Ecotopia Natural Hot Springs
2566 Matilija Canyon Rd., Ojai
Worth the five-mile trip, Matilija Canyon’s Ecotopia natural hot-springs (important: swimsuits optional) occupy a particularly picturesque corner of sacred Ojai Valley land and are said to have healing powers. While you’re here, explore the community-supported sustainable gardens.
Leaning into being a tourist (or playing tourist in your own city for a day) can be extremely entertaining. Such is the case with GoCar's cool take on the common city tour: a talking, GPS-guided go-cart vehicle that takes you around the big—as well as some lesser known—sights of SF. Following the suggested routes laid out for you is simple, as is making an unplanned pit stop for photos, or veering off to do more of your own thing. Each car fits two people (the driver must be at least twenty-one years old, but kids can ride shotgun); small groups and families can reserve a mini fleet of their own. Most departures are from Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf; for a little adventure, you can end by climbing Russian Hill and then screaming down Lombard Street (aka the oft-Instagrammed Crooked Street).
Zuma Canyon Orchids
5949 Bonsall Dr., Malibu
Even if you’re not in the market for orchids (though odds are, you’ll go home with one or two new buds) this sprawling greenhouse and the surrounding grounds are worth a visit. In addition to à la carte flowers, the staff will gladly put together a beautiful arrangement right on the spot, arrange a local delivery, or even shipping. This is a sweet mom-and-pop operation, so expect hands-on service but none of the big-box nursery frills.
El Matador State Beach
32215 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu
The giant rocks coming up from the sand (not to mention the exquisite sunset views) at El Matador make it a favorite for photographers, and many people stage engagement or family photoshoots here. That said, it's usually not too crowded, in part because those same rocks make it difficult to swim and surf—it's really best for picnicking, reading, and enjoying the view. Be sure to pack a blanket and wear tennis shoes, as the parking lot is on a bluff far above the beach, and the walk down can get a bit hairy.
Drill Surf & Skate
30745 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu
While surf lessons for kids are a dime a dozen around these parts, skateboarding lessons are more complicated to arrange. As its name suggests, Drill Surf & Skate does both, and does them really, really well, so you should feel good knowing the kiddos are in good hands. Also on offer, rentals for every type of board-centric sport (surf, body, SUP), plus all the supporting accessories. And for board-owning pros, they’ll arrange to send your board out for minor repairs and have it looking like new in less than a week.
Regal Twin Malibu Movie Theater
3822 Cross Creek Rd., Malibu
Small, low-tech operations like Malibu’s only movie theater are something of a dying breed these days. At only two screens strong, the film options, while limited, are usually on point, covering the best of the new releases. This is where the locals go when driving over a canyon to a multiplex is too much of a hassle.
Malibu Surf Shack
22935 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu
This isn’t the only spot on the highway to rent gear, but it’s arguably one of the best, due in no small part to its cozy proximity to Surfrider Beach. In addition to rentals—kayaks, boards (including SUP), and wetsuits—you can book lessons from skilled instructors who know their craft and the surrounding area. If you’ve got time to spare, consider arranging a guided kayak or paddle boarding tour. The shack is also a good place to purchase Malibu-centric souvenirs for pals back home.
Malibu Hindu Temple
1600 Las Virgenes Canyon Rd., Malibu
Technically outside Malibu city limits in Calabasas, this gleaming, otherworldly, South Indian-style temple is a straight shot up Las Virgenes Canyon from PCH. The temple was built in 1981 for the god Venkateswara, with shrines for various deities scattered throughout the property along with ample space for quiet reflection and meditation. Other than the breathtaking architecture, what’s special is that participating in ceremonies or prayer isn’t a requirement—visitors are welcome to simply take it all in from the sidelines—just make sure to reference the rules of conduct. On weekends, the temple kitchen serves surprisingly delicious vegetarian snacks for a small charge.
Malibu Creek State Park
1925 Las Virgenes Rd., Calabasas
Nestled into the Santa Monica mountains high above PCH, people call this state park the Yosemite of Southern California because of the many rock climbers it attracts year-round. It's also home to some great wildlife: On any given day, you can almost always find lizards, rattlesnakes, raccoons, foxes, bluebirds, and more up here. If rock climbing isn’t your thing, the park offers a long list of activities such as biking, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, camping, bird watching, and even painting. Fun fact: The park was formerly owned by 20th Century Fox Studios, and has starred in Pleasantville, The Seven Year Itch, and Love Me Tender, among many other films. Note: While you can bring them to your campsite, dogs aren't allowed in the backcountry here.
23200 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu
This immaculately preserved 1930’s Moorish-Spanish-style villa serves an important purpose in the community: to educate visitors about the history of Malibu, going all the way back to the 18th century when the land was home to the Chumash Indians. You can see the entire house, with its elaborate tile work and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean during a one-hour guided tour, and if you visit on a Friday, save some time for a tour of the gardens as well. (Its' history and idyllic setting also make the property a coveted wedding venue.) Also on site is the Malibu Lagoon Museum, offering an even deeper dive into Malibu’s past.
You may also like