Beaches - Malibu has great beaches for kids. Our favorite beaches in Malibu are ideal for little babies who eat sand or toddlers splashing in the shallows (lifeguards, restrooms and shower facilities), as well as sulky pre-teens who can't wait to hit the waves. And if kids are going to learn to surf, this is the place.
Malibu Lagoon State Beach - The lagoon is a lovely wetlands where Malibu Creek flows into the ocean. The shallow water is perfect for wading and playing all day. Look for birds and bring a picnic (there are picnic tables along the lagoon). The beach also has good swimming for kids.
Zuma Beach County Park - If there's one beach that says Malibu, it's Zuma Beach. The day won't seem long enough for the kids to build their sand forts, dangle their toes in the waves, swing on the swings, grab an ice cream from the snack stand, or launch their boogie board into the next perfect set of waves.
Point Dume whale watch - Point Dume trails and bluff overlook are a good location to watch south migration of gray whales, January to March. Bring binoculars.
Big Sycamore Canyon - The Santa Monica Mountains are a wonderful hiking area - the mountains come right down to the Pacific Coast Highway. From the Big Sycamore Canyon parking lot, take the wide trail up the canyon, as it winds along Sycamore Creek, through big leafy sycamore and oak trees. In the underbrush, you might see some silly quail, and keep your eyes peeled for woodpeckers in the trees.
Malibu Creek State Park (off Malibu Canyon Rd.) - For a change from the beach, head for Malibu Creek State Park. In just a matter of minutes, you'll find yourself in the Santa Monica Mountains, surrounded by golden hills and oak trees. From the Visitor's Center, take the wide, easy trails that cross Malibu Creek and pass through grasslands and spicey-scented chaparral. Don't miss the Rock Pool, a short distance up the trail. At Century Lake, look for dragon flies.
Getty Villa - If you can't get over Italy to visit a Roman villa, the Getty Villa in Malibu is your next best bet. The Getty Villa is modeled on Roman country house from Herculaneum, and is filled with ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan artworks.
The museum has themed galleries of gods and goddesses, or events of the Trojan War, and don't miss the statue of a Victorious Youth, a rare Greek bronze of an Olympic athlete. The Family Forum has hands-on activities for kids, such as decorate Greek vases, pick up Art Detective Cards to hunt for clues while you explore the museum.
The cafe has box lunches, but you can also bring a picnic (the weather is often sunny and warm in Malibu) and sit out in the public seating areas.
Admission to the Getty Villa is free, but you'll need to reserve a timed ticket in advance.
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