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The Malibu Lagoon State Beach

A walk along the coast of Malibu Lagoon State Beach, including Malibu Pier and the historic Adamson House.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Unknown
Length: 2 miles
Duration: Unknown
Family Friendly

Overview :  A short and easy stroll along the Pacific Ocean, featuring a beautiful lagoon filled with birds, one of surfing's landmark beaches,... more »

Tips:  The Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum are only open from 11am to 3pm on Wednesdays through Fridays. If you are in the park... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Lagoon Overlook

Right near the parking area for Malibu Lagoon State Beach, there is a paved overlook at the western edge of the lagoon. Enjoy the view, then walk east past a sandy picnic area with built in beach chairs to a broad, open walkway toward the beach.

2. Boardwalk

At the eastern end of the sandy parking and picnic area, look for the broad, wide dirt path heading into the Lagoon. Here, you'll cross a few boardwalk bridges on your way toward the beach.

3. Service road jct and toilets

Continue straight at the 3-way junction at these port-a-potties. The service road wil take you back to the parking area, but the beach is just ahead of you.

Here, you will reach Malibu Lagoon State Beach. While small in size, depending on the time of year you may find this beach crowded with sunbathers, surfers, paddleboarders, and tidepool explorers.

This area of the beach is usually a bit less crowded than the stretch near the Adamson House. Take a left at the shore to follow the coast, keeping... More

5. Lagoon Views

If you bring binoculars, this is a great vantage point to watch the birds in the Lagoon.

This estuary is rich with wildlife of all sorts, and is one of the best birdwatching spots in southern California. You're likely to see many types of birds, including pelicans, gulls, sandpipers, and diving ducks.

6. Tidepools

In this area, the Pacific-side of the beach is noticeably rockier. These formations become tidepools during low tide, and are wonderful places to explore to see urchins, muscles, crabs, and starfish.

Remember - if you're exploring the tidepools, never disturb wildlife or overturn rocks.

This area is where Malibu Creek finally empties into the Pacific Ocean, although the exact location may change depending on a variety of factors.

On most days, the water is shallow enough to cross without much difficulty.

8. View of Adamson House

From here, you can get a good view of the historic Adamson House from the beachside. Don't worry about trying to get up close, though - you'll get there shortly.

This stretch of coast - from the Adamson House to the Malibu Pier - is technically still part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach, but is formerly (and still unofficially) known as Surfrider Beach.

This beach is a world-famous surfing location, prized for its distinctive summer breaks and historic status as one of the earliest homes of "surfing culture.... More

10. 'Private' Beaches

Continue along the beach heading toward Malibu Pier. Here, you'll have to cross in front of private homes, which may or may not have signs declaring this land a "private beach."

Malibu has long been the site of battles between the public and private landowners regarding beach access - 20 of the 27 miles of Malibu coastline are blocked by private... More

11. Stairway to Pier

After crossing beneath the Pier, look for a small staircase to your left. This will take you up to the street level of the Pacific Coast Highway.

After walking through the adjacent parking area, turn left to enter Malibu Pier.

This historic pier was built in 1905 to support the nearby Malibu Rancho, and even had its own private railroad to move goods to and from the shipping areas. The pier was bought by the state of California in 1980 in nearly derelict shape. Today, it has been... More

The end of Malibu Pier is the site of a former WWII Coast Guard lookout, currently home to a seasonally operated Ruby's Diner and year-round gift shop and information station. Alongside the touristy Malibu gifts, you can also buy bait for fishing, homemade ice cream sandwiches, and tickets for harbor tours, whale watching trips, and sportfishing ... More

14. Adamson House Entrance

Past the alternate beach parking lot on the Pacific Coast Highway, turn left at the driveway to walk into the Adamson House grounds.

The Adamson House offers guided tours of the estate Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 3pm, with the last tour starting at 2pm. The tours are free and first-come, first-served. There is also a small museum... More

15. Adamson House walk

If you're not taking a docent-led tour, the self-guided tour begins at a small plaque near the driveway.

The Adamson House was part of the original Malibu Rancho, granted in 1802. The house was designed and built in 1929 and is one of the best remaining examples of decorative tiles from Malibu Potteries (in operation from 1926 to 1932.

The... More

16. Adamson House Courtyard

The gorgeous open courtyard of the Adamson House features some exquisite examples of California Spanish Colonial Revival / Moorish Revival architecture.

This house has been called "The Taj Mahal of Tile" - both the exterior and interior of the building make extensive use of local Malibu Potteries tile - even including a mock Persian rug made... More

17. Neptune Fountain

On the back porch, the Neptune Fountain is one of the Adamson House's most photographed features. When this was built, there were no other houses visible from the porch.

18. Star Fountain

Just beyond the Neptune Fountain, the Star Fountain sits on a perch overlooking Surfrider Beach below.

19. Inground Pool

The Adamson House also featured a fully tiled in-ground pool built into the sand. This pool had several revolutionary features when it was constructed, including a heating apparatus and pumps that could fill the pool with fresh or salt water.

20. Green Man Fountain

On this side of the house, a large Green Man Fountain is the centerpiece of another outdoor patio. Nearby, a tiled outdoor bathtub was built so the Adamsons could wash their dogs.

This small beach house now serves as the Malibu Lagoon Museum and gift shop, open from 11am to 3pm on Wednesday through Saturday.

When you're done exploring the grounds, exit the Adamson House the way you came in and take a left on the sidewalk at the Pacific Coast Highway.

22. Malibu Creek Bridge

Cross the Malibu Creek Bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway on your way back to the parking area.

From here, you'll have excellent vantage points of the Lagoon and any birds that happen to be hanging out nearby. Just watch out for traffic!