma Beach
If you fancy a swim at Zuma beach, it is best to walk north. There are fewer rocks in that direction, and there are 12 life guard stations spread out along the beach. In March, the water was a bit too cold for us to fancy a dip. But it was nice to paddle (and freeze our toes!)
Point Dume is at the southern end of Westward Beach. There is a big chunk of rock that you can climb up to see the views. We didn’t have enough time to zoom up to the top, so we just climbed up the main rock formation on the beach.
If I come back to LA, I would be tempted to follow the trail to the top of Point Dume. It is such a pretty spot!
I loved the mixture of an easy stroll along the beach followed by the fun of climbing up the rocks and Point Dume. It makes this a great beach to explore for folks that don’t like to just sit and/or swim.
Walking along the beach doesn’t really feel like a hike – so if you fancy stretching your legs a bit more, here are some of the other fabulous hikes we found in Malibu. You can see the Pacific Ocean from up high.
- Backbone trail to Saddle Peak – Longer trail with cool rock formations and stunning scenery
- Temescal Canyon – Fun hike through Topanga State Park, close to LA
- Cistern trail in Malibu State Park – mini walk through cool movie locations
- Mugu Peak– short but steep with fabulous views at the far end of the Santa Monica Mountains
I am not a big fan of spending hours laying on beaches, so having a walk along Zuma Beach was a great introduction to Malibu. If you like hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains this is a lovely beach to relax on after you’ve been up on one of the surrounding peaks. Have you visited the lovely coastline in California? Did you have a favorite beach?